Richard G. Petty, MD

Turmeric and Arthritis

I recently reported about some research from SIngapore that indicated that the spice turmeric might help with cognition.

Today there is a study form the University of Arizona in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism suggesting that the spice may also be helpful in experimental rheumatoid arthritis. In line with most other studies of herbal supplements it is interesting that the maximal effect was obtained by using the natural form of turmeric, that contains three major "curcuminoids," the likely active ingredients. If one of the three is missing, the effect is a lot less.

The extracts appears to work by preventing the activation of a protein that controls when genes are switched on or off in the joint. Once the protein known as NF-KB is activated, it binds to genes and increases the production of inflammatory proteins, which in turn attack the joints.

This is not a surprise: In traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine turmeric has been used for centuries as a treatment for inflammatory disorders including arthritis. Based on that, dietary supplements containing turmeric rhizome and turmeric extracts have been sold for years. However, there’s been little direct evidence that they are helpful.

We are going to need more research before we can sy whether turmeric supplements can be recommended for medicinal pruposes, and eating more spices is unlikely to work.

These findings are opening up a new approach to treating not just rheumatoid arthritis, but perhaps also other inflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and multiple sclerosis. Interestingly the turmeric extract also has another effect: it deactivates a biochemical pathway that leads to the resorption of bone. So it may help with osteoporosis.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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