Q. Dr. Kaplan, you have recommended using turmeric regularly to reduce inflammation and improve health. What puzzles me is this: regardless of their continued, lifelong consumption of turmeric, the number of people in India suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia continues to spiral upwards. Can you comment on this?
Gary Kaplan, D.O.: The issue with inflammation in the body as a whole, and the brain in particular, is a complex issue. Before you can successfully address the inflammation that is involved in the disease processes of many chronic illnesses, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, you have to remove all of the factors that are causing the inflammation in the first place. So, for example, if you are living in a highly stressful environment that is polluted and toxic, with poor sleep habits and/or poor nutrition or other health issues, thinking that turmeric is going to fix you is whistling through the graveyard.
Turmeric is useful as an antioxidant and for reducing the inflammatory activity of the microglia, the innate immune cells of the central nervous system. However, addressing the issues of inflammation requires a comprehensive approach that begins with good nutrition, sleep, and exercise habits as well as regular meditation. After that, we have to work with individuals to help each person find their pathway to health.
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