A significant decrease in the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) in adult patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis was seen with curcumin supplementation, according to study findings published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine.
Investigators conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that evaluated the relationship between curcumin supplementation and CRP and ESR in adults with rheumatoid arthritis or ulcerative colitis. The study authors searched PubMed, SCOPUS, and Google scholar databases from inception to December 2020.
A total of 6 articles with 8 effect sizes were included in the review. The studies were published from 2010 to 2019 and included 438 participants of both sexes (212 in intervention and 226 in the placebo group), with a mean age ranging from 36 to 53.71 years. Curcumin was administered daily, with doses ranging from 40 to 1500 mg, and the intervention duration ranged from 8 to 12 weeks.
All 6 studies reported a significant decrease in CRP with curcumin supplement intake. The pooled meta-analysis showed that curcumin supplementation in doses of 250 to 1500 mg/day for 8 to 12 weeks was associated with a decrease in CRP in adult patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis compared with the control group in 4 studies with 6 effect sizes (weighted mean difference [WMD]: −0.42; 95 % CI, −0.59, −0.26), I2 = 94.3 %).
The pooled analysis of 8 effect sizes from 6 articles found that curcumin supplementation was significantly associated with a reduction in ESR (WMD: –55.96; 95% CI, –93.74, –18.17, I2 = 99.7 %), which was unchanged in all subgroup analyses.
The subgroup analyses indicated that curcumin was more strongly associated with decreases in ESR among younger patients (≤40 years), longer duration (>8 weeks), and with higher dosages (>500 mg).
The investigators noted that different types and dosages of curcumin were used in the included studies. In addition, their findings were limited by the low sample size, and most studies did not have a clear outcome assessment method and did not adjust their results for baseline levels of cytokines. Furthermore, limited studies were conducted on each autoimmune disease, and these studies were limited to adults.
“Our study indicated that curcumin supplementation in doses of 250 to 1500 mg/day over 8 to 12 weeks was associated with decreases in CRP and ESR in adult patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis in comparison with the control group,” the study authors summarized.
Ebrahimzadeh A, Abbasi F, Ebrahimzadeh A, Jibril AT, Milajerdi A. Effects of curcumin supplementation on inflammatory biomarkers in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Complement Ther Med. 2021;61:102773. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2021.102773