Recently, several patients with either Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s have joined my practice. To help them manage their conditions holistically, I’ve investigated the use of turmeric. Is it the natural ‘wonder drug?’
Turmeric, the yellow spice used in Indian curry, is one of the most powerful spices used for medicinal purposes. Its primary active component is the polyphrnol curcumin. Tumeric has been associated with 160 potentially therapeutic uses, ranging from anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory to anti-cancer properties. It also has tremendous potential as ‘brain food,’ in fighting Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
Curcumin extract better than drugs for Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease caused by a depletion of dopamine-producing neurons. Most drug treatments for Parkinson’s focus on replenishing dopamine levels in the brain.
Drugs help control symptoms during the early stages of Parkinson’s, yet can increase symptoms – including cognitive deficits, loss of motor control and tremors – over the long term.
Another problem with available drugs is that they fail to provide neuro-protective properties. Curcumin does! Several recent studies support its use for treatment of Parkinson’s patients.
Glutathione depletion is an early sign of Parkinson’s. This triggers oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and cell death. Curcumin alleviates these effects.
Curcumin extract also demonstrated neuroprotective properties in animal studies, due to its antioxidant capabilities and its ability to cross the blood brain barrier.
Tumeric as Brain Food to fight Alzheimer’s
Research indicates curcumin may act to inhibit the development of beta amyloid plaques. Alzheimer’s patients have higher levels of inflammation in their brains. Curcumin’s best known function is for its strong anti-inflammatory properties. It inhibits the activity of enzymes and hormones that modulate inflammation.
Other benefits to Curcumin:
Additional research indicates that curcumin is associated with
* Improved wound healing
* Protection against liver damage
* Suppressing symptoms of:
– Non-insulin dependent diabetes
– Multiple Sclerosis
– Rheumatoid Arthritis
* Suppressing thrombosis and myocardial infarction
NOTE: Prior to beginning a course of supplementation, discuss this option with your doctor or chiropractor.
Ahmad, B., Lapidus, L.J. Curcumin Prevents Aggregation in a-synuclein by Increasing the Reconfiguration Rate. Journal of Biological Chemistry. Manuscript M111.325548. January 20, 2012
Hashimoto, M., Hsu, L.J., Xia, Y., Takeda, A., Sisk, A., Sundsmo, M., Maslliah, E. Oxidative stress induces amyloid-like aggregate formation of NACP/[alpha]-synuclein in vitro. Neurochemistry. March 17, 1999. Vol. 10; No.4. P. 717-721.
Mythri, R.B., Bharath, M.M. Curcumin: a potential neuroprotective agent in Parkinson’s disease. Curr Pharm Des. 2012; Vol. 18; No. 1. P. 91-99.
Wolf, L.K. Turmeric-Derived Compound Curcumin May Treat Alzheimer’s. Chemical and Engineering News. Volume 90; Issue 31. P. 44-46. July 30, 2012