Curcumin—Nature's gift to the Brain

Many people are familiar with turmeric as a spice. What most people don’t know is that turmeric has amazing health benefits. Turmeric is the Asian spice that gives curry its familiar flavor and color. In the turmeric plant is a compound called curcumin. Because it is found in the root of the plant, it is not very plentiful in the spice. However, it is a very powerful botanical medicine.

Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and has anti-cancer properties. Oxidation is at the heart of many age related diseases: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Oxidation damages our cells much like rust destroys metal. Something to think about….

Some may be thinking, well, I will just add a good deal of turmeric to my diet. Well, that might be a good thing if the curcumin were plentiful in the spice. It is not. You will see many cheap turmeric products in health food stores that only claim to have 2%-5% curcumin. That is not enough to do you any good, which is why the supplement is so affordable. Good, high quality curcumin that is bio-available (in a form that the body can use) is worth its weight in gold, especially for those of us who may be facing dementia and Alzheimer’s in the future. .

Curcumin has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, so it is able to aid the brain to recover from inflammatory processes. This is helpful in cases of dementia and depression. According to Dr. Ralph Martins, (head of Australia’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research), “Curcumin studies in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease have demonstrated that it can play a significant role in the destruction of beta-amyloid plaque. It is also a powerful antioxidant, with an ORAC value of 159,277 per 100 gm, as determined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Other studies have shown that curcumin plays a role in neuronal regeneration. All these properties contribute to its potential utility in addressing this brain disease.”

It is interesting to note that in countries where curcumin is a daily staple of the menu, cases of Alzheimer’s Disease are rare. Curcumin has the ability to grow new brain cells, protect brain cells, destroy plaques and tangles.

So, the news is good. There is help for aging brains. We may be able to prevent or reverse Alzheimer’s and Dementia…..

Until next time,

Dr. Polly

Baum, Larry, et al. “Six-month randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, pilot clinical trial of curcumin in patients with Alzheimer disease.” Journal of clinical psychopharmacology 28.1 (2008): 110-113. award-winning-researcher-dr-ralph-martins/