Turmeric May Help Prevent Alzheimer's And Astonishingly. May Break Up Already Existing Alzheimer's Plaque

January 16, 2005

Researchers at both UCLA and the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Healthcare System have come up with an astonishing research result - Curcumin, the component of the spice Turmeric that gives curry its characteristic yellow color may not just help prevent Alzheimer's disease, it may help break down existing Alzheimer's plaque.

Alzheimer's disease has different components: oxidative damage, inflammation, and the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque. Beta-amyloid reaches out and causes destruction of any tissue it comes in contact with. Turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities and can suppress oxidative damage and inflammation in the brain, suppress cognitive deficits, and inhibit beta-amyloid accumulation. Turmeric was better at inhibiting beta-amyloid formation than the drugs ibuprofen or naproxen under electron microscope observation.

Turmeric when given orally can cross the blood brain barrier and enter into the brain. In mice it has been shown to attach to Alzheimer's disease plaque. When given to mice with advanced Alzheimer's plaques it reduced the beta-amyloid concentration and reduced the size of the plaques - in effect it was reversing the level of Alzheimer's disease. Turmeric can also counter the oxidative damage and inflammation that arises in response to beta-amyloid accumulation. The study is published online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry on December 6th, 2004.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Turmeric is one of the most amazing herbs. It is a potent aid for arthritic joints, it is a strong defender of the liver and helps keep blood vessel walls free of artery damaging plaque. Curcumin is currently being studied as a potential cancer therapy. The spice may also have ability to treat multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis.