Turmeric has moved to the top of the healthy food chain. The 4,000-year-old staple of Southeast Asian cooking is showing up everywhere, including ballpark snacks and Starbucks lattes. It’s easy to understand why; turmeric’s most active component, curcumin, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that may help treat or prevent diseases ranging from arthritis to ulcerative colitis and cancer. But does adding turmeric to your latte or plate of chicken masala do these things?
Not likely, says Randy Horowitz, MD, medical director of the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine in Tucson.
“Turmeric only contains about 2 to 6 percent curcumin, so you’re not getting much [of the anti-inflammatory effect],” he says.
Ground turmeric has other strikes against it. Ezra Bejar, PhD, a San Diego-based expert in botanical research, warns that with turmeric’s increasing popularity, unscrupulous manufacturers are adding synthetic turmeric to the real thing. Some additives, like vibrantly yellow lead chromate, are toxic. In the last few years, 13 brands of turmeric have been recalled for lead contamination.
Continue reading Turmeric Probably Won’t Help Your Arthritis (But Curcumin Might)
In addition to prescription medications, supplements can help improve overall health of those with arthritis. With a wide variety of supplements available, it’s important to pay attention to what you are purchasing. Here are some tips for shopping for supplements.
Continue reading 5 Ways to Shop for Supplements
You’ve read the hype — gelatin, collagen supplements, even bone broth will ease your arthritis. But can collagen supplements or bone broth really help your arthritis?
Continue reading Are Collagen Supplements Helpful for Arthritis?
Rather than rely completely on conventional Western medications, some people with arthritis also look to herbal products – and the expertise of an herbalist — to provide natural relief for their symptoms.
Continue reading Should You See an Herbalist for Arthritis?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees supplements, so any vitamins and herbs you buy for arthritis symptoms, whether at the store, online or even at your doctor’s office must be safe – right? Not necessarily. Although every over-the-counter (OTC) drug must have been proven safe and effective before it’s released, FDA regulations only require that supplements must not be “adulterated” or “misbranded,” and asking manufacturers and distributors to follow safety requirements of the FDA and the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994.
If the FDA uncovers violations, it issues a warning or may recall the product. “But the process can take months and even years. In the meantime, potentially harmful products continue to be sold,” says Pieter Cohen, MD, an internist at Cambridge Health Alliance, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston and a leading expert on supplement safety. (FDA.gov reveals just a handful of recalls in the past year, for issues including salmonella contamination and undeclared ingredients.)
Continue reading Pick a Safer Supplement for Arthritis