Bones provide structure,strength and act as reservoir for calcium and other minerals the body needs and utilizes. It also protects the bone marrow( where red blood cells are formed). Growing age is one of the risk factors for loss of bone minerals . Being a female makes you twice suscepyible to developing bone problems due to a depletion of calcium production in the thyroid gland as a result of progressive age and hormonal imbalances. Dietary changes can help to boost and maintain healthy bones. In this light, recent studies have confirmed the positive effects of the use of tumeric on bones and joints.
Tumeric comes from the ginger family zingiberaceae found mainly in Southeast Asia and India. It is propagated mainly for the rhizome(tuber( wjich could be eaten fresh or boiled,dried and ground into a deep-orangr powder used mainly as a spice in cuisines and as a colouring agent. It has been argued to be more than just a spice as it has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat common ailments. It’s medicinal properties are attributed to a number of compounds known as cumminoids, of which curcumin make up about 90% of the cucurminoids.
Tumeric consists of:
~Cucurminoids- The principal bioactive ingredients
~Volatile oils( which impacts a pungent aroma to the spice)
~Sugars, resins anf proteins
However, most of the research is focussed on cucurmin which is the most important cucurminoid. Cucurmin raises the level of antioxidative enzymes which favourably impacts on bone health. This gives the tumeric its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial propeties which helps to prevent, fight pain and stiffness occuring in most bone disorders like arthritis and bone injury. Cucurmin can affect the following bone activitities:-
- Osteoblast production: These are bone cells that help in formation of new bones.
- Osteoclast production: These cells absorb old bone cells that have become weak.
- Chondrocytes: These are cells that make up cartilage which are attachments at joints.
Influencing these activities can affect the pathogenesis of several bone problems as well as affect bone repair.
Therefore, tumeric protects the bone through the following biological procress:
- Tumeric reduces pain and bone loss in arthritis which is an inflammation of the joints, and in osteoarthritis which is a type of athrititis characterized by a break down of bone and cartilage. Type II collagen is one of the proteins that make up bones. Its degradation and release in the synovial fluid that lubricates the joints accounts for the stiffness and pain experienced in osteoarthritis. Cucurmin reduces the degradation of collagen( proteins) and improve the symptoms of people suffering from osteoarthritis.
Also in osteoarthritis, bone turnover is altered and bone can come weaker. Bone turnover is a continous process in which the bone is reabsorbed and new bone tissues are formed. Cucurmin can help in normalizing bone turnoverand prevent progression of osteoarthritis by virtue of its anti-inflammatory property.
- Tumeric prevents loss of bone minerals in osteoporesis. Osteoporesis is a bone condition in which essential bone minerals are lost , thereby making bones weak and brittle and susceptible to fracture. Bone fracture are common traumatic injuries known also as break or discontinuity in the bone tissue. It can be extremely traumatic and temporarily or permanently disable individuals from their daily activities in life. In osteoporesis, there are too many osteoclast cells(cells that absorb bone tissues) which absorb a lot of bone minerals thus making bones fragile. Cucurmin has been found to inhibit osteoclastogenesis (formation of osteoclasts) especially in the absence of new bone tissues as is the case in increasing age.
- Tumeric can prevent bone cancers and metastasis. Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone cancer. Cucurmin has been found to inhibit growth,prevent proliferation and even cause death of osteosarcoma cells.
Most of the studies on tumeric are using tumeric or tumeric extracts that contains cucurmin with dosages usually exceeding 1gram per day. It would however be difficult to reach these levels using the tumeric as spice in foods alone. It would help to take it in as beverages from time to time. The importance of tumeric in relation to solving bone problems can not be overlooked. A few persons may have had little knowledge about the healing properties of the tumeric while many others may not have said knowledge. This article is aimed at reaching out to as many people as possible, especially those who have bone disorders, injury or problems.