curcumin pills, anticancer supplements, turmeric supplements, avoid Alzheimer disease

Who would guess that the yellow spice in curry would become controversial? For centuries, people have been using turmeric to add color and flavor to their food, and in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, it has also been part of the pharmacopeia. Americans have also embraced it, and many people take capsules containing turmeric or its principal ingredient curcumin as part of their strategy for helping joint pain. Recently, however, medicinal chemists wrote that curcumin is not promising as a drug and people shouldn’t waste their time and money taking curcumin pills. Not all readers agree. We heard from some of them, including this person.

The Value of Curcumin Pills:

Q. I started using curcumin (as Curamed) in January 2017. I had severe knee pain and swelling from arthritis. My knee popped and crackled, and I limped.

I had read on the Arthritis Foundation website that this product works better than prescription drugs, so I tried it. The swelling went down the very first day. By day two, the pain was gone. I kept up a daily pill for two months.

Then I went on a long trip, driving 11 hours a day, and forgot my pills. By the end of three days, the swelling and pain had returned. When I got home I resumed the daily dose. In two days I was better.

In January of this year (2018), I dropped to a pill every other day. Now I take two curcumin pills a week and I am pain free. I have told several people at the gym where I work out and they have similar results. Curcumin in Curamed works, period.

The Controversy Over Curcumin Pills:

A. There is a lot of controversy about the effectiveness of curcumin, one of the active ingredients in the spice turmeric. Medicinal chemists have questioned its effectiveness (Nelson et al, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Jan. 11, 2017).

Nonetheless, researchers have published studies on benefits as wide-ranging as cognitive function, depression and anxiety and diabetes prevention. There have also been studies exploring its potential against cancers, particularly cancers of the digestive tract.

In addition, there is quite a lot of research demonstrating its anti-inflammatory activity (Deguchi, Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Disorders Drug Targets, 2015Sundar Dhilip Kumar et al, Molecules, April 5, 2018). Many readers have found, as you do, that taking high-quality curcumin pills eases joint pain. We suggest using a supplement containing BCM-95, a form of curcumin that is standardized for better absorption. Check the label to see if that is what your supplement contains.

Side Effects of Curcumin:

There are relatively few side effects, though some people report digestive upset or allergic skin reactions. Anyone taking an anticoagulant should avoid curcumin as it may increase the risk of bleeding.

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  1. mike

    If someone wants a cheaper alternative to the standardized turmeric extract, I have found taking turmeric powder, black pepper and celery seed helpful for my knee pain.

  2. Paul C
    Garland, Tx.

    After reading about the possible benefits of curcumin in The Peoples Pharmacy newsletters, I tried Spring Valley brand Turmeric Curcumin pills,found at Walmart.

    I had tendonitis in my left shoulder for over two years, starting in my late 50s, and doctors had told me it was just something I would have to live with. It gave me terrible stabbing pains when I would reach out for something, especially backwards, that would last up to a minute, before abating. After taking the curcumin pills for a few weeks my shoulder pain virtually stopped. I now take only 3 pills a week, and I can reach back and put my jacket on, or reach my billfold with no pain! It was such an amazing result, it feels like almost a miracle! I also had sciatic nerve pain along my waist and leg that has lessened greatly.

  3. Cindy Black
    Seattle, WA

    “CONTROVERSY?” I never thought I’d ever hear that word associated with Circumin (Turmeric). This is because I’ve heard or read about 10,000 various references to Circumin — every one of them glowing — and not one single bit of negative until now. Circumin has been touted, by literally everyone, as “THE” wonder drug, good for just about everything. If I should happen to find out that was all wrong, I will never again read another word about how to preserve my health and longevity.

  4. Col

    I have found the Terry’s Naturally products with Curamin very helpful. They are pricey, but I have not been to the chiropractor in months, and movement in all areas has become more fluid and discomfort free.

  5. Beverly
    San Antonio

    My knees were fine as long as I remained vertical, but when I lay down, they ached to the point that I could not sleep. I started taking tumeric with black pepper extract several years ago and i am completely pain free; horizontal or vertical. I take two capsules every morning and two again at night. It may be a placebo but it is a cheap fix for my complaint and I dare not stop the regimen.

  6. TERRY


  7. Leigh
    Lansing, KS

    I tried turmeric capsules to hopefully help my arthritis for a couple months and had no improvement whatsoever, but I do not know if it contained BCM-95 or not. I later read that black pepper enhanced its effectiveness. It still wasn’t helpful.

  8. Richard

    I have been using “gaia Turmeric Supreme for 3 years now, I am 73 with Relapsing MS plus rotator cuff and broken hip from a cycling accident @ age 69. I have had MS since 1986 but wasn’t diagnosed till 2015. By this time my ability to walk and my balance were severely impaired and still are. It was a kidney stone in 2014 that triggered my MS into advanced Relapsing MS. The pain that came with all this can’t be expressed, I can only say I am glad I avoided the opioid trap by using turmeri, ginger and other natural deflamatory substances. I am totally convinced this works as all pain comes from inflammation and when you reduce inflammation you reduce pain. All I use for pain are listed here. I have quite a collection pain meds I have never used and never will use. I avoided opioid addiction, Thank You Mother Nature.I am not going to say “I believe these things may work” I will say “I Know These Things Do Work” as I am living with it on a daily basis.

  9. Jackie
    Frisco, texas

    I have an arthritic knee and in the knuckles of my right hand. I started taking Tumeric capsules after reading about its ability to reduce inflammation. I started taking 3 capsules a day and now only have to take 1 per day. It relieved my knee and hand pain almost immediately. I was so happy to find a substitute for the NSAIDs I had been taking as I know they’re very bad for the kidneys, etc. I’ve been taking the capsules for a couple of years now and they’ve not lost any effectiveness. Mine (Nature Made) contain standardized extract. Have recommended to friends and it has worked for them also. Worth a try…

  10. Need advice

    What is your opinion of the Monovisc shot for knee pain?

  11. Someone

    Curcumin is for ridding your body of inflammation which is the basis of all diseases and pain. I’ve heard in one instance where it actually reversed leukemia to their doctors total amazement. The doctor said they were supposed to be getting worse not better.

  12. Gerald
    Armadale. Western Australia

    Instead of avoiding Curcumin, avoid the anticoagulant, then there is no increased risk of bleeding nor the side effects of the anticoagulant drug. If your Dr. disagrees change Doctors to one that does Functional or Integrative Medicine.

    Kind Regards.
    Dr. Gerald Veurink

  13. Berta
    Houston, Texas

    How many mg. of Curamed should one take. (It is quite expensive.) Would 200 mg. a day be OK? It does contain BCM-95.

  14. Bill
    katy, tx

    I take 500 mg of curcumin per day for mild psoriasis. If I stop for about a month, the psoraisis returns.

  15. Pat
    China Grove, NC

    I have taken Instaflex Advanced for several years for joint pain. The main ingredient is turmeric. I also use turmeric in my cooking and additional turmeric supplements. It does ease the joint pain, and is anti-inflammatory. I do have to be careful not to eat too much sodium or salt as it causes water retention for me, and that causes additional joint pain in my knees.

  16. Joann
    Wilmington, NC

    I am a competitive league tennis player and instructor, and used to take ibuprofen before and after matches due to arthritis and other joint pain. After reading about the pain relieving effects of turmeric, I started sprinkling about a 1/4 teaspoon of organic turmeric powder in my coffee every morning. Results were amazing, I no longer take ibuprofen, and pain is minimal.

  17. mike

    I have found that the combination of turmeric and celery seed works better that turmeric alone. My case may be different since I am taking turmeric powder mixed with black pepper and not a standardized extract.

  18. Barbara

    I wish the miracle cures for pain such as curcumin were true. And such “natural” cures are not without dangers that few people know about. I wished curcumin would ease my knee pain, but it didn’t. What it could do though, my eye doctor told me, was make my dry macular degeneration become wet and I would go blind.

    Aspirin must be avoided by macular degeneration patients also. Probably ginkgo also. I will just hobble around, wear knee braces and use a cane and forget about “natural” miracle pain relievers. They don’t work unless the placebo effect works for you. The only relief I ever had was early on with acupuncture in a study conducted by Baylor, the VA and NIH.

    Acupuncture really works in many situations and I found it also toned up my body in general and gave me a feeling of well-being. But few people can afford indefinitely a $90 acupuncture treatment three times a week. While in an acupuncture office I met a patient who had acupuncture on herself, her toddler and her dog.

    A friend who studied acupuncture at a Chinese med school told me to buy boxes of acupuncture needles by mail from acupuncture publications and use them on myself and it really doesn’t matter where you put the needles. I did that for awhile and he was right. But I came to hate sticking the needles in myself and I gave it up. I may go back to it as my knees limit my activities more and more and surgery is not a good choice for me.

    Apparently orthoscopic surgery is no better than placebo fake surgery that just makes a little skin incision and nothing else to the knee. And I am not ready to face knee replacement surgery as it has its problems too.

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