How Curcumin Helped Get Me To The Olympic Podium

How Curcumin Helped Get Me To The Olympic Podium

By Dr. Rachelle Viinberg, BSc, ND

As an Olympic rower, I was no stranger to chronic injuries. With 18 training sessions a week, some level of pain or discomfort was expected. At best, the developing injury is minor. At worst, it is a career-ender. 

Three months out of the 2012 Olympics, I faced the latter. I herniated a disc during weight training just a few days before the team announcement. In the past, this same injury sidelined me for an entire year.

I needed a solution. Fast.

I first heard about the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin (derived from the spice turmeric) during my medical training. With the deleterious effects of Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) in mind, I was entirely open to giving high-dose curcumin a try. 

What happened next was nothing short of extraordinary. I started out bedridden, unable to even dress or drive my car. After taking three capsules (1.5g) 3-4 times per day, I progressed to being back on the water within three weeks and was fully recovered by five.

Now I don’t want to paint curcumin as magic. I had adjunctive treatment with some of the best chiropractors, physiotherapists, and acupuncturists in the country. Yet even the medical team was shocked at my recovery rate, which was a far cry from my previous one-year recovery time with the same injury. 

Of course, with my positive experience, I told many of my teammates that were suffering from chronic tendonitis due to repetitive strain. The mechanics of rowing caused the injury, and taking time off to heal was frowned upon so close to the Olympics. However, with the help of high-dose curcumin, many of them were able to bring the pain back to a low-grade ache and maintain training on the water.

Curcumin doesn’t just benefit injured athletes. Curcumin is also extremely effective in resolving delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This was useful when I had to perform the next day, whether for team selection or international racing. 

My own experience is not an isolated event. There are literally thousands of studies backing up the positive effects of curcumin. Currently, I use it to treat patients in my clinical practice for all inflammatory disorders, diabetes, and even depression, as it can pass the blood-brain barrier.  

Curcumin helped expedite my healing process, thereby getting me to the Olympics to win a medal. It helped my teammates realize their potential. It helps my patients with a high success rate. Magic? Perhaps not. Sound science? Definitely. Curcumin has the potential to benefit many people, with numerous medical challenges, in all walks of life. 

If you’re interested in trying curcumin to improve your health, Kardish carries several highly bioavailable Curcumin products!

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. Curcumin may be contraindicated with certain medications and conditions. Please check with your Naturopathic or Medical Doctor before supplementing any product.

Did you find this information helpful and want to receive individualized care? We have exciting news, Dr. Rachelle is available for private Naturopathic visits. Book now at

About Dr. Rachelle Viinberg N.D.

Dr. Rachelle Viinberg has always had a passion for health and wellness. As an Olympic athlete, Dr. Viinberg deeply understands peak performance. However, after her retirement from elite sports, she was left having to re-learn how to take care of her body, manage an autoimmune disease, and nurture her daughter. Many years of naturopathic education have helped Dr. Viinberg take care of her own health, as well as her patients. Her strong passion for teaching allows her to share her knowledge with upcoming Naturopathic Doctors at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine as a clinic supervisor. She uses the same philosophy with her patients as she does with her students – discover where you are and where you want to go. She’ll help figure out your path and assist with the motivation to get you there.