Is Curry the Answer to Alzheimer's?

Daily Mail (London), January 4, 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Is Curry the Answer to Alzheimer's?


Byline: MARTYN HALLE

A KEY ingredient in curries could turn out to be an important new weapon in the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists have found that curcumin stops the accumulation of destructive beta amyloids that build up in the brains of sufferers.

Curcumin is the part of turmeric that gives it its distinctive yellow colour. Turmeric has been used in Asian cookery for thousands of years, is one of the cheaper spices and makes a vivid splash of colour in curries.

Ground from the root of a plant of the ginger family, it is found wild in the Himalayas and grown across South Asia. Though a regular in spicy dishes such as chicken tikka masala and rogan josh, turmeric powder itself has a subtle, almost bland, taste.

Turmeric has already been found to slow prostate cancer and can be bought in capsules. It could eventually be used as a drug or supplement to prevent people developing Alzheimer's in much the same was as statins are used to prevent heart attacks.

Doctors agree that amyloid plaques (abnormal build-ups of a protein fragment known as beta amyloids) are responsible for the memory loss which marks Alzheimer's.

The latest study - carried out by experts at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) - used mice. The results, published in the Journal Of Biological Chemistry, suggest that curcumin would not only prevent the build-up in patients who already have the degenerative brain disease, but act to block the plaques developing in the first place.

Scientists discovered that a chemical in the yellow pigment of the spice was responsible for prevention and dispersal of beta amyloid. The UCLA team has started human trials which could eventually lead to the development of a drug.

Doctors believe the reason why levels of Alzheimer's are extremely low in India and other curry-eating countries could be due to the protective effects of curcumin.

In the UCLA study, because of its chemical makeup, curcumin was able to cross the blood-brain barrier so that it could eliminate amyloid plaques. It also reduced the build-up of beta amyloid by as much as 21 per cent.

In earlier studies, the same research team found curcumin was a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties, which scientists believe help ease the symptoms of Alzheimer's.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Is Curry the Answer to Alzheimer's?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?