Osteoarthritis and Curcumin

Osteoarthritis is a chronic debilitating disease involving cartilage breakdown in specific joints of the body. The joints most commonly affected include the hips, knees, fingers, and spine. Classified as a “wear and tear” disease, osteoarthritis is most commonly triggered by joint use associated with aging; however, a predisposition can exist because of joint trauma, congenital defects, or metabolic disorders.
Osteoarthritis is highly predominant in Canada. In fact, 1 in 10 Canadians suffer from osteoarthritis. Plants which are anti-inflammatory can potentially alleviate some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Cucumin is anti-inflamatory
“Turmeric” is the common name of Curcuma longa, a tropical plant whose dark yellowish orange root pigment is a familiar ingredient in traditional Indian cooking. A part of the Zingiberaceae family and therefore a “cousin” of ginger root. Curcuma’s main active constituents is curcumin.Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory. In osteoarthritis, it is thought that inflammation occurs in the body through COX-2 synthesis, and thus the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Reasons for the breakdown of collagen
This induction of inflammation has serious consequences, possibly causing increased activity of a group of enzymes, the matrix metalloproteases, that are responsible for the breakdown of collagen. More rapid collagen breakdown means more wear-and tear injury on arthritic joints. Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory action has the ability to slow down this collagen breakdown, causing less damage. In fact, several studies have shown that curcumin may have a protective effect.

Properties of collagen
Curcumin also has strong antioxidant properties. Its Antioxidants properties are important, since people suffering from chronic disease often have depleted antioxidant levels. Additionally, curcumin’s antioxidant activity is considered to be associated with decreased cellular aging.

Inference
To summarize, curcumin can decrease inflammation, and improve antioxidant status. Curcumin, or turmeric, can prove very helpful for those suffering from osteoarthritis!