The Truth about Turmeric and Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimers Concept.

Photo credit: bigstock.com

One risk factor that scientists are aware of is the presence of a protein called apolipoprotein E, which is a naturally occurring protein in the body that helps to carry cholesterol in the blood. Scientists know that there are two forms of this protein, one that protects the brain and the other that does the exact opposite.

A brain with Alzheimer’s has two important abnormalities. First, amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. The plaques we speak of are clumps of protein known as beta amyloid and they are found in the tissue between nerve cells in the brain and degenerating pieces of neurons.

The neurofibrillary tangles are twisted bunches of filaments that are found within the neurons themselves. In Alzheimer’s patients, these filaments are twisted into helical filaments that collect in what are called tangles. This means that the microtubules do not work properly and eventually die off. This results in a collapse of the neuron’s transportation system, so that communication between nerve cells is at first dysfunction, but then later dies entirely.

Studies have suggested that the active ingredient in turmeric, called curcumin, can actually enter the brain, bind to, and then destroy the plaque that is present in those with Alzheimer’s. According to one study performed at Vanderbilt University, curcumin appears to be small enough that it can pass through the blood-brain barrier. This barrier is the body’s natural defense to keep out pathogens. Unfortunately, it has also been a major problem when it comes to developing treatments for this condition.

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5 Comments

  1. Rajen

    Jul 11, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    how can we increase turmeric. curcumin in our diet…

    • Gabe

      Jul 12, 2015 at 1:46 pm

      Curry, which has turmeric as a main ingredient, is a flavorful way of adding turmeric to your diet. Fresh turmeric, root as a whole food, may be the best way to increase your intake of curcumin.

      • Rajen

        Jul 12, 2015 at 3:47 pm

        Hi Gabe, Thanks so much for your response. I’m from India and eat primarily vegetarian dishes at home. They all have turmeric, ginger, garlic and other spices in them. The turmeric in like three recipes is maybe a couple of tea spoons for a serving of 9. Surely it’s better than nothing, but does it get even close to having any beneficial effect. What is the MDR-minimum daily requirement to be of medicinal value. Where can i get more info on this. Thanks again…;)))

  2. MindfullyLiving

    Jul 13, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    There is also a Tumeric User Group on facebook for anyone interested and please also check out Doug’s fabulous new website http://www.turmericlife.com.au/