What is Curcumin? Is it good for arthritis?
Is Curcumin good for arthritis? Curcumin is an extract from the Indian spice tumeric. The supplement has been widely touted for it’s anti-inflammatory properties and it’s ability to help arthritis. However, what has been published showing that Curcumin actually really helps arthritis? What’s interesting is that many of the studies that I found for Curcumin combined it with another supplement and found that the two combined were better than either one alone. For example, a recent study found that combining Curcumin with Resveratrol was synergistic in activating a pathway which helped cartilage cells maintain their health. The same combination of Curcumin and Resveratrol was found in a 2009 study to protect cartilage cells better than either supplement could protect the cells alone. On the other side of the coin, Curcumin was found to be less effective at protecting cartilage cells when compared to glucosamine in another lab study. The study however used an immortalized cartilage cell line, which while more convenient for the researchers, is a bit of a sketchy comparison to normal fresh cartilage cells. In an interesting rat study, Curcumin was found to be as effective as ibuprofen in reducing inflammatory markers. OK, while it’s helpful to see that the stuff works on cartilage cells in the lab or when used on lab animals, is there any evidence that Curcumin works in arthritis patients? In a recent clinical study, a proprietary form of Curcumin was used in 100 arthritis patients who received either the supplement or were assigned to a control group. The study showed that at the end of 8 months, the Curcumin group had better knee function as well as fewer biochemical markers of inflammation and arthritis. The upshot? Curcumin actually does look like a very promising supplement for use in arthritis and it may get much better at protecting cartilage cells when combined with Resveratrol.