In osteoarthritis (OA) joint cartilage, ligaments, linings, and nearby bone break down. The most common affected areas include hips, knees, hands, and spine, which become stiff and painful. Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines reduce symptoms, but do
not have a clear clinical effect on the condition, and do have serious long-term side effects. Doctors are searching for safer, clinically effective treatments, with turmeric and curcumin offering hope.
Turmeric as effective as OTC for OA knee pain
In this study, 144 adults, aged 40 to 80, with knee OA took 1,000 mg of turmeric extract, or 1,950 mg of acetaminophen, in divided doses, per
day.After six weeks, pain scores in both groups declined at least 20 percent, but 21 percent of those taking turmeric saw a 50 percent or greater decline while none taking acetaminophen got that much relief. The turmeric group also had lower levels of chronic inflammatory factors, including C-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha).
Discussing the findings, doctors said, “We are learning more about the mechanisms behind curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effect, which we believe is the result of its ability to inhibit pro-inflammatory signals such as prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and xyclooxygenase-2.”
Curcumin curbed OA knee pain
In this study, 70 men and women with OA knee pain and swelling inside the knee joint took a placebo or bio- available curcumin capsules daily.
After 12 weeks, those taking curcumin reported less knee pain than placebo, with no adverse events or side effects. The curcumin group also needed to take fewer standard pain medications compared to placebo.
Reviewing the results, doctors said current pharmacologic therapies for those with osteoarthritis do not provide long-term clinical improvement, and that curcumin may be an effective and safe alternative without the adverse side effects of standard OTC medications.