Curcumin Grows New Brain Cells  ---
It Improves Your Memory

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March 12, 2018

By Susan Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist









Curcumin, the compound that gives curry its yellow color, is
a star among spices.  The range of curcumin's health
benefits include inhibiting 26 different pathways of cancer,
lowering systemic internal inflammation, and improving
cardiovascular markers such as blood pressure. Now, to this
list, comes increasing eveidce of curcumin's effectiveness in
combatting brain degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's
disease.  

Scientists have learned that curcumin acts directly on the
brain in an unexpected way --- it actually stimulates the
growth of new brain neuron cells. The activity of curcumin is
focused on the hippocampus, the region of your brain
responsible for memory and mood.

The Traditional Use of Curcumin as a AntiDepressant

Curcumin, technically called curcumin longa, is the basis of a  
traditional Chinese medicine (Xiaoyao-san) used for
hundreds of years as an antidepressant and to manage
stress disorders. The effectiveness of curcumin agianst
depression and stress was arrived at by trial and error over
time. But, until recently, scientists had not proven a pathway
between curcumin's use and improvement in any specific
region of the brain.

That changed in 2007. In that year, scientists from the
University of Florida's Department of Biomedical Engineering
published an important study.  

The researchers set up an experiment using intentionally
stressed laboratory rats.   There is an acknowledged proper
protocol for generating stressed rats and this was followed.

After the rats were thoroughly and properly stressed, the
researchers gave them progressive doses of curcumin (5, 10
and 20 mg/kg).

What they discovered was remarkable. Curcumin, at a
dosage of either 10 or 20 mg/kgà alleviated symptoms of
depression as well as the pharmaceutical drug.

One of the effects of depression is that it blocks or slows
your brain's ability to generate new brain cells in the
hippocampal region. Like the classic antidepressant drug
imipramine, curcuin reverses this effect, allowing new
neurogenesis to occur. These cells eventually become
neurons, the scientists confirmed.

Thus, in a real sense, curcumin grows new brain cells in the
hippocampal region.

What the Cells in the Hippocampus Are Important to How
You Think






























The hippocampal region of the brain is responsible for
consolidating short-term memories into long-term memories.
It also enables spatial navigation. Do you remember how to
get home from work or the grocery store? Thank your
hippocampus. Do you remember the instructions your doctor
gave you yesterday? Thank your hippocampus.


When your hippocampus is unable to function correctly, as in
the case with Alzheimer's patients, your memories an no
longer become consolidated. You no longer retain short term
memories long enough for them to become medium-term or
long-term memories.

The hippocampus also enables mood regulation. Do you fall
to pieces when you overcook your food? No? Thank your
hippocampus. Do you become depressed often? If you don't,
again, thank your hippocampus.

Curcumin helps the brain to make connections.
Understanding how to find your way home is just one
exercise of connection-making but this simple, powerful skill
all the time. It is fundamental to enabling complex analysis
and thought. We can make connections, see patterns,
synthesize when our brains are healthy. We make sense of
things.


Curcumin Keeps You Mentally Sharper As You Age


Scientists from Australia have discovered that curcumin helps
to keep your brain sharper as you age.


The 2016 study from Swinburne University of Technology
has been hailed as a breakthrough in connecting the dots
between certain beneficial spices and brain function.

The researchers brought together a group of 60 people
between the ages of 60 and 85. The participants were given
a series of tests to measure how well they could recall and
solve problems.

The participants then were separated into two groups. One
group was given curcumin fro 4 weeks. The other a placebo
for 4 weeks.

At the end of the 4 weeks, the participants again were
measured for cognitive performance. The group that had
taken the curcumin performed significantly better, were
sharper mentally, had better recall.

This is consistent with an observation that scientists had
made -- people who live in
countries where curry is a feature
of their cuisine have much lower rates of Alzheimer's disease.



Two Problems with Curcumin


You should make curcumin a part of your cooking, especially
as you age. But there are two well-known problems with
curcumin.

The first is that curcumin is a natural blood-thinner. So, if
you are already taking blood-thinning medications, you
should only take curcumin after consultation with your
doctor. One hospital in New York has found that taking too
much curcumin can cause internal bleeding including
bleeding in your brain.

The second problem with curcumin is that it is poorly
absorbed by the body. One substance that improves
curcumin's "bioavailability" is piperine, the active ingredient
in black pepper.

The ratio of curcumin to black pepper does not have to be
large. Piperine is quite potent in its effect on curcumin's
absorption -- it raises the absorption by over 1000%.















































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Curcumin inhibits growth of breast
cancer cells.