Two studies published this fall demonstrate that the tasty Indian cooking spice, turmeric, may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The focus of the studies was on curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, believed to be a potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cell-protecting herb.

One published study revealed that curcumin may help the immune system clear the brain of amyloid beta, the cause of plaque formation on the brain in Alzheimer’s patients. For this in-vitro study, blood was drawn from six Alzheimer’s patients and three healthy volunteers, and immune cells called macrophages were isolated. Researchers added amyloid beta and measured how actively the macrophages attacked the amyloid beta. They also added curcumin to half of the Alzheimer’s blood samples and found that it stimulated the macrophages to actively destroy the amyloid beta. The macrophages without the added curcumin were less effective in breaking down the plaque-causing substance. In the samples from those without Alzheimer’s, the macrophages were effectively destroying the amyloid beta without the curcumin. Adding of curcumin did not alter their activity.

The other clinical study supported the results of the above in-vitro study—people who eat turmeric “often have a 49% less chance of experiencing cognitive decline.”

Want to take advantage of these health benefits and more, yet concerned about the high-fat content of Indian food served in Western restaurants? The NEEDS Wellness Team would like to recommend Solaray‘s Turmeric Root Extract. It contains 300 mg concentrated extract, providing 95% (285 mg) curcumin. The recommended therapeutic dosage is 500 to 2000 mg turmeric daily.