Terre Pruitt's Blog

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A Possible Help For Alzheimer’s

Posted by terrepruitt on July 12, 2014

I recently came across some information I thought was interesting.  I had heard it before, in fact I mentioned it in my post Turmeric – Flavor With Benefits, but this time I decided to look into a bit to see what is being said.  One of the compounds found in turmeric is curcumin.  Turmeric is a product of a ground root of the Curcuma longa plant.  It is a relative of ginger.  The curcumin is what gives turmeric it’s yellow color.  So basically it is the stuff in turmeric that stains everything it touches.  While in the middle of typing this I needed to make dinner.  I used some turmeric.  This spice has been used in other cultures as a spice to flavor foods, and a medicinal spice.  It has been used as a dye.  It is a subject of study and research as it is thought to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  There is information that has been published regarding using curcumin as a possible prevention and treatment for Alzheimer’s.  The National Center for Biotechnology Information,  U.S. National Library of Medicine’s website has information regarding a paper disclosing such information.  The UCLA Alzheimer Translation Center website also has information regarding how it might help prevent Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is thought to begin with inflammation.  So, as I have stated often in my post, I believe that chronic inflammation in the body is a disease catalyst.  It is as if the body is so busy fighting the inflammation, other things go wrong.  Chronic inflammation is being viewed as a serious health problem.  So again, as I have stated before, things, foods, that can reduce inflammation can be good to add to our diets.

The NCBI article states that the idea that curcumin might help with Alzheimer’s comes from the fact that it is less common in India where they eat a lot of food with curry with turmeric.  This idea was supported by a study in which macrophages (A type of white blood cell that ingests foreign material) was treated with curcumin.  The white blood cells treated with the curcumin were able to clear the type of plague that is thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s.  The article also indicates that since curcumin can pass through the blood brain barrier it can help at the neurological level.  Also, neurotoxicity caused by cadmium and lead was prevented.  Additionally, curcumin might help lower cholesterol.

The bioavailability of the curcumin is not very high.  So eating enough and getting enough could be an issue . . . especially at this point there might not be enough information to know what amount “enough” is.

Another post on The National Center for Biotechnology Information,  U.S. National Library of Medicine’s website claims that three patients with Alzheimer’s showed significant signs of behavioral and psychological improvement after being treated with turmeric powder capsules.  A change was seen after just 12 weeks, but a large improvement of recognizing family members was seen after a year.

There is always risks with anything if one is to use it as a treatment for a specific condition, so before you go out and purchase curcumin capsules please do some research and seek professional advice.  I do think that my adding it to my food would not be a problem.  I know in my post about turmeric I said I would, but I really dislike that it turns my dishes yellow.  But I really think the possible benefits outweigh that.  I prefer to try to use food, herbs, spices, and movement to provide nutrition and health benefits so that I can keep it healthy and hopefully not need medication.

Do you like curry dishes?  What type of curry dishes do you make?  What do you add turmeric to?  Do you have a trick to keeping it from turning things yellow?

6 Responses to “A Possible Help For Alzheimer’s”

  1. paywindow7 said

    Another great post Terre and your mention of chronic inflammation caught my attention. I’m a gym rat and I’m working out three or four times a week and I push it pretty good so naturally I stay sore. I do it because at my age (74) I consider that action part of my independence and mobility. I also have pulmonary problems and whenever I’m feeling bad I go into the gym feeling punk but whenever I walk out I feel better. But is that soreness due to inflammation and am I doing more harm than good to the ol’ bod? Not that I would quit because of the independence factor. Curious.

    Like

    • Hello Robert!
      You are so awesome! Working out — when you don’t push way too hard — is always going to make you feel better. So good for you! You are smart to recognize that and DO IT! 🙂 That is the key (doing it)! The soreness could just be DOMS -(https://terrepruitt.com/2010/05/27/doms/) Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness – which is normal when you workout and stress muscles. Not being personally familiar with you and not being a medical professional I would say that as long as it goes away and is not debilitating, then it is just a normal result of getting a good workout. Also not all inflammation is bad, when you hit your arm really hard against something and it gets swollen . . . that is “good”. It shows you your immune system is working. It helps to keep the tissue safe and can serve as a reminder to be careful with your arm until it heals. And there are other inflammatory reactions in the body that are good. It is the CHRONIC and/or acute inflammation that is not good. I would think that if your soreness lasts for too long or becomes a problem you will know and ask a doctor. It seems that since you are in tune enough to know that you have to move it or lose it . . . you probably are aware of when your body is really having issues.

      Thanks for reading!

      Like

  2. Sonja said

    Hi Terre
    I also heard about tumeric, thanks for reminding me about its alzheimers study. What is the actual flavor of the tumeric, is it really like curry? Is it good as a stand alone spice or really should it be mixed with something sweeter? What have you found?
    Sonja

    Like

    • Ewww. I didn’t know what it tasted like all alone. So I went downstairs to taste it. I slid my finger over the shaker part and picked up what was on it. It doesn’t taste good — to me — alone like that. But neither does cinnamon. Turmeric is one of the spices used in the curry. When I use turmeric I just add it to my dish. Which, if I am cooking always has at least salt. Last night I cooked with garlic olive oil, onion, garlic salt, and turmeric. So try adding it to what you normally cook with. That is what I do. I throw it in marinades. I add it to my veggies. I am not a pepper person, but the articles I read did say that the studies seem to show that pepper helps make the benefits of curcumin more bioavailable. So a little salt and pepper would probably be perfect.

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  3. Danielle said

    I love Turmeric and use it in dal and my favorite dish called Kitchari and also in curries. Hopefully I eat it enough to keep my inflammation down!

    Like

    • Danielle,

      I am not sure everyone HAS chronic/acute inflammation. I bet that whatever amount you eat will be good enough because I think the rest of your diet and lifestyle keeps inflammation at bay. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

      Like

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