A recent trial of 44 women with the autoimmune condition Rheumatoid Arthritis found that taking the supplement Curcumin (active form of the spice Tumeric) seems to have positive benefits on inflammatory markers and weight in the patients taking this medication compared to the women taking a placebo or ‘fake’ pill. The study was conducted for 8 weeks, and noted improvements in triglyceride (blood fat) levels, body weight, markers of inflammation in blood, and insulin resistance (present in type 2 diabetes).
The supplement dose used was 500 mg daily. Previous studies looking at Osteoarthritis of the knee have shown benefits in pain symptoms with curcumin/tumeric comparable to patients taking NSAID’s like Ibuprofen. In conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, the chronic inflammation and destruction to joints, along with the systemic inflammation that takes place can definitely lead to increased morbidity and mortality in the future. Although pharmaceutic drugs can help slow the disease process, they can be expensive, have numerous side effects including risk of certain cancers and infections by suppressing the immune system. Nutritional supplements like curcumin, vitamin d, and major lifestyle changes to decrease inflammation through diet can go a long way to help keep this disease process in check and lower the need for pharmaceutical agents. As always, consult with your personal doctor before starting or stopping any medications. As a patient and consumer, you should always look to find ways to help reverse the disease process though lifestyle changes, and be an active participant in your medical care.