August 29, 2016

384 Curcumin & Alzheimer’s [29 Aug 2016]

I previously wrote about curcumin for its use in reducing pain and inflammation (#294 Nov. 2014) and as an adjunct in cancer treatment (#329 July 2015). I recently learned of its potential in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Curcumin is an extract of the spice turmeric which gives curry its yellow color. Chronic low-grade inflammation is increasingly recognized as playing a role in age-related diseases including arthritis, heart disease, dementia, some auto-immune diseases, and cancer. Curcumin is one of the strongest natural anti-inflammatories known, so it makes sense that it could be useful in preventing or treating these conditions. But is there any evidence for curcumin and Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s Disease is associated with an accumulation of beta-amyloid protein in the brain forming what’s called amyloid plaque. In column #334 (August 2015) I described how the newly discovered glymphatic system clears this plaque from our brain during sleep. A 2005 mouse study found that curcumin blocked the formation of amyloid plaque in the brain.

India is probably the world’s biggest consumer of curry (and therefore curcumin) and, it turns out, also has the lowest incidence of dementia. A 2006 study of 1,010 Asian adults aged 60-93 found that those who ate curry more often had significantly better scores on a Mini-Mental State Examination. A two-year study published in 2001 compared older adults in India and Pennsylvania and found the incidence rate per 1000 person-years for Alzheimer’s disease was 4.7 in the Indians compared to 17.5 for the Pennsylvania population.

In column #333 (August 2015) I listed 10 things you could do to reduce your risk of developing dementia: reduce sugar; avoid diabetes; eat enough good fats; keep your weight down; exercise; don’t smoke; avoid excessive alcohol; control blood pressure; get enough sleep, and stay mentally and socially active. Then in column #336 (Sept 2015) I added: optimize vitamin D levels. Now it looks like we can add another: take curcumin to control chronic inflammation.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner. Find this article on my website for links to sources and further reading.

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