Recent research has confirmed that a common spice might lead to damaged brain regeneration.
Turmeric is a yellow-pigmented curry spice commonly used in Indian cuisine. But, this incredible spice is far more than just a cooking staple! It has been used in the traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years thanks to its healing properties. There are dozens of studies that have shown that this golden spice really deserves the name The Queen of all Spices.
Turmeric is one of the most versatile medicinal spices since it has about 600 experimentally proven health benefits.
However, over the past few years, researchers have focused on one of its phytocompounds, i.e., curcumin, the main polyphenol present in the spice that gives turmeric its golden hue. Curcumin is one of its most studied bioactive ingredients, which has been found to improve overall health and reduce the risk of a wide range of health conditions.
This turmeric’s active ingredient has an ability to exhibit about 150 potentially therapeutic activities. Specifically, it offers anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-cancer properties. These properties of curcumin have been thoroughly studied. Researchers have concluded that this compound offers beneficial effects in the treatment of a great number of health problems, including skin issues, arthritis, high blood pressure, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s, some cancer types, and more.
It has been proven that the spice provide similar effects as the related pharmaceuticals. However, it does not lead to any adverse side-effects.
The Spice Helps in the Treatment of Many Neurological Disorders
A recent study has found that curcumin may increase the levels of BDNF, which is a type of a growth hormone. Low levels of the hormone are often linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and many other stress-related disorders. Furthermore, curcumin can result in an increase in brain activity and memory improvement.
In addition, curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier, which has led researchers to examine its ability as a neuroprotective agent for neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Due to of its miraculous anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities, curcumin could also improve brain health in general.
The journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy has published a study suggesting that curcumin alone may not explain the therapeutic effects of turmeric as a whole plant. Researchers concluded that a little-known, fat-soluble ingredient found in turmeric called Ar-tumerone could promote regeneration in neurological disease.
Namely, a group of German researchers examined the effectiveness of this compound derived from turmeric on neural stem cells. In addition, neural stem cells are actually a subgroup of brain cells that can promote continuous self-renewal that is necessary for damaged brain regeneration.
The results showed that neural stem cells elevated in number through improved proliferation when brain cells were exposed to this ingredient. Furthermore, these newly created neural stem cells raised the completely differentiated neuronal cells’ number, showing a remarkable therapeutic effect. Additionally, this therapeutic effect was examined in a live animal model, as well. It suggested that those rats that were injected with ar-tumerone into their brains had a significant increase in the formation of newly created healthy brain cells, as well as neural stem cell proliferation.
How to Obtain Maximum Benefits of Consuming Turmeric
In fact, one of the most common questions people ask is ‘what is the most powerful type of curcumin or turmeric to use?’ Researchers concluded that the whole plant typically carries a wider range of therapeutic and healing compounds than curcumin alone.
Of course, there is actually no generic answer to a generic question about how to take curcumin or turmeric for maximum benefits. The answer to this question often comes from an individual with a specific need, which means recommendations should be bio-individualized.
Namely, in case you suffer from polyps or colonic inflammation, you can decrease inflammation or inhibit precancerous growths by using the whole plant instead of using a highly bioavailable curcumin form in capsules like Meriva. In other words, this form of curcumin will probably be absorbed by the small intestine and pass through the liver. However, it will not get the proper amounts to the large intestine.
In case you want to experience a systemic effect in case of brain cancer or arthritis, you should get turmeric compounds like curcumin via the glucuronidation barrier in the liver along with a black pepper or phospholipid-bound combination.
Keep in mind that you should not wait to develop a serious health issue to start using turmeric. You should use small amounts of the spice in culinary doses along with ingredients that can increase its absorption. The spice is fat-soluble, which means it should be taken along with a healthy fat or black pepper for optimal absorption.
Therefore, using turmeric in curries, or adding a pinch of it to your smoothie on a daily basis may be a perfect daily supplementation approach, compared to capsules. Capsules may have questionably ‘natural’ ingredients that could cause some stress on your liver. So, it is a good idea to use high-quality, organic turmeric in moderate amounts for maximum benefits.
- DeJager, Prashanti. ˮTurmeric: The Ayurvedic Spice of Lifeˮ;
- McBarron, Jan. ˮCurcumin: The 21st Century Cureˮ;
- Majeed, Muhammed. ˮTurmeric and the Healing Curcuminoidsˮ;