Turmeric is the undeniable champion of spices.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial ancient cure-all. It has been used for centuries to treat many ailments.
Medical use of turmeric is estimated to have started around 4,000 years ago. This highly potent spice is also known as Indian saffron.
In the past 25 years over 3,000 studies have examined the health benefits of the vibrant yellow spice.
Curcumin has been used to help treat inflammation, osteoarthritis, depression, high cholesterol, skin conditions, and most recently COVID-19.
The anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin combined with the antioxidant properties of the spice have caught the attention of researchers in recent years as a treatment for neurological and neurodegenerative conditions as well.
What Causes Neurological And Neurodegenerative Diseases?
Neurological and neurodegenerative diseases are the result of a loss of functional neurons and synapses in the brain. These neurons and synapses are the brain’s communicators.
Neurons communicate messages at meeting points in the brain called synapses.
These communicator cells begin to deteriorate when a neurological/neurodegenerative disease is present. The symptoms are often mild at the onset and include loss of coordination and loss of memory.
As the diseases progress, the symptoms worsen. Some patients lose their cognitive abilities and are unable to walk if the diseases are left unchecked.
Some of the most common neurological diseases are:
- Acute Spinal Cord Injury
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Brain Tumors
- Cerebral Aneurysm
- Epilepsy and Seizures
- Bell's Palsy
These diseases are most likely to present with symptoms for sufferers in mid- to late-life.
The later onset of these diseases and an aging baby boomer population means that there is an anticipated influx of diagnoses in the next 30 years.
Benefits Of Using Curcumin For Neurological Disorders
The current treatments for neurological and neurodegenerative diseases are less than ideal (1) according to medical experts.
While stem cell therapies are showing some promising results in the reduction of symptoms, there are many barriers to entry for those seeking these treatments.
The high cost of the treatment is a downside for many patients and most insurers do not cover stem cell treatments.
In addition to the cost, stem cell treatments are still an emerging therapy and can have unforeseen medical complications.
Why Curcumin Is A Preferred Treatment Option For Neurodegenerative Diseases
Stem cell treatments are one of the most promising therapies to treat these conditions, but being unaffordable for most people and having potential health risks are major drawbacks.
Many researchers have accepted for the time being that the best way to combat these debilitating diseases is to focus on prevention and management.
The old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure absolutely applies to these exceptionally difficult-to-treat diseases.
Curcumin has been shown to have neuroprotective effects in multiple studies. These neuroprotective properties help to reduce amyloids (proteins that build up in organs and have been linked to the development of multiple diseases).
Amyloids are one of the main causes of oxidative damage and inflammation- both of which are triggers for many diseases including neurological and neurodegenerative disorders.
Curcumin has at least 10 known neuroprotective behaviors in the body that can be used to help treat or prevent major conditions such as:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Neuropathy (tingling typically in the hands and/or feet)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Retinal degeneration (poor eyesight)
- Major depression
How To Use Curcumin For Neurological And Neurodegenerative Diseases
While curcumin shows great promise as a preventative measure and treatment for many neurological and neurodegenerative conditions, the low bioavailability of the supplement makes it difficult to achieve optimal dosage levels.
Studies have shown that liposomes are the most effective oral delivery method for curcumin and many other drugs and supplements.
Liposomes are molecules that wrap around the drug or supplement that they are delivering to the body.
These molecules are structurally similar to the body’s own cells, making it easier for them to pass through the body without being attacked as a foreign invader.
In addition to the mimicking of cells, liposomes also act as a protective barrier between supplements and destructive stomach acids.
Stomach acids break down food for digestion, but they also break down vitamins, supplements, and drugs.
Curcumin needs to travel through the GI tract all the way to the small intestine to be absorbed into the bloodstream and made available throughout the body.
Researchers have found that other oral delivery methods for curcumin aren’t very effective at getting the supplement to the small intestine, so not much of what you take is actually delivered to your cells.
Liposomes have been shown to be the most efficient way to increase the bioavailability of curcumin- meaning that more of the curcumin is able to be absorbed by the body than with traditional forms of curcumin.
How To Choose The Best Liposomal Curcumin
When choosing liposomal curcumin, always look for water in the ingredients.
If water is present, you are purchasing formed liposomes- meaning they are less likely to degrade and become less effective because of peptide separation.
It’s also important to consider the sources of your liposomal curcumin.
Research has shown that it’s common for supplements to be contaminated with other substances.
Finding a reputable brand that responsibly sources its products is key in making sure that what you’re paying for is worth the money.
Look for non-GMO, vegan, and soy-free options as well. Soy, dairy, and animal products (2) are known to be pro-inflammatory foods. Avoiding inflammation in the body is one of the best ways to avoid and prevent disease.
Manna products are responsibly sourced and non-GMO. They also contain no animal products or soy.