Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that affects one in eight Americans over the age of 65, according to
the Alzheimer’s Association1. Medical science has been turning to natural spices like cinnamon and curcumin in their research laboratories to test the affects on fruit flies and mice that have been genetically altered to develop aggressive forms of the disease.
Curcumin, a substance extracted from the root of turmeric, has been used in medicine for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-tumor properties. According to new research, it has been shown to “prolong life and enhance activity of fruit flies with a nervous disorder similar to Alzheimer’s”2. Linkoping researchers discovered that fruit flies that were administered curcumin lived “up to 75% longer and maintained their mobility longer than the sick flies that did not receive the substance”2 by reducing the amount of oligomers in the brain. Oligomers are the precursor forms of amyloid fibrils that are toxic to brain and nerve cells, and have been thought to instigate the disease. University of Maryland School of Pharmacy research found that curcumin reduced mitochondrial damage among brain cells as well as providing protection from reactive oxygen species 3.
Curcumin isn’t the only extract that has been around for years that may be assisting in the battle of the brain. An extract found in cinnamon bark, called CEppt, contains antiviral properties that can inhibit the development of the disease1. Professor Michael Ovadia of the Department of Zoology at Tel Aviv University led an investigation with genetically altered mice with aggressive Alzheimer’s. Isolating CEppt by extracting the substance and putting the solution in the mice’s drinking water, proved to slow down the development of the disease1. “The extract…inhibited the formation of toxic amyloid polypeptide oligomers and fibrils, which compose deposits of plaque found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients”1. Although it would require taking toxic levels of cinnamon to reap the benefits of the CEppt extract, researchers are moving in the right direction with this exciting discovery.
These science breakthroughs leave hope for suffering individuals that we can battle degenerative diseases with natural
substances without any side effects that pharmaceuticals can often deliver.
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1 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110627123144.htm . Alzheimer’s Prevention in Your Pantry
2 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120214100554.htm . Turmeric-Based Drug Effective on Alzheimer Flies
3 http://www.realnatural.org/2012/01/12/can-turmeric-prevent-alzheimer%E2%80%99s-and-parkinson%E2%80%99s/ . Turmeric, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s