(NaturalNews) Research into methods of preventing or reversing the damaging effects on the brain caused by Alzheimer's disease is heating up -- namely with a common spice, turmeric, and something so simple, the sun. A new study by UCLA scientists and colleagues from UC Riverside and the Human BioMolecular Research Institute, cited in the July issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, reports findings suggesting the possibility that Vitamin D3 and a chemical, curcumin, found in the spice turmeric, might possibly not only prevent, but may help reverse damage done by the typical plaques and tangles which are characteristics of Alzheimer's disease.
The theory is that the combination of vitamin D3 and curcumin stimulate the immune system in a fashion that helps clear amyloid beta, the "gunk" that forms the damaging plaques in the brain. This small study used blood samples from Alzheimer's patients, measuring the effects of curcumin and vitamin D3 on amyloid beta. Dr. Milan Fiala, study author and researcher, states: "We hope that vitamin D3 and curcumin, both naturally occurring nutrients, may offer new preventive and treatment possibilities for Alzheimer`s disease."
The promising results of this research could not be timelier. A study was recently released predicting that the number of people with Alzheimer`s disease will double every 20 years. Globally, an estimated 35.6 million people will be living with dementia by the year 2010. According to the National Institutes of Health, in the United States alone, one in seven Americans over the age of 71 will have some sort of dementia. These numbers are especially daunting as the emotional, physical, and financial toll of Alzheimer's disease can be devastating.
The standard protocol for treating Alzheimer's disease is to use pharmaceuticals. Drugs currently on the market are generally only effective when treatment is begun in the early stages. Common drugs for early stage treatment are Aricept, Reminyl, and Exelon. Namenda is a newer drug which offers some relief for persons in the later stages of Alzheimer`s. These drugs (which have many side-effects) can only slow the progression of the disease, not reverse the damage.
In a recently published article in Natural News, Sheryl Waters contributes:
"India has one the lowest numbers of people suffering with Alzheimer's in the world. In fact just 1% of Indians over 65 suffers from the disease while that number is more like 10% in America. For years scientists and Doctors had struggled to understand exactly why this is, but research in to the medical properties of a well known spice may just have provided the answer. Early research in to Turmeric was based totally around the spice`s amazing ability to stop the growth of cancerous cells. But as the spice was investigated further researchers found that it may also prevent the progression of Alzheimer's."
Previous studies involving curcumin demonstrate the protective binding of amyloid beta. This more recent study conducted at UCLA suggests that the addition of vitamin D3 amplifies this positive effect.
An essential nutrient for bone and immune system health, along with psychological well-being, vitamin D3 is synthesized through the skin. Vitamin D3 deficiencies are associated with numerous serious health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and depression.
Perhaps something as simple as a regular sprinkling of turmeric in our meals and regular doses of sunshine may ward off the dreaded disease called Alzheimer`s.
Basmati Rice with Turmeric
Ingredients 2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil 1/2 chopped onion 1 minced garlic clove 1 cup basmati rice 1 tablespoon turmeric 1 1/2 cups chicken broth 1 bay leaf 1 pinch of thyme Salt and pepper
Directions: Melt 1 tbsp butter (or heat olive oil) in saucepan, add onion and garlic, cook until softened.
Add rice and turmeric; stir to coat.
Add remaining ingredients, bring to boil, cover and simmer 17 minutes. Stir in remaining butter and/or olive oil, and remove bay leaf.
Add to the meal a protein and some fresh, organic vegetables, drink of choice, and head out into the sun!
The Curry Spice Curcumin Reduces Oxidative Damage and Amyloid Pathology in an Alzheimer Transgenic Mouse: Lim GP, Chu T, Yang F, Beech W, Frautschy SA, Cole GM.
The Alzheimer`s Disease Fact Sheet. Alzheimer`s Disease Education & Referral Center. A service of the National Institute of Aging. Accessed on September 8, 2005. Available at: http://www.alzheimers.org/pubs/adfact.ht ml#Contents.
Cindie Leonard has a Master's degree in Psychology and specializes in research (namely psychoneuroimmunology), enjoys savoring time with family and friends, spoiling her pets, travel, beaches, cavorting around San Diego, volunteering at Torrey Pines State Reserve, and working on perfecting the art of "il dolce far niente." http://www.cindieleonard.com