8 Science Backed Benefits of Turmeric for Multiple Sclerosis [UPDATED]

If you think Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a rare disease, think again. Over 2.5 million people across the world have MS.
Multiple sclerosis is a nervous system disorder. It occurs when there is a lack of synergy between the immune and nervous system of the human body.

So instead of working with one another in harmony, the immune system progressively invades the protective membranes, myelin sheath of the nerves causing damage to the brain and the spinal cord in the process.

Common symptoms of the disease include visual trouble, loss of balance and coordination and a recurring ‘pins and needles’ sensation in the limbs. These signs may begin to show in immunocompromised individuals aging from 20-40.

Most cases are mild, however, in severe incidences, basic motor abilities such as the ability to walk, speak and write are lost.

While the definite cause of the disease is yet to be established there is speculation among scientists regarding possible reasons for its occurrence. Some say it occurs as an autoimmune reaction while others feel that it may happen on infection of an unrecognized pathogen.

Along with causes of the condition, the question regarding a suitable cure for the same also remains. Although various organisations are conducting extensive research and clinical trials to aid Multiple Sclerosis treatment, so far only modes lessening its impact and decelerating its progress have been discovered.

The diagnosis of the disease is a complex process requiring a series of tests such as physical and neurological exams followed with MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

What is turmeric?

Turmeric is a spice used in Indian curries as a flavouring and colouring agent. Throughout history, it has been used in traditional medical practices as it possesses unique healing properties and some bioactive compounds that can drive away diseases.

Its use as a therapeutic agent is popularised due to its potent antioxidant and anti- inflammatory properties.

8 Proven Benefits of Turmeric in Multiple Sclerosis

Turmeric is believed to have excellent healing properties. Increasing scientific evidence is indicative of its ability to reduce the occurrence of various nerve problems along with reversing their effects.

The nutrients present in it have the ability to decelerate the rate of progression of multiple sclerosis and fix nerve damage. Some of the benefits of turmeric in the treatment of multiple sclerosis have been listed as follows:

1.Turmeric and curcumin are neuroprotective agents

A neuroprotective agent is a compound whose administration protects nerve cells from deterioration and loss of function. Several recent studies have shown the potential of turmeric extracts and curcumin obtained from it to be used as such agents concerning Multiple Sclerosis.

In 2014, Tegenge MA et al. demonstrated the ability of curcumin to defend axons of nerves i.e. nerve projections responsible for transport of electrical impulses across the body.

The mode through which this was brought about was the antioxidant activity of the compound aided with its ability to block the JNK pathway, a key mechanism involved in nerve deterioration.

Another similar study showed the application of curcuminoids extracted from turmeric in some neurodegenerative diseases. The results of this study were highly beneficial as it reordered the anti-inflammatory effects of curcuminoids and also highlighted their ability to protect from environmental toxins.

One more positive effect of turmeric in multiple sclerosis treatments is effective blockage of the enzymes, phospholipases. These enzymes are crucial to neural inflammation and damage to the brain.

Through moderation of their levels, turmeric successfully lessens the impact of neurological problems.

What does this mean?
The curcuminoids present in turmeric possess neuroprotective properties i.e. they act against nerve damage causing agents. They monitor phospholipase activity enabling them useful in multiple sclerosis therapies.

2. It has natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects

Neurological disorders are highly complex and have some mechanisms leading to nervous system degradation. As such, new medical developments are being made to target harmful pathways and molecules and eradicate them specifically.

One such therapeutic agent has been developed using the polyphenolic compound present in turmeric, curcumin.

Through an animal model study, it was demonstrated that the administration of Polymerised nanocurcumin (PNC) showed disease preventive results.

The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the compound aided in strengthening the BBB (Blood Brain Barrier) along with restabilising nerve cells, in turn returning motility to neurological disorder affected limbs and tissues.

What does this mean?
The compound curcumin present in turmeric acts synergistically against signs of inflammation. The myriad of signals involved in disease formation are blocked thereby delaying the onset of Multiple Sclerosis.

3.Curcumin is a promising nutraceutical agent for multiple sclerosis

Farinotti M through his extensive studies on dietary associations corresponding to their effects on Multiple Sclerosis has constantly stressed on one key finding, vitamins D, E, A and polyphenolic nutrients are capable of modulating disease symptoms.

This suggests that turmeric’s yellow polyphenolic compound, curcumin has potential as a nutraceutical mode of treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. The ‘disease modifying’ capabilities of the compound can be attributed to its anti-inflammatory effects which soothe the intestinal micro flora thus preventing flare ups of nerve cells.

It also suppresses inflammation promoting genetic markers like NF-κB.

These positive nutraceutical effects have been tested in animal models and are now being examined through clinical trials.

What does this mean?
The administration of curcumin suppresses inflammatory activity in the immune cells surrounding the nervous tissues. This ability to manipulate cell signals and reactions imparts Multiple Sclerosis preventive activity to the compound.

4.It has immunomodulatory property that can benefit in multiple sclerosis

Astrocytes are cells of the nervous system which get their name from being star shaped. One of the key characteristics of Multiple Sclerosis is inflammatory activity at the astrocytes which may cause an alteration in their numbers.

This phenomenon is the reason behind recurrence of symptoms of the disease.

As per a study published in International Immunopharmacology, 2014 curcumin administration may aid astrocyte status is sclerosis affected individuals. The effects of curcumin on various inflammatory pathways- enzymatic, molecular and genetic level were studied.

It was observed that the activity of proinflammatory cytokines, levels of Interleukin and enzymes like MMP-9 were significantly decreased. The population of astrocytes was also within regular numbers.

What does this mean?
Turmeric is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds that prevent and reversing events leading to harmful flare ups. Such compounds also regulate cell signals, and this activity is believed to be responsible for the compound’s therapeutic abilities.

turmeric benefits for multiple sclerosis

5.It regulates T cell mechanisms to reduce autoimmune responses in multiple sclerosis

T cells are immune cells which regulate some defence mechanisms in our body. However, it has been observed that these cells contribute significantly to the progression of autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

However, curcumin provides a suitable pharmacological relief for this condition. It blocks channels responsible for the spread of disease symptoms across the body, particularly the Kv1.3 channel and does not allow the secretion of pro inflammatory molecules and cytokines.

A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry highlighted how curcumin administration systematically modified T cell activity and decreased concentrations of the inflammation causing agents interferon (IFN) γ and interleukin (IL)-17 in an animal model of the autoimmune disease experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).

A similar study on a model of EAE showed the antioxidant potentials of the compound as it effectively lowered the expression of two types of T cells- CD4+ and CD8+ in a dosage and time dependent manner.

These findings were validated once more through Fahey AJ’s experiment determining the ability of curcumin to suppress mechanisms mediated by certain disease causing factors such as interferon IFN-alpha induced pSTAT4 molecule.

What does this mean?
Since the compound, curcumin present in turmeric is capable of binding to T cells and regulating their immunological activity, it has potential to be used as a Multiple Sclerosis preventive agent as it acts against inflammation.

6.It regulates gene expression that may benefit in multiple sclerosis

The ability of curcumin to heal multiple diseases is believed by scientists to be due to the pleiotropic effects it exerts on different body cells. This means that through targeting one pathway it in turn blocks subsequent toxic reactions taking place in other unrelated sites.

It blocks some diseases promoting genes thereby suppressing linked transcription factors, proteins, and enzymes. It has also shown potential to modulate cell activities like cell cycle arrest and cell death. This enables the compound useful in proliferative problems such as Multiple Sclerosis.

Some of the key genetic factors that can be regulated through curcumin administration:NF-KB, AP-1, Egr-1, STATs and PPAR-gamma.

What does this mean?
The use of turmeric strengthens the genetic defenses in the body and is therefore useful in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.

7.It protects cognition

Several scientific studies have emphasized on the linkage between a nutritive diet and brain health. Turmeric consumption can aid the nervous system in many ways. Due to its high antioxidant levels, it can easily eliminate harmful free radicles.

In fact, turmeric has the 4th highest ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) among all spices.

Analysis of its effects on an injured brain yielded positive results as it was seen that the radical scavenging activity of curcumin helped lessen the impact of injury on the brain and in turn returned functionality and thinking capacity to it.

What does this mean?
Turmeric’s antioxidant action helps protect brain health and preserve cognition in multiple sclerosis.

8.It attenuates fatigue

One of the common effects of a neurological disorder is the constant feeling of tiredness and fatigue. This causes body organs to slow down and lose their functionality over time.

Turmeric can reverse such effects as well making it an amazing nutrient source for Multiple Sclerosis patients.

Amit Gupta and colleagues carried out an animal model based experiment to observe how curcumin affected reactivity and sensitivity in an animal model of compromised immunity. Through their study, they were able to see a signification improvement in mobility and reaction to external stimuli.

Curcumin has also shown fatigue reducing effects in human trials with patients who had recently undergone surgery.

What does this mean?
Turmeric helps alleviate fatigue in case of compromised immunity.

Dosage of Turmeric For Multiple Sclerosis

Dietary inclusion of turmeric in the form of Turmeric milk or turmeric tea is advised.

Golden paste combines turmeric with black pepper to aid absorption by the body.

There is no specific optimal dosage. It varies from person to person based on what suits them. Starting with a low dose is advised to avoid gastric side effects.

Start with small doses such as ¼-1/2 tsp a day for a week and if no gastric side effects are seen increase gradually by ¼-1/2 tsp every week. The recommended dose is 1-2 tsp 2-3 times a day (precisely 1 tsp 3 times a day).

You can find the recipe for Golden Paste here. You can also make Golden Paste from fresh roots.

Avoid taking on an empty stomach and if taking large doses avoid taking it the same time of taking medications. (Read Does Turmeric cause acid reflux? Black pepper in GP: Does it cause drug interaction?)

Some good brands to purchase are mentioned in our recommendations of organic turmeric brands.

Treatment of multiple sclerosis may require curcumin supplements in addition to dietary turmeric. Please consult a health practitioner about the same.

Precautions

Despite the multiple benefits turmeric has to offer, it is best to seek the advice of a medical professional before beginning its use as a supplement. (Side effects of turmeric, Precautions with turmeric use, Side effects and precautions with Curcumin)

Large dosages are sometimes linked to acid reflux. Its use is not advisable on an empty stomach.

Turmeric as spice must be taken in limited quantities if suffering from gut and kidney stones. (Is turmeric safe in gout? Does turmeric cause kidney stone?)

Turmeric has antiplatelet property, and hence turmeric supplements should be avoided if suffering from bleeding risks. You may consult a doctor before taking turmeric in this case. (Read Is turmeric a blood thinner?)

Curcumin interferes with drug metabolism enzymes and hence should not be taken concomitantly with any medication.

Avoid turmeric supplements in pregnancy and lactation.

Conclusion

Turmeric and its extracts, especially curcumin have some nerve protecting properties. Their high bioactivity imparts in them the ability to regulate molecular mechanisms and drive away markers of multiple sclerosis.

Through inhibition of inflammation causing agents, they help prevent flare ups and alleviate symptoms of pain while restoring mobility to affected parts of the body.

Its ability to eliminate free radicles is also commendable and makes it an appropriate natural pharmacological agent for Multiple Sclerosis therapy.

 

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42 Comments

  1. Hi all! I’ve had MS for over 20 years. I’m constantly reading about new treatments. I have read the benefits of turmeric. My brother in law eats pickled raw ginger every day (in 2 inch long pieces). The arthritis in his hands has improved greatly. I currently take Tysabri every 6 weeks. Does anyone else out there use Tysabri and consume raw turmeric? Thx

    1. Hi. It is safe to consume raw turmeric in diet when taking any medication.
      You can take Golden Paste for MS. Start with small doses such as 1/4-1/2 tsp and if you see no side effects then increase the dose gradually to 1 tsp 2-3 times a day over a few weeks.
      Best taken with food to avoid acid reflux. Avoid taking it at the same time when you take meds, if taking large doses.
      https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-turmeric-paste-or-golden-paste
      https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-golden-paste-from-raw-fresh-turmeric

  2. Hi to all, does any of you take Turmeric with Resveratrol ? I read that the combination of these is very good, and thinking whether I should take them. I have interferon B and take amantadine pills for fatigue.
    thank you!

    1. Many studies have reported the synergistic use of curcumin and resveratrol so based on the combination is safe and has health benefits. If opting for supplements consult a health practitioner prior.

  3. I used, for my demyelination, medication since 2009. I have two months now, i stopped using medication ..and replaced them with turmeric. Every morning, first thing when I wake up, ½ teaspoon turmeric + ½ lemon (juice) +half glass water.. This is it…!!! Feel really good up to now
    And no more side effects from medication

    1. Hi Christina,

      Please can you advise if since then you are doing well without medication since i have just been diagnosed with MS and afraid to take any medicine.
      Can you tell if there is any reversal effects o demyelinasation.
      Thanks
      ROULA

  4. I too have MS and am currently taking tecfedira
    is it safe to take a tumeric supplement at the same time?

    1. The drug interaction between turmeric and tecfidera hasn’t been studied. It is best to consult a herbalist or a doctor before taking turmeric supplements. Dietary turmeric is not found to cause any side effects. You could start with small doses of Golden Paste 1/2 teaspoon daily and increase the dose gradually to 1-2 teaspoons 2-3 times a day or as it suits you.
      https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-turmeric-paste-or-golden-paste

    2. I’m a 66 year old male diagnosed with m.s. over 25 years ago the most effective drug I’ve found is Naltrexon I also consume lady finger + curcummin daily + aloe vera and oysters. Upon my return to the States 4 years ago was diagnosed with squamish cell stage 3 cancer and told by the VA I had 6 months to live that was over 2 years ago. Positive thinking and excersize

  5. I have MS and took turmeric, I stopped because it made me stink. I still eat Indian food, at least 2-3x a week, but would like to take a turmeric supplement that does not make you stink, are there any out there ?

    1. Make sure it is just Turmeric and not curry powder that contains multiple ingredients like fenugreek(aka..methi) that can cause an odor.

  6. I was suffering from severe dizziness and vertigo (I have MS). When it hit me, I was down for days and violently ill. I started taking tumeric via a supplment called CuraMed. I AM NOT promoting any individual supplement – this is just what I happened to take… Within 48 hours, the dizziness went away and I have not had an issue with dizziness or vertigo in over a year.
    The stuff is expensive ($87.00 for 120 capsules – taking 2 a day), but definitely worth it (ask anyone with MS that has to deal with vertigo).
    One less issue I have to deal with!
    Marc

    1. Try Andrew lessman Tumeric with ginger root — awesome works great and I don’t think that expensive but I get a year’s supply for about 100.00.

      1. He was a lawyer and didn’t like it so he was a Health nut and has a solar factory in Las Vegas making all types of vitamins and uses and finds top notch ingredients. I have no affiliation to him — I just started watching him on HSN about 8 years ago and learn new things every time. I’ve tried the turmeric 200mg with ginger root 200 and it has made a big difference with the burning sensation and tingling in my arms. He sells a 400 and I am going to buy these when mine are done. With 400mg of turmeric you would think he would increase ginger root to 400 but he doesn’t he decreases it to 120 — he has a ton of knowledge out there for free too. I just love his products — made a huge difference in my life with ms.

    2. I take the same supplement cuamed with then black pepper added one everyday , I also have ms and had severe vertigo ! Cut out gluten n sugar n read dr terry whals book and I take 12 supplements a day n eat kale n spring mix salads ,

    1. I have MS and the best way to remove all symptoms of inflammations,
      its to remove meat, dairy and sugar.
      I also take curcumin Novasol.
      Best.