Study supports curcumin's neuroprotective potential

By Danielle Masterson

- Last updated on GMT

Getty Images / yokeetod
Getty Images / yokeetod

Related tags Turmeric Ayurveda Brain health

A new study suggests turmeric extract combined with purified essential oil of turmeric may improve spatial learning and memory and offer some protect against neurotoxins.

Research suggests that brain health is compromised by exposure to neurotoxins, with aluminum of particular concern. Major sources of aluminum exposure are cookware, cosmetics, antiperspirants and pharmaceutical products. 

According to a public health statement from the CDC, the average adult in the United States consumes about 7–9 mg of aluminum per day in their food. Up to 1% of that amount undergoes absorption. The aluminum can pass through the blood-brain barrier and could negatively impact the central nervous system.

Chronic exposure can actuate a neuroinflammatory response and rouse a state of oxidative stress, ultimately raising risks for neural damage.

Aluminum exposure has been implicated in a number of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. High concentrations of aluminum have been found to increase amyloid aggregation and deposition in neuronal tissues — a key feature of Alzheimer’s Disease.

“Aluminium is unfortunately a prevalent toxin and contact with it is unavoidable in everyday life,”​ explained Benny Antony, PhD, Joint Managing Director for Arjuna and inventor of BCM-95.

The research 

In the new study, published in Hindawi BioMed Research International, ​Arjuna Natural’s branded turmeric extract and purified essential oil of turmeric, BCM-95, was fed to lab mice for 45 days at doses of 25 and 50 mg per kg body weight daily. A positive control group ran in parallel.

At the end of the study, the researchers highlighted that the BCM-95 complex reversed the cognitive impairment exhibited by aluminum exposure. 

The report also noted that supplementation allowed for more plasma bioavailability, improved spatial learning and memory significantly, and also upregulated the expression of antioxidants.

The authors said the findings present positive implications for a new curcumin delivery system that has the potential to alleviate a range of common neurodegenerative diseases.

“Curcumin is known for its ability to bind to metals such as aluminum and thus could offer neuroprotection from the metal’s potentially toxic effects,” ​explained lead researcher David Banji, PhD. “But poor absorption and low blood levels of free curcumin after oral intake pose a major limitation for delivering its full clinical benefits. Curcumin’s characteristic low solubility, rapid metabolism, and quick elimination hampers its absorption into the bloodstream nor readily penetrates the blood brain barrier. This is what spurred us to examine BCM-95 of Arjuna Natural where curcumin, the key turmeric extract is combined with the purified essential oil component of turmeric as a bioavailability enhancer.”

“The challenge of maintaining brain health naturally via plant derived supplements is that it has to be both practical and safe,” ​said Antony. “We were encouraged by the immediate actionable results of this high bioavailability turmeric extract which is already widely commercially available as a leading bio-available extract.”

Source: Hindawi BioMed Research International
Volume 202, Article ID 6645720
“Neuroprotective Effect of Turmeric Extract in Combination with Its Essential Oil and Enhanced Brain Bioavailability in an Animal Model”
Authors: D. Banji et al

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