Since lockdown I’ve been feeling more aches and pains. At first I thought it was the fluey onset of the dreaded coronavirus but the dull aches didn’t go away nor, thankfully, did the more severe symtoms of Covid-19 develop.
Slowly I’ve started to conclude that these are just the aches and pains of ageing, perhaps a touch of arthritis. Strangely they’ve got worse since lockdown and I’m wondering whether the move away from my more gentle regime of treadmill 5k followed by a swim and a sauna might be part of the reason. Now I’m running outdoors for longer periods plus am a lot more active in the garden and round the house.
In the last few days I’ve noticed a small but perceptible easing of those aches and pains and I’m beginning to wonder whether it might have anything to do with the turmeric capsules I’ve starting taking.
I’ve seen ads for turmeric for years and have been intrigued. Like many spices, turmeric is a natural product which has a long history of use in traditional medicine and is known for having potent anti-inflammatory and oxidant properties.
The primary active component of turmeric, and the one that gives the spice its characteristic yellow colour, is curcumin. In a well-publicised study, people with osteoarthritis who took a 1,000 mg daily dose experienced significant improvements in stiffness and physical function after eight months, whereas the control group saw no improvements.
A study in mice published in the June 2016 issue of Arthritis Research & Therapy found that 50 mg oral curcumin per kilogram body weight significantly slowed the progression of osteoarthritis and a topical curcumin treatment provided pain relief.
There’s also evidence that it can help with a range of other illnesses including:
Heart Disease – a study shows that curcumin may improve endothelial function, or the health of the thin membrane that covers the inside of the heart and blood vessels. This membrane plays a key role in regulating blood pressure. Lower endothelial function is associated with ageing and an increased risk of heart disease.
Cancer – as inflammation is linked to tumour growth, anti-inflammatory compounds such as curcumin may play a role in treating and preventing a variety of cancer types, including colorectal, pancreatic, prostate, breast and gastric cancers. In fact, research in mice suggests that curcumin may help slow the spread of tumour cells and may even prevent tumours from forming in the first place.
Alzheimer’s Disease – turmeric may even protect your brain against common degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s by increasing levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This is a protein found in the brain and spinal cord that plays a key role in keeping nerve cells healthy, as well as regulating communication between nerve cells, which is critical for learning and memory.
By the sounds of all of that, a daily dose of turmeric and I’ll be living forever!
I’m naturally sceptical about so-called wonder health products but I’ll see how it goes – and check out any side effects – but with all the potential health benefits I’m minded to give turmeric a longer trial.