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Turmeric flower who's roots contain curcumin, studied for it's ability to slow the progression of Alzheimer's.

Turmeric Curry May Keep Alzheimer's at Bay


A spice used for thousands of years, curry, may be a powerful new weapon in fighting Alzheimer's Disease, researchers said.

Researchers from UCLA and the Department of Veterans Affairs said their study of curcumin, the yellow pigment in curry, found it broke up existing beta amyloid on rats' brains and helped prevent accumulation of the destructive plaque.

Reporting in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the team said curcumin is more effective in stopping the protein fragments from forming than many other drugs being tested to treat the disease that affects 4 million Americans and millions more worldwide. "The prospect of finding a safe and effective new approach to both prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease is tremendously exciting," said Gregory Cole, the main UCLA investigator.

"Curcumin has been used for thousands of years as a safe anti-inflammatory in a variety of ailments as part of Indian traditional medicine," Cole said. Recent animal studies "support a growing interest in its possible use for diseases of aging involving oxidative damage and inflammation like Alzheimer's, cancer and heart disease." Dr. Cole called for human trials of curcumin to establish safe and effective doses.

University of California in Los Angeles found that Alzheimer's disease involves amyloid (Abeta) accumulation, oxidative damage and inflammation, and risk is reduced with increased antioxidant and anti-inflammatory consumption. The phenolic yellow curry pigment curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities and can suppress oxidative damage, inflammation, cognitive deficits, and amyloid accumulation. Studies showed that curcumin injected peripherally into aged Tg mice, crossed the blood brain barrier and bound plaques. When fed to aged Tg2576 mice with advanced amyloid accumulation, curcumin labeled plaques and reduced amyloid levels and plaque burden. Hence, curcumin directly binds small ss-amyloid species to block aggregation and fibril formation in vitro and in vivo. These data suggest that low dose curcumin effectively disaggregates plaques as well as prevents fibril and oligomer formation, supporting the rationale for curcumin use in clinical trials preventing or treating Alzheimer's disease.

University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California revealed that epidemiological studies show reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease among patients using non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAID) indicating the role of inflammation in Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's Research

Nutritional antioxidants and the heme oxygenase pathway of stress tolerance: novel targets for neuro-protection in Alzheimer's disease. PMID:15141484

Redox regulation of heat shock protein expression in aging and neuro degenerative disorders associated with oxidative stress: a nutritional approach. PMID:14661103

Nitric oxide and cellular stress response in brain aging and neurodegenerative disorders: the role of vitagenes. PMID:15341181

Oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease and antioxidant neuroprotection PMID:9565761

Redox regulation in neurodegeneration and longevity: role of the heme oxygenase and HSP70 systems in brain stress tolerance. PMID:15345150

The curry spice curcumin reduces oxidative damage and amyloid pathology in an Alzheimer transgenic mouse. PMID:11606625

Regional distribution of heme oxygenase, HSP70, and glutathione in brain: relevance for endogenous oxidant/antioxidant balance and stress tolerance. PMID:11933050

Evidence of oxidative stress and in vivo neurotoxicity of beta-amyloid in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease: a chronic oxidative paradigm for testing antioxidant therapies in vivo. PMID:9546346

The heat shock/oxidative stress connection. Relevance to Alzheimer disease. PMID:8871938

Alzheimer's disease and oxidative stress: implications for novel therapeutic approaches. PMID:10096843

Curcumin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, induces heme oxygenase-1 and protects endothelial cells against oxidative stress.

Heme oxygenase-1: function, regulation, and implication of a novel stress-inducible protein in oxidant-induced lung injury. PMID:8679227

Alzheimer's disease--synergistic effects of glucose deficit, oxidative stress and advanced glycation end products. PMID:9720973

Antioxidant strategies for Alzheimer's disease. PMID:12133201

Redox-active metals, oxidative stress, and Alzheimer's disease pathology. PMID:15105262

Oxidative stress hypothesis in Alzheimer's disease. PMID:9165306

Regulation of heme oxygenase expression by cyclopentenone prostaglandins. PMID:12709576

Vitamin E and other antioxidants in neuroprotection. PMID:10389030

Vitamin E as an antioxidant/free-radical scavenger against amyloid beta-peptide-induced oxidative stress in neocortical synaptosomal membranes and hippocampal neurons in culture: insights into Alzheimer's disease. PMID:10658956

Decreased activity of the antioxidant heme oxygenase enzyme: implications in ischemia and in Alzheimer's disease. PMID:12057765

Homocysteine and B vitamins relate to brain volume and white-matter changes in geriatric patients with psychiatric disorders

Elevated homocysteine and low folate were associated with radiological markers of neuropathology. Since no patient had clinically deficient folate, it may be important to rethink what defines functionally significant micronutrient deficiency and explore what this means in different age and health-status groups.

American Journal of Geriatr Psychiatry. 2004 PMID:15545331

Can cognitive deterioration associated with Down syndrome be reduced?

By Thiel R, Fowkes SW. Center for Natural Health Research, Down Syndrome-Epilepsy Foundation, 2005;64(3):524-32.

This paper suggests that essential nutrients such as folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and zinc, as well as alpha-lipoic acid and carnosine may be partially preventive.

Standardized Curcumin (Turmeric)

Curcumin, the active constituent of the spice turmeric, is an antioxidant that may possess benefits for degenerative diseases. Curcumin has also shown a wide range of health-boosting properties, including support for inflammation relief and circulation.

In several studies, curcumin has shown increasing potential as an anti-cancer agent. Curcumin has previously displayed success in protecting against the development of colonic tumors in laboratory animals treated with colon cancer-inducing agents. In a study published in the Journal of Carcinogenesis, curcumin appeared to induce cellular arrest when added to human colon cancer cells. Other studies show that curcumin's anti-cancer effects appear to be due to its ability to induce apoptosis, a predetermined death of cells, as well as to arrest the cell cycle. Other published studies show that curcumin effectively inhibits cancer cell growth in human skin cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer cells. Large randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies need to be conducted in humans to prove benefits in cancer patients.

Curcumin may hold anti-inflammatory properties, as studies have shown that it may benefit joint function, while reducing inflammation and pain. Curcumin has been shown to reduce inflammation by lowering histamine levels, while possibly increasing the production of natural cortisone by the adrenal glands. This antioxidant has been used in rheumatoid arthritis trials, and was shown to display some benefits for reducing inflammation and symptoms such as pain and stiffness. And in a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutic Toxicology, curcumin was proven effective at easting post-surgical inflammation.

In studies, curcumin has displayed other health benefits. It has been shown to aid circulation, as it may reduce platelets from clumping together, and may defend against atherosclerosis.

Curcumin is also effective at shielding the liver from various toxic compounds. And one recent study showed that curcumin may have some benefit for cystic fibrosis.


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Updated: Dec 21 2013