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Joint Health—Investigating Curcumin’s Role

Joint health is one of the top five health concerns affecting millions of people worldwide; in the U.S. alone, 52.5 million people suffer from doctor-diagnosed arthritis. With rising health costs, there is a need to manage these chronic health conditions effectively. Apart from lifestyle changes, dietary interventions, such as dietary supplements can provide support for managing chronic health conditions. In the field of joint health management, one of the most versatile phytochemicals is curcuminoids. It is among the most researched phytochemicals in the dietary supplement marketplace today. Its powerful antiinflammatory and antioxidant activity in the management of inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis is of great interest for both researchers and clinicians.

Despite its traditional use for managing joint conditions, clinical studies on the joint health management with curcuminoids have been scant in past and new evidence is emerging on the role of curcuminoids in the management of inflammation in joints. In a recent clinical study with Curcumin C3 Complex and BioPerine combination, evidence points that in case of joint conditions such as osteoarthritis, the benefits arising from curcumin should be associated with its effect on local inflammation in joints and not necessarily with systemic inflammation.

In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study conducted at Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences (Tehran, Iran), eligible patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis were randomized in two groups. The active group received total of 1,500 mg of Curcumin C3 Complex in form of tablets each containing 500 mg of curcuminoids and 5 mg of BioPerine a patented bioavailability enhancer, for a period of six weeks. Patients in both groups were allowed to use Naproxen during the study period for managing intolerable pain.

The primary efficacy was measured using WOMAC (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Index), LPFI (Lequesne’s pain functional Index) and VAS (Visual analogue scale); adverse event monitoring was also carried out during the study.

Results showed significant decrease in reduction of WOMAC scores in the group taking curcuminoids, whereas the placebo showed no change. Similarly the LPFI and VAS scores showed significant reduction in the curcuminoids group, while no significant change was observed in the above indices in the placebo group.

The patients were allowed to use naproxen during the trial period, proportion of subjects whose use of naproxen was significantly reduced in curcuminoids group, the average dosage was also found to be lower than the placebo group.

The trial showed occurrence of no serious adverse events, and none of the dropouts were due to active therapy of curcuminoids.

As part of a substudy, the inflammation markers were also studied and researchers speculate that the benefits of curcumin in osteoarthritis emanate from the reduction of inflammation in the osteo-cartilagenous tissue thus reducing locally the inflammatory biomarkers in the synovial fluid without impacting significantly the systemic biomarkers. This conclusion gives evidence of targeted areas where Curcumin C3 Complex and BioPerine can be expressly used and benefited from.


Y Panahi, AR Rahimnia, M Sharafi, G Alishiri, A Saburi, A Sahebkar. Curcuminoids treatment for knee osteoarthritis: a double blind placebo control. Phytotherapy Research 2014. DOI 10.1002/ptr.5174. 

AR Rahimnia, Y Panahi, G Alishiri, M Sharafi, A Sahebkar. Impact of supplementation with curcuminoids on systemic inflammation in patients with knee osteoarthritis: Findings from a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial. Drug Res 2014; DOI: 10.1055/s- 0034-1384536.

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