A team of researchers at the University of Brussels in Belgium has found that a new formulation of curcumin - the main active ingredient behind turmeric - can help reduce and manage the pain caused by osteoarthritis. The findings could be highly beneficial for those suffering from this chronic and debilitating condition.
The team, led by Thierry Appelboom, PhD, conducted an observational study on 820 patients who had been previously diagnosed with osteoarthritis and described issues with pain management. They analyzed the effects of curcumin extract on the pain itself, joint mobility, and subsequently, quality of life of the patients. The patients took four to six capsules per day of a new, easier-to-absorb, curcumin extract formulation over a period of six months. The patients' experiences were reported by 110 Belgian general practitioners through a standardized questionnaire.
What Came out of it?
After just six weeks of treatment, a significant majority of patients - 77% of them - reported major pain relief and improvement in their quality of life. In addition, significant gains in joint mobility were described, especially by patients experiencing hand and spine pain. Furthermore, only between 1 - 4% of them reported side effects or adverse effects, and by the time the study was completed, over half of the patients were able to discontinue concomitant analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs.
What Does This Mean?
People who suffer from chronic pain are often at odds between remaining pain-free and the risk of developing a dependence on painkillers or suffering from side effects of traditional medication. While the data still need to be confirmed with further testing, the research team seems optimistic that curcumin will soon provide a potential breakthrough for patients with chronic arthritic diseases.
- Open Rheumatology Journal, A new curcuma extract (flexofytol®) in osteoarthritis: results from a belgian real-life experience, 2014