Clinical trial supports TamaFlex joint health benefits

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© lovelyday12 / Getty Images
© lovelyday12 / Getty Images

Related tags Tamarind seed Joint health Turmeric Osteoarthritis healthy aging

A combination of standardized extracts of tamarind seeds and turmeric may improve joint comfort and function, aerobic capacity, and lower body strength in people with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis, says a new study.

The study used the TamaFlex-branded combination of extracts of Tamarindus indica​ seeds and Curcuma longa​ rhizome at a 2:1 ratio.

Thirty days of supplementation with 250 mg of TamaFlex was associated with improvements in a range of joint health measures, including pain, joint stiffness, physical function, aerobic capacity, and endurance, wrote researchers in Food & Nutrition Research.

Supplementation was also associated with a reduction in the level of a cartilage erosion marker, “indicating a possible role in mitigating joint tissue degradation”, stated the researchers.

“The present clinical investigation validates an early efficacy of a food-derived anti-inflammatory herbal composition NXT15906F6 (TamaFlex) in alleviating the clinical symptoms of knee OA [osteoarthritis] in as early as day 5 of supplementation,” they wrote.

Osteoarthritis is the catchall term for the progressive wearing of joints, especially the knee joint, and the body’s inflammatory response to that situation.  It is distinct from rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune condition. OA is to some extent a natural symptom of aging for many people.

The ingredient

TamaFlex is produced by NXT USA, a multinational group formed to develop the ingredient. The company co-funded the new research.

“The joint space hasn't had a lot of innovation recently, with many of the ingredients now 15 - 20 years in the market.  In the case of ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin the sales are diminishing,” Eric Anderson, Managing Director, NXT USA, told NutraIngredients-USA.

“TamaFlex offers the first Tamarind Seed extract, and this is combined with a full-spectrum turmeric root extract, providing novel benefits.”    

The combination of a tamarind seed extract and a turmeric extract reportedly addresses joint discomfort by targeting the two pathways that cause joint inflammation — the COX-2 and 5-LOX enzyme pathways.

Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), a key enzyme in fatty acid metabolism, is upregulated during inflammation episodes (it’s also upregulated when cancer is present). Curcumin, the set of active constituents found in turmeric, has been shown to affect this pathway​.  

Lipoxygenase (LOX) is a kind of rate-limiting enzyme in the process of arachidonic acid metabolism into leukotriene (LT) which mediates the occurrence of inflammation. The inhibition of LOX can reduce LT, thereby producing an anti-inflammatory effect.  Tamarind seed has been identified as a potent inhibitor of this process​.

An earlier study, published in the International Journal of Medical Sciences, ​supported the ingredient’s joint health efficacy in non-arthritic adults.

Anderson described the new study as “especially relevant”.

“Where our previous studies focused on identifying that joint relief was fast-acting and long-lasting, this third study provides concrete data supporting our novel approach to joint health and the impact it has on improving participants’ quality of life and physical capabilities,” he said.

“The study is large and comprehensive, with physician assessment, physical tests and biomarkers providing subjective and objective evidence of efficacy. This is truly unique,” he added.

Study details

The researchers recruited 150 men and women aged between 40 and 70 with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis (OA) to participate in their randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study. The volunteers were randomly divided into three groups: Placebo, 250mg TamaFlex, or 1,000mg of an active comparator of Boswellia and Curcumin.

After 30 days of supplementation, TamaFlex supplementation was associated with significant reductions in pain, joint stiffness, and improvement in their physical function.

In addition, the total Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) score was significantly improved after only five days of supplementation. Improvements were also reported for measures of joint flexibility, reported the researchers.  

TamaFlex was also found to improve the aerobic capacity and endurance of the knee OA subjects as measured by the absolute distance walked by subjects in Six-Minute Walk Test. Improvements were also reported for the participants' lower body strength and power.

NXT-USA’s Anderson added: “This study affirms the potent and fast benefits of TamaFlex supporting joint health.

“What is also important is that in addition to physician assessment, this trial shows performance benefits with participants being able to walk farther, faster, and ascend and descend stairs with more alacrity. And the biomarkers show physiological changes are actually happening, which is purely objective.”

Market presence

Products with TamaFlex have been available since 2020 with the first offerings in the  Natural Products and Mass Market channels, said Anderson. The offerings include TamaFlex standalone products and multiple ingredient formulations, he added.

“Today TamaFlex is available from GNC, Schiff/ Reckitt MoveFree Ultra, Life Extension and others.  TamaFlex is also offered in Scandinavia, Asia and regulatory filings are ongoing globally,” said Anderson.

Source: Food & Nutrition Research
2023, Volume 67, doi: 10.29219/fnr.v67.9268
“Efficacy of a proprietary combination of ​Tamarindus indica seed and ​Curcuma longa rhizome extracts in osteoarthritis: a clinical investigation”
Authors: N. Prasad, et al.

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