The turmeric root is perhaps the best candidate we have to reverse Alzheimer’s diseaseI know what you’re thinking, “you can’t reverse Alzheimer’s disease”. And you might very well be right. Nonetheless, there have been studies that did find evidence to suggest that Alzheimer’s patients can recover from their condition. A lot of attention has gone to a substance known as Curcumin, which is found in the Tumeric plant.
Studies done in test tubes and in lab animals have shown dramatic results. Genetically engineer a rodent to develop the animal equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease, feed the poor animal Curcumin and the animal will tend to see drastic improvements in its cognitive health. So naturally, scientists started giving Curcumin to Alzheimer’s patients, hoping for the best. Of course, nothing dramatic happened, or you would have heard about it by now.
Turmeric, Hype or a Miracle cure?
Generally speaking, most of the studies they did found no difference between those patients given Curcumin and those given a placebo. There is one exception to these studies that found no result. One study did find that feeding Curcumin to Alzheimer’s created dramatic improvement in their cognitive abilities. Patients actually began recognizing their family members again.
What could explain the difference in outcome between these studies? There are different explanations to consider:
- The study was shoddily done. This is possible, as it only included three patients. There was no control group used in the study that found a remarkable improvement.
- Simple statistical noise led to different outcomes in different studies.
- The scientists who saw positive results, did something different than the scientists who saw no results.
A possible explanation for the contradictory results
My suspicion is that the third explanation may be correct. The reason is as following: All studies that found no result, tended to use curcumin. The study that did find exciting results didn’t use curcumin, but rather, used the whole turmeric root, from which curcumin is normally extracted. This matters a lot, because curcumin is notorious among health supplements by being difficult for our human body to absorb.
When curcumin is administered as part of the turmeric root in which it is found, actual absorption by our body is much higher. One reason is that the turmeric root naturally contains some oils. Another factor that appears important is what the curcumin is found in. If it’s simply administered as a pill, absorption won’t be very high.
Instead, when the curcumin is found in oil, solubility is up to 100 times higher than in water. For the curcumin to enter your blood stream, it needs to enter your digestive system with other substances. In the form of a simple pill, you’ll find yourself excreting most of it unscathed.
There is a lot of hype out there about taking curcumin together with Piperine, found in pepper, but I wouldn’t pay too much attention to it. One study found that absorption is much higher, but a study in rats found that although absorption might be higher, piperine may negatively affect most of the beneficial health effects of curcumin.
Instead of trying to look for shortcuts, simply make the Turmeric root a portion of your diet. There is sufficient evidence by now that Turmeric is very healthy, but that doesn’t mean every particular hyped claim stands up to scrutiny. If the science in a few years does become conclusive that piperine is great to take together with curcumin, you can always start adding it.
My own regular routine
I don’t suffer dementia, but it does run in my family. What I do is the same thing people in India do, where Alzheimer’s disease in people aged 70-79 is about 77% less common than it is in Americans of the same age category. In other words, I add lots of turmeric to my food!
If you’re making a meal that calls for Turmeric, add more to it than the recipe calls for. If you buy something from the supermarket that contains Turmeric, add some powdered Turmeric to it. I can definitely recommend adding lots of Turmeric to spicy humus. Never take pills for problems that healthy food can also solve for you.
So to reiterate, here’s what you do to address Alzheimer’s disease. You don’t swallow a daily curcumin supplement. We have multiple studies showing that it probably has no genuine effect, because it doesn’t enter your bloodstream. What you do instead is, you cook with Turmeric. A great example that I use a lot myself is this powdered Turmeric root. If you would take one gram daily, you’d spend 5 cents a day on this simple health routine.
To cook and serve food with high amounts of Turmeric added to it, like Curry, is recommendable for patients suffering Alzheimer’s disease too. The obvious problem then becomes that most patients are at an age where people generally don’t like radical changes to their diet. As is so often the case, the biggest problem we face comes down to changing people’s behavior.