Household spice turmeric could help to cure Alzheimer’s disease. So says a study by researchers from the University of California. Turmeric is the spice that gives some Indian food its bright color, and it has long been labeled as a “superfood” due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Now UCLA researchers are claiming that curcumin, found in turmeric, can help to improve brain function and that it might help those suffering from depression.
The research, published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, suggests that daily consumption of curcumin led to significant memory and attention benefits in the study group of adults aged between 51 and 84-years-old. The UCLA study set out to examine whether curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties may protect the brain from neurodegeneration. The study conducted tests and scans with non-demented adults, some of whom took curcumin daily, while others were given a placebo.
Those who took curcumin were found to have improved memory and attention and were found to be happier. The UCLA researchers believe that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties may help “with decreases in plaque and tangle accumulation in brain regions modulating mood and memory.”
According to the Daily Mail, previous studies have found that Alzheimer’s disease is linked to the accumulation of protein plaques in the brain. Inflammation in the brain has also been linked to both dementia and severe depression. Researchers may not be clear as to why curcumin has such amazing health properties, but according to Dr. Gary Small, who ran the study, it seems that a daily helping of turmeric is beneficial.
“Exactly how curcumin exerts its effects is not certain, but it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer’s disease and major depression.”
Interestingly, as reported by the Independent, studies have also shown that the incidence of diseases like Alzheimer’s are less prevalent in countries like India where consumption of turmeric is much higher than in the United States.
Turmeric Could Help With Arthritis, Heart Disease, And Cancer
As a result of its anti-inflammatory property’s turmeric has long been used as a herbal remedy by those suffering from arthritis, heart disease, and even cancer. Turmeric’s effectiveness in the treatment of those conditions may not be scientifically proven, but according to the Daily Express a British woman claims that turmeric “stopped her blood cancer in its tracks.”
Dieneke Ferguson, who is 67-years-old, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma over a decade ago. Ferguson underwent three failed rounds of chemotherapy and started to take turmeric daily after reading about its health benefits. Without any other form of treatment, Ferguson is now cancer-free and living a normal life. Ferguson’s case was reported in the British Medical Journal, but whilst doctors agree that turmeric, and specifically curcumin, worked in Ferguson’s case, they warn that it will not work in every case, and patients should follow the advice of medical professionals.