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Curcumin fights Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease

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By Maria Cendejas

Empowered with the evolving science of epigenetics, researchers of Michigan State University said in a study report that curcumin is crucial in the fight against many forms of cancer as it causes metastatic cells to undergo programmed cell death or apoptosis, Natural News reported.

The study released recently in the Journal of Biological Chemistry showed that curcumin as a natural compound is able to prevent the destructive formation of alpha-synuclein proteins that are the hallmark presentation in many neurodegenerative disease like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.

Curcumin is a bioactive compound found in the Indian curry spice turmeric and also known as holy powder. It's been used for centuries in folk medicine to treat wounds and infections among other things. 

Curcumin is a compound with a very select group of structures that allow it to cross the delicate blood-brain barrier to affect biochemical and electrical activities in the brain. The compound has the unique capability of preventing clumping or aggregation, which would otherwise lead to disease development.

Lead researcher, Dr. Basir Ahmad and colleagues who conducted the study said," Our research shows that curcumin can rescue proteins from aggregation, the first steps of many debilitating diseases more specifically, curcumin binds strongly to alpha-synuclein and prevents aggregation at body temperatures."

The researchers used precise lasers to research the split-second formation of proteins - a process known as protein folding.   Proteins are normally folded at a lightning-fast speed at the direction of genes and DNA sequences.  Damage to DNA caused by poor diet and lifestyle factors from epigenetic alterations, however, results in mis-folded proteins and neurodegenerative disease.

The researchers found curcumin attached to alpha-synuclein not only stops clumping, but also raises the protein's folding or reconfiguration rate and by slowing the speed that the proteins form, curcumin effectively inhibits abnormal protein clumping  and prevents tangles and damage to the nerve synapses.  Chemical and electrical communications triggered by the compound helps prevent the early manifestation of Parkinson's disease.

Curcumin in the form of the Indian curry spice can directly be added to the food when meals are prepared.  Curcumin is safe to use when the daily dose does not exceed 12 grams.

Many people don’t enjoy the taste of curry-seasoned foods.  For those individuals, nutrition advisors recommend a standardized supplement (95% total curcuminoids for maximum bioavailability) providing 300 to 500 mg daily to prevent neurodegenerative decline.

As a therapeutical, curcumin is used more for cancer treatment. This compound promotes apoptosis and antiangiogenesis both of which help prevent cancer development or slow its progression.

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