Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition causing problems with memory, thinking, behavior and other cognitive functions. Initially, people with Alzheimer’s disease notice only mild confusion and difficulty with memory. Eventually, they start to even forget important people around them and may undergo dramatic personality changes. Curcumin, a substance in turmeric commonly used in Indian cuisines, has proven effects on cognitive functions.
Alzheimer’s disease is considered to be the most common cause of dementia. It is a group of brain disorders which leads to loss of intellectual and social skills. In patients suffering from this condition, the brain cells begin to degenerate and die. This eventually causes a steady decline in memory and mental function.
Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric (haldi), is a powerful anti-oxidant and also has anti-inflammatory properties that play a role in the prevention of Alzheimer’s as the disease begins as an inflammatory process in the brain.
How Alzheimer’s Disease Manifests?
The one with Alzheimer’s is the first to notice changes in his/her cognitive abilities – facing unusual difficulty remembering things, names, places and organizing thoughts. They may not recognize that anything is wrong, even when changes are noticeable to their family members, close friends or co-workers.
Chemical changes in brain matter associated with Alzheimer’s disease lead to:
- Memory issues – Though everyone can have memory lapses which are pretty normal but people with Alzheimer’s disease have memory issues that are repetitive and worsen to the extent of affecting their functionality. They may forget conversations and keep repeating same statements over and over without realizing. It is common for them to misplace their belongings and getting lost in known places. They may eventually start to forget the names of family members and may have trouble finding right words to be able to express thoughts.
- Difficulty with judgments and decision making– In people with Alzheimer’s disease, ability to take even simple decisions gets affected and may end up burning food on the stove
- Issues with performing routine tasks – They may have difficulty in responding to day to day problems like cooking a meal or playing their favorite games. Eventually it might get difficult for them to remember if they have taken a bath and eaten meals.
- Behavioral changes and personality issues – With Alzheimer’s disease, patients can become depressed and have mood swings as well as irritability. They may even experience change in sleeping habits and withdraw themselves from social situations.
- Thinking and reasoning issues – Alzheimer’s disease can cause concentration issues and difficulty with abstract concepts such as numbers. It is difficult for the patients to manage finances and pay bills. This can even progress to difficulty recognizing numbers.
How Alzheimer’s disease occurs?
The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not fully understood. It is believed that for most of the patients the causation is a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect brain over a period of time. In a very small percentage of patients, Alzheimer’s disease is caused by genetic changes. Alzheimer’s disease causes significant damage to brain, leading to shrinkage.
There are two types of abnormalities which are characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease that are plaques and tangles. Plaques are clumps of a protein called beta-amyloid which damages and destroys brain cells in a lot of ways, including interfering with cell-to-cell communication. Functioning of brain cells depends on an internal support and transport system in order to carry nutrients and other essential materials throughout their long extensions. This system requires the normal structure and functioning of a protein called tau. In Alzheimer’s disease threads of this tau protein twist forming abnormal tangles and thus bringing about failure of the transport system leading to death of brain cells.
Risk Factors Related To Alzheimer’s disease
- Age – The greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is increasing age. Though it is not a part of normal aging but the risk increases significantly after the age of 65.
- Genetic predisposition and family history of Alzheimer’s disease – Those people who have a parent or sibling with disease are at a greater risk. Genetic mutations have been identified which virtually guarantee that a person who inherits them would develop Alzheimer’s disease.
- Gender – Women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease compared to men.
- History of head trauma – those who have had severe trauma to the head seem to have increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
What are the complications occurring from Alzheimer’s disease?
Patients with Alzheimer’s disease have communication problems due to memory and language issues and it can complicate treatment that might be required for other health issues that they might be suffering. It might be difficult for them to report other illnesses and follow the treatment plan prescribed for them. With progression of Alzheimer’s disease, the patient may experience bowel and bladder problems and even have aspiration of food particles into the lungs. Bedsores, malnutrition, and fractures are other complications that might be reported.
What all diagnostic tests are used to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease cannot be diagnosed on the basis of a single test but with careful medical examination, expert doctors always are able to find out if the patient has Alzheimer’s disease.
- Physical Exam — detailed physical exam is done to check for history and presence of cognitive impairment. Neurological tests and tests to check for cognitive functioning would be done as well. Reflexes, muscle tone and strength along with coordination and balance would be assessed.
- Blood tests — Blood tests would be ordered to check for any deficiencies causing the symptoms.
- Imaging modalities — MRI and CT scan would be done to rule out tumors, stroke, head injuries, and shrinkage related to Alzheimer’s disease. Latest PET scans have the technology to check for presence of plaque and tangles which are hallmark abnormalities which represent Alzheimer’s disease.
Is Turmeric/Curcumin Useful in Alzheimer’s Disease?
Turmeric is known to contain a variety of compounds including Curcumin which has the unique ability to strike the root pathological cause of Alzheimer’s disease as it can curb the formation of β-amyloid protein. Excellent anti-inflammatory properties of Curcumin acts against the inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s disease and exerts a protective role against β-amyloid protein.
Curcumin, a polyphenol, is the main active component of turmeric responsible for its therapeutic effects including anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-oxidant and immunomodulation properties following oral or topical administration. Curcumin is a proven neuro-protective agent and can even reverse physiological damage as it has the ability to restore distorted neuritis while disrupting existing plaques.
Issue With Common Turmeric:
An Indian dish cannot be imagined without the magical spice turmeric – an integral part of Indian culinary art. Apart from being used as an ingredient in cooking, turmeric is a natural healer containing more than 300 antioxidants, which is likely why still today both rural and urban populations in Asia have lowest prevalence rates of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
If you have a jar of turmeric languishing in your spice cupboard, you can use that by making a golden paste mixed in milk, honey, water, soup or make a smoothie and turmeric tea for local application as well for ingestion. However, common turmeric fails to exert 100% of its therapeutic effects due to:
- Poor bioavailability of curcumin
- Less permeability and extensive systemic metabolism of curcumin
- Requirement of additional elements in combination with curcumin for better absorption
When ingested, not much curcumin actually reaches the bloodstream and even less gets past the blood-brain barrier to have any impact on brain cells. Adding to that, turmeric root contains only about 3-5% of Curcumin and thus taking non-standardized powdered turmeric root would entail intake of a very large amount in order to derive any benefit of curcumin.
To counter fight the disadvantages of common turmeric, a novel formulation, SNEC 30 (Self-nano emulsifying curcumin capsule 30 mg) has been developed that has anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic and immuno-modulatory properties without posing any adverse effects. SNEC 30 is the latest generation of scientifically formulated bioactive co-developed by Arbro Pharmaceuticals Ltd, DSIR (Department for Scientific & Industrial Research, GOI) and Jamia Hamdard University.
SNEC 30 uses Self Nano-Emulsifying Drug Delivery System (SNEDDS) which makes it the most effective agent to reduce pain and inflammation in arthritis. SNEC 30 is patented through the prestigious United States Patent for drug delivery system.
- SNEC 30 Uses SNEDDS for better Absorption and Highest Degree Of Bioavailability of curcumin With Fast Action
The US patented formulation of SNEC 30 is based on Self Nano Emulsifying Drug Delivery System (SNEDDS) for curcumin to achieve Cmax (peak serum concentration of any drug) of active curcuminoids several times more than its’ closest rival. SNEC 30 forms a stable nano emulsion in stomach and bypasses the pre-systemic metabolism followed by absorption through the lipid absorption channel and the payers’ patches in the intestines. It also escapes Liver First Pass and directly reaches into systemic blood through lymphatic system providing the basis for high Cmax at a very low dose.
- Curcumin in SNEC 30 has “NO Side Effects” – It Works in Harmony with Other Body Systems
SNEC 30 works in a synchronized fashion working on cellular membranes to organize them more orderly. This not only improves the resistance of cells against infection and malignancy as well as works on various receptors to control inflammation and pain without causing any adverse effects.
- SNEC 30 is a Superior Anti-Oxidant
SNEC 30, due to its unique US patented formulation, neutralizes free radicals which makes it the best anti-oxidant. Its immunomodulatory action strengthens body’s immunity to fight against most microbial infections. SNEC 30 also exerts antimicrobial and disinfectant properties for a wide range of topical bacterial and fungal infections.
Effects of SNEC 30 in Alzheimer’s disease
- SNEC 30 acts as anti-inflammatory – Curcumin present in SNEC 30 acts as anti-inflammatory and has been proven to exert a protective role against β-amyloid protein associated inflammation that happens in Alzheimer’s disease.
- SNEC 30 acts as antioxidant – SNEC 30 helps in elimination of free radicals from the body due to its antioxidant effect thereby preventing damage to the brain.
- SNEC 30 is proven neuro-restorative agent – Curcumin present in SNEC 30 helps rescue long-term functional memory which gets impaired by amyloid peptide in Alzheimer’s disease. It may also reverse physiological damage as it has the ability to restore distorted neuritis while disrupting existing plaques.
- SNEC 30 protects against cellular damage – SNEC 30 provides protection against damaging effects of β-amyloid proteins at a cellular level and hence helps brain functioning.
- SNEC 30 has protective effect in Alzheimer’s disease – Curcumin present in SNEC 30 has a higher binding affinity for iron and copper rather than zinc. Due to its metal chelating properties which have protective effect in Alzheimer’s disease.
Dosage and Safety – SNEC 30 is completely safe even at very high doses but ideal dose should be customized according to individual body requirement. Trials generally report very few, if any, adverse effects of SNEC 30 even at very high dose. There have been no reports of toxicity following even large amount of turmeric ingestion.
All the information on this site is for the purpose of general education and in no way can substitute the consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor. It is highly recommended that you consult with your Ayurvedic doctor or health care provider to determine the individual requirements. Pregnant women, nursing mothers and children should not take any supplements without consulting their doctor.