January 21, 2015

Curcumin Update Part 1: Latest Findings -- Wow!

Curcumin -- the active ingredient in the spice tumeric -- continues to amaze me with the steady flow of  well-designed studies attesting to its efficacy in treating many diseases and illnesses. Put "curcumin" in the search box at the right and you'll see the many reports I've posted.

For the past few years, I've used a "Google alert" to send me links to any news about curcumin and I periodically summarize these findings. My most recent report was dated November 6 of last year and now here  we are again with a new batch of positive findings.

The one big problem with curcumin is its bioavailabily, i.e. the degree and/or rate at which a substance is absorbed into our systems. Curcumin by itself is not readily absorbed. But, g iven the ever growing number of positive reports on curcumin's potential, a confusing array of products are being marketed to enhance curcumin's bioavailability. We'll take a look at this in Part 2 tomorrow.

Curcumin and Alzheimer’s: A new study  has revealed that curcumin may hold the key to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The study inidicated that a close chemical analog of curcumin has properties that may make it useful as a treatment for the brain disease . I’ll talk more about this study in part two since it primarily involves a new way of delivering curcumin.

Curcumin could help boost memory. Another recent study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology,  explored the effects of curcumin on 60 healthy adults age 60 to 85 to determine whether the spice has any short or long term memory or cognitive effects.

Conducted at the University of Technology in Melbourne Australia, researchers assessed the mental effects of curcumin supplementation  after one hour, three hours, and four weeks. In just one hour after taking the supplements, the participants showed significant performance improvement on memory and attention tasks compared to a placebo group. The participants showed impressive results after four weeks of treatment with curcumin as well. The researchers indicated that working memory, energy levels, calmness and contentedness, and even fatigue induced by  psychological stress,were significantly improved. Participants also had lower cholesterol levels after taking the curcumin supplement.

The study results were achieved using a brand of curcumin called Longvida (a brand that I have used). Again, we'll talk more of the different ways of taking curcumin in Part 2.

Curcumin found to prevent fear being stored in the brain. Psychologists from the City University of New York trained rats to become scared when they heard a particular sound. Hours later, when the same sound was played to the rats, those who have been given ordinary food froze in fear. The rats fed a curcumin rich diet didn't freeze. Scientists hope these findings will contribute to the development of treatments for psychological conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder. Curcumin is a known to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, and this may be how it works I'm fearful memories. See http://dailym.ai/1ChHc2J

As the list of potential benefits from taking curcumin keeps growing, so do the choices being marketed for taking a curcumin booster. Will look at the latest on that in the next post.

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