A few years ago, a group of researchers at the UCLA Longevity Center showed that dementia could be reversed in nine out of ten people who follow a dozen simple nutritional and lifestyle steps. (I initially reported on this major breakthrough two years ago in the lead story of the February 2016 issue of Insiders’ Cures, titled, “The all-natural Alzheimer’s cure hiding in plain sight.” Revisit this article by entering the title into the top right search bar on my website, www.DrMicozzi.com.)
To sum up the study, both researchers and editors at the medical journal—who rapidly rushed to publish these findings—made a point that was indeed a breakthrough worth paying attention to.
Sadly, the study has since sunken beneath the waves of mainstream medicine—which should be offering these natural treatments to every single patient with Alzheimer’s disease.
Instead, the UCLA findings have been ignored in all but a handful of integrative medicine centers around the country.
So suffice it to say, I was pleased to see the same group of UCLA researchers moving forward to study additional natural approaches for not only Alzheimer’s, but also memory and mood.
The simple spice that can boost brainpower
Their new study shows that daily consumption of curcumin (an active ingredient in the spice turmeric) improves memory and mood in people with mild, age-related memory loss—perhaps because of the spice’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.1 Chronic brain inflammation has been linked to both Alzheimer’s and major depression.
The new UCLA study involved 40 adults, between the ages of 40 and 90, who had mild memory loss. In it, participants received either a placebo or 90 mg of curcumin twice daily for 18 months. Their cognitive function was evaluated at the beginning of the study and then at six-month intervals.
The researchers found that the curcumin group’s cognitive function improved by 28 percent over 18 months. Group members also had improvements in mood. And brain scans showed improvements in the appearance of the regions that influence emotional state and memory. (It’s interesting to note the connection between these two parts of the brain. Perhaps emotions help create memories? I look forward to keeping an eye on these developments…)
The researchers concluded that a relatively small, safe dose of curcumin can provide meaningful cognitive benefits over the years. Note that the 180 mg daily dose in this study is comparable to my recommended dose for joint pain (200 to 250 mg).
If you choose to use powdered turmeric to get your daily dose of curcumin, be sure to sprinkle it liberally on your favorite fish, meats, and vegetables. I’ve found it to be a great addition to chicken salad, tuna salad, and fresh pork chops or loin.
Curcumin’s unique effects in the body and brain
These studies teach us that—unlike the “one-size-fits-all,” and “one disease-one drug” approach of modern medicine—a natural remedy with one benefit typically has many others.
For instance, I’ve written before about how curcumin is a powerhouse for regulating blood sugar. It does this in the same way it helps improve memory and mood—through a mechanism I call “biome-availability.” Here’s how it works…
Recent research shows curcumin is not bioavailable—meaning it’s not well absorbed from the GI tract into the bloodstream, and thus isn’t able to cross over the formidable blood-brain barrier to benefit the brain.
But it turns out curcumin doesn’t have to be bioavailable. It just has to be biome-available.
In other words, curcumin works directly on the “good bacteria” (probiotics) in the gastrointestinal microbiome. This allows curcumin to decrease inflammation throughout the body and brain. And it also helps keep excess sugar from making its way out of the GI tract and into the bloodstream—where it can contribute to everything from obesity and type 2 diabetes, to dementia—or what I like to refer to as type 3 diabetes (which I discussed at length in the July 2017 issue of Insiders’ Cures).
(For more about the mechanics behind curcumin’s biome-availability, check this article in the August 2018 issue of Insiders’ Cures: “New breakthrough: The surprising way your gut can protect your brain from Alzheimer’s” and “Natural blood sugar remedies are outdoing mainstream diabetes drugs.”)
With all of the health benefits we’re finding out about turmeric—and its powerhouse ingredient, curcumin—this simple spice looks like one of nature’s most well-rounded compounds for healthy aging.
And when all is said and done, it’s really too bad mainstream medicine chooses to ignore simple— yet stunning—science-backed breakthroughs such as these. Luckily, you don’t have to wait for them to catch up to the science, because the original UCLA research led me to expand upon it in my own online learning protocol to prevent and reverse Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. (To learn more about my Complete Alzheimer’s Cure Protocol click here.)
1“Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18-Month Trial.” Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2017 Oct 27.