Healthy bones Osteoporosis Rheumatic


Turmeric, the flavoring and coloring spice derived from the root of Curcuma longa, has been used for centuries as a food and a medicine in Indian and Southeast Asian cultures. It is one of the dominant ingredients in red curry sauces.The study of herbs for rheumatoid arthritis is an area of research still in its infancy.Turmeric is traditionally believed to have tonic (strengthening) and carminative (gas-relieving) properties. Curcumin, one of the primary constituents of turmeric, has been investigated as a potential anti-inflammatory agent. Curcumin has been found to be a rather potent inhibitor of inflammation in animal tests, affecting the production of both prostaglandins and leukotrienes. It is this finding that is the primary basis for the belief that turmeric may be effective in rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is a long step from animal and test tube studies to results in people. There is not really any direct evidence as yet that turmeric or curcumin are effective for rheumatoid arthritis.
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Curcumin?There has been one small double-blind study of curcumin for rheumatoid arthritis. This study was designed to compare the effectiveness of curcumin and the older NSAID drug phenylbutazone. Phenylbutazone proved to be more effective.Nonetheless, symptoms improved in the curcumin group as well. For this reason, this study is often incorrectly cited as evidence that curcumin is an effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. It actually doesn’t prove anything of the land. The benefits seen in the curcumin group could simply have been due to the power of suggestion, which can be counted on to produce some effects even with a completely worthless treatment. We really need double-blind studies that compare curcumin to placebo to know whether it is truly effective. Still, curcumin is widely used in India as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, and physicians there report that it appears to be effective.
DosageFor the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, a commonly recommended dosage of curcumin is 400 mg 3 times a day. You would need to take 8 g of ordinary turmeric a day to get that much of curcumin, but products that contain nearly pure curcumin are available.
Safety IssuesTurmeric is a common spice that has been consumed in large dosages over long periods of time by millions of people. It is on the GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) list published by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, concentrated curcumin products may present presently unrecognized risks. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has definitely not been established.*72/306/5*


If a bone scan shows you have bone loss—osteopenia or osteoporosis—you should consider drug therapy. The following recommendations assume you are using diet and exercise to protect your bones, that you’re using the right supplements, and that you have an individualized plan about using hormones if you are in perimenopause or menopause. If your periods are stopping (or have stopped), HRT is strongly recommended—with variations and “alternatives” recommended if you don’t want or can’t take standard traditional HRT. Remember, though the specific way to do it will vary from person to person or over a lifetime, the goal is always the same: to improve bone formation and slow bone loss.
If you have not reached perimenopause or menopause yet, significant bone loss most likely indicates another problem, like hyperthyroidism, or use of corticosteroids, or some other metabolic disorder. Get to the heart of that matter first, and treat what’s treatable and compensate for whatever can’t be eliminated. With that corrected, you may not need anything else. But if you’ve had enough loss, or the rate of progress is rapid enough, you may want to take one of these prescriptions just until you get back to normal density. The greater the extent of the bone loss you’ve had, the more aggressive your approach should be.
If you are menopausal or perimenopausal, and have osteopenia but an NTX under 50, so the progression of your bone loss is slow, you may want to give diet, exercise, and supplements a chance to work before you start a prescription. You may want to consider one of the gentle natural hormonal options for bone health, like natural progesterone, ipriflavone, or isoflavones, just as a few examples (which you may be able to use together with HRT).
If you are menopausal or perimenopausal, and have osteoporosis but an NTX under 50, so the progression of your bone loss is slow and your fracture risk manageable, again, you have time on your side. You have enough loss that you should seriously consider Fosamax or Miacalcin, or Evista if you are not taking HRT, or some combination thereof. You could also consider working first with just diet, exercise, supplements, and “alternatives,” including natural hormones. To build your bones that way, you’ll have to take an aggressive approach to all these things, really buckling down to the exercise, calcium foods, and tofu and using high-quality supplements religiously. Have your bones checked again in six months to a year to make sure you’re making improvements, and if you’re not, you should try a drug therapy.
If you are menopausal or perimenopausal, and have osteopenia and an NTX over 50, the progression of loss is rapid and the risk of fracture is higher, so you should carefully consider Fosamax, Miacalcin, or, if you’re not taking HRT, Evista—or some combination of those, in addition to the strategies above.
If you are menopausal or perimenopausal, and have osteoporosis and an NTX over 50, the progression of loss is rapid enough and the risk of fracture is high enough that a drug treatment is strongly recommended in combination with HRT. If you are not taking traditional HRT, then it would be important to use Evista or one of the alternative hormones.