An expert on Alzheimer’s disease says there is growing evidence that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, may help fight the brain disorder.

Alzheimer’s disease, which affects over 44 million people globally and 750 000 South Africans, is a type of dementia associated with memory loss and other serious cognitive problems.

There is no cure but efforts are underway to prevent, delay or treat it.

British neuroscientist, Dr Joseph Jebelli, who specialises in Alzheimer’s disease research and who has authored a celebrated book on the subject, said on BBC2 radio that the disease results from a build-up of protein called plaques and tangles which kill brain cells, adding there was growing evidence of curcumin’s positive role in countering this.

“They’ve shown in lots of cell culture studies that there’s a compound within turmeric called ‘curcumin’ which dismantles plaques and tangles and you can see this happening under the microscope,” he said, explaining in his book that “further tests found that curcumin might even stop tangles forming.”

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Jebelli said that while more research was necessary, evidence of turmeric and curcumin’s role in countering Alzheimer’s was growing: “When you look at the literature, there’s a lot of evidence for it.”

Related: The link between sleep and Alzheimer’s disease

Meanwhile, a Chinese human clinical trial found the turmeric extract BCM-95 (found in food supplement Bio-Curcumin) to be highly beneficial in preventing further cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Another 2015 study also found curcumin’s potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties help fight the brain disease.

“Curcumin has demonstrated ability to enter the brain, bind and destroy the beta-amyloid plaques present in Alzheimer’s with reduced toxicity,” said study author Dr Wellington Pham.

Health and wellness expert Vanessa Ascencao said BCM-95 used in Bio-Curcumin had received a US patent for potentially helping fight Alzheimer’s due to its enhanced absorption and bioavailability.

She added that multiple studies confirmed curcumin’s remarkable anti-inflammatory properties in countering rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, diabetes, heart disease and other ailments.

Coping with early onset of Alzheimer’s disease

Ascencao suggests the following tips to counter or cope with early onset of Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Exercise helps stimulate the brain and improve cognitive decline.
  • Stay mentally active. Learn new things and improve your awareness of Alzheimer’s.
  • Get enough sleep. Research shows that disrupted sleep may contribute to Alzheimer’s.
  • Eat a balanced diet, including fruit and vegetables, which helps reduce inflammation. Research shows that combining parts of the Mediterranean and DASH diets may reduce risk of Alzheimer’s by 53 percent.
  • Manage stress. Experts say that severe stress, chronic anxiety and fear damages the brain.
  • Seek professional psychological help if needed and join support groups.
  • Take good quality supplements such as Bio-Curcumin which contains BCM-95, a clinically proven, 100% natural extract of turmeric for fast and effective relief from inflammation.

Bio-Curcumin is available nationally at leading health stores, pharmacies and Dis-Chem.

Sources: Linked in the text above

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