How Do the Compounds in Turmeric Work Against Arthritis?

Turmeric and turmeric oil regulate proteins, enzymes, and other factors to help reduce joint inflammation and protect joint cartilage in people with arthritis.

Multiple lab and animal studies show that whole turmeric extracts, turmeric essential oils, and the curcumin compounds in turmeric have anti-arthritic effects. Turmeric and its compounds work by blocking many of the proteins and destructive enzymes that promote inflammation. These are found in both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. (v.190-192)

Some of these include:

Effects of Turmeric Compounds on Inflammation in Arthritis

Suppresses STAT1 Transcription Factor Activity

  • Prevents expression of metalloprotease (MMP) enzymes that degrade cartilage. (v.186)

Reduces TNF-α Cytokine Protein Activity

  • Suppresses production of MMP-13 enzymes that break down cartilage. (v.186)
  • Inhibits production of COX-2 enzymes that promote inflammation. (v.186)

Blocks Activation of NF-κB Transcription Factor Protein

Down-Regulates MIF Transcription Factor Activity

  • Strongly blocks production of MMP enzymes, particularly MMP-1 (collagenase) that breaks down collagen. (v.186)

Reduces IL-1β Cytokine Activity

  • Prevents suppression of collagen and other proteins needed for healthy joints. (v.186)
  • Blocks production of enzymes and proteins that induce death of chondrocyte cells (which manufacture collagen). (v.186)
  • Stops the activation of inflammatory transcription factor NF-κB. (v.186)

PGE2 Inflammatory Proteins

  • Prevents stimulation of inflammatory immune system cells in rheumatoid arthritis. (v.186)

Turmeric Compounds That May Help Rheumatoid Arthritis

As an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by a dysfunctional immune system that leads to inflammation. Animal studies show curcumin compounds from turmeric suppress the disease-causing antibodies found in RA. (v.189)

Besides curcumin, other compounds in turmeric also prevent the activation of the transcription factor protein NF-κB. This transcription factor triggers dozens of genes that produce inflammatory proteins, including TNF-α, that play a key role in arthritis. By blocking NF-κB, experts suggest that these natural compounds may safely inhibit TNF-α's inflammatory activity in arthritis. Those compounds found in turmeric include: (v.186193)

Macrophage migration inhibitory factor. (v.186)

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