Turmeric Compound Found to Regenerate Nerve Stem Cells

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I take my Curcumin every morning and evening as it’s in the Regenexx stem cell support supplement. I do this because it’s a natural anti-inflammatory and potent anti-oxidant, but now new research shows additional turmeric benefits as a cousin compound found in the whole root may help to regenerate nerve cells in the brain.

Turmeric is a root of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. Turmeric’s active compounds include four identified curcuminoids and four turmerones. There’s quite a bit published on the anti-inflammatory properties of the Curcumin component of tumeric root, with one recent study showing it to be as potent as Ibuprofen. This part of the root also has anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties. In addition, the tumerones have gained attention in neurologic diseases.

The ar-tumerone compound, one of the four found in the whole tumeric root, made a big splash last week in a neural regeneration study. In the research out of Germany, these compounds caused stem cells in the brain to grow and proliferate, both in the petri dish and in lab rats. This is a very big deal, as adult brains aren’t great at growing large numbers of new nerve cells, even though they can use local nerve stem cells to repair or replace worn out cells. As a result, this new finding could mean that adults with neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s will fare better when given tumeric or it’s derivatives. In addition, the new study showed that the compound could be effective in helping reduce neural inflammation, thought to be a big problem in Alzheimer’s disease. So far, another mouse study has also identified other tumeric components beyond Curcumin that may help reduce the plaque formation seen in this disease. Regrettably, human data is pretty sparse at this point.

The upshot? You may want to consider taking the whole turmeric root or it’s powder for brain health. Having said that, the isolated Curcumin in high doses with Bioperrine is a great anti-inflammatory, so you may want to take this plus a whole root supplement, as it’s unlikely the whole root has enough “oomph” to provide good relief for your various aches and pains!

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Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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