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Mark Waddingham, PhD
Arthritis is a painful and debilitating condition, suffered by almost 4 million Australians, representing a burden of cost of approximately $24 million annually. Of the hundreds of different types, the most common form is osteoarthritis (OA), which together with rheumatoid arthritis and gout, represent about 95% of all cases. Osteoarthritis (OA) is caused when the natural protective surfaces of the joints become eroded, causing friction and pain, which can progressively impact upon day-to-day life. While there are a range of common OTC medications that can assist with joint mobility and pain associated with mild and intermittent forms of OA, there is an increasing awareness of the benefits that complementary medicines can have. This article highlights the benefits of the ancient spice, turmeric, and other natural companion ingredients, in improving overall joint health and enhancing mobility, for the short-term relief of mild OA or general joint discomfort.
Keywords: Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Cartilage, Movement, Anti-inflammatory, Pain, Turmeric
The joints in your body are like any other moving part you might find in your home. For example, a hinge on a door, it requires some form of lubrication to function optimally and to prevent excessive friction and that annoying squeaking each time the door opens and closes. Much like the hinge on the door, the joints where your bones meet also require lubrication and protection. This role is performed by a special tissue known cartilage. Cartilage acts to keep your joints moving freely and to provide protection for your bones . Your body continuously renews this cartilage, but conditions associated with older age and severe injury, or even genetic predisposition, or a combination of all of them, can interfere with this process. Over time, this can result in less cartilage being produced and “bone-on-bone” friction, which is causes inflammation and swelling. These promotes swelling, discomfort and difficulty of movement, which are symptomatic of earlier onset OA [2, 3], although these may vary in severity and duration depending on many factors, including age and pre-existing conditions. Chronic pain and disability is a more serious consequence, but these require more specialized medical support.
For mild to moderate forms of OA, a routine challenge is therefore the short-term management of inflammation, as well as to assist in the maintenance of cartilage remodelling. This can not only potentially assist with pain and discomfort, but can provide a viable alternative to common OTC medications such as ibuprofen, but without side-effects, such as its known cardiovascular sequelae.
What’s in Turmeric Plus Advanced?
Meriva® Curcumin from Turmeric
Curcumin is the main active ingredient that is derived from the ancient spice, turmeric (Curcuma longa). Chinese and Indian traditional medicine have for centuries recognised the benefits of turmeric for providing pain relief and accelerating wound healing. Today, curcumin from turmeric has been proven effective in a assisting with a range of conditions, such as involving the heart, lung, liver, brain and muscle, as well as in osteoarthritis . Curcumin is thought to potentiate its effects by reducing inflammation and preventing the oxidative damage caused by free-radicals . Despite all these benefits, it is very difficult for your body to absorb curcumin in its natural form (scientifically speaking, this is termed bioavailability). To tackle this problem, Indena® have used a proprietary encapsulation technology named Phytosome®, to develop Meriva® curcumin, enabling it to be 20-30 times more efficiently absorbed by the body than natural curcumin . Clinical trials have reported that patients administered Meriva® curcumin exhibit less joint pain and enhanced physical performance, as evidenced by walking almost 4 times longer distances without pain by comparison to those patients not receiving Meriva® . Furthermore, Meriva® issued in combination with standard exercise routines used for osteoarthritis management is measurably more beneficial than exercise alone .
Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is native to the Kalahari Desert and has been used in African traditional medicine to ease digestive disturbances and for pain relief. A growing amount of scientific research now suggests that Devil’s Claw contains several active ingredients that are not only anti-inflammatory  but assist in inhibiting the complex processes of cartilage degeneration . Several clinical studies have reported that Devil’s Claw extracts given to participants with knee or hip osteoarthritis resulted in improved mobility, reduced pain, stiffness and swelling, and increased self-reported quality of life indices after several weeks of consumption [11, 12].
The solidified oleoresin gum that is extracted from the Boswellia serrata tree is referred as frankincense. Frankincense has been historically used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for its anti-arthritic properties, as well as many other conditions , so it is no surprise that its clinical value has been intensely investigated. Recent reviews of this clinical evidence have concluded that Boswellia serrata is moderately effective in managing pain and improving physical function in participants with osteoarthritis, although further research to confirm these promising findings is ongoing . Exactly how Boswellia serrata is effective in osteoarthritis is not fully understood, although research suggests that specific active components of the oleoresin can prevent the signalling of key inflammatory pathways that are central in the manifestation of osteoarthritis [15, 16].
Celery Seed & Ginger Root
Both celery seeds and ginger root have a long-standing use in Chinese, Indian and European traditional medicine [17, 18]. Ginger root most notably has a wide spectrum of applications and arguably, it’s most common use is to manage motion sickness. Compounds found in ginger root and celery seed extracts have demonstrated anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties in the laboratory research [19, 20]. These properties have translated to both celery seed and ginger root extracts showing promising results in reducing symptoms (joint swelling and inflammation) and pain, as well as improving mobility, in patients with gout and osteoarthritis . Ginger root has also been reported to be better tolerated with less side-effects than conventional osteoarthritis medication .
The specially selected ingredients used to formulate Turmeric Plus Advanced are complimentary to its main anti-inflammatory roles, based on traditional medicine principles and backed by modern scientific evidence. The combination can assist in reducing inflammation to enable you to improve your overall quality of life.
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