The Amazing Benefits of Turmeric for Alzheimers and Dementia

brain alzheimer's

Turmeric root contains a compound that is believed to have the ability to help fight cancer, reduce cholesterol levels, fight chronic fatigue, and last – but not least – fight Alzheimer’s and dementia.

This compound is fast gaining popularity within the medical community for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which not many other easily-accessible roots can boast.

Whether you suffer from joint pain or are looking for a boost to your mental clarity, Turmeric is the root for you. More specifically, there is a compound within the root called curcumin, which is responsible for turmeric’s health benefits.

Health statistics from India, the plant’s origin, indicates that brain-related health troubles are not common in the country. After further study, this data has led scientists to believe that the amount of fresh turmeric root ingested has greatly contributed to this lack of disease.

Although the root has only caught the attention of the Western world within the past few decades, recent statistics indicate that it may be the treatment to Alzheimer’s and dementia that neuroscientists have been searching for.

One study administered curcumin to aged rats that were showing signs of cognitive decline. The study found that, after 12 weeks, the rats began to show improvement. They recognized other familiar rats and their surroundings much better than rats who had not taken curcumin.

Another study, carried out on human patients suffering from dementia, showed that those who used curcumin for at least three months showed positive improvement. The researchers concluded that the use of turmeric, coupled with therapy and proper diet, could potentially cure brain health conditions if given enough time.

What Is Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

Dementia is a syndrome of the brain, meaning it may have multiple undefined symptoms. Most commonly, people associate this health condition with extreme loss of memory and intellectual ability.alzheimer's disease stats chart

Dementia has been ranked among the top 10 causes of death in the United States as patients are able to carry out everyday activities, such as eating. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that progresses slowly in the brain, beginning years before symptoms ever show up. Generally, this disease only affects individuals over 60-years old but is possible in younger individuals.

The disease affects brain cells, progressively breaking down connections and cells, causing dysfunction and forming protein deposits. Toxic changes occur in the human brain when protein deposits form tau tangles and amyloid plaques – both of which are markers of Alzheimer’s disease.

Since these deposits are abnormal, the neurons, which send signals from your brain to the rest of your body, become dysfunctional and die over time. This results in a lost connection with the rest of the neurons.

In a sense, Alzheimer’s disease causes the brain to progressively shrink, reducing cognitive ability as it does so.

This disease is sometimes referred to as “senile dementia” and typically presents itself in patients 65 and older, however, up to 5% of the population has exhibited a younger onset of the disease, with patients as young as 45-years old being diagnosed with the disease. Once symptoms appear, expected lifespan can range from 4 to 20 years.

Neuroscientists across the globe have carried out a lot of research on the condition, but they have yet to exactly understand the cause of the disease or how it progresses.

Patients are typically provided with treatment to help them cope with the symptoms, but Alzheimer’s patients may not be able to live on their own once symptoms begin. The progression of the disease makes caring for themselves difficult at first, then impossible. Alzheimer’s patients are typically given in-home or nursing home care to ensure they are taken care of, and they do not cause harm to themselves or others.

Researchers suggest that the progressive damage of the brain begins close to one to two decades before symptoms appear. Factors that are suspected to be responsible include various lifestyle factors, genetic factors, and environmental factors. This, unfortunately, doesn’t tell us much.

alzheimer's man

There are a many signs that may indicate a person is suffering from Alzheimer’s, including:

  • Memory Loss

Although most people tend to lose their memory or “have gaps” when they are well advanced in age, extreme cases of memory loss may be an indicator of Alzheimer’s disease. They may forget names of loved ones or begin recounting old memories of their childhood believing it happened yesterday.

  • Extreme Confusion

Those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease may get confused about places, events, and times that they would not normally have trouble remembering. They may confuse people’s faces and identity easily, or believe they are in a different location than they are.

  • Paranoia

Patients may also have unreasonable suspicions about the people around them. They may be paranoid about their caregivers or family members living with them.

  • Anger and Irritation

Patients are battling with their brain and body to get it to function how it should. They may feel easily angered or agitated, lashing out at those around them. This is likely a side effect of extreme confusion, or difficulty in carrying on everyday activities.

  • Involuntary or Difficult Physical Activity

As the disease progresses, patients may begin finding it difficult to walk or swallow food. Previously simple activities, like speaking, become laborious, or even impossible.

Patients may also experience other symptoms such as apathy, loneliness, or depression. The mental and social effects of the disease can make it challenging for patients to rely on friends, family, or other caregivers.

It’s important to diagnose this disease as quickly as possible. As with many diseases, early treatment can be a game-changer.

For some family members, helping an elderly loved one receive diagnosis can be challenging. You can easily mistake the symptoms of Alzheimer’s as a natural part of aging, but this is not always the case.

Left untreated, Alzheimer’s can cause a variety of problems, both in the patient’s memory, and in their daily behavior. Patients suffering from dementia may not realize where they are, where they are trying to go, or who they are at all. Leaving them unsupervised can become risky, or dangerous to their wellbeing. Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients will, over time, become incapable of caring for themselves or performing daily tasks.

There are currently medications available that can help treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s; however, these medications don’t typically offer complete relief.

There is no cure for the disease, which makes discussing alternative options and future wishes incredibly important.

The sooner medical science achieves a breakthrough its quest for a cure, the sooner patients will be able to get their lives back. Modern research suggests there is a strong link between the benefits of turmeric and the reduction of Alzheimer’s symptoms, which is promising news. Because this plant offers so many medicinal benefits, including reduced inflammation and minimizing the brain’s absorption of heavy metals, it’s important this research continues.

How Can Turmeric Battle Alzheimer’s and Dementia?

There are several non-aggressive and non-invasive treatment options that may boost your memory and reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia in elderly patients. One treatment option is turmeric; more specifically, curcumin, the active ingredient inside the root.

turmeric benefits chart for alzheimer's

Current research indicates turmeric may be able to reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. It may also be useful in preventing the development of the disease in the first place.

Remember when we mentioned the brain can begin undergoing changes that lead to the disease up to 20 years before symptoms appear?

Prevention is important.

The World Health Organization and other international health regulators have ruled out various chemical methods attempted at fighting Alzheimer’s. Most of the treatments that scientists have proposed and tried have proven to be too aggressive on brain cells and even lethal to the patients.

The complexity of the disease makes it difficult to come up with an appropriate treatment.

Turmeric’s extracted compound curcumin is giving hope to those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Research carried out by neuroscientists indicate that continuous treatment with turmeric has shown improvements in their health and overall well-being.

  • Research indicates that turmeric can break down and destroy toxic amyloid plaque that cause the disease.
  • Turmeric encourages the restoration of dysfunctional brain neurons, which were a result of the progressive destruction of the disease. Continuous use has shown functional memory return as well.
  • Turmeric inhibits the formation of amyloid beta proteins, protecting the brain from getting Alzheimer’s in the first place, making it a great neuroprotective agent.

One study, however, is giving patients hope. In this study on the effects of turmeric on Alzheimer’s, patients with moderate and severe symptoms were tested. They were under special oversight by caregivers and could not go about their daily activities, experiencing frequent irritability, agitation, anxiety, and apathy. Two of the patients suffered from urinary incontinence and wandered without knowing where they were going.

Researchers administered turmeric capsules to the patients and tested the patients with a variety of exams. After a mere 3 months of treatment, they were tested on the Neuro-Psychiatric Inventory-brief questionnaire. Their scores decreased significantly, which was astoundingly positive. Overall dependence on their caregivers was lessening, and they were able to perform more of their daily activities on their own. 

In one case, the patient showed a five-point increase in the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) which was excellent. In the other two patients who took the MMSE, no significant change was seen, however, they came to recognize their family again after one year of treatment.

In all cases of patients taking a turmeric supplement for more than one year, their behavioral and psychological symptoms did not appear to get worse. In many cases, it showed a positive improvement in the patients’ behavior and symptoms.

Recent Studies on Turmeric’s Effect on Alzheimer’s

how alzheimer's happens

A study in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease demonstrated that curcumin, given in conjunction with Vitamin D, can reduce the amount of amyloid-beta plaques found in patients, more-so than turmeric alone. This is likely because Vitamin D acts as an antioxidant, which enhances curcumin’s ability to be absorbed.

Another excellent antioxidant, which we have seen incredibly benefits with in our Premium Turmeric Curcumin supplement, is piperine, the active compound of black pepper. Piperine is a strong antioxidant that enhances curcumin’s ability to be absorbed by 2000%.

One of the most common problems Alzheimer’s patients experience is inflammation of the brain. This can lead to an assortment of problems, including faster disease progression. Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory and, when taken in high enough doses, it has been shown to help reduce brain swelling, minimizing the symptoms of the disease.

Curcumin has also been shown to minimize the accumulation of notable heavy metals in the body. Heavy metals can drastically impact the prevalence of Alzheimer’s symptoms, and has been associated with brain inflammation.

It’s worth noting that, while it’s a much more technical benefit, curcumin also works to inhibit a specific enzyme called histone deacetylase. This enzyme regulates and normalizes DNA formulation.

In patients with neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, and other diseases like cancer, enzyme inhibitors are frequently used in preventing the spread of the disease throughout the body.

Curcumin may be able to work as an enzyme inhibitor, which is yet another promising reason why it should be considered for Alzheimer’s treatment and further research.

But, there’s dozens of turmeric supplements on the market right now.

How do you choose which one is right for you and where do you start?

The Me First Living Buyer’s Guide is essential to anyone who is considering turmeric but might not know where to start. In the guide, we looked at multiple turmeric supplements, trying and comparing them. We also offer additional information on how to choose a supplement outside of the ones we’ve covered.

So, does turmeric cure Alzheimer’s?

Researchers are still trying to come up with a definitive answer to this question, as they have their hands full with thousands of research studies across the globe on just this one disease.

Turmeric certainly has properties that can cure other neurodegenerative disorders and is showing more and more promising results for Alzheimer’s as time goes on; however, more research is necessary for it to be recommended in a formal setting. 

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