Turmeric is an incredibly powerful spice that has a place in a huge number of cultures the world over. There is some evidence that turmeric could be used to help fight against the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. In this article, we’re going to give you a little more information on Alzheimer’s, as well as how turmeric can help.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease. It is a type of dementia that can affect thinking, memory, and behaviour. As time goes on, symptoms grow severe enough that they will interfere with day-to-day tasks.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, which is a more general term for memory loss and other cognitive health issues. Alzheimer’s actually accounts for between sixty and eighty percent of total dementia cases.
Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of ageing. While the most well-known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of Alzheimer’s patients are sixty-five or older, there is also a significant number of patients who are unlucky enough to suffer from early-onset Alzheimer’s.
More specifically, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s are degenerative, meaning they can worsen with time. In the early stages, the disease’s effect is mild, often simply memory loss. In later stages, however, patients may actually lose the ability to hold a conversation and respond to the environment around them.
Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, though treatments for symptoms are available. Though current treatments cannot stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, they can slow the worsening of dementia symptoms. This means that they can help to increase the overall quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. The world over, there is a united effort to find a cure for this disease, as well as to find a way to stop its onset.
How can turmeric help?
Turmeric has two main ingredients which studies have shown could help in Alzheimer’s treatment going forward: curcumin and turmerone.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric and is what gives it it’s a characteristic bright yellow colour. This substance has been shown to have a lot of beneficial properties, most notably in its use as an anti-inflammatory. While it could have a usage in this function in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s utility has been studied in another way too.
In rodent studies, mice were dosed with curcumin in a targeted way. The chemical appeared to help prevent the formation of amyloid-beta plaques. It was even shown to break up these chemicals too. These plaques are toxic protein clumps that build up during the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
While these results are promising, similar trials in humans were not. This treatment was tried on human patients, and the same results were not found. There haven’t been many clinical studies in this however, so more study is needed before a concrete conclusion can be drawn one way or another.
There are currently a number of studies taking place which are looking at the anti-inflammatory role of curcumin. This is a well-known ability of the chemical, and the studies will reveal what benefits this property may have in adults with dementia.
The other chemical component of turmeric which has been the subject of studies is turmerone. This ingredient has been a part of several animal studies, and it has been shown to stimulate stem cells, thereby making new brain cells. This is a property that would be very helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, as the creation of new brain tissue could serve to offset the damage which is being done to the brain as the disease progresses.
These experiments, however, are in their infancy. This means that we don’t yet know the true effect that turmerone would have on the stem cells in people. We also don’t yet understand whether this approach would be a good treatment for people with dementia. As there is currently no medication or treatment which can cause stem cells to develop brain tissue, there is no way to trial it and find out.
Turmeric is a powerful spice, and knowing that it has medicinal properties that are yet to be fully explored makes it all the more fascinating. Consider doing some research on this topic, or even donating to the number of worthy causes out there who help people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. To donate towards Alzheimers, please check out this link https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/get-involved/make-donation