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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee Magazine

Studies Show Turmeric Equal to NSAIDs for Inflammation

Apr 01, 2023 12:00AM ● By Matt Christiansen, DC
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease characterized by a decrease in joint space due to a loss of cartilage, boney overgrowth, joint pain, impaired movement and pain. A 2017 article posted on states that nearly 50 percent of people aged 65 years or older have reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis. A leading cause for the development of osteoarthritis is inflammation caused by stress and trauma to the joint which leads to a breakdown of the cartilage. First-line pharmacological treatments usually consist of NSAIDs and injections, but these are known to have side effects (such as gastrointestinal toxicity) and ultimately do not get to the root of the problem, which is chronic excessive inflammation.

Curcumin, which is derived from turmeric, has long been used in Eastern medicine, but has only recently been researched in Western medicine for its use as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidative supplement. According to a systematic review published in the British Medical Journal in 2021, all studies involving turmeric supplementation showed an improvement in pain and function in those with knee osteoarthritis. In the studies comparing turmeric to NSAIDs, there were no differences in outcomes and no adverse side effects in the turmeric therapy group. A 2021 study published in the Review of Current Rheumatology Reports found that turmeric supplementation had similar effects compared to NSAIDs, while significantly reducing knee pain and improving physical function.

Turmeric usually comes in a dried powder that is known for its bright yellow color, but is also sold as a dried root. Turmeric has a mildly bitter taste and can be added to smoothies, sauces or combined with any other spice or herb for added flavor. Adding turmeric to food daily is a great way to maintain a level of health protection, but may not be enough for a targeted response such as with osteoarthritis. The amount of turmeric needed to impact changes in inflammation would require excessive amounts of the powder. In supplement form, turmeric is much more bioavailable and potent, providing a stronger anti-inflammatory response. When selecting a brand, it is important to choose a company that uses high-quality, whole-food-based ingredients with third-party testing of the purity of the supplement.

Dr. Christiansen is the owner of Brookfield Chiropractic, which is located at 15010 W. Greenfield Ave., Ste. 100, Brookfield. For more information, call 262-754-5500 or visit

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