Turmeric is a golden-yellow spice from India that gets its color from a compound called curcumin. Turmeric tastes great in tandoori chicken, and curcumin is an antioxidant that increases cellular immune substances like cytokines and modulates the body’s inflammation response.
Curcumin has been shown to fight a range of inflammation-mediated chronic degenerative diseases, from cognitive health to joint pain.
The joint pain associated with arthritis is the most commonly cited inflammation condition, because it’s so present—you play tennis, and your knees get swollen, so you ice them. One study validated curcumin as a doubles partner in sports recovery. Researchers studied 367 people with knee osteoarthritis and a WOMAC pain score higher than 5 (out of 20). The two groups received either 1,200 mg per day of ibuprofen or 1,500 mg per day of curcumin for four weeks.
They measured pain, stiffness, function and adverse effects. Both groups said they were satisfied with their treatment, but those taking the curcumin were a little less stiff, and the ibuprofen group had significantly more abdominal pain.
Terry Naturally leads the way in curcumin supplements. Its Curamin line is a top seller, and its Curamin Athletic Pain supplement contains a formula with BCM-95 curcumin, anti-inflammatory enzymes like bromelain and pancreatin, and bowsellic acids.