Arthritis is commonly associated with joint stiffness and pain but there are over 150-200 types of arthritis and related conditions.
Astonishing enough, it is the leading cause of disability in America.
Not only adults or the elderly are affected by arthritis, but also children.
In fact, 1 in every 250 children in US is affected by arthritis. The four major symptoms of arthritis include pain, swelling, inflammation, and stiffness.
Arthritis limits and impairs an individual’s daily activity.
Around 31% of working adults affected with arthritis report that arthritis affects impair their work performance.
One of the major causes of arthritis is age-related changes which is why it is common in the population aged above 65 years. Conditions like osteoarthritis involve degradation of bone tissue.
Also, it can be an autoimmune condition- where the immune system attacks the body tissue in the same way as it would attack the pathogen.
Even metabolic defects can lead to the development of arthritis as in case of gout which leads to the accumulation of uric acid crystals.
Arthritis can also lead to systemic inflammation where inflammation affects other organs as in the case of lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis impairs quality of life and leads to complications associated with heart and metabolic health.
There is no cure for arthritis and treatment is directed towards reducing symptoms and preventing progression.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed to attenuate pain. Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs are prescribed to prevent progression of the disease.
Exercise and diet changes are recommended. In case of no response, surgery is recommended.
How Turmeric Benefits in Arthritis
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory agent and it holds multiple benefits in arthritis. Here is a quick list of benefits:
- It reduces inflammation.
- It improves antioxidant status.
- It has anti-arthritic property.
- It is a natural painkiller.
- It outperforms conventional anti-arthritic medications.
- It protects bone tissue.
- It is therapeutic in autoimmune conditions.
- It acts at a genetic level to attenuate arthritis symptoms.
- It prevents the progression of the disease by destroying damaged cells.
- It overcomes the side effects of conventional medicines prescribed in arthritis
If you want to know more details on turmeric benefits please refer to these articles:
Best Ways To Take Turmeric For Arthritis
Disclaimer – There is no particular prescribed dose of turmeric defined for arthritis. Based on the studies and reader’s reports we have summarized various ways of taking turmeric which could benefit in this disorder.
The dosage depends on the formulation of the turmeric supplement and severity of the health condition. Here is the recommended dose based on the form of turmeric you take:
Fresh Turmeric roots
Turmeric roots are a great addition to diet but the limited quantities we consume can’t exert a significant therapeutic effect.
Recommended intake: 1-3g or ½ inch long piece of root sliced or chopped. You can also juice it and take it with a pinch of black pepper. This can be a part of your fresh juices or taken individually as 30 ml thrice a day to curb pain.
If opting for Golden paste made from fresh roots please check the subsequent Golden Paste section for dosage.
Further Read – Is fresh turmeric better then powder?
However, if you take turmeric powder straight with black pepper then it would be 1-2 g of turmeric powder with a pinch of black pepper.
In terms of a teaspoon that would be 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder with ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper powder twice a day.
Maximum dosage: 1 capsule 3 times a day
Golden Paste combines heat, black pepper, and healthy fats to increase the absorption of turmeric.
It is highly recommended to take this paste after/with meals and to avoid taking it close to other medications. (Read Does Turmeric cause acid reflux? Black pepper in GP: Does it cause drug interaction?) Here is the recipe.
You can also make Golden Paste from fresh roots.
Start with small doses such as 1/4-1/2 tsp and if you see no side effects then increase the dose by ¼ teaspoon every week. Continue till reaching a dose of 1-2 tsp 2-3 times a day (1 tsp 3 times a day precisely).
This is the ideal dose of Golden Paste where you should experience relief. However, if you still don’t you can do two things:
- Increase the dose
- Split the dose and consume at regular intervals (1/2-1tsp every 5 hourly around 4 times a day)
The ideal dose differs with every individual; some do fine on a small dose while some may need more.
Thinking of other ways to take Golden Paste read 10 ways to take Golden Paste
Maximum dosage: 1 tablespoon 2-3 times a day only advised if you are comfortable taking it and not experiencing gastric side effects.
Some individuals swear by turmeric tincture’s pain relief action. And it also skips the taste issue. We recommend tincture in case of flare or in the initial stages and not on the long term.
Take 10-30 drops 2-3 times a day depending on the condition. It can be added to teas, juices or smoothies.
Maximum dosage: 20-30 drops 3 times a day
This is a good option for tea lovers and who want to skip the taste of turmeric paste. Here is the recipe for Turmeric Tea.
Recommended intake: 1-2 cups a day
This is just perfect when it comes to combating pain naturally. You can find the recipe for Turmeric Milk here.
Recommended intake: 1-2 cups a day
The recommended dosage for supplements is 300-400mg 2-3 times a day for standardized 95% curcumin extract.
However the dose would differ based on the formulation, hence it is best to consult a doctor before taking turmeric supplements.
Always start with low doses and increase gradually. Avoid taking them on an empty stomach and close to the time of taking other medicines. Consult a health practitioner before taking turmeric supplements.
How to apply turmeric topically for arthritis?
Yes, turmeric can be applied topically to affected joint to relieve arthritic pain. Mix an adequate amount of turmeric powder in extra virgin olive or coconut oil to form a paste. You can slightly warm the oil prior to use.
Apply this paste to affected joint and massage gently (only if the pain is not too severe.) Cover this with gauze and let it be for as long as possible say 30 mins to an hour. Cleanse with cool water.
You can do this procedure 2-3 times in a day. Effects should be visible in as much as a week or two’s time. Conduct a patch test prior.
Turmeric in the diet is absolutely safe. Turmeric supplements should be taken with care. (Read Side effects of Turmeric)
If you are taking blood thinners, turmeric supplements should be avoided. Turmeric can be included in the diet in small doses. If suffering from a bleeding disorder consult a doctor and herbalist or naturopath before taking turmeric.
Turmeric supplements should be avoided in case of pregnancy and lactation. Discontinue use of turmeric supplements 2 weeks prior to surgery.
Turmeric supplements should be avoided in case of gall bladder obstructions. (Should you take turmeric if you have gallstones?)
Turmeric may interact with certain medications like stomach acid reducing drugs, diabetes medications, blood thinners. Avoid taking turmeric supplements at the same time as medicines.
Consult a health practitioner before taking turmeric supplements.
Study 1: Turmeric Has an Edge Over Conventional Drug Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
A study published in the year 2012 in the journal ‘Phytotherapy Research’ compared curcumin treatment with Diclofenac treatment in curing Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The study comprised of 3 groups each with 15 RA patients. One group was given curcumin therapy (500mg), the second group Diclofenac sodium (50mg), a popular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used in RA. The third group received a combination of both the treatments.
Changes in the severity of disease were measured in all three groups by evaluating Disease Activity Scores (DAS) and American College of Rheumatology (ACR) scores.
After 8 weeks, the scientists found that the DAS and ACR scores were better in the Curcumin group as compared to the diclofenac group.
The inflammation of the joints significantly decreased in the former with no side effects.
The above research indicates that Curcumin might prove out to be a better anti-arthritic remedy in comparison to Diclofenac sodium.
Considering the fact that curcumin is a natural plant-based product and thus produces no significant side effects, large scale and thorough research should be carried out to test curcumin’s potential anti-arthritic activities.
Turmeric has hundreds of health benefits, start including it in your diet today.
Study 2: Turmeric extracts are as effective as ibuprofen in arthritis
Knee osteoarthritis occurs as a result of the breakdown of cartilage and bone in the knee joint. Arthritis is treated generally with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (painkillers) like ibuprofen.
This study reports that turmeric (C. Domestica) extracts are just as good as ibuprofen in treating arthritis with lesser side effects.
What happened in this study?
367 individuals suffering from knee osteoarthritis and having a pain score 5 or higher were recruited for this study.
Some received ibuprofen 1200mg/day while some received turmeric (C.domestica) extracts 1500mg/day.
The study lasted for 4 weeks and level of pain, stiffness and other related symptoms were assessed on the basis of predefined score ratings.
What were the results?
Based on the scores collected over 4 weeks, a non-inferiority test was conducted. These are generally done to show that a novel treatment is not worse than conventional treatment for a particular outcome.
Results showed that turmeric extracts were as good as ibuprofen, especially the stiffness improved in the turmeric group.
Side effects occurred in both groups but abdominal pain and discomfort were higher in the ibuprofen group.
96-97% of the individuals were satisfied with the treatment and 2/3 rd reported overall improvement.
How did this happen?
Turmeric contains bioactive compounds known as curcuminoids. Curcumin is the principal curcuminoid which has powerful anti-inflammatory property.
This combats both inflammation and pain occurring in arthritis.
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory activity is proven to be as good as or even better than both non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids.
One added advantage is that turmeric does not cause any gastrointestinal side effects like regular painkillers.
What does this mean?
Turmeric extract is as effective as ibuprofen in treating knee osteoarthritis and causes lesser gastrointestinal side effects.
Read the paper here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24672232[/su_expand]
Turmeric has been actively researched upon in arthritis with as many as 100+ publications. Turmeric has a multifaceted action in which it attenuates inflammation, pain and does not cause side effects.
The recommended doses are prescribed based on dosages used in studies and what an average person would respond too. In cases where the pain is chronic, you may need higher doses or in some cases, one may respond to ¼ tsp.
Finding the ideal dose that suits your body should involve reduction of target symptoms and improvement in disease activity and simultaneously one should not experience any side effects such as gastric side effects.
If you have a dose that has worked for you and relieved you from pain and inflammation in arthritis please share it below for the benefit of others.