Millions of people are taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) every day for arthritis and related inflammatory diseases, but are unaware that there are already natural alternatives that are much safer, at least as effective, that are easily accessible and inexpensive like the spices that are in the closet of your kitchen.
Turmeric health benefits research is scarce, mainly because of the lack of capital available to fund expensive clinical trials. Despite several decades of investigation as the main drug component, and the availability of thousands of preclinical studies indicating the therapeutic virtues of turmeric, we are still few to realize that this common kitchen spice can offer an appropriate alternative to medication for problems current health.
A study on the medicinal value of turmeric published in the Indonesian Journal of Internal Medicine, revealed that turmeric curcuminoid extract could reduce inflammation in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee .
The researchers compared the effect of a curcuminoid extract with the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) Diclofenac sodium in reducing cyclooxygenase-2 secretion by synovial fluid monocytes in two groups with osteoarthritis of the knee randomly distributed.
Synovial fluid is a viscous, transparent or pale yellow biological fluid that resembles the egg in synovial joint cavities, which serves to reduce friction between articular cartilage during movement. In knee arthritis, a disease that affects 1 in 2 to 85 years, the synovial fluid becomes inflammatory.
In the study, subjects received either 30mg three times daily of turmeric extract (curcuminoids) or 25 mg three times daily of diclofenac sodium for 4 weeks.
After the treatment period, the results were reported as follows:
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In summary, both curcuminoids and diclofenac sodium were able to significantly decrease the secretion of the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme with approximately the same potency.
This is not the first study to confirm that turmeric is at least as effective as an NSAID drug in reducing symptoms associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary found that it was as effective to take 2000 mg of turmeric extract as 800 mg of ibuprofen to reduce symptoms of pain and inflammation.
What is most remarkable in this study is that curcuminoids of turmeric are much safer than NSAID drugs like diclofenac which, like most pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs, have been linked to adverse effects for the such as increased cardiac mortality, miscarriages and convulsions.
One way to evaluate the relative toxicity of these two compounds is to compare the primary polyphenol in turmeric, curcumin, with diclofenac sodium through their respective MSDS, which contains detailed information on the toxicity of these substances.
Diclofenac Sodium: The LD50 for mice is 95 mg / kg, which means that it only takes 95 mg / kg of mouse to kill 50% of an exposed group.
Curcumin: The LD50 for mice is greater than 2000 mg / kg, which means that it would take more than 2000 mg / kg of mouse to kill 50% of an exposed group.
To know how toxic an LD50 of 95 mg / kg is, first calculate the amount of this chemical that would be needed in milligrams to kill a medium-sized mouse. Mice weigh between 15 and 25 grams, depending on their age, stress and diet. If we take an average of 21 grams, our mouse would weigh 0.021 kg. This means that only 1.9 mg can kill 50% of mice that have received such a dose.
On average an adult weighs 68 kg, it would only need 6462 mg, or 6.46 g to kill 50% of humans receiving this dose. Compare this to the Curcumin LD50 (2000 mg / kg), where it would take more than 136,000 mg to kill 50% of the humans who received this dose, and even that estimate is questionable because it is likely to be simply vomit or expel through the digestive tract, and other organs of elimination, before reaching lethal levels in the body. Also, remember that it takes only 90 mg a day in the study mentioned above to reduce inflammation as effectively as diclofenac sodium.
Specifically, the risk of harming you with a drug like diclofenac sodium, ironically, in an attempt to reduce the pain, compared to a kitchen spice like turmeric, is much higher. Also consider that there are more than 100 known adverse health effects associated with this chemical class of drugs, while turmeric (and curcumin) has been linked to more than 600 beneficial effects, it’s not really a difficult choice to make when doing a risk / benefit analysis.