Turmeric may help stroke, Alzheimers

New research finds that turmerone, a compound in turmeric, may be a powerful tool in fighting neurodegenerative disease.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know curcumin’s great. But turmeric, the spice that contains it, ain’t no one-trick pony. New research suggests that aromatic turmerone, another compound in turmeric, holds promise for treating neurological disorders like stroke and Alzheimer’s.

Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Julich, Germany, studied the effects of aromatic tumerone on stem cells in the brains of rats. These particular stem cells, endogenous neutral stem cells (NSC), are critical in how the brain repairs itself and recovers function in neurodegenerative diseases. In the lab, they found turmerone increased NSC growth by up to 80 percent. Live rats injected with turmerone showed an expanded hippocampus and subventricular zone (two parts of the brain were neuron growth occurs) compared with the control group of rats.

"While several substances have been described to promote stem cell proliferation in the brain, fewer drugs additionally promote the differentiation of stem cells into neurons, which constitutes a major goal in regenerative medicine,” Adele Rueger, the study’s lead author, said in a release from the institute. “Our findings on aromatic turmerone take us one step closer to achieving this goal."

The study was published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy and noted on sciencedaily.com.

Meanwhile, research into tumerone’s more famous counterpart, curcumin, continues. Nutrition industry legend Terry Lemerond called it “the single most helpful natural ingredient you can take for almost every disease or illness.” Scientists at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto are currently reviewing studies on turmeric and its compounds (including curcumin) for a meta-analysis that should offer an overall conclusion as to whether the ingredient is helpful to people suffering from digestive disorders like peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and gastroesophageal gut syndrome.

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