Thanks to exciting new research, we can more effectively manage autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammatory disorders that plague so many people today. This new approach involves the use of two natural compounds, resveratrol and curcumin, which have been found to work better when taken together than separately.
Synergy between resveratrol and curcumin
Resveratrol is a compound derived from Japanese knotweed, and curcumin is derived from the popular curry spice turmeric. Both are well known for their antioxidant qualities.
However, newer research shows that taking them together creates a synergistic effect, making them potent tools for quenching the inflammation and damage associated with autoimmune flare-ups and chronic inflammation.
Successful for many autoimmune, inflammatory disorders
Examples of these disorders include autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s), arthritis, brain fog, gut pain and inflammation, multiple food and chemical sensitivities, fibromyalgia, asthma, eczema and psoriasis, and other conditions related to inflammation or autoimmune disease.
Going beyond TH-1 and TH-2
When we manage an autoimmune disease in functional medicine, we identify why the immune system is imbalanced, and work to restore that balance.
In simplest terms, the immune system can be divided into two parts. The pro-inflammatory side of the immune system (also called “TH-1”) responds immediately to an invader in the body, such as by surrounding a splinter with pus.
The anti-inflammatory side of the immune system (“TH-2”) has a delayed response and produces antibodies to an invader. These antibodies tag the invader so that if it shows up again, the immune system can respond more quickly.
In a healthy person, these two systems work in balance. However, in the person with an autoimmune disease, one of these systems has become overly dominant.
This polarity between TH-1 and TH-2 underlies autoimmune conditions, and we use nutritional therapies to help restore balance. This helps tame inflammation and autoimmune disease.
TH-17: The new immune player
Studies have increasingly spotlighted another important player in the immune system called TH-17. While appropriate expression of TH-17 is important for immune defense, overactivation of TH-17 plays a key role in autoimmune disease and chronic inflammatory disease. When it comes to quenching flare-ups, TH-17 is our newest target.
This is where the synergy between resveratrol and curcumin come in. Working together, resveratrol and curcumin have been shown to dampen the pathways that activate TH-17, thus protecting tissue from inflammation and damage.
Inflammation and excess body fat
An interesting study on the anti-inflammatory effects of resveratrol and curcumin also looked at obesity. One of the most unfortunate aspects of excess body fat is that it creates low-level, chronic inflammation.
This chronic inflammation feeds autoimmune disease or chronic inflammatory disorders. This is a double whammy for the person struggling with weight gain due to Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, an autoimmune thyroid disease. This study found that working together, resveratrol and curcumin significantly reduced inflammation caused by excess fat tissue.
As a side note, the resveratrol curcumin combination is also being studied for its effectiveness in fighting hair loss, psoriasis, joint disease, and other inflammatory disorders.
Resveratrol and curcumin also work by supporting “regulatory T cells.” These cells do what they say—they regulate the activity of TH-17, TH-1, and TH-2, keeping all the facets of the immune system in check. When they don’t work efficiently, the immune system can tip out of balance, thus promoting inflammation and autoimmunity.
Other compounds that successfully support this regulation system include vitamin D3, vitamin A, fish oil or krill oil, specific probioitic strains, nutrients that boost activity of glutathione, our master antioxidant, and nutrients that act on nitric oxide pathways.
Resveratrol curcumin combo is exciting breakthrough
The exciting new research on TH-17 gives functional medicine practitioners new tools with which to approach autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammatory disorders. By unwinding vicious cycles of inflammation, they help protect the body, whether it is your knees or your brain, from the damage and degeneration caused by inflammation.