Warwick University investigates curcumin benefits for Alzheimers

New study seeks to further previous research and show the extent to which curcumin can induce autophagy and remove damaged cells

New research at the University of Warwick is underway to prove how well curcumin and pomegranates can hack autophagy to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.  

Many nutraceutical companies incorporate curcumin into their portfolios, if the benefits are proven to be significant, there will be wider implications across the industry.

The hope is that the studies will show that this naturally-occurring compounds found especially in turmeric can, when combined with intermittent fasting, prevent the build-up of damaging protein fragments that form between nerve cells in the brain and cause neurological problems.

It’s thought that these fragments may be produced as part of the brain’s self-defence process and that their presence is a symptom of the disease. In a healthy brain, these fragments are broken down and eliminated, but problems occur if they begin to accumulate and form the hard, insoluble amyloid plaques known to be one of the major symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Preceeding knowledge

Previous related research at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2008 found that Biocurcumax, a patented extract food supplement containing active curcumin distributed by BioTurm, helped prevent further build-up of these amyloid plaques and subsequently was approved by the FDA for investigational therapy.

The importance of curcumin seems to hinge on its ability to kick-start the cleansing process that otherwise can take up to eighteen hours of fasting for the body to begin by itself.

Studies to date have shown that when curcumin is highly ‘bio-available’ (present in the bloodstream in potent amounts for a long enough period of time) it can help autophagy start much sooner. Biocurcumax is designed to allow active curcumin to be retained in the body for more than eight hours.

Suphil Philipose of the UK distributor of Biocurcumax, BioTurm, said: “Research has already shown that highly bio-available curcumin, when combined with the essential oil of turmeric, can stop the progressive build-up of neurologically-damaging substances. This new research opens up a new world of hope to millions of people.”

Later research later conducted with the University of Rome in 2015 showed Biocurcumax was able to reverse the dysfunction that sometimes occurs in autophagy, the self-cleansing process.

Current Study

New studies at the University of Warwick will now seek to show the actual extent to which curcumin and pomegranates can induce autophagy and remove the damaged cells. Should these prove successful, they will progress to a human clinical trial to demonstrate the efficacy of the solution.

Crucially curcumin is thought to also have a positive effect on apoptosis. This is the process of normal, controlled death of billions of cells in the adult body every day. Curcumin also restores and maintains healthy mitochondria.

Philipose added: “Nature provides us with curcumin and pomegranates that can be used as hacks to induce and kick start the self-cleansing mechanism in the body. Adjunct to a fasting diet, we may have a pathway for preventing the disease.”

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