Tag Archives: Anti-inflammation

A Spicy Solution

Do you like spicy foods? I don’t. But science says cayenne pepper is good for something other than making me cry. There is nearly 20 years of clinical research which fairly conclusively shows cayenne pepper aids the body in fighting inflammation. And seeing all that evidence changed my mind. Maybe it will change yours too.

How Does It Work?

So the simple answer is cayenne pepper also contains a wide range antioxidants that work at a cellular level and actually disarm free radicals that can lead to cellular inflammation.

The more technical answer is that cayenne contains a substance known as capsaicin that gives the spice its “heat” and creates a burning sensation on any tissue it touches. Capsaicin triggers a biochemical reaction that is both analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory. I should note here that rubbing raw peppers on your skin is not the preferred method of use though.

Capsaicin is classified as a neurotoxin. This sounds scary, but it is the dose that makes the poison. Which is why botulinum toxin – also known as botox – is both lethal, and really useful for keeping me looking young . Capsaicin works by reducing the concentration of substance P, a compound produced by the body which delivers pain signals to the brain. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of this substance before – I hadn’t either – and to be honest it sounds fake.

What is it good for?

I know cayenne pepper is most commonly as it is used in my dad’s tacos. But other than for cooking, there is evidence capsaicin helps with the following conditions:

Back Pain: A 2006 review of studies published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews concluded that there was “moderate evidence” that cayenne-based topical therapies were more effective than placebo in relieving low back pain.

Neuropathic Pain: Capcaisin has long been explored as a means of treating neuropathic pain given the lack of effective pharmaceutical remedies. A 2009 study published in Therapeutic Drug Monitoring concluded that a high-dose capsaicin patch used for 60 minutes on 173 people with HIV drug-induced peripheral neuropathy resulted in a twofold decrease in pain compared to those using a placebo.

Heart Health: A 2015 review of studies published in BMJ Open Heart suggested that the biochemical reaction triggered by capsaicin may have practical applications in treating an array of metabolic and cardiovascular disorders. The evidence mainly involved research into the use of dietary cayenne in rats, pigs, and other mammals.

Joint Pain: A recent study published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia concluded that topical capsaicin cream provided modest relief of chronic muscle and joint pain. The study specifically looked at capsaicin cream applied three to five times daily for 2 to 6 weeks. This and other studies have highlighted topical and oral capsaicin’s benefit in providing pain relief for various types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis.

Other Potential Benefits: There are limited studies indicating that a diet rich in cayenne may be beneficial  for other conditions. But there isn’t enough evidence yet to confirm that it can prevent or treat atherosclerosis, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver, hypertension, and stroke.

What it doesn’t help with

Weight Loss: The evidence supporting the use of cayenne tablets in boosting metabolism and losing weight is generally weak. A lot of nutritional supplement companies say cayenne has thermogenic properties that can speed up your metabolism. And a cayenne tablet can certainly induce sweat, but there is no evidence that this leads to weight loss.

Side Effects

As with anything you take cayenne has side effects. You should consider whether the benefits of taking this (or any other supplement) outweigh the risks.

Most common side effects for topical capsaicin creams are fairly mild, and include irritation, burning, and itching. Some stronger versions of topical patches and creams may cause localized swelling, rash, pain, and even blisters. When taken as a tablet, cayenne rarely causes nausea, sweating, flushing, diarrhea, and runny nose.

Conclusion

Want to see if cayenne works for you? Try Freedom today to see what high quality, powerful cayenne can do when blended with other anti-inflammatory herbs. 

Citations (other than what I linked to)

Khanna RD, Karki K, Pande D, Negi R, Khanna RS (2014) Inflammation, Free Radical Damage, Oxidative Stress and Cancer. Microinflammation 1:109. doi: 10.4172/2381-8727.1000109

 

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!

Curcumin vs Autoimmune Diseases

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.

Osteoarthritis Results

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.

Other Results

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

Do you suffer from one of these conditions? Try our patent-pending blend of turmeric curcumin (even more potently extracted than the ones referenced in these studies).

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Can Boswellia Manage Knee Arthritis?

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.

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 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.

Cost of Freedom

Yea, I just did that. It is corny, sorry. But the single most frequent question I have had over the past week has been “why does your supplement cost so much?” Not an unreasonable question for a product that is nearly $100 for a month’s supply. So without further ado, here is why Freedom isn’t free.

Typical supplement pricing is dependent on three factors: ingredients, quantity, and packaging. This list is largely in order of how much of an impact they have on price. Freedom’s price is mainly a result of the first one. I declined to pay $7-8/bottle for the packaging I wanted, and realistically if I had cheap ingredients, the cost per pill would be less.

Freedom is a combination nine different ingredients, which even without going into any more detail, would suggest it has to be more expensive than any single one of those ingredients.

In this case the combination isn’t actually what is driving up the price, I could have made Freedom cheaper. This spring I spent a lot of time talking with manufacturers, and received quotes that varied dramatically. Two in particular were almost eight times more than the others. Those two quotes were so far outside the other ones that I called those manufacturers and asked them why they were so much. Both of them had the same answer “we are quoting you the strongest potency, highest absorption rate ingredients.”

That floored me. I thought, generally speaking, cinnamon is cinnamon and pepper is pepper. The more I researched, the more I realized, the knock off version of ingredients is the easy way out. It is the route that all too many companies take in their quest to get a piece of the multi-billion dollar supplement market.

I founded Fully Human to be the better way of doing supplements. Fully Human isn’t going to beat Costco on price or quantity. It is the best brand you can buy. It will replace dozens of pills with two that give you the right amount at the right time, and deliver the right results.

That’s why after realizing the option was cheap ingredients or there really wasn’t a choice for me. If I was going to invent a new supplement formulation based on clinical research; I needed to use the ingredients that were as close to clinical quality as possible.

There are plenty of people who will keep telling me that Freedom is too expensive for them,and that is fine. I will not compromise quality to turn a profit. I will guarantee you that Freedom will be the best anti-inflammation supplement you have ever taken. If it doesn’t work – email me – I’ll refund you 200% of what you paid.

What do you have to lose?

The Little Things

Shipping Boxes. You never really think about them until you get a bad one. Then it is the only thing you can think of. For the past six months all I have been focused on is the development and manufacture of Freedom, and I never really thought about what happens when someone actually buys a bottle.

Ok that isn’t entirely true. I had nightmares that no one would buy it. And I had fantasies about it becoming the next fad for the likes of Tom Brady and Oprah. But the little thing about what I do with this super cool bottle of an invention I researched and labored on…what about that?

I mean I spent a lot of time working with graphic designers on the bottle. Figuring out the colors, shape, lid color, the metallic background. All these little things that normally I wouldn’t really pay attention to. All of that made me think I had everything figured out.

Turns out I didn’t.

I shipped the first bottles of Freedom yesterday night. In USPS Priority Envelopes. I thought it was a nice touch for me to pay extra to have the bottles shipped faster. But as I looked at the packaged bottles I realized…they looked shitty. Not like I had done a sloppy tape job, but like the way a present wrapped by a five year old looks.

Those of you who had enough faith to be the first to order are the ones who are getting the worst packaging. Yea, sorry about that. I really thought I had it together, but I had forgotten something I learned in during my time with special operations: The difference between good and great is measured in how well you do the basics. It isn’t about being amazing at one thing. It is doing the simple, little things well, over and over again.

I now have boxes perfectly sized for my bottles ordered and on their way. And I was thinking about getting rid of this pile of USPS Priority envelopes I brought home. But maybe I’ll keep them around, just to remind me that doing the little things well every time is what success is made of.

I’ll get back to work here, but while I’m busy re-learning life lessons, hopefully you remember to bring your full selves to life every day. If you are looking for a solution to your inflammation, check out Freedom, the first supplement to combine the eight most effective anti-inflammation compounds to give you a chance to fight inflammation naturally.

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 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.

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. 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.

Limitations

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.

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 (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.

Next Time

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.

How to read….nutritional research edition

About twice a week my news-feed has some story about a new research study that completely invalidates the old line. “Saturated fat isn’t so bad…go ahead and have that bacon”, “Sunscreen the cause of cancer?”….etc. The seeming variation in what is touted as ‘scientific research’ is enough to make anyone question whether science is all it is cracked up to be. Don’t worry – science isn’t the problem – 75-90% of the time it is the way the study is being represented…I’ll explain

Tim’s super handy guide to Nutritional science readinG

Step 1: Take a deep breath

There is about a million different people all writing about nutritional science, and all of them are going to see it a tad differently. So take a deep breath and remember you are looking at the research in order to inform your decisions. You aren’t looking to science to validate yourself

Step 2: Steel yourself for sensational headlines

Those million people are going to need something to set themselves apart from their peers, and there are two ways to do that. The first is clickbait. I’m a straight white man, so if you hear anyone who fits that description tell you they don’t click links that have photos of women, then they are lying. I’m told women do similar things, but I can’t verify that.

Anyway the second way is a sensational headline. What better way to get people young and old to click your link than to say this is the ‘first’, ‘best’, ‘worst’, ‘most significant change’…etc? We are socially conditioned to respond to words like that, so no shame in clicking on the link to find out more, but just remember….the only reason the headline is there is to get your attention.

Step 3: Remember how nutritional research is conducted (The Cool Version)

The bottom line is that nutritional research is extremely poorly funded. This means researchers have to make the hard decision of compromising on the length or the size of the study. Compromising on length is almost always significantly harder to correct later, because you want your test subjects in a controlled setting the whole time you are studying them. So coming back later and trying to restart the study doesn’t work.

Compromising on the size of the study is much easier to correct through future studies. The hallmark of any study involving humans is a selection of a representative sample of the population. This is done through random sampling. If you are a researcher who has the money to do a study of 15 people, but need at least 120 to be a true representative sample, then you just find your 120 random test subjects, and just study them 15 at a time.

This creates a situation where one of the eight notional studies would contradict the results of one or two of the others. But once the full analysis, also called ‘meta-analysis’, is done of all the studies grouped together, the researchers (and you) are able to see the full conclusions.

Step 3a: How Nutritional Research Is Conducted (The more technical Version)

The gold standard for evaluating cause and effect (for example, if saturated fat causes heart disease) is the randomized control trial (RCT), where participants are divided by chance into separate groups that undergo different regimens. But it’s not always possible to do RCTs because they’re expensive and it’s hard for people to follow strict diet regimes long-term.

Instead, researchers often rely on correlational studies, which don’t show cause and effect, but tell us if two things are related in some way. One big problem in this research is controlling for variables outside of what’s being studied. With saturated fat for example, researchers try to control for other factors like income or exercise, but can never account for all variables.

Correlational studies leave more room for interpretation than RCTs — and when human nature comes into play, it can seem like advice is flip-flopping. Personal bias, funding sources or the pressure to succeed can unintentionally creep into a researcher’s work and influence the results.

Step 4: Apply what you read

The next time you see a headline about a new study that seems to contradict nutritional norms, remember that these are the studies that grab media attention. The vast majority of nutritional research never makes it beyond medical journals. Scrutinize the story carefully. Consider whether it’s an RCT or a correlation study, and whether it’s a single trial or a meta-analysis.

Finally, disregard “experts” who claim they are 100 percent certain of the science on an issue. You shouldn’t mind if an expert is uncertain. As long as they can say, we don’t have the perfectly definitive study, but the available evidence points towards… We all need to remember, science is a process, not an outcome.

Next time

My next post will get back to talking about anti-inflammation supplements (some old posts are here). In the meantime, if you are looking for a supplement whose ingredients are all backed by RCTs, check out my Indiegogo page. Or if you are looking for what you or your kids’ lives will be like when humanity makes its jump into space check out my other blog.

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