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Carol Eustice

Turmeric Shows Health Benefits for Arthritis

By October 30, 2006

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Turmeric is a spice which has long been used in Asian medicine to treat inflammatory conditions. Turmeric extract in an ingredient in western dietary supplements. Earlier studies showed that turmeric prevented joint inflammation in rats. In a current study published in the November 2006 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, researchers from the University of Arizona compared the chemical composition of experimental turmeric extract with over-the-counter turmeric dietary supplements. The researchers also studied dosage of the experimental turmeric extract on joint inflammation and destruction, the effect on genetic markers associated with inflammation, and how turmeric protects against joint inflammation.

Researchers found that a turmeric extract that was free of essential oils most closely matched turmeric in commercial supplements. The extract which contains curcumin, appeared to be effective at blocking rheumatoid arthritis in rats by preventing a protein (known as NF-KB) from being activated in the joints. Activation of NF-KB has been associated with increased inflammation. The extract also blocked a pathway associated with bone loss, indicating there may be benefit for osteoporosis. Analysts recommend the results be viewed with caution. At this point, it is not recommended that patients alter their diets to include more turmeric. Clinical trials are needed before turmeric can be recommended for medicinal use.

Photo by Jenny Horne (iStockphoto)

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