Epigenetics and Osteoarthritis: How Turmeric Can Help
Written by Scientific Director and Pharmacist Jerry Hickey
How to make your genes work for you
When a pregnant woman supplements with a prenatal vitamin to nourish her developing baby, she is practicing epigenetics. Likewise, when you drink a cup of green tea to build up your immunity, you are practicing epigenetics. The same can be said for green teas effects on aging skin, making it behave like younger skin - bright, tight and toned. Epigenetics is the effect of the environment on your genes. People haven’t changed much over the past hundreds-of-thousands of years; our genes are hardwired in stone. What has changed is how these genes work. What you eat, what you are exposed to, and how you live do not change your genes but affect how they work, turning them on or off; this is the emerging field of epigenetics.
Epigenetics is very important, after all, a cell in your brain and a cell on your toe contain the exact same DNA. Manipulating genes is future medicine. Manipulating genes that cause autism, Alzheimer’s disease, cancers and diabetes to remain dormant is a winning strategy. So is reactivating key genes that switch off with aging.
Genes and arthritis of the knee
Recently researchers at Newcastle University in the UK made a practical breakthrough in the science of epigenetics. It applies to the most common arthritis known as osteoarthritis. People with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip have a signature epigenetic change. A gene that produces a destructive enzyme known as MMP13 is switched on. This enzyme plays a well documented role in the destruction of joint cartilage. This makes MMP13 and the epigenetic changes that lead to its increased activity a prime target for drug development to treat this most common arthritis. The research is published recently in the prestigious FASEB Journal.
David A Young, Ph.D., a researcher at Newcastle involved with the study, states in an interview, "As the population gets older, osteoarthritis presents increasing social and economic problems." He continues, "Our work provides a better understanding of the events that cause cartilage damage during osteoarthritis and provides hope that tailored drug development to prevent the progress of disease will improve the quality of life and mobility of many arthritis sufferers."
A good solution is already at hand
Turmeric is an already available, effective and safe inhibitor of MMP13. Turmeric, a member of the ginger family, is the yellowish-brownish spice used to make curry. It is rich in substances known as curcuminoids, and chief among them is curcumin. Although turmeric is hard to absorb and does not last for any great length of time in the body, curcumin is safe and at high doses really helps curtail arthritic pain and stiffness.
Researchers at Baylor University recently made a happy-successful improvement in the science of curcumin. They have proven that a form known as BCM95 (BioCurcumin) is absorbed at a much higher rate, up to eight times better, and lasts in the body for a much greater duration from 8 to 12 hours making twice a day dosing practical, convenient, and effective.
In a paper published on Science Alert, scientists from Okinawa have proven that Curcumin is a potent inhibitor of MMP-13 activity, far beyond all other substances tested. The study is originally published in the International Journal of Pharmacology. Many additional scientific papers have been published showing that Curcumin inhibits a range of substances that destroy the joint causing pain and contributing to immobility. This is why Curcumin is so successful at helping arthritics in published human clinical trials.
For more information on Curcumin and inflammation, visit:
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