Could a natural anti-inflammatory help arthritis sufferers?

As an arthritis sufferer myself, I’m always keen to look at anything that can bring relief from the intense pain and swelling that can accompany the condition.  New research offers hope from the natural remedy curcumin, derived from the spice turmeric.

What is Arthritis?

There are more than 100 different forms of arthritis and related diseases, however the one thing sufferers share is chronic joint inflammation, and the condition can affect anyone at any age.

Arthritis is disabling for many, with 600,000 UK sufferers unable to work, according to the charity Arthritis Research UK.

Traditional anti-inflammatory treatment

There is no cure, but for many sufferers, powerful anti-inflammatory drugs bring some relief, however these do not come without risk.  Research reveals that as many as 80% of gastric ulcers are caused primarily due to the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory category of drug.

Following a gastric bleed 7 years ago, anti-inflammatories are no longer an option for me.  I had a number of gastric ulcers, all of which were bleeding at the same time.  Blood transfusions, a gastroscopy and good medical care saved my life.

As I can no longer take the only treatment, as the condition ebbs and flows, my only option for a ‘bad day’ is strong pain killers.  Over the counter pain relief is about as much use as taking Haribo sweets.  Tramacet, a strong pain killing combination of Tramadol and Paracetamol, dulls the pain a little – however even this is a compromise and it is still painful.  Stronger pain relief would prevent me from working, because the smallest amount of codeine and higher doses of tramadol make me sleepy and dopey.

I’ve learned what works for me, gentle exercise, keeping to flat, stable ground where I can, avoiding the lush high heels I used to like wearing and taking plenty of rest.  I live with it as best I can, and love a moderately warm, dry summer when the foot doesn’t swell due to humidity or cold.

Exciting Research offers hope

New research reveals that a common spice could help reduce pain and inflammation.

Curcumin – an active component of the common spice turmeric – possesses numerous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that benefit people suffering from inflammation and pain.

Studies published by the Arthritis Foundation and the British Journal of Pharmacology reveal that turmeric/curcumin has anti-inflammatory benefits and also shows benefits for the immune system.

Medical News Today also reports that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory ability might reduce the aggravation that people with arthritis feel in their joints, and the Arthritis foundation now suggests taking capsules of 400 to 600 milligrams (mg) of turmeric up to three times per day for inflammation relief.

A clinical trial in 2012 found BCM-95 (Biocurcumax), a highly bioavailable curcumin provided the same amount of benefits for rheumatoid arthritis as Diclofenac, a rheumatoid arthritis drug had that was available on prescription. 3 When tested, BCM-95 curcumin had the highest impact for reducing disease symptoms, followed by BCM-95 curcumin with Diclofenac sodium, with the Diclofenac sodium-alone group third.

Exciting, too for patients like me who can no longer take traditional anti-inflammatories for a gastric bleed, early research also shows that curcumin can reduce stomach acidity – further research is needed, but for patients like me with moderate symptoms and no treatment options, this is fantastic.

With numerous studies showing multiple benefits from curcumin, Suphil Philipose the UK representative of BioTurm’s BCM-95 is pushing for more research.

“While working in the health industry, I realised that prevention of diseases will the future of mainstream medicine, and the main focus.” says Philipose. “My sole goal was to invest in significant research and to educate as many people as possible about evidence based natural solutions in its most powerful form. “

Other benefits of curcumin

Already backed with over 25 years of trusted research and clinical trials, Biocurcumax or BCM-95 as it is popularly known is the world’s most preferred turmeric extract, but Philipose is hoping curcumin has a higher purpose than being a widely known cleansing agent.  He remains is confident that more research will reveal even further potential, with possible benefits for Alzheimer’s patients and a small to moderate reduction in the symptoms of depression and anxiety.  While more research is needed, the outlook for this natural remedy is promising.

Philipose explains:

“The US food and drug administration has already approved BCM-95 for investigational Alzheimer’s research, it’s really interesting to discover that Southampton Biomedical Research Centre and the University of Oxford have confirmed that Arthritis drugs could halve the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  It’s time we did justice to natural evidence based medicine because science should not be partisan.

For the 10 million UK arthritis sufferers struggling with pain, anything that brings relief is welcome.