Turmeric Can Help Much More Than Just Inflammation

The yellow spice in curry may help against Alzheimer’s too.

(tarapong srichaiyos / Shutterstock.com)

Many people swear by turmeric because it has known anti-inflammatory properties. It is commonly suggested as a natural way of treating arthritis and sports injuries because of the antioxidant curcumin that the yellow spice that is found in curry contains.

What you may not know is that the curcumin turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years to heal a variety of ailments for thousands of years. Now it may be able to help with Alzheimer’s patients by preventing cognitive degeneration.

Scientists have been trying to research curcumin to find scientific proof that it can successfully treat diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and exactly what else it can do but have been frustrated by the body’s inability to absorb it according to a press release by The University of South Australia (UniSA).

Now, researchers from UniSA, McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada and Texas A&M University in College Station have shown that curcumin can be absorbed by the cells if it is delivered via tiny nanoparticles. This international team developed nano formulation that actually changed the curcumin and increased its oral bioavailability by 117 percent according to the press release.

The researchers were then able to do studies on animals that showed the nanoparticles containing curcumin prevented cognitive deterioration and also reverses damage. This finding could pave the way for clinical development trials for Alzheimer’s.

Co-author Professor Xin-Fu Zhou, a UniSA neuroscientist said in the news release that this new formulation could offer a solution for Alzheimer’s disease.

“Curcumin is a compound that suppresses oxidative stress and inflammation, both key pathological factors for Alzheimer’s, and it also helps remove amyloid plaques, small fragments of protein that clump together in the brains of Alzheimer disease patients,” said Zhou.

This same method is now being tested to see if curcumin can prevent the spread of genital herpes. “To treat genital herpes (HSV-2) you need a form of curcumin that is better absorbed, which is why it needs to be encapsulated in a nano formulation,” said Professor Sanjay Garg from UniSA who was part of the research team.

“Curcumin can stop the genital herpes virus, it helps in reducing the inflammation and makes it less susceptible to HIV and other STIs,” Garg said.

The findings were published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences and Drug Delivery and Translational Research as part I and part II.

If these trials are successful, we may be one-step closer to preventing the cognitive decline that is so deliberating for Alzheimer sufferers. And who knows what else this tasty yellow spice can do.

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