Turmeric Prevents Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease
A number of studies released in 2011 and early 2012 are revealing that turmeric and its central constituent, curcumin, may help prevent and even treat nerve cell and brain cell disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Turmeric is a powder ground from a root utilized for medicinal purposes and spicing food for thousands of years. Recent research has established it has anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Now researchers are discovering that it helps protect against the accumulation of amyloid plaque among brain cells, and other causes of nerve and brain cell damage.
A new review of research from India’s National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences reveals that curcumin crosses the blood-brain barrier to protect nerves from damage – this is called being “neuroprotective.” The researchers stated that, “different experimental models of Parkinson’s disease strongly support the clinical application of curcumin.”
Another study, this one from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, found that curcumin protects the brain’s cells from reactive oxygen species, and the A53T alpha-synuclein protein mutant, implicated in neuron damage found in both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The research also found that curcumin reduced mitochondrial damage among brain cells – another occurrence in Alzheimer’s.
In another recent study, this from India’s Central Food Technological Research Institute, researchers have found that curcumin-glucoside halts the formation of fibrils among nerve cells by binding to alpha-synuclein proteins. When this protein is expressed outside of the hippocampus and other inner brain regions, it can result in damage among brain cells.
Meanwhile, University of Kentucky researchers have found that curcumin reduced free radical oxidative stress damage among the brain and nerve cells, slowing down damage from and protecting against the progression of the build up of amyloid β-peptides (Aβ) and neurofibrillary tangles among the brain and nerve cells – evident among Alzheimer’s disease patients.
Earlier in 2011, medical researchers from Thailand’s Mahidol University found that curcumin prevents neurotoxicity by blocking 6-Hydroxydopamine damage to nerve and brain cells. This is the pathway said to occur among Parkinson’s disease patients.
These researchers also found that curcumin protected nerve cells from free radical damage, and inhibited the p53 cell-death sequence following brain cell phosphorylation – another progression found in Parkinson’s.
These and other studies all point to one general lesson: Turmeric helps protect the brain and nerves, and may well help prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Care for a little curry rice with tonite’s dinner?
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