A bioactive compound found in turmeric promotes stem cell proliferation and differentiation in the brain, reveals new research. The findings suggest aromatic turmerone could be a future drug candidate for treating neurological disorders, such as stroke and Alzheimer's disease.
Turmeric has been found to have numerous health benefits with especially powerful anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties that can improve cognitive function and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. A study published back in 2012 demonstrated three months of treatment, where Alzheimer’s patients were given a daily turmeric supplement, resulted in a significant decrease of severe behavioral and psychological symptoms, and in two instances, patients came to recognize their family within one year of treatment.
The study looked at the effects of ar-turmerone on naturally occuring neutral stem cells (NSC), which are stem cells found within adult brains. NSC turn into neurons, and play an important role in self-repair and recovery of brain function in neurodegenerative diseases.
Previous studies of ar-turmerone have shown that the compound can block activation of microglia cells. When activated, these cells cause neuroinflammation, which is associated with different neurological disorders. However, ar-turmerones impact on the brains capacity to self-repair was unknown.
Stem cell growth increased by 80%
Rat fetal NSC were cultured and grown in six different concentrations of ar-turmerone over a 72 hour period. At certain concentrations, ar-turmerone was shown to increase NSC proliferation by up to 80%, without causing cell death. The cell differentiation process also accelerated in ar-turmerone-treated cells when compared to untreated control cells.
The SVZ and hippocampus are the two sites in adult mammalian brains where neurogenesis, the growth …
Researchers are scrambling to isolate turmeric compounds to later produce patented pharmaceuticals. While their discoveries are a revelation, it shouldn’t diminish the power of consuming whole-food turmeric and letting all the compounds go to work. Inexpensive, bulk turmeric power can be easily found at the health food store or online. Tinctures are a concentrated form that can be taken in liquids, and capsules are preferable if the strong taste cannot be withstood. This study shows that the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric extend to the brain and nervous system which could make it ideal in a diet to potentially help with neurodegenerative and auto-immune problems.
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