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Turmeric and Brain Health

Updated on March 25, 2018
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A physician,MD,A Medical writer,from Egypt,interrested in all topics of medical writing,public health.mother and child health,pediatrcs.

Enhance your brain function with Turmeric

What is Turmeric? …

Turmeric( Curcuma Longa) is one of the most commonly used spices in Indian curries and other kinds of dishes.Turmeric may be one of the most useful herbs on earth. It is very effective and beneficial to your brain and body too.

Curcumin, a bioactive ingredient in the curry spice turmeric,has over 150 potentially therapeutic activities. It can be used in treatment of several diseases by having more than 300 bioactive components,exerting one or more biological actions in our body when consumed.

Curcuma.n, a yellow pigment and the main “curcuminoid” bioactive compound in turmeric has unique properties. Chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and most chronic diseases are closely linked. Curcumin possesses antioxidant properties playing a key role in the prevention and treatment of chronic inflammation diseases.

Turmeric ,a magic herb , that powerfully enhances brain health:

India has the lowest dementia rates worldwide.This can be related to the fact that most Indians consume between 25-50 milligrams (mg) of turmeric as part of their daily diet over their entire lifetime. Curcumin was studied for its potential role in improving Parkinson's, Alzheimer's disease, and stroke damage.

How turmeric protects and enhances our brain health:

1)Boosting Immune System Activity:

Curcumin enhances macrophages which are an essential part of our immune system. They are a type of white blood cell that engulfs and digests cellular debris, foreign substances, microbes, cancer cells, and anything else that does not have proteins that signal to be unhealthy on its surface.

Alzheimer’s patients are known to have defects in clearing away so-called “amyloid plaques” in affected areas of their brains, which is a function normally performed by macrophages. Amyloid plaques form outside nerve cells in the brain (known as “neurons”) and contain beta-amyloid protein and other substances.

Hopefully in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease, low doses of curcumin reduced beta-amyloid protein levels in their brains by around 40%.

Curcumin appears to enhance the immune system’s ability to clear away amyloid plaques through macrophages , which makes it potentially very useful as part of a future therapy for Alzheimer’s disease.

2) Anti-Inflammatory Benefits of curcumin for Alzheimer’s Disease

Turmeric can be useful in prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.One of the main indications in Alzheimer’s disease is chronic inflammation in the brain and a build up of pro-inflammatory substances, which happens along with the formation and accumulation of beta-amyloid protein.

Prolonged treatment with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) has been shown to reduce inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease.

However, chronic use of NSAIDs is also toxic for the kidneys, liver, and gut.

Curcumin was shown to lower inflammation levels markedly via several mechanisms. It lowers levels of “pro-inflammatory cytokines”, which normally promote inflammation in our bodies as part of normal immune system signaling during infections and injuries.

Unlike NSAIDs, turmeric is non-toxic up to very high doses, so its safety is assured.

3)Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant:

What are Free radicals?

Free radicals are highly reactive compounds , created daily in our bodies as a result of normal biological processes, environmental pollution, stress, and chemical exposure. These free radicals damage cells (including nerve cells) as well as biological structures inside them, leading in time to chronic diseases including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Turmeric contains powerful curcuminoid and other potent antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and prevent damage of brain cells, not only in Alzheimer’s disease, but also in other brain diseases such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease. Both curcumin and curcuma oil have been shown to significantly reduce neurological damage caused by free radicals in laboratory animal models.

4) Curcumin acts against triggering apoptosis

Apoptosis or, programmed cell death , is the natural method to get rid of infected and dying cells in our body without affecting surrounding healthy tissue..

Curcumin reverses some of the biochemical changes associated with aging in the brain. In addition,, curcumin binds to heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, copper, zinc, and iron. So,it may counteract any neurotoxic effects these metals on the brain.

Moreover, curcumin increases your body’s endogenous production of some of the most potent antioxidant enzymes , like glutathione, glutathione reductase, glutathione-S-tranferase, and superoxide dismutase. Thus getting a new way to treat cognitive disorder and decline

Curcumin is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, which is the reason why it holds promise as a neuroprotective agent.

5)Turmerone can increase neural stem cell growth in the brain :

The bioactive compound in turmeric called aromatic-turmerone can increase neural stem cell growth in the brain by as much as 80 percent at certain concentrations. Neural stem cells differentiate into neurons and play an important role in self-repair.

The presence of ar-tumerone in the brain causes an increased number of neural stem cells to move to areas of the brain that require new neurons. Ar-turmerone organizes and accelerates the brain’s self-healing potential.

Ar-tumerone not only “plays offense” by triggering neurogenesis, but also defends the brain against damage. It does so by blocking the activation of microglia cells, which cause neuroinflammation.

Aromatic-turmerone may help in the recovery of brain function in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and stroke.

6)Turmeric is beneficial to those suffering from'' Depression''

Promising results regarding the effect of Turmeric in treatment of depression. Depression is connected to lowered levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factors and a shrinking of the hippocampus which is the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Curcumin can potentially reverse these effects by enhancing BNDF (brain-derived neurotrophic factors) levels.

Also, there is an evidence that curcumin can increase the brain neurotransmitters which produce dopamine and serotonin.

7)Turmeric relieves brain fog :

Curcuminoids increase the bioavailability of DHA, which is an omega-3 fatty acid.

This fatty acid is essential to maintain your brain’s regular health and provides energy for problem solving neural connections.

Turmeric not only increase the bioavailability of DHA, but also boosts the levels of the fatty acid in your brain, helping neural connections thrive. Thus helps you act quickly and ready to problem solve, remember fine details, and learn new things. It also helps in reducing anxiety, mental fatigue and energy loss.

8)Turmeric extract even increases neuroplasticity, which means increaseing your brain’s ability to grow and learn new things throughout life. Children’s brains have higher levels of plasticity than adults .

Neuroplasticity can be trained back in through learning new things, like juggling, knitting, or other crafts,as well as reducing inflammation and increasing the level of plasticity through supplements like turmeric curcumin.

This is promising news for people who have chronic stress which can highly damage the brains neuroplasticity over time. This stress can be present in a variety of ways from high cortisol and adrenal hormones to bodily stressors like lack of proper exercise, lack of sleep, or lack of proper nutrition.

Turmeric also helps reduce any inflammation present in the brain. Consistent inflammation causes mental fatigue, and the feeling of brain fog. A brain free of inflammation is one that’s free of cloudy thinking, mood imbalance, and cognitive decline

Neural inflammation and chronic stress is one of the leading causes of death in the United States – not beyond cancer or heart disease – but being one of the major contributing factors to these diseases.

9)Turmeric attenuates fouride neurotoxicity:

Flouride is indeed a toxic to the brain. Its neurotoxicity is due to its obvious influence on phospholipid and fatty acid composition in brain cells where lipid peroxidation (LPO) due to oxidative stress causes a decrease in total brain phospholipid content. Thus, the oxidative stress is responsible for neurodegenerative changes observed in fluorosis patients. Damage to nerve cells can reflect both an increase in oxidative processes and a decrease in antioxidant defenses.

Curcumin (Cur) has protective effect against health effects of Flouride, It reacts with the free radical and can protect cell from singlet oxygen, hydroxyl radical, and superoxide radical damage.

The increase in the level of glutathione by Curcumin indicates its antioxidant property possibly by increasing the endogenous defense of the brain to combat oxidative stress.

Supplementation with curcumin significantly reduce the toxic effect of F to near normal level by augmenting the antioxidant defense through its scavenging property and provide therapeutic role against oxidative stress mediated neurodegeneration.

10)Turmeric had effect on improving working memory in prediabetics:

Interest in turmeric as a tonic and regenerative agent for brain conditions is growing rapidly. Studies showed that a modest addition of 1 g turmeric improved working memory (WM) over 6 hours in older people with pre-diabetes

Increased prevalence of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, brain cancer and the cognitively impairing metabolic dysregulations associated with type 2 diabetes were studied.

Turmeric improves post-prandial working memory in pre-diabetes independent of insulin, preventing cognitive impairment linked to pre-diabetes and dementia.

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How Can You Add Turmeric to Your Daily Diet?

First you should know is that curcumin, the main beneficial bioactive ingredient in turmeric, is not soluble in water, but only in fats and oils. Therefore, it’s better to combine turmeric with healthy oils such as extra virgin olive or coconut oil whenever possible. The main bioactive ingredient in black pepper seeds, known as piperine, can increase curcumin absorption by as much as 2000%.

The best way to get all of turmeric’s many health benefits is to consume whole fresh turmeric root mixed with a natural oil.This enhances curcumin’s absorption into our bodies by as much as seven to eight-fold. Grated or chopped turmeric adds both color and a gingery flavor to soups and sauces.

Because it's a fat-loving or lipophilic molecule, many newer preparations now include some of oil or fat, which improves its absorbability and bioavailability. Such preparations typically have seven to eight times higher absorption than the raw, unprocessed 95-percent-concentration of dry powder. Newer sustained release preparations are now available.

Possible Turmeric Side Effects?

Turmeric is safe for any individual to consume , but even natural remedies can have side effects or interactions with certain medical conditions or medications.

Always consult your doctor first before taking any turmeric extract whether it’s a remedy for brain fog or for your general health and well-being.

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