Turmeric and curcumin

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Turmeric and, in particular, one of its components, curcumin have been studied as preventive measures against Alzheimer's. The evidence is so far promising, though still preliminary.

One problem with curcumin therapy is that most formulations appear not to result in sufficient quantities of curcumin being absorbed and crossing the blood-brain barrier.

ConsumerLab has recently reported that a new formulation of curcumin, CurcuWin (from OmniActive Health Technologies), has dramatically increased bioavailability:

A study funded by OmniActive found that Curcuwin increased curcuminoid levels in the blood plasma 4,490% above that achieved with standard curcumin (Jager, Nutr J 2014). The study also evaluated BCM-95 and Meriva, finding them, respectively, to increase total curcuminoid blood levels 30% and 690% above that with standard curcumin.

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A study reported in 2018 demonstrated that a nanoparticulate curcumin (commercially available) removed amyloid plaque, reduced tau tangles, AND improved memory: "Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumion in Non-Demented Adults: A Double Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18 Month Trial," Gary W. Small, M.D., et al, American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Vol 26, Page 3, March, 2018 ( https://doi.org/10.1016/japg.2017.10.010 (see also Forbes, Jan 23, 2018). The UCLA trial studied a specific bioavailable formulation of curcumin (from turmeric root), Theracurmin. The trial showed reduction of measured (PET scan) amyloid plaque and also showed reduction (PET scan) in tau tangles. Amyloid and tau are two characteristics that change with the progress of Alzheimer’s. Additionally, “daily oral Theracurmin led to significant memory and attention benefits:” “Buschke SRT Consistent Long Term Recall . . . showed significant improvements . . . ,” “SRT Total score . . . showed significant improvement . . . ,” “. . . the primary visual memory outcome measure (BVMT-R) . . . showed significant improvement . . .,” “. . . the BVMT-R Delay score . . . showed significant improvement . . . ,” Trail Making Test Part A . . . improved significantly. . . ,” “. . . showed significant improvements in Beck Depression Inventory scores . . .”

Dr. Small has been at UCLA since 1981 and is currently Director, UCLA Longevity Center; Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging; and Professor, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His research interests include early detection and prevention of Alzheimer's Disease and age-related memory loss. He has over 300 professional publications His wife is coauthor with him on “The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program (2012)” “Keep your brain healthy for the rest of your life” (dust cover) and “The Memory Bible (2002)” “an innovative strategy for Keeping Your Brain Young” as well as five additional books on the brain and memory.


Proposed mechanism(s)

Might APOE status affect relevance of the research supporting this intervention?

To Do

- Find more scientific review articles, ideally (as always), those that stratify results by APOE status.