Welcome to another excerpt from my upcoming book, Lyme Brain. Today let’s look at the benefits of curcumin and how curcumin supports brain health.
Curcumin, a constituent of turmeric, has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent. It is also used in autoimmune issues to regulate immune function. There are many studies demonstrating its efficacy in reducing inflammation and the mechanisms by which it reduces inflammation. One such mechanism is reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6, COX2, MMP-9, NF-kB, CRP and TNF, many of the same cytokines that are found to be elevated in Lyme patients. As an antioxidant, curcumin increases levels of vitamins C and E, and prevents lipid peroxidation and oxidative damage.
Curcumin also reduces oxidative damage caused by D-galactose, a reducing sugar that can cause mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis (death) of neurons. A study demonstrated that D-galactose did indeed cause cognitive deficits, biochemical changes and demonstrable changes in the tissues. Curcumin effectively reduced oxidized lipids, and improved mitochondrial enzymes and glutathione levels. A summary of the study concluded that “curcumin and hesperidin protect morphological facets and improve biochemical functions of neurons thereby improving cognition.”
Equally beneficial for Lyme Brain is evidence that curcumin can help regenerate and repair cells in the brain. Research shows that a component of turmeric known as aromatic-turmerone can increase neural stem cell growth in the brain by up to 80%. Neural stem cells differentiate into various types of neurons—nice, new, healthy neurons! The study found that the number of actual stem cells produced increased with exposure to curcumin, and also that the stem cells increased the number of fully differentiated neural cells.
Other research shows that curcumin can help prevent the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain, the very plaques that are found in Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative neurological conditions.
Curcumin may also be protective against various toxic metals such as copper and aluminum. Certainly, toxic metals are common in Lyme patients and can significantly contribute to Lyme Brain.
Curcumin can enhance DHA levels in the brain. DHA is one of the vital fatty acids that support brain health, and deficiencies have been linked to several cognitive disorders, including anxiety. DHA is either obtained through the diet or created from dietary precursors; however, the conversion rate is low. Curcumin increases the conversion of the precursor alpha-linolenic acid to DHA. It also increases levels of the enzymes needed to synthesize DNA, such as FADS2 and elongase 2, in both the liver and brain tissues. Given that many people avoid seafood due to concerns about mercury toxicity, a deficiency of DHA may be a contributing factor to Lyme Brain. Curcumin can help the body to produce more DHA from other dietary sources.
Curcumin is a very safe and non-toxic substance with a good track record of success. Studies have shown effective doses to be as low as 150mg to 500mg. There have been over 60 clinical trials on the safety and efficacy of curcumin in humans and another 35 trials evaluating its efficacy. As with many substances found in nature, curcumin has multiple benefits: regulating the immune system, reducing inflammation, acting as a neuroprotective agent and promoting neural regeneration. Curcumin C3 Complex as well as liposomal curcumin formulations show promising results.
Publication should be within the next two months. Sign up at www.lymebrainbook.com for release information!