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September 2007 - Curry Ingredient Helps Treat Alzheimer’s

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Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that occurs gradually over time and results in memory loss, unusual behavior, personality changes and a decline in thinking abilities. It affects more than 4 million Americans and many millions across the globe. However, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease among adults ages 70 – 79 in India is more than four times less than the rate in the United States. Why such a significant difference?

Some researchers believe the answer for this drastic disparity in Alzheimer’s patients found in India is a direct result of curcumin, a yellow pigment found in curry used as a food dye and preservative.

Treating Alzheimer’s With Curcumin

Curcumin has been part of the Indian traditional medicine for thousands of years, used as a safe anti-inflammatory treatment for a variety of ailments.

According to a study involving genetically-engineered mice, it was suggested that curcumin could inhibit the accumulation of destructive beta amyloids – a component of the neurofibrillary tangles and plaques attributed to Alzheimer’s disease – in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, as well as break up existing plaques.

Based on findings, researchers determined:

  1. Curcumin is more effective in inhibiting the formation of the protein fragments than many other potential Alzheimer’s treatments.
  2. The low molecular weight and the polar structure of curcumin allow it to penetrate the blood-brain barrier effectively and bind to beta amyloid.
  3. Alzheimer’s symptoms caused by inflammation and oxidation are eased by curcumin’s powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Medical News Today: December 29, 2004

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