Inflammation is the beginning of all pain.
Inflammation is the process that is triggered by damage to your body. Typically, when we think of inflammation we think of heat, redness, swelling, and pain. Pain is our warning signal that something is in need of repair. Inflammation and pain are normal and necessary when we have an injury, such as a sprained ankle. Chronic inflammation that lasts and lasts, however, is not normal and is, in fact, a disease. This type of inflammation is at the root of almost all serious illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and painful conditions such as arthritis.
Relieve inflammation and you relieve pain.
Inflammation is caused by the release of a hormone-like compound called prostaglandin (PGE1) and is sustained by an enzyme called cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2). If it were possible to inhibit the COX-2 enzyme it would be possible to control inflammation and possibly even cancer. Did you know that cancer cells are surrounded by an abnormally heavy concentration of COX-2 enzymes? And that chronic aspirin users have less cancer? Many years ago, drug companies found that aspirin inhibited COX-2. There is a downside to chronic aspirin use, however. At the same time it inhibits COX-2, it also inhibits COX-1 which is a protective prostaglandin for the lining of the digestive tract and blood vessels. Therefore, without adequate COX-1 protection, you may have ulcers and leaking of the blood vessels. So, for temporary use, aspirin is fine but for extended use it may cause serious side effects and even death. One report has estimated that over 40,000 people die annually from the overuse of aspirin. Then came the “miracle” of “selective” COX-2 inhibitors such as Vioxx, Bextra, Celebrex, etc. These drugs were designed to block COX-2 without inhibiting COX-1, therefore reducing the risk of ulcers or weak blood vessels as a side effect. The expectations for these drugs were extremely high. Later scientists found that the better results experienced (meaning fewer cases of ulcers and bleeding) were offset by the fact that they caused heart attacks and strokes because they induced clots in the blood. The risks were so great that the FDA took Vioxx and Bextra off the market, and is soon to require the “black box” warning on Celebrex, which is the strongest warning class for prescription drugs.
Remember that inflammation is the cause of pain, both acute and chronic.
If an anti-inflammatory product could be found that would inhibit the enzymes COX-2 and possibly 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX), without side effects, it would be superior to any other pain relieving medication. This form of therapy would stop the cause of pain. I believe there is an answer for all chronic pain and inflammation, and possibly even cancer, in common herbs from India – turmeric and boswellia! Turmeric contains the compound curcumin, an even better anti-inflammatory than cortisone, which is one of the most powerful of all the steroids. Curcumin is extremely effective in relieving inflammation, which many medical experts believe to be the cause of 80-90% of all disease, including cancer. In one double-blind study, curcumin matched cortisone as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. Researchers at M.D Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas stated that curcumin in laboratory studies was as effective, if not more effective, than any cancer treatment drug they have seen, even from any pharmaceutical company. But if this is not enough, over 3,672 references to articles on curcumin have been published in peer-reviewed professional journals. It has been identified as having a multitude of potent health effects. It has demonstrated anti-bacterial, antifungal (yeast), antiviral, antiallergenic, anti-inflammatory, potent antioxidant, antitumor and anticancer properties.
Getting the Most from Curcumin.
The majority of turmeric products on the market are regular formulas, standardized to 95% curcumin. The problem with this type of formulation is that the curcumin is poorly bioavailable, meaning that it doesn’t pass easily from the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream. The curcumin that does reach the bloodstream quickly converts into other compounds. What this means for you is that you have to take huge doses of turmeric powder to get any health benefits. In some cases, cancer patients are taking as many as 16-24, 500 mg capsules a day, which is very difficult to do. Recently scientists in India isolated a curcuminoid complex (curcumin is one kind of curcuminoid) which is much more bioavailable than regular 95% curcumin in any other delivery form. In fact, in comparison tests, their curcumin, which is mixed with turmeric oils and then micronized (meaning reduced to a small particle), was almost 7 times more bioavailable than other forms of curcumin, and it stayed active in the bloodstream much longer. Mixing in plant phospholipids (natural substances which contain fatty acids) also aids in boosting absorption. Because it is so bioavailable, this blend is extremely effective in reducing pain and inflammation. It not only inhibits COX-2, but does it in such a way as not to block it completely since we do need some COX-2 for other body functions. And it does this without any significant side effects! Remember: it isn’t just what you take, it is what you ABSORB that counts.
Curcumin’s Natural Partners.
There are many natural ingredients that can support and work synergistically with curcumin to relieve both acute and chronic pain. Boswellia is another traditional herb that is excellent at reducing inflammation and therefore, relieving pain. The majority of boswellia’s anti-inflammatory activity is linked to the array of boswellic acids in the extract. When scientists dug deeper into these activities they found that every single boswellic acid has anti-inflammatory properties—except one. One boswellic acid (beta) was actually pro-inflammatory. They wondered what would happen if they removed this beta boswellic acid, and found that with its removal, boswellia’s activity greatly increased, Research studies have found that it is especially potent at reducing joint pain associated with arthritis. It does this by inhibiting the inflammatory enzyme, 5-Lox. Together, curcumin and boswellia reduce the activity of the two most significant pain pathways in the body – COX-2 and 5-LOX. The pain reliever DLPA (d,l-phenylalanine) contains two forms of the amino acid phenylalanine. The “l” form improves mood-elevating chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. The “d” form of phenylalanine appears to block a nervous system enzyme (enzyme carboxypeptidase A) that intensifies pain signals. The current theory is that DLPA prevents the breakdown of one of the brain’s natural pain-killing substances, enkephalins, which are in the same family as endorphins. DLPA supplements combine the “l” and “d” forms of phenylalanine, which work synergistically to reduce chronic pain and improve mood—two concerns that are interconnected. Many people confuse DLPA (found abundantly in fish, yogurt and tofu) with aspartame (NutraSweet® or Equal®) that also has the amino acid phenylalanine as an ingredient. These are not the same compounds and do not act in the same way in our body. Aspartame breaks down into an unnatural toxic substance not found in the human diet, which can cause some people to be sick or have migraine headaches. When DLPA breaks down, it converts to tyrosine, which is a precursor to helpful substances like dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine, helpful neurotransmitters in the brain; melanin, a healthy pigment in the skin; and thyroid hormone. It does not metabolize into toxic substances. There are no health concerns with DLPA causing migraine headaches. The third natural partner for curcumin is the enzyme nattokinase. This enzyme from fermented soybean increases circulation, enabling other compounds that are carried in the bloodstream (such as curcumin, boswellia, and pain-killing endorphins) to reach the areas where they are needed the most. It also balances fibrinogen in the body, a compound that is associated with muscle damage and muscle fiber stiffness.
Curcumin, boswellia, DLPA and nattokinase make one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory and pain relieving combinations you can find. These ingredients have been proven time and again to be highly effective and safe for extended use. When you use natural ingredients such as turmeric or its active compound curcumin, you are using wisdom of the ages backed by 5,000 years of use as a food and medicine in India. These ingredients will benefit anyone who is suffering from pain, whether it is acute, sudden pain such as a strain, over exercising, sprains, or any exercise-induced injury, or chronic pain from arthritis, migraine headaches, bursitis, back pain, or any recurring pain. As scientific research shows, these ingredients are as effective as synthetic drugs and have no significant side effects. Using a blend of these natural ingredients can change the quality of your life. You can be pain-free and enjoy your life to the fullest. From all my research, I believe that curcumin is the most remarkable and wonderful healing plant agent that nature has to offer us. I have been in business for over 40 years and I have studied many different herbal compounds. Never have I seen so many wonderful attributes contributed to one herbal compound. You could take these comments in this article with a grain of salt if I were the only one expounding the virtues of curcumin, but scientists around the world are working diligently to further prove and to awaken the world to the scientific wonders of this herb.
|Look for this formula at your local health food store:|
|DLPA (dl Phenylalanine), Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) Extract standardized to contain >70% boswellic acid with 10-15% AKBA, Curcumin (Curcuma longa) Extract standardized for curcuminoid complex (curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin), Nattokinase|