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Alzheimer’s – Can Turmeric Prevent or Reduce Symptoms?

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No cure currently exists for Alzheimer’s, but medication and management strategies may temporarily improve symptoms.

Many different studies have explored the potential role of Turmeric as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Most research is centred around Curcumin, which is the key compound of Turmeric.  Studies show that Curcumin can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress within the body.

Some findings have also suggested that Curcumin may be able to prevent the formation and even break up, amyloid-beta plaques. These toxic protein clumps build up in Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting up to 70% of all people with dementia. It is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other critical mental functions.

Brain cell connections and the cells themselves degenerate and die, eventually destroying memory and other vital mental functions. Memory loss and confusion are the main symptoms.

Every person with Alzheimer’s experiences the disease differently, but people tend to experience a similar trajectory from the beginning of the illness to its end. Dr Barry Reisberg of the New York University broke the progression of Alzheimer’s disease into seven stages.

Stage 1: No Impairment

Alzheimer’s is not detectable, and no memory problems or other symptoms of dementia are evident.

Stage 2: Very Mild Decline

Minor memory problems or lose things around the house; however, the disease is unlikely to be detected at this stage.

Stage 3: Mild Decline

A decline in cognitive function will become noticeable. Finding the right word during conversations, organizing and planning, and remembering names of new acquaintances will become difficult.

Stage 4: Moderate Decline

Apparent symptoms of the disease are visible. Difficulty with simple arithmetic, poor short-term memory and muddling details of life history are now standard.

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline

Support with day-to-day tasks is now needed. Symptoms in Significant confusion, inability to recall personal information and difficulty with appropriateness. However, long-term memory is generally unaffected during stage five.

Stage 6: Severe Decline

Constant supervision and professional care needed due to confusion or unawareness of environment and surroundings, an inability to recognize faces and significant personality changes and potential behaviour problems.

Stages 7: Very Severe Decline

Little to no ability to communicate or respond to their environment  Because the disease is a terminal illness, people in stage seven are nearing death.

Signs & Symptoms

Why Turmeric or Curcumin?

There are several research studies currently being carried out looking at the possibility of Turmeric being used to reduce or slow the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Turmeric as a whole and the more refined compound Curcumin have shown to have brain-protective property due to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

They regulate neurotransmitters and vital protein levels that support brain health as well as attenuating anxiety and stress. One study showed that Curcumin improved attention and working memory as well as ameliorated sleep deprivation in older people (aged over 65).

With Turmeric being one of the key ingredients in Asian foods, a potential correlation between Alzheimer’s disease and the consumption of Turmeric is also being studied due to the meagre number of reported cases of Alzheimer’s in Asian countries.

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Brain Health Tips

Although there isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s as yet, there are natural ways we can promote healthy brain function, which may reduce and/or slow the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Physical Exercise

Regular exercise for seniors can increase the network of blood vessels that supply the part of the brain responsible for thought. Exercise also helps you stay fit, protects against diabetes and lowers blood pressure so it can protect your brain in several different ways.

Social Activities

Friends and family can be useful for your brain health. People with secure social connections tend to have lower blood pressure, a decreased risk of dementia, and a longer life expectancy. Studies suggest that hearing loss, and the isolation associated with it, can be a significant contributor to cognitive decline.

Regular Medical Checks

High blood pressure, diabetes, chronic inflammation and high cholesterol can impair your brain health. Have regular health checks to screen for any problems and ensure any medication keeps these conditions under control.

Nutrition

A balanced diet can nourish your mind and your body. Choose fresh, natural produce and products that are low in sugar and saturated fats. Fruit, vegetables, lean protein and healthy oils from olives, fish, nuts and avocados will help protect the brain.

Cognitive Activities

Keeping the brain active is an essential aspect of brain health. Challenging mental activities stimulate the formation of new nerve cells connections and may encourage new cell generation. Try crosswords, puzzles, crafts and books to keep your mind alert and ready for anything.

Quality Sleep

Sleep is a chance for our bodies to rest and repair the damage inflicted by daily life. It can be challenging to concentrate and function when we’re sleep-deprived, with most adults needing between seven and nine hours to perform at their cognitive peak.

No Smoking

Smoking increases your risk of heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. In research, people who smoked between ten and twenty cigarettes a day had a 44% greater chance of getting dementia. Giving up cigarettes is difficult, but it can help your brain stay sharp and healthy.

Moderate Alcohol

Too much alcohol can increase the risk of dementia, but a little of what you fancy may do you good. Moderate levels of alcohol, under the government recommendation of 14 units a week, may help prevent memory loss.

Please Note: This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Results may vary from individual to individual.

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