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Curcumin in the treatment of pain, diabetic neuropathy and Alzheimer’s disease

Background:  Curcumin, the pigment found in the spice turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been known to demonstrate a number of interesting, beneficial effects. Curcumin has been demonstrated to be an anti-inflammatory agent, an anti-oxidant, anti-angiogenic, anti-bacterial, anti-neoplastic (2,4) and it has been demonstrated to be effective in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.(3)

Curcumin has been demonstrated to inhibit cyclooxygenase-2, lipooxygenase, nuclear factor kappa-B and inducible nitric oxide sythase.

In addition to effects on inflammatory pathways, Curcumin has an independent effect on endogenous opiate pathways, as well.  That is, Curcumin is a primary pain reliever involved in the same pathways as are opiates.(1)

The addition of Curcumin, a natural COX-2 inhibitor, to other anti-inflammatories synergistically (up to 1000%) augments the growth inhibitory effects in in-vitro and in-vivo models of arthritis and cancer, thus rendering effective action of the drug.  Decreased dosages of 1/10th can be demonstrated.(4)

Curcumin has been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of auto-immune processes, as well. Curcumin is beneficial in the treatment of autoimmune diseases by inhibiting a number of proteins and enzymes, such as cytokines IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-12, TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma and associated JAK-STAT, AP-1, and NF-kappaB signaling pathways in immune regulatory cells. (5)

For diabetic neuropathy, the use of Curcumin  indicates anti-nociceptive, that is pain relieving  activity and point towards the beneficial effects with insulin in attenuating diabetic neuropathic pain, possibly through the participation of NO and TNF-alpha.(6) The effects on diabetic pain seem to take up to 4 weeks, but may be observed much more rapidly.

Recommendations: (Dr. David Klein, Stages of Life Medical Institute)

  1. For the treatment of auto-immune disorders, pharmaceutical grade Curcumin should be used in dosages of 500 mg twice or three times daily. The purest form of Curcumin must be used.
  2. For pain, Curcumin 500 mg can be used twice daily.
  3. For the treatment and/or prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, 500 mg once or twice daily can be used.
  4. For the treatment of diabetic neuropathy, Curcumin 500 mg should be taken twice daily; the addition of alpha Lipoic acid 250 mg, three to four times daily provides the best relief.