Osteoarthritis is a common degenerative disease of the joints. Doctors state that it is the most common type of arthritis, and it primarily affects old-aged people. But, there still remains a possibility of it starting in middle age or sooner, especially if you’ve sustained an injury to the joint.
There are many treatments available for osteoarthritis like exercises, weight loss, anti-inflammatory medication, and pain relievers. But, they are not perfectly sufficient and you cannot consider them as cures. Most of the time, they only help a little and sometimes, not at all. Many people opt for steroids or synthetic lubricants to be injected into the joints, as well. Ultimately, joint replacement surgery is the last choice you have. As a matter of fact, over one million joint replacement surgeries are conducted in the US every year.
With so many ineffective remedies, it comes as no surprise that osteoarthritis patients are willing to try just about anything. Patients often ask about dietary changes and suitable foods as well. Unfortunately, there is little evidence to support the notion that these dietary approaches work. The little evidence that is present on the subject suggests that there is an inconsistent or unclear benefit.
This is why the latest research on curcumin is so noteworthy. It suggests that curcumin might be useful for osteoarthritis. Curcumin is present naturally in common spices like turmeric.
How effective is curcumin for osteoarthritis?
For the research, scientists enrolled 139 osteoarthritis patients for observation. They all exhibited moderately severe symptoms and needed to take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Therefore, the researchers prescribed one group with NSAID and the other with curcumin.
Now, why did they prescribe curcumin? This substance naturally has anti-inflammatory properties. Many medical journals have advocated for its role in boosting cardiovascular health, treating arthritis, and many other conditions. In fact, the only drawback is that there are limited studies on its health benefits.
This study, however, found the following:
– 94% of patients taking curcumin and 97% of patients taking NSAID reported an improvement of at least 50%
– Patients taking curcumin reported lesser side effects. On the other hand, 28% of patients taking NSAID required treatment for other issues like stomach aches
– Patients taking curcumin lost 2% of their body weight in 4 weeks
Are you convinced?
Hold your horses there. It is rare for a study to change medical platforms overnight, and this one is no exception. There are a couple of things that might be questioned, in fact.
1. The study only lasted a month
2. Researchers only studied osteoarthritis of the knee. So, other joints of the body might not respond similarly
3. Using different doses or formulations of NSAID might cause the results to change
4. Researchers did not blind the participants. Consequently, their bias could have affected the results
5. It is uncertain whether curcumin would be safe for other people as this study did not include participants with other conditions
6. The side effect of losing weight would be a problem for those people who are already lean
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