India has a spectacularly low incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, compared to the U.S. Americans are eight times more likely to get the dementia-causing illness than people in India.
So what’s India’s secret?
Many health authorities believe it is turmeric, a spice that is a staple in the Asian nation’s curry-based daily diet. Turmeric’s powers are credited to a substance in it called curcumin.
Consequently, many Americans take turmeric because it contains curcumin, or they take the compound extracted from turmeric on its own.
But there’s a problem. Curcumin is poorly absorbed by some people. Much of it passes through their systems before it does any good.
But scientists have now been able to chemically tweak curcumin so it’s better absorbed by almost everyone, supercharging its ability to do its job. Called Theracurmin, it has all the plus factors of curcumin.
“Studies have shown Theracurmin is 27 times more easily absorbed than regular curcumin,” says Marc Cohen, M.D., who heads the Department of Complementary Medicine at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
“It’s a blockbuster nutrient, almost a magic bullet because of its many health benefits, particularly its anti-inflammatory properties.”
Dr. Cohen is co-author of “Herbs and Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Guide,” a book widely considered one of complementary medicine’s most comprehensive directories.
“Turmeric, besides all its other benefits, is a powerful antioxidant,” Dr. Cohen tells Newsmax Health.
“It stops lipid oxidation and is anti-inflammatory. Studies identify it as an aid in preventing Alzheimer’s.”
Turmeric also can improve other chronic conditions of aging. An osteoporosis sufferer himself, Dr. Cohen takes a teaspoon of turmeric powder each day — a regimen he says is a great help in reducing joint pain and aiding movement.
His own doctors recommended he take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to quell pain. He refused, preferring Theracurmin, which has “positive rather than negative side effects. The good thing about turmeric is that there’s no toxicity risk — you won’t overdose. Some people have it with olive oil to improve absorption, others stir it into milk. Taking it with something fatty aids absorption.”
But because of its different formulation, Theracurmin can be absorbed even when taken without oil.
Dr. Cohen also tries to use as much turmeric as possible in cooking. “I realize some people don’t like curries,” he concedes. “It’s a pity, but that’s the way it is.”
Various studies have found turmeric, a member of the ginger family, is helpful against a variety of ills.
Some of its properties, include lowering cholesterol, decreasing inflammation, controlling blood sugar, relieving arthritis, improving liver function, aiding digestion, promoting wound-healing, preventing various cancers.
A decision consumers face is choosing the most appropriate form. Should people take powdered turmeric (as in capsules), curcumin, or Theracurmin?
According to Dr. Cohen, “everyone can benefit” from whatever form is chosen.
“If you want to relieve disease symptoms quickly, I’d definitely suggest curcumin capsules rather than traditional turmeric powder. In the case of arthritis sufferers, I’d expect a lessening of symptoms within a week,” Dr. Cohen adds. “However, if you decide there’s no effect or fairly minimal effect, far stronger Theracurmin (300 mg twice a day)is a better choice.”
Curcumin capsules are widely available at drugstores and health food stories. Theracurmin is a little more difficult to find, but it is available in several brands through the Internet and large health food stores.
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