Arthritis is the major cause of disability and chronic pain in Australia.
A report released by Arthritis Australia found 3.85 million Australians are affected by arthritis at a cost to our economy of more than $23.9 billion each year in medical care and indirect costs.
Osteoarthritis (OA) affects one in 11 Australians or more than 2.1 million people and costs the economy more than $2.03 billion annually.
There is a widely held belief that arthritis is simply a consequence of age, the pain of growing old.
But it is not a natural part of ageing. Incredibly, 2.4 million of Australians suffering from the disease are of working age.
And it’s not yet curable. While the condition is usually manageable, it invariably impacts quality of life and includes varying degrees of discomfort and pain.
New natural therapy
A new triple therapy of bioavailable curcumin and baical skullcap and acacia catechu may hold promise for arthritis suffers, according to several research studies.
Clinical trials have shown that a unique blend of the bioavailable curcumin (Meriva®) with Univestin™ (a blend of acacia catechu and baical skullcap) may help to promote joint mobility and may relieve mild osteoarthritis symptoms.
An Italian study, published in the Journal of Pain Research, found Meriva®, a proprietary lecithin formulation of curcumin, has “clear analgesic activity”, comparable with that of a standard dose of acetaminophen (best known as paracetamol).
This research was further reinforced in a 2017 review where researchers found curcumin was an effective and safe therapy for decreasing pain severity in patients with osteoarthritis.
A 2016 meta-analysis study also confirmed curcumin improved joint function measured by morning stiffness, movements, and other clinical assessments in comparison with the placebo group.
Largely grown in India and related to the ginger family, curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, a common ingredient in curries and mustard.
It was traditionally used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat digestive and liver problems, skin diseases and wounds.
Turmeric contains bioactive compounds called curcuminoids – the most important being curcumin.
Teneille Newton, CEO & Founder at The Naturopath's Kitchen, is one of growing list of true believers in the power of curcumin in the fight against arthritis.
But absorption of the yellow powder is the key, she explains.
The curcumin content of turmeric is not high and is poorly absorbed in the human body.
“It is best if it is combined with a full fat cream or milk and black pepper,” says Teneille. This helps to protect the curcumin and helps to enhance the absorption.”
A clinician with more than 20 years’ experience in the natural medicine industry, Teneille says the new Meriva® lecithin formulation is more easily absorbed in the gut for improved effectiveness.
“Meriva is up to 29 times better absorbed than non-complex curcumin.”
Available in tablet form, Meriva works in a similar way to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs by helping to inhibit inflammatory fat production.
“Research around Meriva shows it can reduce joint pain and improve mobility – it has also been shown to improve bone health and muscle strength.”
And curcumin has not only proven to be effective in treating arthritis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis.
Seek professional help
It is also being used to successfully treat other chronic inflammatory diseases including lupus, asthma and Crohn’s disease.
But patients should first consult a healthcare practitioner before changing their current medication procedure, says Teneille.
“Meriva can be taken in conjunction with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – it must be assessed on a case by case basis,” she says.
“By suddenly stopping your current medication you may have a ‘rebound’ inflammation.
“But (with Meriva) you can slowly cut down the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and avoid any rebound effect.”
Meriva can also be used in conjunction with glucosamine and chondroitin to help relieve joint pain.
“It not only targets inflammation, but provides anti-oxidants as well.”
The new Meriva formulation is available from Eagle Natural Health, which is part of the Integria Healthcare group.
Orders should be made through a qualified healthcare practitioner. Eagle Natural Health provides a directory where you can find a suitable practitioner in your area.
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