Dementia: The 12p spice known to boost the production of stem cells in the brain by 80%
Turmeric: Expert reveals incredible health benefits
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Dementia describes a set of diseases characterised by the gradual degeneration of brain functions. In people with the disease, neurons become injured and die throughout the brain and the connection between these neurons breaks down, causing regions of the organ to shrink. Fortunately, certain compounds in turmeric may promote the growth of new neurons in the brain.
Turmeric is well known for its bioactive compound curcumin, which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent on the brain, improving cognitive functions in patients with Alzheimer’s.
However, the spice contains a second bioactive compound, ar-turmerone, which may also confer protection against neuro-degeneration by increasing stem cell numbers.
Neural stem cells (NSCs), found in the brain and spinal cord, are special cells that can differentiate into different cell types in the central nervous system, such as neurons.
Neurons are critical for thinking, as they transmit messages to different regions of the brain and nervous system.
They also happen to be scarce in the brains of people living with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a 2019 Spanish study.
It is the process of generating new neurons through neurogenesis, NSCs have been recognised as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s.
This is because the formation and retention of memory are directly impacted by neurogenesis.
The brain tends to produce new neurons during the developmental years to help build neural circuits.
These, in turn, act as information highways between different areas of the brain that are critical for memory.
Research published in the journal of Stem Cell Research and Therapy in 2014, found that ar-turmerone contributed to the development of new neurons.
It did so by promoting the proliferation of brain stem cells and their development into neutrons, the researchers noted.
The maximum increase of stem cell numbers observed during the study averaged around 80 percent.
In fact, it was reported “at certain concentrations, ar-turmerone was shown to increase endogenous neural stem cells by up to 80 percent, without having any impact on cell death”.
The discovery emerged during an experiment on rodents who were injected with the ar-turmerone chemical.
Researchers noticed two parts of their brain expanded; the sub-ventricular zone and the hippocampus.
These are the two sites in adult mammalian brains where the growth of neurone is known to occur.
Stem cell proliferation has been described with other substances, but fewer drugs are able to promote the differentiation of stem cells into neutrons, noted the lead author of the study Adele Rueger.
It should be noted that there is currently insufficient evidence supporting the use of turmeric to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
However, the findings yielded by animal studies warrant further investigation to elucidate the role of turmeric in dementia prevention.
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