Turmeric benefits for Arthritis

The term arthritis is derived from two Greek words ‘artho’ means joint and ‘itis’ means inflammation. There are almost 100 different varieties of arthritis can occur, which include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and related autoimmune diseases. A most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, which is mainly developed in elderly population due to age-related sarcopenia (loss of musculoskeletal mass and strength) and increased bone loss;  whereas rheumatoid arthritis is an outcome of systemic inflammation and critical joint disease. The usual symptoms associated with arthritis are pain, stiffness, swelling, and tenderness. [1]

Current National Health Interview Survey data showed 22.7 percent of adults in the United States suffer from arthritis and if it continues like this, one in four Americans will have arthritis by 2030. This is not just a case by case issue now through the prevalence of the condition but also has an impact on whole society. According to the report of the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey during  1996 to 2011, Arthritis-related conditions caused highest health-care expenditures i.e. almost 192 percent. [2] Therefore, it is a high time we should be cautious to any type of joint pain.

Mechanism of action of turmeric1

Mechanism of action followed by turmeric to control arthritis are:

Turmeric and curcumin selectively block cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) activities and inhibits arachidonic acid pathway. The inhibition of arachidonic acid pathway leads to decrease the production of prostaglandin and related inflammation and pain symptoms. The advantage of turmeric over other nonselective anti-inflammatory drug is it does not cause gastric irritation.

Turmeric and its active ingredient inhibit the signaling of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells and reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin, phospholipase A2, and 5-lipoxygenase activities.

Turmeric in presence of curcumin is also modulated certain signal transducer, which causes metabolic degenerations including estrogen response element, cAMP responding element binding protein, etc. These metabolic pathways generate oxidative stress and gradually deteriorate bone and joint health. The antioxidant property of turmeric is effective to reduce the oxidative stress and prevent the degenerative condition.

Comparison  of Turmeric with other synthetic drugs1

The usual prescribing drugs for the treatment of arthritis are analgesics,  nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroids. But all these drugs have multiple side effects, such as the classic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs often leads to gastric irritation; whereas long-term steroids therapy leads to osteoporosis, metabolic disorders, myopathy and cardiovascular diseases etc. These health risks are minimized or negligible by using turmeric. In addition, the efficacy and safety-related following information obtained from different studies, which also support turmeric are safe and effective for arthritis treatment.

Research evidence showed that standardized extract of turmeric with the dose of 1000 mg/day of curcumin for 8 to 12 weeks provides symptomatic relief of arthritis, including both pain and inflammation similarly as other synthetic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like diclofenac sodium and ibuprofen.

Curcumin obtained from turmeric has a synergistic effect with diclofenac. In a randomized clinical trial showed a combination of both diclofenac and curcumin provide more effective result than single therapy.

Chondroitin sulfate is another synthetic medication prescribed for arthritis treatment. Research evidence showed that turmeric is comparatively better to reduce pain and inflammatory symptoms than chondroitin sulfate.  Therefore, turmeric is a potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory property, which is unbeatable by certain synthetic drugs including chondroitin.

Turmeric may provide permanent solution for arthritis patients1

Activation of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells ( NF-κB) aggravates osteoarthritis. Most of the prescribed synthetic anti-inflammatory drugs in arthritis treatment provide symptomatic relieve by reducing inflammation.   But the mechanism of action followed by turmeric does not only block the inflammatory cytokine production, but it inhibits  NF-κB also and reduce the scope to worsen the condition.

Turmeric is Safe to use1

Several human studies showed that using of turmeric within the dose limit i.e. 1200 mg/day for continuous 4 months treatment does not cause any side effects. However, a higher dose ( 2000 mg/day) of curcumin supplementation can cause iron deficiency in anemic patients. Because of a high dose curcumin can form iron chelates and alter the metabolism of iron. It also suppresses the protein hepcidin. But the selected dose of arthritis treatment is much lower, so it does not cause this type of any complications.

Therefore, turmeric treatment to control arthritis is a natural, harmless alternative treatment of arthritis.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003001/
  1. http://iasp.files.cms-plus.com/Content/ContentFolders/GlobalYearAgainstPain2/2016/FactSheets/English/11.%20Joint%20Pain%20Epidemiology.pdf


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