Have you had a “Fibro Fog” day lately? Hazy focus, slow thinking and spotty memory can be frustrating when you’re trying to take care of business. What about a “joint and body pain” day? Morning stiffness, creaky flexibility and muscle aches make it hard to get up and go.
Of course, for fibromyalgia and CFS/ME sufferers, on the worst days these brain and body complaints combine – diminishing work performance, day-to-day activities and overall quality of life.
Turmeric, a legendary “Golden Spice,” may help. Used for thousands of years in both Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese health systems, turmeric’s active compound, curcumin, has been shown in scientific research to have multiple biological activities that may sharpen mental performance while soothing away muscle aches and joint discomfort.
More promising still, new technologies have made curcumin 285 times more bioavailable, while novel combinations with other time-tested botanicals appear to achieve powerful synergistic effects. These formulations may bring new hope for fibromyalgia and CFS/ME sufferers seeking natural relief from brain, joint and body concerns.
A Brain-Healthy Spice Curries Favor
The solution to brain fog may be found in India, which has one of the lowest rates of cognitive decline in the world. About 78% of the globe’s turmeric supply is grown in India, where the spice is widely used in curry dishes.(1) Indian citizens’ high intake of turmeric – estimated at 2 to 2.5 g of turmeric per day from their diet alone(2) – is believed to contribute to their sharp mental function and overall brain health:
- Research has found that only 0.7% of the people in India between 70 and 79 years old are affected by Alzheimer’s disease; as opposed to 3.1% of Americans in the same age group.(3) Additional research has suggested that, in addition to supporting a healthy brain, curry consumption appears to be associated with sharper cognitive performance.(4)
- Curcumin modulates inflammation. Chronic low-grade inflammation affects many different brain functions and is considered a risk factor for neurodegenerative diseases.(5)
- Curcumin may inhibit amyloid plaque formation. Amyloid plaque refers to the abnormal protein clusters that are associated with multiple neurodegenerative problems.(6)
- Curcumin fights oxidative stress in the brain. Strongly tied to neurodegenerative issues, oxidative stress damages brain cell membranes and DNA while depleting brain cell energy.(7,8)
Did you know? Oxidative stress levels have been found to be significantly higher in people with CFS/ME.(9)
Beyond the Brain, Curcumin Soothes the Body
Fibromyalgia and CFS/ME patients are no strangers to aches and stiffness throughout their muscles, joints and connective tissues. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen sodium, aspirin and ibuprofen can help, and are used as default treatments.
However, chemical sensitivities, digestive distress, and potential toxicity to the liver and kidneys have led many with fibromyalgia and CFS/ME to forego NSAIDs in favor of safer, gentler therapies for their joint and body aches. This is where curcumin may offer advantages:
- In one trial, 107 patients with moderate knee pain were given 800 mg of ibuprofen or 2 g of turmeric extract every day for six weeks. Subjects were then evaluated in their walking, stair-stepping and general knee function. At the study’s conclusion, researchers reported turmeric was associated with significant across-the-board improvements, similar to ibuprofen.(10)
In addition to the joints, curcumin’s notable anti-inflammatory activity may help to promote soothing comfort in the muscles. These benefits are promising for CFS/ME and fibromyalgia patients because curcumin may simply be better-tolerated than conventional OTC options.
Did you know? Curcumin has also been found to support the joints by protecting chondrocytes – special cells that regenerate cartilage – from destructive enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs).(11)
The Curcumin Challenge
Frustratingly, despite its great therapeutic promise, curcumin has been shown in studies to be poorly absorbed – so poorly absorbed, in fact, that its low bioavailability may actually limit its clinical impact.(12)
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If poorly absorbed curcumin still brings benefits for brain health and body comfort, then what might a highly absorbable form of curcumin achieve? One supplement innovator intends to find out with a patented, highly bioavailable curcumin extract called Longvida®.
Longvida®: Curcumin that’s 285 Times More Bioavailable
Developed by UCLA neuroscientists Dr. Sally Frautschy and Dr. Greg Cole, Longvida is a patented curcumin extract with optimized absorption and delivery into the blood and tissues. Longvida has been found to be 285 times more bioavailable than regular curcumin – suggesting that a lower dose may supply more benefit than a higher dose of regular curcumin.
Longvida is also made with SLP™ technology, a patented, bioavailability-boosting process that enables curcumin to pass through the blood-brain barrier and deliver its inflammation-modulating and antioxidant activity directly to the brain.
Herbal Synergy for Mental Clarity & Bodily Comfort
Longvida appears to optimize curcumin’s ability to promote brain health and joint/muscle comfort in those with fibromyalgia and CFS/ME. Two new nutritional supplement breakthroughs are taking this potential to the next level by pairing Longvida with herbals that have also been formulated into patented, highly bioavailable extracts:
ProHealth Optimized Curcumin Brain & Focus®
Longvida 400 mg + Bacognize® 600 mg
ProHealth Optimized Curcumin Brain & Focus unites the benefits of optimized curcumin for cognitive function with optimized Bacopa monnieri, an Ayurvedic herb that promotes memory, focus and mood. Animal studies show that Bacopa appears to bring antioxidant activity to the brain.(13) Bacopa as Bacognize is concentrated and standardized to supply 45% bacosides, which are considered its active compounds – yielding an advanced, bioavailable brain health supplement.
- In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, daily supplementation with 300 mg Bacopa monnieri was found to significantly improve speed of mental processing, learning rate, memory performance and mood. Researchers concluded that the herb “may improve higher order cognitive processes.”(14)
ProHealth Optimized Curcumin Body & Joint®
Longvida 400 mg + WokVel 666 mg
ProHealth Optimized Curcumin Body & Joint supplies curcumin’s joint and muscle-soothing properties in Longvida® form along with Wokvel®, a patented and bioavailable Boswellia serrata gum resin. Also known as Indian Frankincense, Boswellia is an extensively researched Ayurvedic herb for promoting joint comfort and flexibility. Curcumin alone may be comparable to NSAIDs in soothing joint pain, but when combined with Boswellia it appears to be even more effective than NSAIDs:
- One clinical trial found that when curcumin is combined with boswellia serrata, the resulting botanical blend appeared to be better at easing discomfort than a popular NSAID drug – providing superior assistance with pain severity, walking distance and joint tenderness with fewer adverse effects.(15)
Curcumin, Bacopa monnieri and Boswellia serrata have ancient Ayurvedic brain health and body comfort uses that are backed by extensive scientific evidence. Formulated for peak bioavailability and standardized to supply precise active ingredient levels, some patented forms of these botanicals – Longvida®, Bacognize® and Wokvel® – appear to enhance their therapeutic potential.
ProHealth Optimized Curcumin Brain & Focus® and Optimized Curcumin Body & Joint® supply these breakthrough branded ingredients in formulations that are calibrated to the specific needs of fibromyalgia and CFS/ME patients – offering safe, well-tolerated and natural therapies for addressing the brain fog, joint pains and muscle aches experienced by these populations
- Shah BH, Nawaz Z, Pertani SA, et al. Inhibitory effect of curcumin, a food spice from turmeric, on platelet-activating factor- and arachidonic acid-mediated platelet aggregation through inhibition of thromboxane formation and Ca2+ signaling. Biochem Pharmacol. 1999;58:1167–1172
- Kannappan R, et al. Neuroprotection by Spice-Derived Nutraceuticals: You Are What You Eat! Mol Neurobiol., Oct 2011; 44(2):142-159.
- Ng TP, et al. Curry consumption and cognitive function in the elderly. Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Nov 1;164(9):898-906. Epub 2006 Jul 26.
- Begum A, et al. Curcumin Structure-Function, Bioavailability, and Efficacy in Models of Neuroinflammation and Alzheimer’s Disease. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. Jul 2008; 326(1): 196–208.
- Garcia-Alloza M, Borrelli LA, Rozkalne A, Hyman BT, Bacskai BJ. Curcumin labels amyloid pathology in vivo, disrupts existing plaques, and partially restores distorted neurites in an Alzheimer mouse model. J Neurochem.2007;102:1095–1104.
- Rajeswari A. Curcumin protects mouse brain from oxidative stress caused by 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2006 Jul-Aug;10(4):157-61.
- Uttara B, et al. Oxidative Stress and Neurodegenerative Diseases: A Review of Upstream and Downstream Antioxidant Therapeutic Options. Curr Neuropharmacol. Mar 2009; 7(1): 65–74.
- Kennedy G, et al. Oxidative stress levels are raised in chronic fatigue syndrome and are associated with clinical symptoms. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, vol. 39, no. 5, pp. 584–589, 2005.
- Kuptniratsaikul V, et al. Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts in patients with knee osteoarthritis. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Aug;15(8):891-7.
- Henrotin Y, et al. Biological actions of curcumin on articular chondrocytes. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2010 Feb;18(2):141-9.
- Jurenka J. Anti-inflammatory Properties of Curcumin, a Major Constituent of Curcuma longa: A Review of Preclinical and Clinical Research. Alternative Medicine Review Volume 14, Number 2 2009
- Bhattacharya SK, Bhattacharya A, Kumar A, Ghosal S Antioxidant activity of Bacopa monniera in rat frontal cortex, striatum and hippocampus. Phytother Res . 2000;14:174-179.
- Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, et al. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera ( B. monnieri ) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology . 2001;156:481-484.
- Kizhakkedath R. Clinical evaluation of a formulation containing Curcuma longa and Boswellia serrata extracts in the management of knee osteoarthritis. Mol Med Rep. November 2013;8(5):1542-1548.