Category Archives: How does it work

Boswellia vs Knee Arthritis

Boswellia reduces inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis (OA) symptoms, but can it also reverse osteoarthritis’ progression? Lets find out.

In 2018 a group of researchers conducted a four-month clinical trial to evaluate Boswellia serrata extract (BSE) as a treatment for osteoarthritis (OA). This study was longer than any other previous clinical trial on patients with knee OA. Its key finding is that increasing the potency of the Boswellia extract increases its ability to fight inflammation and arthritis. The end result, published in early 2019, was an improvement in physical and functional ability while also reducing pain and stiffness.

The study randomized 48 patients, aged 35-75, with OA of the knee into active and placebo groups. All participants were selected because they had a history of OA, and the pain in their knees that was difficult to bear on most days.

Background on Boswellia

Boswellic acids, especially one called AKBA, are powerful anti-inflammatories. They block an enzyme called 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) that breaks down polyunsaturated fatty acids in foods into leukotrienes, inflammatory molecules that attack joints and other tissues. Boswellia may  help reduce cartilage damage in arthritis. andit also shows promise as a cancer treatment.

Various research studies show that derivatives of boswellic acids (BAs) are not all created equal, but all help reduce inflammation to one degree or another. Earlier clinical studies found boswellic acid‐containing products in combination with Curcumin C3 Complex® and ginger extract were better at reducing arthritis pain than individual supplements alone.

Results

The bottom line is that Boswellia serrata, given three times a day, significantly reduced pain and stiffness and improved the joints of those taking it. Best of all, this study found there were no adverse effects.

Pain: Patients reported a 45-50% reduction in their pain levels, as judged on a 1-10 scale. While the placebo group reported only a 5-10% reduction.

Stiffness: The stiffness metric was measured by how far the participants could walk without pain in 6 minutes. For the patients taking Boswellia, they increased their distance by over a third, while the other group reported no change.

But the most significant change is seen in the image below. The patients taking Boswellia actually saw a reduction in bone spurs, and an increase in joint space.

Freedom Is The Answer

Do you suffer from OA in your knees? Do you have a hard time walking without pain? Try our patent-pending blend of Boswellia (even more potently extracted than the one studied here). It isn’t cheap, but then again, removing bone spurs isn’t cheap either.

The Ginger Way

We’ve all had that moment where you are sure at any moment you are going to vomit…whether you were pregnant, ate that pizza left out overnight, or just had the flu. And in that moment your parent, partner or friend tells you to drink some ginger ale because it will help with the nausea. Turns out, ginger has health benefits far beyond soothing your stomach. Here at Fully Human we use ginger to boost and smooth our anti-inflammation supplement. Find out more below.

How Does It Work?

Research suggests that the compounds gingerol and zingerone are ginger’s primary active elements. The way the body processes gingerol is what makes ginger prevent gas formation in stomach, anti-flatulent and anti-microbial. The two compounds together reduce many forms of inflammation, from colitis to kidney damage to diabetes and cancer.

What Is It Used For?

A 2013 study treated participants with either diclofenac (a painkiller) or ginger or both for 12 weeks. All 3 groups showed improvement, but the combination group saw the maximum improvement. Researchers observed ginger has an additive effect on osteoarthritis treatment by safely increasing the effects of painkillers.

Topical application of ginger extract nanoparticles (not exactly sure how these are made, but they sound cool) is found to reduce pain and improve daily activities and joint function in those suffering from osteoarthritis. A similar case study revealed ginger therapy progressively reduces osteoarthritis symptoms in 24 weeks.

Topical ginger treatment in the form of a compress or patch progressively reduces symptoms of osteoarthritis and brings about 48% reduction in pain. Also, the same study concluded with participants reporting 70% health satisfaction in comparison to their original 80% dissatisfaction.

Ginger constituents like gingerol and shogaol inhibit formation of inflammatory proteins in osteoarthritis. This brings about a reduction in pain, swelling and soreness. It also reduces degradation of bone and cartilage.

Ginger helps in remedying stomach problems and can protect against formation of ulcers caused by use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Multiple animal studies reported that ginger exerts protective effects against ulcers caused by aspirin and other painkillers.

Dosing

Clinical studies show anti-inflammatory results with the consumption of between 2-3 grams of ginger root powder spread out over 2-3 doses daily (one of the reasons our supplement protocol calls for multiple doses per day). Lower doses of ginger are sufficient however to relieve the symptoms of nausea.

Side Effects

Ginger demonstrates some blood thinning effects, so if you are already on blood thinners you should use ginger with caution.

Otherwise, ginger may cause some stomach discomfort if taken in a large dose (greater than 2 grams) on an empty stomach. And may cause a slight burning sensation of digestive discomfort if you use more than 4 grams / daily.

Why Does Fully Human Use It?

On its own, ginger is a useful supplement for a limited number of conditions, but when combined with other ingredients it transforms them. For example, when ginger is combined with painkillers and other anti-inflammatory compounds it amplifies the effect of both. We combine ginger with the pain killing white willow bark, and six anti-inflammatory herbs, including turmeric and bromelain. This combination provide rapid reduction in to chronic along with long term relief from inflammation.

Try Freedom risk free today and take high-potency ingredients that actively fight chronic inflammation.

Devil’s Claw – A Hero Herb

Devil’s claw, known to nerds as Harpagophytum procumbens, owes its ominous name to its fruit, which bears several small, hook-like projections. Its roots are used in herbal medicine to reduce inflammation. Devil’s claw is proven to be most effective as an anti-inflammatory agent in doses of 200-800 mg three times per day.

The short version of the science is:

  1. Double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials have demonstrated devil’s claw treatment is effective in reducing inflammation, improving mobility and relieving pain in a variety of conditions.
  2. People taking devil’s claw have reported needing lower doses of NSAIDs (i.e. nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen or aspirin) to manage pain.
  3. For most people, the risk of side effects for devil’s claw is low. However, it may be unsuitable for people with specific health conditions and those taking certain medications.

How Does It Work?

Devil’s claw has been proposed as a potential remedy for inflammatory conditions because it contains plant compounds called iridoid glycosides, particularly harpagoside. In clinical studies, harpagoside has curbed inflammatory responses through the suppression of cytokines. In case you aren’t familiar with the fancy term ‘cytokines’, they are molecules in your body known to promote inflammation.

An early study of harpagoside extract showed it was virtually as effective as a NSAID called Vioxx. After 6 weeks, participants’ lower back pain was reduced by an average of 23% with harpagoside and 26% with the NSAID.

What Does It Treat?

Devil’s claw appears to manage pain as effectively as taking a double dose of aspirin and preliminary evidence suggests that it may be a safer alternative treatment for inflammatory conditions.

Double-blind clinical trials show possible equivalence between devil’s claw extract and conventional drugs in the treatment of arthritis of the knee and hip and low back pain. Other clinical research into harpagoside has shown promise in treating osteoarthritis elsewhere in the body, generalized pain, muscle soreness and tendinitis. Patients in clinical trials have also reported improved mobility and even headache relief. This just shows that science hasn’t yet fully captured all the benefits of devil’s claw.

What’s The Bad News? 

Overall, devil’s claw extract is well-tolerated with clinical trials showing no serious side effects and no reports of negative interactions with conventional drugs for arthritic conditions. That said, some conditions may put you at a higher risk for more serious reactions if you take any devil’s claw extract:

  • Heart disorders: Studies have indicated that devil’s claw can affect heart rate, heartbeat and blood pressure.
  • Diabetes: Devil’s claw may reduce blood sugar levels and intensify the effects of diabetes medications.
  • Gallstones: Use of devil’s claw may increase the formation of bile and make problems worse for those with gallstones.
  • Stomach ulcers: Production of acid in the stomach can increase with the use of devil’s claw, which may aggravate peptic ulcers.

Common medications may also negatively interact with devil’s claw, including prescription NSAIDs, blood thinners and stomach acid reducers.

  • NSAIDs: Devil’s claw may slow the absorption of popular NSAIDs, such as Motrin, Celebrex, Feldene and Voltaren. Because devil’s claw actually amplifies the effects of these NSAIDs, many people are able to reduce the doses of NSAIDs they take.
  • Blood thinners: Devil’s claw may enhance the effects of Coumadin (also known as warfarin), which may lead to increased bleeding and bruising.
  • Stomach acid reducers: Devil’s claw may decrease the effectiveness of stomach acid reducers, such as Pepcid, Zantac, Prilosec and Prevacid.

Blended Relief

A 60-day study of 47 patients aged 65+ found when devil’s claw is combined with turmeric and bromelain, patients reported dramatically decreased pain. Freedom combines devil’s claw with turmeric, bromelain and five other powerful anti-inflammation ingredients. Try Freedom risk free today and take high-potency ingredients that actively fight chronic inflammation.

Labels…What Are They Good For?

Are you puzzled when you look at the labels on your vitamins, or medicine for that matter and wonder why some say “Take with food”, others say “Take on empty stomach” and still others say “Don’t drink alcohol with this medication”? The answer has everything to do with solubility, or the ability of the body to absorb the material in the pill. For our purposes (vitamins and supplements), there are two groups of substances, water-soluble and fat-soluble.

SOLUBILITY?

Water-soluble vitamins, which include all of the B and C vitamins, are easily absorbed into the body. If you consume more of a water-soluble vitamin than you need, the excess will be excreted, not stored. This means the risk of an overdose is low, but you have to constantly replenish your stock. This is why it is possible to get Vitamin B12 shots from basically anywhere, because the worst that happens if you don’t need all of the nutrients is your urine turns a fun color for the rest of the day.

Fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A and D, on the other hand require bile acids to help absorb them. These are longer lasting, and don’t end up being absorbed until your small intestines. They are stored primarily in your liver and other fatty tissues, and in some cases stay in the body for weeks or longer.  There is a significantly higher risk of overdose with these vitamins in excess because a toxic level can build up over time without you realizing it. Don’t worry, a well-balanced diet will not lead to toxicity, but excessive vitamin supplementation might.

Why is this the case?

Why do some vitamins just pass through the body and others linger? Well the short answer is because that is how your body evolved to cope during the hundreds of thousands of years when humans just barely had enough nutrients to survive. The B and C vitamins feed our energy and circulatory systems. They give you a boost of speed, or help protect your heart (no vitamin C did not prevent prehistoric colds, and it won’t prevent yours). These nutrients are fairly plentiful out in the big wild world, and so our bodies are used to not needing to store them.

On the other hand, vitamins A and D are related to long term needs such as your vision and bones. They are harder to find in the wild, and as such our bodies have become very efficient at extracting these nutrients wherever they can be found, and storing them for as long as possible.

I know I know, you are waiting for me to address the last question….”Don’t drink alcohol with this medication”…the short answer is: that is nonsense. Of course you can drink while taking that medication. In fact you can literally drink while taking any medication. The problem comes the next day(s) when your body is trying to recover. Because the warning that you ignored, was just a simple way of telling you that the medicine you are taking is hard on your liver. So give your liver a break and don’t drink when your pill bottle says not to.

What About Freedom?

Our anti-arthritis supplement, Freedom is composed of water soluble herbs, but we still suggest you take each dose around a meal. We do this not because of the absorption potential of our ingredients; but because some, like cayenne can upset an empty stomach. We believe in minimizing the risk of discomfort – especially in a supplement meant to end joint pain. 

Do you want to end your joint pain? If you have arthritis, Freedom might be the answer for you. In the last two years, over 20 clinical trials the ingredients in Freedom have consistently reduced pain, and make it easier to move for people with arthritis (RA and OA). 

We’re confident you’ll love our supplements, so confident we offer a ‘Keep It’ money back guarantee. If the product doesn’t perform for you, we’re not gonna play games with you. If you don’t like it, you can keep it! Notify our team, and we’ll get you a refund right there on the spot – no return necessary.

Stop the pain

Blended Pain Relief

Devil’s claw, turmeric, and bromelain are three well studied anti-inflammatory herbs known to have mild analgesic effect, but what is their impact on chronic joint pain? A 60-day study of 47 patients aged 65+ found a blend of the three herbs dramatically decreased reported pain. Lets look at more details here.

Study Details

In 2014, a team of rheumatologists conducted a study across 8 different clinics. The patients were divided into two groups, one with chronic osteoarthritis (OA) pain, and the other with acute OA pain. The goal of the study was to test and see if a blend of devil’s claw, turmeric, and bromelain were as effective as NSAIDs. 

At the start the research team obtained each participant’s global assessment (PGA) and each rheumatologist’s global assessment (RGA), as well as each participant’s pain score, using for each of them a 100-mm visual analogue scale (VAS). These measurements were checked again after 15 days (for the acute pain group) and 60 days (for the chronic pain group). 

Study Outcome

Acute Pain

At the beginning of the study, the individuals in the actute pain group reported an average pain level of 69.1. This is on a scale of 0-100, with 100 being the worst pain of their life, and 0 being no pain at all. Two weeks letter, this same group reported an average pain level of 42.1, a reduction of nearly 40%! To put that in context, studies of naproxen or ibprofen under similar conditions had roughly the same results.

Chronic Pain

The doctors found this blend was not only effective against acute pain, it was similarly effective against chronic pain. At the beginning of the study, patients with chronic pain reported an average pain of 68. After 60 days of the blended supplement, those same patients reported an average pain level of 37.8, a reduction of 45%.

Conclusion

Researchers found that in addition to having great pain relief, the blend’s side effects was extremely mild. The most serious side effect was an upset stomach, a mild side effect compared to the long term harm of NSAIDs. The doctors conducting the study ended their report with this sentence. “Considering its excellent tolerance profile, the tested complex of 3 plant extracts with anti-inflammatory properties may be a valuable and safe alternative to NSAIDs in patients suffering from degenerative joint diseases.”

You interested in seeing similar levels of pain relief? Try Freedom, it is a blend of devil’s claw, turmeric, and bromelain along with five other science-backed, lab quality anti-arthritis herbs.

Cinnamon as an arthritis supplement

Cinnamon…The One Herb To Rule Them All

Cinnamon (known to nerds as Cinnamomum zeylanicum and Cinnamon cassia), is one of the most important spices used daily by people all over the world, and not just because of its taste. It contains a lot of manganese, iron, dietary fiber, and calcium, making it one of the healthiest spices out there.

The Boring Nerd Stuff

Cinnamon contains derivatives, such as cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, cinnamate, and numerous other components such as polyphenols. The pronunciation and spelling of these components may be hard to understand, but their results aren’t. Early studies have demonstrated antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, and/or anticancer effects from one or more of these components.
Additionally, recent clinical trials have looked at cinnamon in the forms of bark, essential oils, bark powder, and phenolic compounds, and how each of these can improve human health. These trials explored the beneficial effects of cinnamon in Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, arthritis, and arteriosclerosis. New research continues to be proposed and conducted, but evidence is mounting that cinnamon is an herb on par with turmeric in reducing inflammation.

All You Need To Know

An example of one such study published early last year found that as little as 500mg of cinnamon, taken twice a day, reduced the serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and diastolic blood pressure in women with rheumatoid arthritis. The women taking the cinnamon also reported fewer swollen or tender joints, allowing them to move more freely.
Do you want to move freely too? Try Freedom, a patent-pending blend of the top eight arthritis and inflammation fighting herbs. Freedom is a pharmaceutical grade supplement, backed by clinical research, and with a 90 day money back guarantee. Try it today!

Quality Testing

Freedom is made in a contract CGMP manufacturing facility certified under 21 CRF Part III. This facility is registered with the FDA and certified by the State of Washington for dietary supplement manufacturing.

All processing and manufacturing is done in isolated production rooms (clean-rooms) to prevent any cross contamination of ingredients and products. Before and after each production run the production rooms are cleaned and sanitized to prevent cross-contamination, however the manufacturing facility does process gluten at times. Contact us if you need to know more about this.

We designed our testing protocol using a NSF hazard analysis program. Since every raw material has a unique microbial or environmental adulteration hazard (such as radiation), each material has a predetermined testing protocol suited to its own risk level. Regardless of how low the risk level is determined to be, every raw material is tested using USP and or AHPA recommended standards.

  • We require 100% testing using USP method 1119 (Near-Infrared spectroscopy, a scientific process that uses chemometric models to identify all raw materials). Our reference standards are third-party laboratory-verified, certifying their validity. Our hand selected third-party laboratory holds the international ISO 17025 certificate.
  • We conduct regular audits of our outside laboratory partners and qualify their results eliminating “dry labbing” dangers.
  • Environmental testing for microbiological bio-burden hazards is an integral part of the testing program designed by our manufacturer. Introduction of microbial adulterants during holding or processing is monitored utilizing USP Method 1116 for continued evaluation of microbial limits in controlled areas.  This method was adopted voluntarily, from the FDA’s pharmaceutical codes. Dietary supplement regulations do not require this, but we believe it is imperative for quality.

These testing models are then used to assure that products meet all intended identity, strength, and composition specifications unique to each finished product batch. Finally, every finished batch is tested again for microbial adulteration, thus assuring that every batch meets our purity standards.

St John’s Wort…A Holy Antidepressant?

St John’s Wort, (or for the sake of my fingers SJW) is a herb which has seen medicinal use for at least centuries. Early uses revolved around pain and wound healing, and it has not been until recently that SJW has achieved almost a cult following for its antidepressant qualities. But what is SJW good for, what are its risks, and how should it be used? We will explore that here.

What is SJW?

St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), a plant that grows in the wild, has been used for centuries for mental health conditions. Many studies have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of St. John’s wort. Some studies have suggested benefit, but other studies have not.

Does it Work?

St John’s wort is a proven anti-depressant. When I say that people often think that means it will work for everyone, every time. However this is not how anti-depressant medications work. Because our ability to measure the chemical imbalances in our brains is essentially negligible, psychiatrists basically guess at what medication would be a good one to start with. A similar process is done with dosing, and often it takes months to find a dose that is effective for an individual. And that may be the best case when you don’t have to switch medication after a couple months of taking it.

While that may seem to many to be a condemnation of our current mental health system, it isn’t meant to be that at all. Instead we should all understand the limitations of the medical system we have, and be prepared for what we will get.

The Science

When researchers at the Rand Corporation, a nonprofit global policy think tank, looked at 35 studies using the herb for mild-to-moderate depression they found that, for their participants, SJW was just as effective as taking an antidepressant. Their review, published in the journal Systematic Reviews in 2016, also revealed that in studies pitting SJW against a placebo, SJW came out ahead. Even better, side effects were significantly lower for people on SJW than a medication. They had fewer stomach/intestinal or neurological problems, and lower rates of sexual concerns.

The scientific evidence is not entirely positive, as should be expected (for more info check out my post about how to read science). There were a handful of studies which were inconclusive, and another handful which showed SJW was less effective than a placebo.

While the researchers didn’t conclude why SJW wasn’t effective in those individuals, I suspect it had something to do with way SJW interacted with their brain chemistry. So if you take SJW, and it doesn’t work for you, don’t despair, that is an important data point, and one that you should share with your psychiatrist to help find you the medication that will work best.

How do you Use SJW?

St. John’s wort is most often taken in liquid or capsule form. The dried herb may also be used as a tea.

The most common dose used in studies has been 300 mg, three times a day as a standardized extract. Preparations in the U.S. have varied amounts of active ingredient in them. So be careful to note how much you’re getting in your tablets.

What are the side Effects

The most common side effects of SJW are :

  • Allergic reactions
  • Fatigue and restlessness with long-term use
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased sensitivity to the sun — especially if you are fair-skinned and taking large doses
  • Upset stomach

SJW is not recommended for pregnant women, children, the elderly. Research from the National Institute of Health has shown that St. John’s wort may reduce the effectiveness of several drugs, including birth control pills, drugs used to prevent organ transplant rejections, and some heart disease medications.

Combining St. John’s wort with certain antidepressants can lead to a potentially life-threatening increase of serotonin, a brain chemical targeted by antidepressants. Symptoms occur within minutes , and may include agitation, diarrhea, fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, hallucinations, increased body temperature, and more. If you experience these symptoms shortly after taking SJW, immediate call 911.

Conclusion

The bottom line for St John’s wort is that it works…but not for everyone

It is largely safe…but has some risks

But at the end of the day…don’t try to treat depression on your own. Depression can become severe if you don’t get effective, professional help. For some people, depression can increase the risk of suicide. Talk to your health care provider if you or someone you know may be depressed.

If you want to learn more about depression, check out my post here. Or if you just wandered in here, check out what Fully Human is all about or check out some of our anti-inflammation posts. Subscribe below to keep updated on how to bring your full self to life.

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Tea Time?

If you know anything about me you know I can be a tad hyperbolic when talking because I love telling stories. And, lets be honest…a story about how I went to the grocery store gets quite a bit better with a little drama. But when it comes to supplements, and food in general I tend to be really conservative in how I talk about them. You will rarely hear me say more than ‘it seems to work’ or ‘this was clinically studied’. But in the case of green tea – I get pretty excited.

I first started my enduring relationship with green tea during my first year in Afghanistan (2009-2010). While there I would drink about 3.5-4 liters (or about a gallon) of green tea a day. Why so much? Well at the time it didn’t seem like a lot because I was living with an Afghan Army unit, and just about everything we did either began or ended with drinking tea.

After a year of that I had lost 20 pounds, was running a sub-six minute mile, and had one of the worst haircuts of my life…no seriously….it was really awful, and faintly yellowed teeth. I initially ascribed most of this to my workout regime (the teeth thing I knew had to be so much tea), but that couldn’t really explain everything, so I figured I would do some research into green tea, since that was the main difference between my routine here, and my routine there.

What i found

I found that green tea was a sort of super drink, basically the perfect blend of stimulant, anti-‘bad stuff’, and something that tasted good (cause everyone knows green tea tastes way better than other healthy stuff like kale). It turned out that green tea helps protect the body from inflammation, cancer, mental decline, just to name a few. And in the years since 2010, even more studies have come out showing green tea’s ability to strengthen the heart, suppress appetites, and even improve joint mobility in people suffering from arthritis and other degenerative diseases.

Dosing

The dosing for different conditions green tea can help with varies, but a handful of the ones that have been clinically verified are below courtesy of Drugs.com. I’m not going to lie – a handful of these more technical terms mean nothing to me, but the bottom line I am getting from it all is that you really don’t even need very much green tea to start seeing positive results.

Anogenital warts: Topical application of sinecatechins (polyphenon E 10% or 15%) was used for up to 16 weeks in a clinical study.

Cardiovascular risks: Green tea catechins or extract (160 to 2,488 mg/day) have been used in trials, often in divided dosages (treatment duration, 2 weeks to 3 months).

Cognitive impairment: Two 430 mg capsules (each capsule containing green tea extract 360 mg and L-theanine 60 mg) administered twice daily, 30 minutes after meals, for 16 weeks (total daily green tea extract dose, 1,440 mg; total daily L-theanine dose, 240 mg).

Depression: 2 to 4 or more cups/day of green tea has been used to lower the prevalence of depressive symptoms.

Diabetes: An EGCG dosage range of 84 to 386 mg/day may be adequate to support glucose homeostasis, based on available literature.

Obesity: ECGC 400 mg twice daily for 8 weeks was used in one clinical trial; green tea extract tablets (containing 125 mg of catechins) and a daily green tea catechin beverage (containing 625 mg of catechins) have also been used in studies of overweight and obese adults.

Where to go now

I don’t know about you – but when I found out all this, I decided that I needed to make green tea a part of every day, and now have the equivalent of about six cups of green tea a day between my supplements, and actual cups of tea. If you are looking for a supplement that is an easy way to get your green tea extract, along with a bunch of other clinically verified anti-inflammatory compounds, check out my Indiegogo page. If you are looking for something else awesome to read, check out my future of space blog, where you can learn about the everyday sort of things people are going to be dealing with over the next 100 years in space.

Either way – enjoy today, and make sure you bring your full self to life!

Sourcing – Still Not Making This Shit Up

Tea flavonoids and cardiovascular disease: a review. Tijburg LB, Mattern T, Folts JD, Weisgerber UM, Katan MBCrit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1997 Dec; 37(8):771-85.

Therapeutic potential of inhibition of the NF-kappaB pathway in the treatment of inflammation and cancer. Yamamoto Y, Gaynor RBJ Clin Invest. 2001 Jan; 107(2):135-42.

NF-kappa B and Rel proteins: evolutionarily conserved mediators of immune responses. Ghosh S, May MJ, Kopp EBAnnu Rev Immunol. 1998; 16():225-60.

The importance of using scientific principles in the development of medicinal agents from plants. Talalay P, Talalay PAcad Med. 2001 Mar; 76(3):238-47.

Its Time for Indian Takeout

If you are at all like me (which lets be honest you probably are because you are 1. reading | 2. a human | 3. breathing | 4. amazingly good looking | 5. really good at being awesome), then you enjoy Indian food. I know I know, I said I was going to be posting about ways to help fight inflammation, and I will – stick with me.

Turmeric

So back to Indian food – one of the key ingredients in about 93% of all Indian food (and American mustard) is Turmeric. It is a yellow spice that comes from the Curcuma longa, root (whatever that means), and has been used in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes at least as long as people have bothered to keep track. Turmeric has also been used as a herbal remedy for almost as long.

I like to imagine the first use of turmeric for medicine went something like this:

THE ‘OFficial’ first use of turmeric for medicine

Damnit Akshat!!! How many times have I told you that running through the garden ruins food! You know I have been working hard to make sure there is enough of the Curcuma for your sister’s wedding later this year, and now you went and sprained your ankle. Here – just chew on one of these roots for a while and get out of my way. Of course it will help – mother always knows best (well it will at least help me get you out of my garden)

The next day

Akshat – I thought you said your ankle was sprained – how are you able to walk so well? And how is there not more swelling? And where did the root go that I gave you to chew on – I need that for dinner tonight.

From there this mother took what ‘cured’ her son of swelling and began selling it in the market as a cure for stupid and or injured man children. And the age of humans using turmeric to fight inflammation began

But How Does It Work

So turmeric has an active ingredient curcumin (no not the spice cumin that you are using right now in your taco recipe – although similarly tasty), and this ingredient has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Clinical studies have found curcumin, when taken multiple times a day, in doses ranging from 400mg to 600mg per dose, offers protection against certain cancers, reduces the symptoms of osteoarthritis (there is limited research suggesting it also helps rheumatoid arthritis, but more is needed), fights the inflammation causing IBS (inflammatory bowl syndrome) and help stabilize blood sugar. There is also anecdotal evidence that curcumin protects neurons from the protein buildup which causes Alzheimer’s (research into this is ongoing in mice, but initial results are positive).

Great – but does it do more harm than good?

So the short answer is no – Turmeric is extremely safe for the majority of people. If you have a family (or personal) history of liver disease then you should probable avoid turmeric just to be safe though. Also, there is insufficient research into the safety of turmeric with pregnant women, so might as well err on the side of avoiding it so long as you are toting around that spare human.

I have been taking turmeric for about six years now, and have noticed a little heartburn if I take more than the recommended dose, but that could be a vestige of years of taking pain medications weakening my stomach lining.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about another awesome extract that I am a huge fan of — Green Tea — until then – you all stay classy, and don’t forget to bring your full selves to life.

Sources – no i didn’t just make all this up 🙂

American Cancer Society – cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/HerbsVitaminsandMinerals/turmeric

Consumerlab. consumerlab.com/tnp.asp?chunkiid=21874

Natural Health, Natural Medicine: The Complete Guide to Wellness and Self-Care for Optimum Health, by Andrew Weil.

Natural Database – naturaldatabase.therapeuticresearch.com/nd/Search.aspx?cs=NONMP&s=ND&pt=100&id=662&fs=ND&searchid=37594816

If you are looking for a supplement that uses turmeric in the scientifically verified dose, with enough in a single bottle to let you take it at the clinical dose for a full month, check out my supplement Freedom over at Indiegogo.

Next time I’ll talk about green tea – or as I like to call it – the only good tea