Evidence-Based Nutrient Recommendations

Curcumin: Promising Plant-Based Option for Treating Osteoarthritis


By Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN

We recently updated our collagen article with a few studies investigating curcumin in the management of osteoarthritis.

Two meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials found that turmeric extract and curcumin significantly decreased joint pain, stiffness, and function in people with osteoarthritis, similar to that of ibuprofen (Daily, 2016; Wu, 2019). A more recent randomized controlled trial found that bioavailable turmeric extract was as effective as acetaminophen at reducing joint pain, stiffness, and function scores in people with knee osteoarthritis (Singhal, 2021). These supplements are promising plant-based options for treating osteoarthritis and may reduce the reliance on the animal product collagen for this purpose.

We encourage people with osteoarthritis to speak with their physician before changing regimens.

Daily JW, Yang M, Park S. Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. J Med Food. 2016 Aug;19(8):717-29.

Singhal S, Hasan N, Nirmal K, Chawla R, Chawla S, Kalra BS, Dhal A. Bioavailable turmeric extract for knee osteoarthritis: a randomized, non-inferiority trial versus paracetamol. Trials. 2021 Jan 30;22(1):105.

Wu J, Lv M, Zhou Y. Efficacy and side effect of curcumin for the treatment of osteoarthritis: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2019 Jan;32(1):43-51.

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  • If you have a question about whether it's okay to cut supplements in half or combine supplements to achieve the dose we recommend, the answer is “Yes.” Be aware that nutrient recommendations are only estimates—it's not necessary to consume the exact amount we recommend every single day.
  • We aren't able to respond to questions about which brands of supplements to take.
  • We cannot provide personal nutrition advice for specific health conditions. If you need private counseling, here's a list of plant-based dietitians and we especially recommend VeganHealth contributor Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN.
  • We urge you to consult with a qualified health professional for answers to your personal questions.