Curcumin is a phytochemical found in turmeric that gives curry its vibrant orange colour.
Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that also provides significant anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, curcumin has become a popular supplement to help reduce pain, inflammation, and joint stiffness related to arthritis.
There is also growing evidence to support curcumin’s beneficial role in protecting the brain from Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by a progressive decline in memory function. Memory loss can deteriorate to the point of not being able to perform everyday activities.
The World Health Organization determined that 48.6 million people world-wide had Alzheimer’s disease in 2015.
That number is expected to rise to 74.4 million people by 2030.1
It’s believed Alzheimer’s is caused in part due to beta-amyloid plaques that build up on the brain’s nerve cells. These plaques are made of sticky proteins and when they accumulate they block the brain’s message signalling and damage the nerve cells.2
Over time, the plaque accumulates and spreads throughout the brain causing more and more memory loss.
Curcumin shows great promise in protecting the brain by preventing beta-amyloid plaques believed to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
A study conducted at UCLA found that curcumin may help clear the amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer’s disease.3 Patients which were treated with curcumin showed an improvement in plaque levels compared to those who didn’t.3 It was established that curcumin has the ability to bind to plaque and block its formation.3
Interestingly, “low doses of curcumin given over longer period were actually more effective than high doses in combating the neurodegenerative process of Alzheimer’s disease.”3
The challenge for researchers studying the effects of curcumin is that it’s not very well absorbed by the body. Several human studies using standard curcumin have failed, even at high doses. The reason being that the size of a standard curcumin particle is too large to penetrate our blood cells and therefore is not very bioavailable.
Theracurmin™ is a curcumin supplement by Natural Factors that has been manufactured in such a way as to make the particle size small enough to be absorbed into the blood cell, making it significantly better absorbed than standard curcumin. To put it into perspective, Theracurmin™ is 300 times more bioavailable then regular curcumin powder. There are many clinical studies using Theracurmin specifically as the preferred form of curcumin due to its superior absorption rate.
If you are taking prescription medications for a health issue, you should speak with your doctor and pharmacist to discuss potential contraindications with your medications before considering supplementing with curcumin.