How WHOLE Turmeric Heals The Damaged Brain

How Whole Turmeric Heals The Damaged Brain

Long considered impossible to accomplish, new research reveals how a simple spice might contribute to the regeneration of the damaged brain.

Turmeric is hands down one of the, if not the, most versatile healing spice in the world with over 600 experimentally confirmed health benefits, and an ancient history filled with deep reverence for its seemingly compassionate power to alleviate human suffering.

But, most of the focus over the past decade has been centered on only one of its many hundreds of phytocompounds: namely, the primary polyphenol in turmeric known as curcumin which gives the spice its richly golden hue.  This curcumin-centric focus has lead to the development of some very good products, such as phospholipid bound curcumin concentrate (e.g. Meriva, BCM-95) which greatly helps to increase the absorption and bio-activity of curcumin. But, curcumin isolates are only capable of conferring a part of turmeric’s therapeutic power – and therein lies the limitation and hubris of the dominant ‘isolate the active ingredient’ model.

Indeed, it has become typical within the so-called nutraceutical industry to emulate the pharmaceutical model, which focuses on identifying a particular “monochemical” tree within the forest of complexity represented by each botanical agent, striving to standardize the delivery of each purported ‘active ingredient’ with each serving, as if it were a pharmaceutical drug. These extraction and isolation processes also generates proprietary formulas which are what manufacturers want to differentiate their product from all others and henceforth capture a larger part of the market share; a value proposition that serves the manufacturer and not the consumer/patient.

Truth be told, there is no singular ‘magic bullet’ in foods and herbs responsible for reproducing the whole plant’s healing power.  There are, in fact, in most healing plants or foods hundreds of compounds orchestrated by the intelligent ‘invisible hand’ of God or ‘Nature,’ or whatever you wish to call it, and which can never be reduced to the activity of a singularly quantifiable phytocompound or chemical.

Beyond The Curcumin ‘Magic Bullet’ Meme

Now, an exciting new study published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy provides additional support for the concept that curcumin alone is not enough to explain the healing power of turmeric as a whole plant. The study found that a little known, fat-soluble component within turmeric – Ar-tumerone – may make “a promising candidate to support regeneration in neurologic disease.”

Titled, “Aromatic-turmerone induces neural stem cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo,” German researchers evaluated the effects of this turmeric-derived compound on neural stem cells (NSCs) – the subgroup of brain cells capable of continuous self-renewal required for brain repair.

The study found that when brain cells were exposed to ar-tumerone, neural stem cells increased in number through enhanced proliferation. Moreover, these newly formed neural stem cells also increased the number of fully differentiated neuronal cells, indicating a healing effect was taking place. This effect was also observed in a live animal model, showing that rats injected with ar-tumerone into their brains experienced increases in neural stem cell proliferation and the creation of newly formed healthy brain cells.

This study did not go unnoticed by major medical news channels. Here are some good reviews if you wish to explore the implications in greater depth:

The GreenMedInfo.com Turmeric Database Confirms It’s Brain-Saving Power!

As you may already know, our database is the world’s most extensive open access natural medical database on over 1,800 different natural substances, with over 1600 study abstracts on turmeric’s healing properties indexed thus far: view the Turmeric research page here to view!  If you take a look at the laundry list of over 600 diseases that this spice (or its components, e.g. curcumin) has been studied for to prevent and/or treat, the sheer volume of supportive literature is astounding. Amazingly, we have identified over 180 physiological pathways – according to their conventional pharmacological characterization, e.g. COX-2 inhibitor, Interleukin 6 down-regulator – by which turmeric or its components heals the human body.  In addition, you will find over 100 articles on turmeric’s neuroprotective properties on this page: Turmeric as a Neuroprotective agent.

The research clearly indicates that turmeric is a great brain supportive plant. For a more layperson oriented review, read the following articles:

How To Get The Most Out of Your Turmeric

One of the most frequent questions we field is ‘what is the best type of turmeric or curcumin to use’? Obviously, given the aforementioned research, the whole plant is going to carry a wider range of therapeutic compounds than curcumin alone. And yet, most have been heavily enculturated to focus entirely on the ‘how much’ question, opting to identify the molecular weight (i.e. how many milligrams in a serving) of a particular compound as more important than the qualitative dimensions (e.g. is it organic? It is delivered within its natural context as food or a whole plant?) which reflect the type of nutrigenomic information the substance contains, and therefore the ‘intelligence’ it embodies. To learn more about the intelligence of food watch my e-course ‘The Wisdom of Food.’

And really, there is no generic answer to a generic question about the best way to take turmeric/curcumin. The question always comes from an individual with a particular need, and so, recommendations must be bio-individualized.

For instance, if you have colonic inflammation or polyps, and you are trying to use turmeric to reduce inflammation there or regress precancerous growths, then using the whole plant is best versus a highly bioavailable form of curcumin in capsule form (e.g. Meriva), for instance, which will likely be absorbed by the small intestine and mostly pass through the liver never getting adequate quantities to the large intestine. So, in this person’s case taking a teaspoon of relatively difficult to absorb turmeric may result in painting the diseased surfaces of that person’s intestinal or colonic lumen with exactly the form needed to reverse disease.

But what if you have someone who wants to experience a systemic effect, say, for arthritis or for brain cancer? In these instances, getting turmeric compounds such as curcumin through the glucuronidation barrier in the liver with a phospholipid-bound or black pepper (piperine) combination could be ideal. There is certainly a place for the ‘nutraceutical’ model when properly applied, especially when provided as an adjuvant to the pharmaceutical model within an integrative medical setting.

Ultimately, the goal is not to wait to have such a serious health problem that you have to force yourself to take a ‘heroic dose’ of any herb or food extract. Better is to use small amounts in culinary doses in combination with ingredients that synergize on a physiochemical/informational and sensual basis (producing the all important vitamin P [pleasure] as well!). Recently we actually featured a study that showed culinary doses of rosemary helped improve memory whereas higher ‘heroic’ doses impaired it!

This is why exploring the use of turmeric in curries, or by adding a pinch in a smoothie, may be an ideal daily supplementation approach, versus capsules, whose questionably ‘natural’ capsules and excipients all can add up to cause some stress on the liver you are trying to protect with these natural interventions.  Just remember quality is everything and less is more!

7 Things That Can Drain Your Brain

The human brain-over 4 million years in the making, and a marvel of evolution. Compared to body-size, we have the largest brain on the planet, by almost double. We also have the most complex brain, capable of over 100 million MIPS (Million Computer Instructions Per Second)1. That’s the equivalent of a 1,618,000 Mhz Pentium processor, or 10,000 super computers. Our brains are the third largest organs in our bodies (right after the skin and the liver…), and the hungriest. Although our brains only make up about 2% of our weight, they consume 25% of the nutrients and oxygen, and a whopping 70% of all the glucose. The brain controls thousands of operations per second, and it does it without any conscious input from us, so we never need to worry about forgetting to breathe, or make our heart beat. The brain is the body’s Command and Control Center. The average person has over 70,000 thoughts per day. And it continues to do so for over 100 years in some cases2.

7 Proven Ways to Keep Your Brain Young

7 Proven Ways to Keep Your Brain Young

Alzheimer’s disease affects about 5.3 million Americans. It’s the leading cause of dementia and the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.  And it’s growing at an alarming rate.  Already 13% of people over 65 have been diagnosed with the disease.  An astounding 43% of those over the age of 85 are victims.[i]

Alzheimer’s has been called the defining disease of the boomer generation.  Its victims are expected to triple by the year 2050.

In addition, it’s estimated that 10,000,000 others suffer with severe dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

(more…)

10 Health Dangers of Bromine

BromineBromine is a chemical compound frequently used in flame retardants, baking ingredients, cell phones, plastic, dye, soda, and prescription drugs. Despite the warnings from the Centers for Disease Control about the serious, long-term health effects from constant exposure, use of the chemical shows no signs of slowing down. [1] Why should you care? Because research has identified the following 10 dangers of bromine as the most damaging to human health. (more…)

Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Brain Health

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Republished with permission from kellybroganmd.com

One of the most remarkable papers I have read in the psychiatric literature was about a 57 year old woman who was treated with months of both antipsychotic and antidepressant medications and given two rounds of electroconvulsive treatment before anyone bothered to check her vitamin B12 level.

Her symptoms were years in the making including tearfulness, anxiety, movement abnormalities, constipation, lethargy, and eventually perceptual disturbances (hearing her name called) and the ultimate in severe psychiatric pathology: catatonia. Despite her inpatient treatment, she remained suicidal, depressed, and lethargic. (more…)

Clean Your Brain While You Sleep

Sleep

We are vigilant about our children’s sleep. We let sleeping dogs lie. Why don’t we value our own sleep?
When I was young, I fell asleep instantly and slept soundly through the night. No matter how stressed I was, sleep was a refuge, a sanctuary, a way of restoring myself. During the day, I worked hard and after work I exercised intensely. The more challenging my exercise, the better I slept. I avoided stimulates and alcohol, didn’t drink coffee or tea or any caffeinated beverages, and ate a natural, organic, plant-based fresh food diet. (more…)

9 Reasons You May Want to Indulge in a Little Dark Chocolate Today

Chocolate

Studies show that a little dark chocolate each day can provide a number of important health benefits.
Have you been avoiding chocolate lately because of a desire to eat a healthy diet, or because you’re trying to shed a few pounds?

There’s no doubt some forms of chocolate are high in calories, but if you choose carefully, you can indulge in that sweet taste and enjoy a number of health benefits, as well.

9 Reasons to Snack on a Little Chocolate

Over the last several years, scientists have discovered that dark chocolate containing at least 60 percent cocoa solids has health promoting antioxidants that may be good for us in many ways. Here’s a glance at the research so far. (more…)

Scientists Find Sniffing Rosemary Can Increase Memory By 75%

 Scientists Find Sniffing Rosemary Can Increase Memory By 75 Percent

 

Rosemary is a wonderful herb with a tradition of use spanning millennia. It has innumerable uses in both the kitchen and in herbal medicine.

Did you know that rosemary has been associated with memory enhancement since ancient times? It is true – and it has even been referred to from the latter part of the Elizabethan Era to the Early Romantic period as the herb of remembrance. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” (Hamlet, iv. 5.) It has also long been used as a symbol for remembrance during weddings, war commemorations and funerals in Europe and Australia. [1] Mourners in old times would wear it as a buttonhole, burn it as incense or throw it into graves as a symbol of remembrance for the dead. (more…)

Scientists Finally Show How Your Thoughts Can Cause Specific Molecular Changes To Your Genes

With evidence growing that training the mind or inducing certain modes of consciousness can have positive health effects, researchers have sought to understand how these practices physically affect the body. A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of intensive mindfulness practice.

The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels of gene-regulating machinery and reduced levels of pro-inflammatory genes, which in turn correlated with faster physical recovery from a stressful situation. (more…)

The Colder The Processing Of Olive Oil, The Higher The Immune-Boosting Properties

Olive oil is as old as the ancients, described by Homer, the bard of Classical Greece, as liquid gold. However, in the retail sector, olive oil brands are far from equal in quality. They have come under great scrutiny due to inferior processing and impure formulas, many which contain nut and seed oils, a well kept secret within the industry. Several significant factors impact the antioxidant value of olive oil: late harvest, mechanical agitation, slow to press, high heat and filtering. Choosing to by-pass these common trappings ensures our olive oil maintains the highest antioxidant and energetic value and its status as a “Raw Super Food”.

Because of the many scientifically documented health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, demand for it has soared the world over. Olive trees have blossomed into money trees, and this has attracted a small army of unscrupulous operators. (more…)