On Monday, proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, included an article from researchers who isolated the active component of turmeric that could help in fighting Alzheimers. Accordingly, Dr. Milan Fiala of the University of California Los Angeles demonstrated that turmeric, a common ingredient of curries and curry powder, contains bisdemethoxy-curcumin. They demonstrated that bisdemethoxycurcumin can increase the number of immune cells called macrophages. The macrophages in turn clear a protein called amyloid beta, which clogs the brains of Alzheimer’s patients and kills brain cells. This furthers research from that Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science that demonstrated that curcumin has anti-amyloidogenic effects in-vitro.
The image of the turmeric powder comes from Alibaba.com, which is an online retailer for everything from spices to apparel.
Researchers, however, warn that the required dose for humans to achieve an appreciable level of activity is not known. That is, though the components has been identified, the research does not identify how much turmeric a patient needs to consume before benefits can be realized.
Bisdemethoxy-curcumin belongs to a group of compounds called polyphenol curcumin (or curcuminoids). Other research has shown that related curcuminoids also have antioxidant properties as well. It has been demonstrated to help prevent tumors from forming in the laboratory and in rats.
The discovery is heralded as a breakthrough, because it could change the treatment for Alzheimer’s. It could be used to develop treatment approaches to stimulate increased natural immune response against amyloid beta. Effectively, it presents new therapeutic opportunities.