Turmeric for Arthritis

Turmeric for Arthritis

Doctor makes casual comment that helped eliminate my pain

Curcumin is the yellow pigment associated with the curry spice, Turmeric, and to a lesser extent Ginger. It is a small molecule that is the prototypical ‘curcuminoid’, and has effects similar to other polyphenols but unique in a way as it is a different class of polyphenol (relative to the other classes of ‘flavonoid’, ‘stilbene’, etc.) It exerts potent anti-inflammatory effects, and these anti-inflammatory effects seem to be quite protective against some form of cancer progression. However, curcumin has additional anti-cancer effects that are independent of its anti-inflammatory effects and thus is a heavily researched molecule for both cancer prevention and treatment. Other areas of interest as it pertains to curcumin are alleviating cognitive decline associated with aging, being heart healthy by both electrical means and reducing lipid and plaque levels in arteries, and both reducing the risk of diabetes and being a good treatment for the side-effects associated with diabetes. It has a poor oral bioavailability (a low percentage of what you consume is absorbed) and thus should be enhanced with other agents such as black pepper extract, called piperine. This is unless you want the curcumin in your colon (as it is a colon anti-inflammatory and can help with digestion), in which case you wouldn’t pair it with an enhancement. Doses up to 8g curcuminoids in humans have been shown to not be associated with much adverse effects at all, and in vitro tests suggest curcumin has quite a large safety threshold.

It was during a meeting I had with Dr. Luis Cardenty and his wife Maria Espinosa that this topic was first brought to my attention. We were standing outside a two story house that a retired couple had just redone in Fort Myers, and I must have been rubbing my thumb joint absentmindedly. You see, I was involved in an automobile accident three years ago where a car cut out in traffic and I slammed into it T-bone style. I had both hands on the steering wheel and apparently jammed my thumbs sufficiently during the accident that I have constant chronic pain in both thumb joints.

Luis noticed this and asked me what was wrong. I told him about he accident and that the pain as gradually getting worse.

“What do you take for it?” He inquired, and I replied “Nothing for it specifically, but I do take a daily dose of Mobic for my ankle.” (I had a full ankle replacement ten years ago).

Dr. Luis suggested I started taking Tumeric – 3 grams a day. I’m not normally one to ask for sidewalk medical advice from my Dr. Clients, although my wife Gail, who was married for 18 years to a physician has no problems doing so. She peppered Dr. Luis with a bunch a of follow up questions regarding where to buy ithe Tumeric, proper dosage, contra-indications, etc.

He told her that long term use of Mobic will not be good for my digestive tract but Turmeric had no such trouble, in fact it has positive effects on digestion.

I have now been taking Turmeric for three weeks and have a noticeable improvement in arthritic pain in my hands. For two weeks I continued with the Mobic as well, taking three grams a day. Initially I took them 1 gram in the morning and two at night, but I fond better results talking 1 gram Tumeric (1000mg) three times a day.

The active Ingredient in Turmeric is curcumin and it is poorly absorbed inherently, so the pills I buy are paired with piperine (Black Pepper).

The article I  have cited above is a very thorough review of tumeric, curcumin and the effects on the body.  Here are the products to purchase:

As we age and enter retirement it seems there is a combination of inflammation catching up with us and we seem to have more time to notice our aches and pains. As always, diet and exercise can help alleviate many of these aches and pain – and now I am convinced tumeric is helping with my arthritis as well.


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