If you’re like me, the hustle and bustle of everyday life can be taxing on the body, especially our joints. Painful and sometimes chronic inflammation can be the bane of our existence and can even make it difficult to get of bed in the morning. Personally, having previously worked at a restaurant (and abusing my hands by carrying multiple large dishes), I came dangerously close to becoming arthritic – or at least feeling like it – at only 20 years old.
I remember clear as day waking up in the morning unable to bend or barely even move my index and middle fingers because it was too painful. The pain would lessen during the day, but it would still be there. Night after night I would take two Ibuprofen before bed only to wake up with the same severe pain. So, while my hands weren’t getting any better, I was also potentially doing damage to my stomach by taking an NSAID incessantly. My entire lifestyle was changing because of it. I started to notice myself going to the gym far less because of the pain in my fingers and I would loathe going to bed knowing that the next morning I would be debilitated.
So, my search for relief began. After some substantial web surfing and forum browsing, I came across turmeric, a botanical native to India and Indonesia. Historically, this plant has been used as a condiment, textile dye, and a healing remedy in Eastern cultures. The part of turmeric that gives it its medicinal properties is its potent and volatile oil, curcumin, which gives effects similar to those obtained by using hydrocortisone (a steroid) , phenylbutazone (an NSAID), or Motrin (another NSAID).
The part that got me, however, was that turmeric/curcumin does not cause any toxicity or ulcers, and can be taken in large doses without complications, to an extent. While one CAN take flippantly large doses of turmeric/curcumin, benefits may be noticed in much smaller doses.
So I said, “Why not?”
Now although you can get turmeric at your local health food or grocery store as a table spice, the potent oil of turmeric, curcumin can be purchased by itself, often in capsule form. Personally, I went for the capsule form as it was much easier to know the amount I was getting (2 grams, which was recommended in my research).
During the first few days of supplementation I didn’t notice much, if any, difference in my pain levels. This was to be expected because it takes a bit of bodily absorption before any notable effects are experienced. But man oh MAN were the effects worth the wait!
It was like night and day. I went from hardly being able to bend my fingers and tentatively handling things to having a full range of motion, and I attribute that to nothing more than the turmeric/curcumin.
In fact, anti-inflammatory isn’t the only role turmeric can play. Turmeric/curcumin can also be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome. In a past medical study, mice were given a colitis inducing substance five days after receiving a dose of curcumin and it was found that those mice were protected from the inflammatory symptoms of the colitis.
In tandem with the anti-inflammatory benefits, turmeric/curcumin has antioxidant properties that can neutralize free radicals (cells which travel the body causing cellular damage) and can provide significant relief to those suffering from arthritis and other joint pain.
Furthermore, cystic fibrosis may even be managed with the supplementation of turmeric/curcumin due to its inhibition of the release of calcium. Cystic fibrosis is caused by a protein mutation that leads to a buildup of excess chloride. By inhibiting calcium release, those same channels are left open for the mutated proteins to leave the cell.
In addition, turmeric/curcumin has been noted and further studied for its potential benefits to those suffering from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. If you look at epidemiological studies from India and Indonesia (where turmeric is native and a staple in the diet) , the elderly population have very low levels of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Recent experimental research has presented that turmeric/curcumin appears to slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases in mice.
Lastly, turmeric/curcumin may provide cardiovascular benefits with its antioxidant properties by preventing cholesterol from oxidizing (what damages blood vessels and plaque build up). As a result, the progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease may be slowed.
But I was just looking for a pain reliever! Who knew that I would come across such a well rounded superfood. The immediate and preventative benefits that are offered by turmeric are impossible to ignore.
Personally, I have been able to ween off taking a standalone turmeric supplement daily at this point. Now, I only get it from Nature’s Dynamics Body Boost Joint Relief Gummy. With other ingredients like glucosamine sulfate 2KCL, rosemary, ginger, flaxseed, and omega-3 powder, those gummies are more than enough to keep my hands and joints happy!