News article

Beyond anti-infective power: Turmeric to promote self-repair of brain function

Posted:  Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Turmeric is known for its anti-infective properties. However, a team of German researchers just recently identified that a bioactive compound in turmeric has an additional ability to promote self-repair of brain cells. This could spell good news for patients suffering from stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

The bioactive compound namely aromatic (ar-) turmerone in turmeric when injected in to the adult rat was shown to promote neuron stem cell (NSC) proliferation and differentiation in the brain. This is of a great significance in self repair of brain function in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The results of the study were published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy.

The team found that the subventricular zone (SVZ) was wider and the hippocampus expanded in the brains of the rats injected with the compound, compared with those that did not receive the compound. These findings are exciting as the SVZ and hippocampus are 2 main sites in adult mammal brains where growth of neurons occur.

Furthermore, the researchers cultured and grew foetal rat NSCs in 6 different concentrations of ar-turmerone for a period of 72 hours. They found that in certain concentrations, ar-turmerone increased proliferation of NSCs by as much as 80% without hindering the cell death process. This boost in proliferation was noted only in cells treated with the turmeric compound.

Previous studies have shown that ar-turmerone helps block the activation of microglial cells in the brain. Activated microglial cells are implicated in neuro-inflammation which in turn is linked to numerous neurological disorders. However, the self-repair ability of turmeric compounds has been unknown till now.

Pointing to ar-turmerone as a promising drug candidate for Alzheimer’s, lead author Adele Rueger said, “While several substances have been described to promote stem cell proliferation in the brain, fewer drugs additionally promote the differentiation of stem cells into neurons which constitutes a major goal in regenerative medicine. Our findings on aromatic turmerone take us one step closer to achieving this goal.”

Indians are prolific users of turmeric powder in their foods; we now have yet another reason to sprinkle bountiful of this spice in our diets.

For study details:-Click Here!