|Home||Turmeric v Diclofenac|
|Turmeric v Diclofenac|
One way to assess the relative toxicity of these two compounds is to compare the primary polyphenol in turmeric, curcumin, with diclofenac sodium through their respective Material Safety Data Sheets, which contain detailed information on the toxicity of these substances.
Diclofenac Sodium: The LD50 for mice is 95 mg/kg, meaning that it only takes 95 mg/kg of mouse to acutely kill 50% of an exposed group.
Curcumin: The LD50 for mice is >2,000 mg/kg, meaning that it would take more than 2,000 mg/kg of mouse to acutely kill 50% of an exposed group.
In order to get perspective on how toxic an LD50 of 95 mg/kg is, let's first calculate how much of this chemical it would take in milligrams to kill an average sized mouse. Mice are between 15-27 grams, depending on their age, strain and diet. If we take the average between the two, at 21 grams, our mouse would weigh 0.021 kilograms. This means that it only takes 1.9 milligrams to acutely kill 50% of the mice given such a dose.
Extrapolating to humans, an average 150 lb adult weighs 68.03 kilograms, it would only take 6462 milligrams, or 6.46 grams to kill 50% of the humans given the dose. This is less than the weight of three pennies (7.5 grams). Compare this to the LD50 of curcumin (2,000 mg/kg), where it would take more than 136,000 mgs (4.86 ounces) to kill 50% of the humans given it – and even this estimation is doubtful, since it is likely that it would simply be vomited up, or expelled through the gastrointestinal tract, and other organs of elimination, before reaching lethal levels in the body. Also, remember that it only took 90 mg a day in the aforementioned study to reduce inflammation as effectively as diclofenac sodium. The difference between the 90 mg required to produce an effective response, and a (theoretical) 136,000 mg threshold for lethal toxicity, is four orders of magnitude.
In practical terms, the chance of you hurting yourself with a drug like diclofenac sodium -- ironically, in an attempt to reduce pain -- as compared to a simple kitchen spice like turmeric, is infinitely higher. Consider too, that there are over 100 known adverse health effects associated with this chemical class of drugs, whereas turmeric (and curcumin) has been linked to over 600 beneficial ones -- not exactly a hard choice to make, when it comes to risk-benefit analysis.
For additional research on natural alternatives to common NSAID drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen, read the following articles: