At The World Alzheimer’s Conference held in Washington DC the fact was brought up that the rate of occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease doubles every five years for those between 65-85 years of age but if its onset were delayed by five years, the number of cases worldwide would be halved. It has been indicated that Alzheimer's disease is caused by genetics as well as environmental factors. While genes cannot be changed, environmental factors can certainly be controlled.
Some communities in Asia and Africa have a much lower risk of Alzheimer's disease. In fact Alzheimer's is extremely uncommon in India where the incidence is only 1% of the population aged 65 and above. Research into this remarkable fact has led scientists to conclude that the spice turmeric which is ubiquitously used in Indian curries is the predominant cause that prevents Alzheimer's in the Indian population.
Curcumin which is a bioactive phytochemical present in Turmeric has been the subject of many studies. It has been shown to lower amyloid deposits (brain plaque), lowers oxidative cell damage, cognitive deficits and synaptic marker loss. Not only does it reduce but it has also been shown to reverse neural plaque. Turmeric has been shown to stop the progression of multiple sclerosis as well as to prevent the production of the IL-2 protein that destroys myelin which protects nerves.
Researchers at UCLA found that curcumin inhibited amyloid protein accumulation and dissolved amyloid fibrils more efficiently than the anti-inflammatory drugs ibuprofen and naproxen. It was also found that curcumin crosses the blood brain barrier and binds to small amyloid-Â protein fragments which can then no longer join with each other to form plaques. Curcumin also provides additional protection to brain cells on account of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Turmeric can be had as a fresh root or in powdered form. It is a staple ingredient in most Indian recipes and can simply be added to food. It can also be taken in capsule form as a supplement.