Turmeric Compound Boosts Regeneration of Brain Stem Cells
Recent animal research3, 4 suggests another bioactive compound in turmeric called aromatic-turmerone can increase neural stem cell growth in the brain by as much as 80 percent at certain concentrations. Neural stem cells differentiate into neurons and play an important role in self-repair.The findings suggest aromatic-turmerone may help in the recovery of brain function in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and stroke—provided the effect also applies to humans. As reported by Time Magazine:5“[T]he same research group found that rodent neural stem cells grew when they were bathed in a solution of aromatic-turmerone. The cells bathed in the turmeric compound also appeared to specialize into certain types of brain cells more rapidly.‘It is interesting that it might be possible to boost the effectiveness of the stem cells with aromatic-turmerone,’ Maria Adele Rueger, a researcher on the team, told the BBC. ‘And it is possible this in turn can help boost repair in the brain.’”Previous research has also shown that curcumin may help inhibit the accumulation of destructive beta-amyloids in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, as well as break up existing plaques.People with Alzheimer’s tend to have higher levels of inflammation in their brains, and curcumin is perhaps most known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties.The compound can inhibit both the activity and the inflammatory metabolic byproducts of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOX) enzymes, as well as other enzymes and hormones that modulate inflammation.
Turmeric May Be One of the Most Useful Herbs on the Planet
The effects of turmeric are not limited to brain health. As noted in a previous GreenMedInfo6 article on this subject, turmeric has been “empirically demonstrated to positively modulate over 160 different physiological pathways.”A study published in the Natural Product Reports7 in 2011 describes curcumin as being therapeutic for a wide range of diseases, including:
Lung and liver diseases Neurological diseases Metabolic diseases Autoimmune disorders Cardiovascular diseases Inflammatory diseasesFor example, curcumin has been shown to benefit those with osteoarthritis. Research8 published in 2011 found that patients who added 200 mg of curcumin a day to their treatment plan had reduced pain and increased mobility, whereas the control group, which received no curcumin, had no significant improvements.A 2006 study9 also found that a turmeric extract composed of curcuminoids (plant-based nutrients that contain powerful antioxidant properties) blocked inflammatory pathways, effectively preventing the launch of a protein that triggers swelling and pain.Studies now numbering in the hundreds have shown that curcumin and other bioactive compounds in the spice may be helpful for a wide array of health problems. For example, research has shown turmeric can:
Support healthy cholesterol levels Prevent low-density lipoprotein oxidation Inhibit platelet aggregation Suppress thrombosis and myocardial infarction Suppress symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes Suppress symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis Suppress symptoms of multiple sclerosis Protect against radiation-induced damage and heavy metal toxicity Inhibit HIV replication Suppress tumor formation Enhance wound healing Protect against liver damage Increase bile secretion Protect against cataracts Protect against pulmonary toxicity and fibrosis
Curcumin—A Potent Anti-Cancer Herb
Dr. William LaValley is one of the leading natural medicine cancer physicians. He has spent a considerable amount of time immersing himself in the science of curcumin, which has the most evidence-based literature10 supporting its use against cancer of any other nutrient. This includes vitamin D, which also has a robust base. Curcumin has been shown to be nontoxic and appears to be safe in the treatment of all cancers. Interestingly, it appears to be universally useful for just about every type of cancer, which is quite odd considering cancer consists of a wide variety of different molecular pathologies. You wouldn’t necessarily suspect that there would be one herb that would work for most of them.As mentioned, curcumin has the ability to modulate genetic activity and expression, and in cancer, it can both destroy cancer cells and promote healthy cell function. It also promotes anti-angiogenesis, meaning it helps prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth, and affects more than 100 different molecular pathways once it gets into a cell.As explained by Dr. LaValley, the curcumin molecule may cause either an increase in activity of a particular molecular target, or a decrease/inhibition of activity—either way, studies repeatedly show that the end result is a potent anti-cancer activity. This is why it appears to work for virtually all cancers. Furthermore, curcumin does not adversely affect healthy cells, suggesting it selectively targets cancer cells. Research has also shown that it works synergistically with certain chemotherapy drugs, enhancing the elimination of cancer cells.
How to Use Curcumin
For clinical results, it’s not enough to liberally add turmeric to your food. The turmeric root itself contains only about three percent curcumin concentration, and curcumin is poorly absorbed by your body to boot. Even in supplement form it’s unlikely to provide the results shown in various disease studies. Poor absorption is also the drawback that makes curcumin unsuitable for emergency treatment of stroke. When taken in its raw form, you’re only absorbing about one percent of the available curcumin.It is easiest and far more convenient to find a high-quality turmeric extract that contains 100 percent certified organic ingredients, with at least 95 percent curcuminoids. The formula should be free of fillers, additives, and excipients (a substance added to the supplement as a processing or stability aid), and the manufacturer should use safe production practices at all stages: planting, cultivation, selective harvesting, and then producing and packaging the final product.