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Turmeric Seen as Potential Rheumatoid Arthritis Therapy

Animal study not only shows the compound's efficacy, but identifies its possible mechanism

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- A turmeric extract may improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis through an identifiable mechanism, according to the results of an animal study published in the November issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Janet L. Funk, M.D., of the Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson, Ariz., and colleagues studied the effects of a turmeric extract depleted of essential oils in rats with an animal model of rheumatoid arthritis.

The researchers found that the turmeric extract significantly inhibited joint inflammation and periarticular joint destruction and that the effect was dose dependent. They found that treatment prevented activation of necrosis factor-kB and the expression of necrosis factor-kB-regulated genes mediating joint inflammation and destruction. They also found that treatment inhibited inflammatory cell influx, joint levels of prostaglandin E2 and periarticular osteoclast formation.

"Before turmeric supplements can be recommended for medicinal use, clinical trials are clearly needed to verify/determine whether treatment with adequate doses of well-characterized turmeric extracts can indeed prevent/suppress disease flares in rheumatoid arthritis patients, as well as to explore any potential benefits of turmeric dietary supplements in the prevention or treatment of more common forms of arthritis in the general population," the authors conclude.

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