Category Archives: Sayer Ji

Turmeric Extract Puts Drugs For Knee Osteoarthritis To Shame

Turmeric Extract Puts Drugs For Knee Osteoarthritis To Shame

Millions take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) daily for arthritis and related inflammatory conditions, but are completely unaware that far safer, and at least as effective, natural alternatives already exist — and are as easily accessible and inexpensive as the spices found in your kitchen cupboard.
Human research on the health benefits of turmeric is sparse, mainly due to the lack of capital available to fund expensive clinical trials.[i] Despite many decades of investigation as a lead drug compound, and the availability of thousands of preclinical studies indicating turmeric’s therapeutic value, few yet realize that this common kitchen spice may provide a suitable drug alternative for common health conditions.
The latest human study to clinically confirm turmeric’s medicinal value was published in the Indonesian Journal of Internal Medicine in April, 2012 and found the curcuminoid extract of turmeric was able to reduce inflammation in patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis.
Researchers compared the effect of a curcuminoid extract to the NSAID drug diclofenac sodium in reducing cycloxygenase -2  (COX-2) secretion by synovial fluid’s monocytes in two, randomly divided, groups suffering with knee osteoarthritis.
The synovial fluid is an egg yolk-like liquid within the cavities of the synovial joints, which serves to reduce friction between articular cartilage during movement.  In knee osteoarthritis, a condition that afflicts 1 in 2 people by the age of 85 years, the immune cells known as monocytes express increased inflammatory COX-2 enzyme activity within the synovial fluid.
In the study, subjects were given either 30 mg 3 times daily of turmeric extract (curcuminoid) or 25 mg 3 times daily of diclofenac sodium for 4 weeks. After the treatment period, aspiration of the joint as performed and the secretion of cycloxygenase-2 enzyme by synovial fluid’s monocytes was evaluated.
Results were reported as follows:

In curcuminoid group the average scores were 1.84±0.37 and 1.15±0.28 respectively (p<0.001). In diclofenac group the average scores were 1.79±0.38 and 1.12±0.27 respectively (p<0.001). In curcuminoid group the decreasing score of cycloxygenase-2 secretion was 0.70±0.51 while in diclofenac group was 0.67±0.45. There was no significant difference in decreasing the score of cycloxygenase enzyme secretion between both treatment groups (p=0.89).

In summary, both curcuminoid and diclofenac sodium were capable of significantly decreasing the secretion of the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme, with nearly identical potency.

Discussion

This is not the first human study to confirm turmeric is at least as effective as an NSAID drug in reducing the symptoms associated with knee osteoarthritis. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found 2,000 mg of turmeric extract was as effective as 800 mg of ibuprofen in reducing symptoms of pain and inflammation.[ii]
What is most remarkable about the more recent study is not that turmeric curcuminoids have potent anti-inflammatory properties – there are already hundreds of studies confirming its COX-2 reducingand otherwise anti-inflammary effects — but rather how much safer they are relative to NSAID drugs like diclofenac, which like most pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs have been linked to adverse health effects such as increased cardiac mortality, miscarriage and seizure.
One way to assess the relative toxicity of these two compounds is to compare the primary polyphenol in turmeric, curcumin, with diclofenac sodium through their respective Material Safety Data Sheets, which contain detailed information on the toxicity of these substances.

Diclofenac Sodium: The LD50 for mice is 95 mg/kg, meaning that it only takes 95 mg/kg of mouse to acutely kill 50% of an exposed group.  
Curcumin: The LD50 for mice is >2,000 mg/kg, meaning that it would take more than2,000  mg/kg of mouse to acutely kill 50% of an exposed group.  

In order to get perspective on how toxic an LD50 of 95 mg/kg is, let’s first calculate how much of this chemical it would take in milligrams to kill an average sized mouse. Mice are between 15-27 grams, depending on their age, strain and diet. If we take the average between the two, at 21 grams, our mouse would weigh 0.021 kilograms. This means that it only takes 1.9 milligrams to acutely kill 50% of the mice given such a dose.
Extrapolating to humans, an average 150 lb adult weighs 68.03 kilograms, it would only take 6462 milligrams, or 6.46 grams to kill 50% of the humans given the dose. This is less than the weight of three pennies (7.5 grams).  Compare this to the LD50 of curcumin (2,000 mg/kg), where it would take more than 136,000 mgs (4.86 ounces) to kill 50% of the humans given it – and even this estimation is doubtful, since it is likely that it would simply be vomited up, or expelled through the gastrointestinal tract, and other organs of elimination, before reaching lethal levels in the body.  Also, remember that it only took 90 mg a day in the aforementioned study to reduce inflammation as effectively as diclofenac sodium.  The difference between the 90 mg required to produce an effective response, and a (theoretical) 136,000 mg threshold for lethal toxicity, is four orders of magnitude.
In practical terms, the chance of you hurting yourself with a drug like diclofenac sodium — ironically, in an attempt to reduce pain — as compared to a simple kitchen spice like turmeric, is infinitely higher. Consider too, that there are over 100 known adverse health effects associated with this chemical class of drugs, whereas turmeric (and curcumin) has been linked to over 600 beneficial ones — not exactly a hard choice to make, when it comes to risk-benefit analysis.
For additional research on natural alternatives to common NSAID drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen, read the following articles:
Is There A Natural Alternative To Aspirin?
Ibuprofen Kills More Than Pain, So What Is The Alternative?


Resources

500 Reasons Turmeric May Be The World’s Most Important Herb

500 Reasons Why Turmeric Is The World's Most Important Herb

There is a medicinal spice so timelessly interwoven with the origins of human culture and metabolism, so thoroughly supported by modern scientific inquiry, as to be unparalleled in its proven value to human health and well-being.
Indeed, turmeric turns the entire drug-based medical model on its head.  Instead of causing moreside effects than therapeutic ones – which you can read any drug insert to see is a universally true phenomenon and which ensures the infinite expansion of the pharmaceutical market and all the associated medical services – it has several hundred potential side benefits.
While no food or herb is right for everyone, and everything has the potential for unintended, adverse side effects, turmeric is truly unique in its exceptionally high margin of safety vis-à-vis the drugs it has been compared with, e.g. hydrocortisoneibuprofenchemotherapy agents. Furthermore, nothing within the modern-day pharmaceutical armamentarium comes even remotely close to turmeric’s 6,000 year track record of safe use in Ayurvedic medicine.[1]
Despite its vast potential for alleviating human suffering, turmeric will never receive the FDA stamp of approval, due to its lack of exclusivity, patentability and therefore profitability. Truth be told, the FDA’s “gold standard” for proving the value of a prospective medicinal substance betrays the age old aphorism: “he who owns the gold makes the rules,” and unless an investor is willing to risk losing the 800+ million dollars that must be spent upfront, the FDA-required multi-phased double-blind, randomized clinical trials will not occur. For additional details on this rather seedy arrangement read our article on the topic: Why The Law Forbids The Medicinal Use of Natural Substances.
Here at GreenMedInfo.com, we have reviewed over 4,000 study abstracts from the National Library of Medicine’s bibliographic database known as MEDLINE and have discovered over 580 potential health benefits of turmeric, and/or its primary polyphenol known as curcumin. These can be viewed on ourturmeric research page which is dedicated to disseminating the research on the topic to a larger audience.
Some of the most amazing demonstrated properties include:

Again, what is so amazing is not that turmeric may have value in six conditions simultaneously, or that it may improve conditions that are completely resistant to conventional treatment, but that there are over five-hundred and eighty additional health conditions it may also be valuable in preventing and/or treating. Consider also the fact that turmeric grows freely on the Earth, and you will understand why its very existence threatens a trillion-dollar plus conventional medical establishment.
Learn more about this research in the video below, and please spread the information to others who may benefit from learning more on the topic


[1] The Genus Curcuma (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles); CRC; March 2007

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
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