I have been seeing Turmeric pop up everywhere these days, whether it be in the natural root form at many grocery stores, or all over at pharmacies and health stores. There is a big push being made for being one of the best anti-inflammatories out there!
If you are someone that has or takes Advil, Ibuprofen or NSAIDS (non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs). more often than not, this may be worth reading through… These over the counter (OTC) medications are really not that good for you and can bring about serious health complications. That being said, these are the most common over the counter drugs used for chronic pain and out there these days! Chronic pain can be very debilitating, as well as acute pain and injury, and can have detrimental and adverse effects on one’s quality of life. However, a majority of people trying to find a “reasonable and workable” solution for pain, usually end up reaching for a bottle of NSAID’s.
Most of the population doesn’t know how NSAID’s really work when ingested to help target and decrease pain in the body. NSAIDS TEMPORARILY block the overflow of production of inflammatory cells/chemicals to the site of pain. NSAIDS basically “trick” the body into overriding its inflammatory response to an injury. When this happens the pain also lessens or subsides too. With inflammation comes pain, if inflammation is removed or “blocked” more realistically, the pain is most likely “blocked” from getting to the area as well. This helps people to feel better, so therefore they continue to take more of it to feel better. It also gives false interpretation that the person may be “feeling better” due to having less pain, but the NSAIDS have only “masked” the symptoms and the pain usually returns, but more importantly with the possibility that the person has done more damage to the area injured thinking it was feeling better because of the NSAIDS. We see this all the time with patients in our office, and it is our job to help educate them about the pros and cons of taking OTC NSAIDS, and when it really is or isn’t necessary. Aside from this, use of NSAIDS can cause stomach pain, stomach ulcers, indigestion, internal bleeding, constipation, headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and allergic reactions such as hives, vomiting, throat swelling etc. I mean, why would someone not look for more natural ways to help decrease inflammation, pain and swelling?
There are many natural supplements out there now that help to decrease pain and inflammation (which I will write about in some future articles), but turmeric by far seems to be one of the most powerful. Turmeric is a plant, and not only one of the most popular spices around, but one of the most powerful super foods. The root is what is most commonly used in medicine. Medicinal use of turmeric is dated back over 4,000 years ago, wow! Today there are many uses for turmeric such as detoxification, promoting radiant skin, mood balancing, supporting cardiac health, decreasing inflammation, etc. A few of the most important uses of turmeric are reducing pain, being a very strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Turmeric helps to lower the levels of two different enzymes in the body that cause inflammation, not “block” the inflammation to the area of injury. Antioxidants also help to fight free radicals that can even potentially reduce some of the damage these free radicals cause in the body. This helps in regards to the level of inflammation in the body as well, or when responding to inflammation from an injury. I figured this was a good month to help remind our patients and many others that read the newsletter about Turmeric and its health benefits. Being that spring, well maybe even summer is possibly here (though, I will believe it when I see it), everyone is getting outside doing yard work, and starting to exercise more, and we have seen an increase of injuries in the office, and wanted some other ways to help our patients feel better naturally when not in the office.
Many turmeric supplements, like other vitamins and supplements, are not absorbed well into the body, so it is important to make sure you are buying turmeric from a reputable company. As we always say, please be sure to speak to your naturopathic doctor, chiropractic physician or nutritionist in regards to any questions concerning the quality of the supplement you may be taking. At Performance Health Center we carry a very popular and reputable brand of vitamins and supplements by Metagenics. Metagenics makes a supplement called, Inflavinoids (which I know I have probably mentioned several times over the years in practice), that has turmeric in it as well, along with some other natural anti-inflammatories. We prescribe this supplement primarily to decrease inflammation in the patient’s body if a patient is dealing with an injury. It almost acts like a “natural Ibuprofen”. A patient can take 2-4 capsules 2-4 times a day, just as someone taking some other type of NSAID would. This supplement helps when people are dealing with chronic back pain, ankle sprains, and even whiplash from an accident, but even helps in many acute situations and injuries as well. I personally take 1-2 capsules a day for preventive measures to help keep levels of inflammation lower in my body. I also keep it on hand as it has helped decrease symptoms when I get a headache as well. There are some other supplements by Metagenics we offer as well that help to decrease inflammation, and that are more helpful with acute injuries, that I will discuss another time. Until then, this is something you may want to speak to one of us about in the office during your next visit.
Many other chiropractic facilities and medical offices carry the Metagenics brand as well. Should you have more questions in regards to this topic, please feel free me at DrV@PerformanceHealthCenter.com.