More than a decade ago, it was noted that people who took anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as naproxen, indomethacin, or ibuprofen, were significantly less likely to develop Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.
At first, scientists thought that these medications’ anti-inflammatory effect was protecting users against these diseases. However, it was then discovered that some anti-inflammatories, such as corticosteroids, actually increased people’s risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Fairly recently, scientists discovered that certain natural substances also reduce the risk of these degenerative brain diseases, while conventional treatments still offer little hope.
Very few drugs have been developed for these conditions. Most that have been created are extremely toxic and have many complications, yet offer little benefit for the condition they are meant to treat.
One of the most impressive of the natural compounds used in combating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s is curcumin.
Several animal models of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have been used to evaluate treatments. Some human clinical trials are now under way as well, and the early results are promising.
Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, curcumin addresses the cause of the problem of neurodegenerative brain diseases. Recent studies have shown that it reduces amyloid by eight different mechanisms, and has been shown to dramatically reduce the amount of this toxic substance in the brains of animal models of Alzheimer’s disease.
Several studies have shown that curcumin does things no other known substance can do:
• Reduces the formation of any amyloid in the brain
• Reduces the formation of amyloid plaque
• Dissolves amyloid plaque once it has formed
Even more remarkable, curcumin can do these things in very low concentrations, easily attainable by oral supplementation.
Curcumin not only dramatically reduces the amount of the oligomeric amyloid, it also significantly reduces its toxicity — thus doubling its benefits against Alzheimer’s disease. And again, it does this in very small concentrations.
Ferulic acid, a substance created by the metabolic breakdown of curcumin, can also reduce beta amyloid in the brain and protect against neurodegeneration. But unfortunately, it has great difficulty passing the blood-brain barrier and entering the brain tissue.
On the other hand, curcumin easily enters the brain, so its benefits are immediate.
Posts by Russell Blaylock, M.D.
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