This article is the 2nd of our 4 weeks article on natural plant based ingredients that are good for joint health. We talked about Indian Frankincense last week and this week, we are going to talk about a special ingredient that is often used in curry powders. That's right, it's turmeric! The natural plant based ingredient we will be focusing on today is one that has been shown to exhibit potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties for the joints¹. Turmeric is a traditional Indian spice that is commonly found in the shelves of supermarkets and may even be found in your kitchen. This traditional spice comes from Curcumin Longa.
Turmeric is made by grinding the roots of Curcumin Longa into a powder. Turmeric powder has a distinct orange color². It is commonly used as a spice for cooking and as a flavoring and coloring ingredient in curry powders. However, not many people know about the medicinal benefits turmeric offers. In reality, turmeric is not only great for cooking, but also for joint health.
Turmeric contains many natural components, but its main active compound is called “Curcumin”. Curcumin confers benefits to our joints by helping to reduce joint pain and inflammation.
Before explaining how Turmeric helps with joint health, we first need to understand why we experience pain and inflammation.
Inflammation occurs when the body is trying to fight off an irritant, such as harmful bacteria or foreign objects from external injuries. Such irritants can cause damage to our cells and tissues, triggering inflammation as a response. In the context of joints, wear and tear of the joints over time can lead to inflammation. This is so as the cartilage that is degraded due to wear and tear now acts as an foreign object and triggers inflammation in the joints.
This inflammatory response includes sending signals to the body’s immune system via multiple signaling molecules in the body, similar to the telephone game where people pass messages from one person to the other. Once the signal is sent, inflammation occurs in the affected tissues.
When our bodily tissues are inflamed, the blood vessels in these tissues become wider, allowing for more blood to flow in and reach these inflamed tissues, making the inflamed areas red and hot. This inflammation results in pain and swelling of the areas around the joints.
Pain is an abnormal sensation associated with actual or potential tissue damage. This causes our nerves to send signals to our brain. Our brain then induces pain as a way of signaling to us that something is wrong.
Inflammation in our joints also causes pain as it activates hormones in the body that irritate our nerves and send pain signals to our brain.
Joint pain can also occur due to “oxidative stress”. Oxidative stress occurs when there are too many reactive oxygen substances in the body. As these substances are reactive, they tend to react with our body’s cells and damage them, causing pain.
So how does Curcumin work? Curcumin, in Turmeric, works to reduce joint inflammation by intercepting the inflammatory responses in the body. This is similar to someone interrupting the passing of messages in the telephone game.
This intercepts the process of inflammation by inhibiting the activation of signaling molecules³. Curcumin, in Turmeric, also decreases the production of such signaling molecules⁴, hindering the inflammation process and thus reducing inflammation.
As a result, pain caused by inflammation is also decreased.
But that’s not all.
Curcumin also provides pain-relieving properties apart from being able to reduce inflammation. Clinical studies have shown that Curcumin is able to reduce the amount of reactive oxygen substances in our body⁵. By reducing the amount of reactive oxygen species, Curcumin is able to reduce the occurrence of oxidative stress, thus decreasing the level of pain resulting from oxidative stress on the joints.
You can consider incorporating Turmeric into your diet by using it as a spice in food recipes or blending it into smoothies. In fact, there are a variety of recipes on the internet that are able to give you some ideas on how to use Turmeric in a palatable way!
However, Turmeric has one crippling downside.
Though Curcumin in Turmeric possesses important analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, these properties are limited as normal Curcumin has low bioavailability.
This means that Curcumin is poorly absorbed in`to our bloodstream, preventing much of it from traveling through our blood vessels to reach the affected joints. This is because Turmeric dissolves in fat instead of water. Since our blood is mostly water⁶, turmeric cannot be effectively absorbed into our bloodstream as fat and water do not mix well.
Therefore, consuming more turmeric may not necessarily lead to significant health benefits, but that’s if you consume it the normal way.
Normal turmeric powder or turmeric extracts may have low bioavailability, but there are special formulations of Turmeric extract that exhibit greater bioavailability, one of them being CAVACURMIN®.
CAVACURMIN® is a patented formulation of Turmeric extract that increases its solubility in water using patented technology, resulting in 40 times higher bioavailability and better absorption⁷'⁸. This amplifies the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of Curcumin, making it more effective.
Besides trying out healthy recipes to incorporate turmeric into your diet, you can try out Ginflex™ - a joint supplement containing CAVACURMIN® instead of normal turmeric extract.
CAVACURMIN® in Ginflex™ works together with 3 other plant based ingredients for the quick relief of joint pain and inflammation. Ginflex™ has been used by Orthopedic specialists and medical professionals with good patient and physician feedback. Requiring only a single capsule daily after food, Ginflex™ is definitely less of a hassle to consume as compared to cooking up meals with turmeric.
While turmeric is indeed a super ingredient for joint health, there are also other natural ingredients that play a role in maintaining joint health. Check back for next week’s article where we introduce the next natural plant based ingredient which offers benefits for your joints.
Hint: The next ingredient contains a season in its name!
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Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational or educational purposes only, and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals. The disclaimer also provides that no warranties are given in relation to the medical information supplied in the article, and that no liability will accrue to Miraco Nutripharm Pte Ltd or any affiliated authors in the event that a user suffers any loss as a result of reliance upon the information.