Turmeric Produces ‘Remarkable’ Recovery in Alzheimer’s Patients

Turmeric Produces ‘Remarkable’ Recovery in Alzheimer’s Patients

 
Monday, June 10th 2013 at 9:00 am
Written By:

Sayer Ji, Founder

Turmeric Produces 'Remarkable' Recovery in Alzheimer's Patients

Turmeric has been used in India for over 5,000 years, which is likely why still today both rural and urban populations have some of the lowest prevalence rates of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the world. A recent study on patients with AD found that less than a gram of turmeric daily, taken for three months, resulted in ‘remarkable improvements.’

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Disturbingly Common Modern Rite of Passage

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), sadly, has become a rite of passage in so-called developed countries.  AD is considered the most common form of dementia, which is defined as a serious loss of cognitive function in previously unimpaired persons, beyond what is expected from normal aging.

A 2006 study estimated that 26 million people throughout the world suffer from this condition, and that by 2050, the prevalence will quadruple, by which time 1 in 85 persons worldwide will be afflicted with the disease.[1]

Given the global extent of the problem, interest in safe and effective preventive and therapeutic interventions within the conventional medical and alternative professions alike are growing.

Unfortunately, conventional drug-based approaches amount to declaring chemical war upon the problem, a mistake which we have documented elsewhere, and which can result in serious neurological harm, as evidenced by the fact that this drug class carries an alarmingly high risk for seizures, according to World Health Organization post-marketing surveillance statistics.[i][2]

What the general public is therefore growing most responsive to is using time-tested, safe, natural and otherwise more effective therapies that rely on foods, spices and familiar culinary ingredients.

Remarkable Recoveries Reported after Administration of Turmeric

Late last year, a remarkable study was published in the journal Ayu titiled “Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer’s disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.” [ii]  Researchers described three patients with Alzheimer’s disease whose behavioral symptoms were “improved remarkably” as a result of consuming 764 milligram of turmeric (curcumin 100 mg/day) for 12 weeks. According to the study:

“All three patients exhibited irritability, agitation, anxiety, and apathy, two patients suffer from urinary incontinence and wonderings. They were prescribed turmeric powder capsules and started recovering from these symptoms without any adverse reaction in the clinical symptom and laboratory data.”

After only 3 months of treatment, both the patients’ symptoms and the burden on their caregivers were significantly decreased.

The report describes the improvements thusly:

“In one case, the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score was up five points, from 12/30 to 17/30. In the other two cases, no significant change was seen in the MMSE; however, they came to recognize their family within 1 year treatment. All cases have been taking turmeric for more than 1 year, re-exacerbation of BPSD was not seen.”

This study illustrates just how powerful a simple natural intervention using a time-tested culinary herb can be.  Given that turmeric has been used medicinally and as a culinary ingredient for over 5,000 years in Indian culture, even attaining the status of a ‘Golden Goddess,’ we should not be surprised at this result. Indeed, epidemiological studies of Indian populations reveal that they have a remarkably lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease relative to Western nations, [3] and this is true for both rural and more “Westernized” urban areas of India.[4]

Could turmeric be a major reason for this?

Turmeric’s Anti-Alzheimer’s Properties.

The GreenMedInfo.com database now contains a broad range of published studies on the value of turmeric, and its primary polyphenol curcumin (which gives it its golden hue), for Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment.*

While there are 114 studies on our Turmeric research page indicating turmeric has a neuroprotective set of physiological actions, [5] 30 of these studies are directly connected to turmeric’s anti-Alzheimer’s disease properties.**

Two of these studies are particularly promising, as they reveal that curcumin is capable of enhancing the clearance of the pathological amyloid–beta plaque in Alzheimer’s disease patients,[6] and that in combination with vitamin D3 the neurorestorative process is further enhanced.[7] Additional preclinical research indicates curcumin (and its analogs) has inhibitory and protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease associated β-amyloid proteins.[8] [9] [10]

Other documented Anti-Alzheimer’s mechanisms include:

  • Anti-inflammatory: Curcumin has been found to play a protective role against β-amyloid protein associated inflammation.[11]
  • Anti-oxidative: Curcumin may reduce damage via antioxidant properties.[12]
  • Anti-cytotoxic: Curcumin appears to protect against the cell-damaging effects of β-amyloid proteins.[13] [14]
  • Anti-amyloidogenic: Turmeric contains a variety of compounds (curcumin, tetrahydrocurcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin) which may strike to the root pathological cause of Alzheimer’s disease by preventing β-amyloid protein formation.[15] [16] [17] [18]
  • Neurorestorative: Curcuminoids appear to rescue long-term potentiation (an indication of functional memory) impaired by amyloid peptide, and may reverse physiological damage by restoring distorted neurites and disrupting existing plaques. [19] [20]
  • Metal-chelating properties: Curcumin has a higher binding affinity for iron and copper rather than zinc, which may contribute to its protective effect in Alzheimer’s disease, as iron-mediated damage may play a pathological role.[21] [22]

Just The Tip of the Medicine Spice Cabinet

The modern kitchen pantry contains a broad range of anti-Alzheimer’s disease items, which plenty of science now confirms. Our Alzheimer’s research page contains research on 97 natural substances of interest. Top on the list, of course, is curcumin. Others include:

  • Coconut Oil: This remarkable substance contains approximately 66% medium chain triglycerides by weight, and is capable of improving symptoms of cognitive decline in those suffering from dementia by increasing brain-boosing ketone bodies, and perhaps more remarkably,within only one dose, and within only two hours.[23]
  • Cocoa: A 2009 study found that cocoa procyanidins may protect against lipid peroxidation associated with neuronal cell death in a manner relevant to Alzheimer’s disease.[24]
  • Sage: A 2003 study found that sage extract has therapeutic value in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.[25]
  • Folic acid: While most of the positive research on this B vitamin has been performed on the semi-synthetic version, which may have unintended, adverse health effects,  the ideal source for this B vitamin is foliage, i.e. green leafy vegetables, as only foods provide folate. Also, the entire B group of vitamins, especially including the homocysteine-modulating B6 and B12,[26] may have the most value in Alzheimer’s disease prevention and treatment.
  • Resveratrol: this compound is mainly found in the Western diet in grapes, wine, peanuts and chocolate. There are 16 articles on our website indicating it has anti-Alzheimer’s properties.[27]

Other potent natural therapies include:

  • Gingko biloba: is one of the few herbs proven to be at least as effective as the pharmaceutical drug Aricept in treating and improving symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.[28] [29]
  • Melissa offinalis: this herb, also known as Lemon Balm, has been found to have therapeutic effect in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.[30]
  • Saffron: this herb compares favorably to the drug donepezil in the treatment of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.[31]

As always, the important thing to remember is that it is our diet and environmental exposures that largely determine our risk of accelerated brain aging and associated dementia. Prevention is an infinitely better strategy, especially considering many of the therapeutic items mentioned above can be used in foods as spices.  Try incorporating small, high-quality culinary doses of spices like turmeric into your dietary pattern, remembering that ‘adding it to taste,’ in a way that is truly enjoyable, may be the ultimate standard for determining what a ‘healthy dose’ is for you.

Notes:

*This statement is not meant to be used to prevent, diagnosis, treat, or cure a disease; rather, it is a statement of fact: the research indexed on our database indicates it

**Our professional database users are empowered to employ the ‘Advanced Database Options’ listed on the top of the Turmeric research page and after clicking the function “Sort Quick Summaries by Title Alphabetically” under  “Available Sorting Options” they can quickly retrieve an alphabetical list of all 613 diseases relevant to the Turmeric research, and then choosing the “Focus” articles selection to the right of the “Alzheimer’s disease” heading to see only the 30 study abstracts relevant to the topic.

Resources


[1] Ron Brookmeyer, Elizabeth Johnson, Kathryn Ziegler-Graham, H Michael Arrighi. Forecasting the global burden of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimers Dement. 2007 Jul ;3(3):186-91. PMID:19595937

[2] Nozomi Hishikawa, Yoriko Takahashi, Yoshinobu Amakusa, Yuhei Tanno, Yoshitake Tuji, Hisayoshi Niwa, Nobuyuki Murakami, U K Krishna. Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer’s disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. Ayu. 2012 Oct ;33(4):499-504. PMID:23723666

[3] V Chandra, R Pandav, H H Dodge, J M Johnston, S H Belle, S T DeKosky, M Ganguli. Incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in a rural community in India: the Indo-US study. Neurology. 2001 Sep 25 ;57(6):985-9. PMID: 11571321

[5] GreenMedInfo.com, Turmeric’s Neuroprotective Properties (114 study abstracts)

[6] Laura Zhang, Milan Fiala, John Cashman, James Sayre, Araceli Espinosa, Michelle Mahanian, Justin Zaghi, Vladimir Badmaev, Michael C Graves, George Bernard, Mark Rosenthal. Curcuminoids enhance amyloid-beta uptake by macrophages of Alzheimer’s disease patients. J Alzheimers Dis. 2006 Sep;10(1):1-7. PMID: 16988474

[7] Ava Masoumi, Ben Goldenson, Senait Ghirmai, Hripsime Avagyan, Justin Zaghi, Ken Abel, Xueying Zheng, Araceli Espinosa-Jeffrey, Michelle Mahanian, Phillip T Liu, Martin Hewison, Matthew Mizwickie, John Cashman, Milan Fiala. 1alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 interacts with curcuminoids to stimulate amyloid-beta clearance by macrophages of Alzheimer’s disease patients. J Alzheimers Dis. 2009 Jul;17(3):703-17. PMID: 19433889

[9] Shilpa Mishra, Mamata Mishra, Pankaj Seth, Shiv Kumar Sharma. Tetrahydrocurcumin confers protection against amyloidβ-induced toxicity. Neuroreport. 2010 Nov 24. Epub 2010 Nov 24. PMID: 21116204

[11] Hong-Mei Wang, Yan-Xin Zhao, Shi Zhang, Gui-Dong Liu, Wen-Yan Kang, Hui-Dong Tang, Jian-Qing Ding, Sheng-Di Chen. PPARgamma agonist curcumin reduces the amyloid-beta-stimulated inflammatory responses in primary astrocytes. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20(4):1189-99. PMID: 20413894

[12] G P Lim, T Chu, F Yang, W Beech, S A Frautschy, G M Cole. The curry spice curcumin reduces oxidative damage and amyloid pathology in an Alzheimer transgenic mouse. J Neurosci. 2001 Nov 1;21(21):8370-7. PMID: 11606625

[15] R Douglas Shytle, Paula C Bickford, Kavon Rezai-zadeh, L Hou, Jin Zeng, Jun Tan, Paul R Sanberg, Cyndy D Sanberg, Bill Roschek, Ryan C Fink, Randall S Alberte. Optimized turmeric extracts have potent anti-amyloidogenic effects. Curr Alzheimer Res. 2009 Dec;6(6):564-71. PMID: 19715544

[16] Fusheng Yang, Giselle P Lim, Aynun N Begum, Oliver J Ubeda, Mychica R Simmons, Surendra S Ambegaokar, Pingping P Chen, Rakez Kayed, Charles G Glabe, Sally A Frautschy, Gregory M Cole.Curcumin inhibits formation of amyloid beta oligomers and fibrils, binds plaques, and reduces amyloid in vivo. Neurochem Int. 2009 Mar-Apr;54(3-4):199-204. Epub 2008 Nov 30. PMID: 15590663

[17] Can Zhang, Andrew Browne, Daniel Child, Rudolph E Tanzi. Curcumin decreases amyloid-beta peptide levels by attenuating the maturation of amyloid-beta precursor protein.Gastroenterology. 2006 Jan;130(1):120-6. PMID: 20622013

[19] Touqeer Ahmed, Anwarul-Hassan Gilani, Narges Hosseinmardi, Saeed Semnanian, Syed Ather Enam, Yaghoub Fathollahi. Curcuminoids rescue long-term potentiation impaired by amyloid peptide in rat hippocampal slices. Synapse. 2010 Oct 20. Epub 2010 Oct 20. PMID: 20963814

[20] M Garcia-Alloza, L A Borrelli, A Rozkalne, B T Hyman, B J Bacskai. Curcumin labels amyloid pathology in vivo, disrupts existing plaques, and partially restores distorted neurites in an Alzheimer mouse model. J Neurochem. 2007 Aug;102(4):1095-104. Epub 2007 Apr 30. PMID:17472706

[21] Larry Baum, Alex Ng. Curcumin interaction with copper and iron suggests one possible mechanism of action in Alzheimer’s disease animal models. J Alzheimers Dis. 2004 Aug;6(4):367-77; discussion 443-9. PMID: 15345806

[23] Mark A Reger, Samuel T Henderson, Cathy Hale, Brenna Cholerton, Laura D Baker, G S Watson, Karen Hyde, Darla Chapman, Suzanne Craft. Effects of beta-hydroxybutyrate on cognition in memory-impaired adults. Neurobiol Aging. 2004 Mar;25(3):311-4. PMID: 15123336

[24] Eun Sun Cho, Young Jin Jang, Nam Joo Kang, Mun Kyung Hwang, Yong Taek Kim, Ki Won Lee, Hyong Joo Lee. Cocoa procyanidins attenuate 4-hydroxynonenal-induced apoptosis of PC12 cells by directly inhibiting mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 4 activity. Free Radic Biol Med. 2009 May 15;46(10):1319-27. Epub 2009 Feb 25. PMID: 19248828

[25] S Akhondzadeh, M Noroozian, M Mohammadi, S Ohadinia, A H Jamshidi, M Khani. Salvia officinalis extract in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: a double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2003 Feb;28(1):53-9. PMID: 12605619

[26] Celeste A de Jager, Abderrahim Oulhaj, Robin Jacoby, Helga Refsum, A David Smith. Cognitive and clinical outcomes of homocysteine-lowering B-vitamin treatment in mild cognitive impairment: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2011 Jul 21. Epub 2011 Jul 21. PMID: 21780182

[30] S Akhondzadeh, M Noroozian, M Mohammadi, S Ohadinia, A H Jamshidi, M Khani. Melissa officinalis extract in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled trial. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2003 Jul;74(7):863-6. PMID: 12810768

[31] Shahin Akhondzadeh, Mehdi Shafiee Sabet, Mohammad Hossein Harirchian, Mansoreh Togha, Hamed Cheraghmakani, Soodeh Razeghi, Seyyed Shamssedin Hejazi, Mohammad Hossein Yousefi, Roozbeh Alimardani, Amirhossein Jamshidi, Shams-Ali Rezazadeh, Aboulghasem Yousefi, Farhad Zare, Atbin Moradi, Ardalan Vossoughi. A 22-week, multicenter, randomized, double-blind controlled trial of Crocus sativus in the treatment of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Jan;207(4):637-43. Epub 2009 Oct 20. PMID: 19838862

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About Dick and Danna

Resume for Dick Vernon, PHD (Possess Highschool Diploma) I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. I am a strong conservative politically. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row. I make women swoon with my sensuous steel guitar playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru. Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I’m bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, I repair computerized aircraft panels free of charge. I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don’t perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. Ihave been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me. I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations with the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On week- ends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I have given Rachel Ray and Emirile cooking lessons. I breed prize-winning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performe open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis many times when I taught him how to play guitar.. But I have not yet gone to college. ——————————————————- Resume for: Danna Vernon I put up with Dick Vernon. Doesn’t that say it all?
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