Over recent decades, researchers conducted 32 clinical trials on the effect of curcumin supplements on various autoimmune diseases including osteo/rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes and ulcerative colitis. Those trials formed part of the basis for us here at Fully Human including curcumin in Freedom, so let’s see what the current state of the science is.
All studies were randomized, placebo controlled trials, the gold standard for medical evidence. The trial lengths ranged from 4-40 weeks. And they looked at a variety of clinical measures including pain, stiffness, range of motion, and disease specific markers (inflammatory markers for RA as an example).
Overall, 26 trials resulted in significant improvements with most of the remainder not being long enough to report results. None reported significant side effects, and none reported curcumin supplementation as being anything but supportive as an autoimmune therapy.
The osteoarthritis-related trials ranged from 6 to 40 weeks with doses ranging from 100–2000 mg/day tested. In 13 of the studies, dietary curcumin intake resulted in improvement of at least 2 clinical measures (pain, stiffness, range of motion…etc) and seven studies showed improvement of at least three clinical measures. The average effective daily dose was 829mg/day divided between at least two doses.
Type 2 Diabetes Results
The Type 2 diabetes trials ranged from 4 to 36 weeks with doses of curcumin ranging from 200 to 1500 mg/day. All eight studies showed curcumin supplementation possessed anti-diabetic effects with the average effective daily dosage being 570.79 mg/day divided between at least two doses.
Ulcerative Colitis Results
The duration of the three studies looking at ulcerative colitis ranged from 4 weeks to 24 weeks with doses ranging from 140 mg to 3000 mg/day. Two of the three studies showed taking between 2,000-3,000mg/day were effective in putting mild-moderate ulcerative colitis into remission.
There have been only three studies of curcumin’s effect on other rheumatic diseases, including two studies on rheumatoid arthritis and one on lupus nephritis. Of the two RA studies, one 8-week study showed an improvement in patients taking 1,000mg/day divided between at least two doses. The other study was only two weeks long, and didn’t end with any reportable outcome. The lupus study found that a dose as low as 66mg/day over 12 weeks resulted in significant improvements in systolic blood pressure and a levels of lupus markers in the blood (proteinuria and hematuria).
Promising results aside, due to the limited number of studies conducted on RA and LN, the effect of curcumin on RA and lupus should be considered possibly useful, but with clinically inconclusive evidence.
Freedom Is The Answer
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In 2018 a group of researchers from New Jersey conducted a four month clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a Boswellia serrata extract (BSE). This study was longer than any other previous clinical trial on patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. It’s key finding is that an increasing the potency of the Boswellia extract increases its biologically active components. These then act together against inflammation and arthritis. The end result, published in early 2019, was an improvement in physical and functional ability while also reducing the 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 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 also help reduce cartilage damage in arthritis. It also shows promise as a cancer treatment.
Various research studies show 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.
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 there were no adverse effects.
How much did it reduce them?
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.
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.
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 is has health benefits far beyond soothing your stomach. It is a potent anti-inflammatory root, one that has few if any downsides.
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 carminative (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 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 compress or patch progressively reduces symptoms of osteoarthritis and brings about 48% reduction in pain. Also this 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 exertsprotective effects against ulcers caused by aspirin and other painkillers.
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. A 2012 study reported that 1 gram of ginger powder does not benefit in joint pain and function in osteoarthritis. Lower doses of ginger are sufficient however to relieve the symptoms of nausea.
A 2008 review study found that the evidence regarding use of ginger in osteoarthritis is weak due to a lack of large, longer term studies. As I discussed in the ‘how to read…nutrition research edition‘ that is a critical limitation is many nutritional studies. There are a handful of ongoing studies regarding ginger. And most of the research which has emerged since 2008 uses higher doses of ginger than earlier studies, improving the clinical outcomes.
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 (greater than 2 grams) dose on an empty stomach. And may cause a slight burning sensation of digestive discomfort if you use more than 4 grams / daily.
For the next handful of posts I am going to turn to depression and stress. We’ll look at the damage those cause the body, and some supplements that are used to treat them naturally.
Until then, explore previous posts here or here. Or you can check out the first anti-inflammatory supplement that delivers clinical nutrition, at clinical doses, delivered at clinical intervals. If you need a diversion from the ordinary you can read about the pre-history of humanity’s second century in space.
If you’ve ever twisted your knee, cut your finger, or been stung by an insect, you have firsthand experience with inflammation. The familiar sensations of pain, redness, swelling, and heat that result from an injury or infection are hallmarks of the inflammatory process. Inflammation represents an essential survival mechanism that helps the body fight off hostile microbes and repair damaged tissue. Yet there is another side of inflammation that can be harmful rather than helpful to human health. There’s evidence that inflammation, promoted in part by such factors as obesity, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle, contributes to a variety of diseases.
Types of Inflammation
There are two forms of inflammation: acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation comes on rapidly, usually within minutes, but is generally short-lived. Many of the mechanisms that spring into action to destroy invading microbes switch gears to cart away dead cells and repair damaged ones. This cycle returns the affected area to a state of balance, and inflammation dissipates within a few hours or days.
Chronic inflammation often begins with the same cellular response, but morphs into a lingering state that persists for months or years when the immune system response fails to eliminate the problem. Alternatively, the inflammation may stay active even after the initial threat has been eliminated. In other cases, low-level inflammation becomes activated even when there is no apparent injury or disease. Unchecked, the immune system prompts white blood cells to attack nearby healthy tissues and organs, setting up a chronic inflammatory process that plays a central role in some of the most challenging diseases of our time, including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and even Alzheimer’s.
This is truly an epidemic, and one that we know how to treat – but often choose to ignore.
I’ll be exploring ways the naturally treat inflammation in the coming posts, but suffice to say, it isn’t as hard as one might think. Like most solutions, it is actually fairly easy to take small steps that will yield, over time, life-changing effects.
If you want a scientifically verified way to help reduce inflammation, check out my Indiegogo campaign as I try to bring a new supplement to market.