Brain Shield

We have already told you in an earlier issue, that curcumin (a component of turmeric and cumin seeds) could break up plaques formed by beta-amyloid deposits in the brains of genetically altered lab mice. Such plaques are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. When the researchers added small amounts of curcumin to human beta-amyloid proteins in a test tube, the compound kept the proteins from accumulated to from the fibers that comprise the plaques. Reporting in the Journal of Boilogical Chemistry, the UCLA research team said curcumin was more effective in inhibited plaque formation than some drugs being tested as Alzheimer’s treatments. Curcumin’s low molecular weight and structure allows it to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and bind to beta-amyloid.
Curcumin has been used for thousands of years as an anti-inflammatory in traditional Indian medicine to treat a variety of ailments. It appears to counter the oxidative damage and inflammation that occurs in response to amyloid deposits, the UCLA researchers sat. Apart from Alzheimer’s disease, curcumin is under study in cancer and heart disease and animal studies suggest it may also help treat multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis. According to the researchers no spice has ever looked more promising.

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