Turmeric helps fight Alzheimer’s

NEW DELHI: Curry lovers may be better protected against Alzheimer’s, the progressive brain disorder that gradually destroys a person’s memory and ability to reason and make judgments.

Scientists have for the first time isolated bisdemethoxycurcumin, the active ingredient of curcuminoids, a natural substance found in turmeric root that stimulates the immune system to destroy brain-clogging proteins that cause Alzheimer’s. The disease presently affects 5% of the population above the age of 60 in India.

According to Dr Milan Fiala of the University of California Los Angeles, who has announced the finding in the July 16 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this study gives hope for a possibility to infuse this compound into patients and treat the incurable and fatal brain condition.

According to the study, bisdemethoxycurcumin boosts the immune system in clearing amyloid beta, a peptide that forms the plaques found in Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, researchers have also identified the immune genes associated with this activity.

Turmeric (haldi), the most common ingredient of Indian curry, has earlier proved effective in lowering cholesterol, glucose and combating cancer. It is also known to have anti-oxidant, anti-infectious and anti-inflammatory properties. Dr Anshu Rohagti, consultant, neurology, Sir Gangaram Hospital, told TOI, “Incidence of dementia is much lower in India that the western countries.

Till now, we knew it was due to possible under-reporting and because India had a much younger population. But now, this study shows that consumption of turmeric, which is synonymous to the Indian palate, may have had a role to play.” Dr Fiala’s team said they had shown earlier that curcumin does affect the brain cells of an Alzheimer’s patient but could not pinpoint the exact factor in curcumin which plays this role.

Source: The Times Of India

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