There is a genetic component of Alzheimer’s, both with late onset and the increasingly diagnosed early onset.  Scientist have identified the genetic component, called APOE that can forecast a person’s risk for the disease later in life.  But the presence of the APOE gene is not at all predictive that the carrier of the gene will develop the disease.  In fact, many people who do not have the APOE gene never develop Alzheimer’s, and conversely, many without the genetic component do develop it. Baby Boomers experiencing the emotionally and financially draining farewell of their grandparents and parents are understandably concerned about their own futures.

Prevention and slowing mental deterioration in the early stages of Alzheimer’s is where BCM-95  Curcumin may be the most helpful, according to pioneering Alzheimer’s researcher Ralph Martins, head of Australia’s Sir James McCusker Unit for Alzheimer’s Disease Research for more than 20 years.  For most people, Dr. Martins says, “I think Curcumin should play an important role in slowing down the disease or possibly preventing it.”  He adds, ” In terms of Curcumin ability to slow down the progression of preclinical  Alzheimer’s disease, there is now very strong evidence from animal trails that Curcumin markedly lowers the level of beta-amyloid in the brain and does it primarily by affecting its aggregation (clumping of the plaque) and facilitating its clearance (elimination from the body). In addition, Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant and thus plays a significant role in reducing brain damage caused by oxidative stress.” Dr. Martins is currently engaged in human studies using BCM-95 Curcumin to verify   this preliminary work.



 Increased physical and mental activities have been shown to keep brain cells active, improve circulation and stave off dementia. Stress management and what the Alzheimer’s Research and prevention Foundation calls “brain aerobics” (challenging your brain to activities outside your norm–think Sudoku or writing haiku) are also important elements in preventing dementia.

Several studies also show the healthy Omega-3 fats from fish are key components in brain health and memory preservation as is  a healthy diet rich in antioxidants like berries, green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and citrus fruits.

While there are several anti-dementia pharmaceuticals on the market, they do not reverse dementia and they have a limited effectiveness in slowing the progress.


Curcumin’s unique ability to cross blood-brain barrier means that it can effect the brain chemistry  and the survival mechanisms of brain cells (neurons) , producing preventive and healing effects that few other nutrients can offer.

Curcumin, and particularly BCM-95 Curcumin, holds great promise for those with dementia and particularly for people with a history of Alzheimer’s in their families. There has been extensive research in this area ( research of curcumin+dementia in the National Institutes of Health database turns up 134 studies). The enthusiasm for the results is becoming intense.

Compared to the Western world, there is a much lower rate of Alzheimer’s where Curcumin is eaten in large quantities in the curries that are a staple of the India diet. In fact, the rate of Alzheimer’s in India among people ages 70 to 79 is about one-quarter of the rate in the U.S where Curcumin is rarely included in the diet.

 Even eating a small amount of Curcumin  seems to have an effect. One study showed better memory among 60- to 93-year olds who ate curry just once a month than among those who never ate it.

Here’s a facinating story about Indian people who tend to eat curry two or three times a day, so their dietary intake of Curcumin is exceptionally high:

Researchers conducting autopsies on the brain of Indians who died of all causes found that there was an unusual yellow color in their brain stem (hippocampus) tissue. This color , not seen in people of other ethnicities, was taken as proof that Curcumin indeed crosses the blood-brain barrier and that large quantities of it are actually absorbed into the brain tissue.

Here are a few of the most interesting research results on Curcumin and the brain.

 Grow new brain cells:  Until recently, scientist believed that it was imposaible to grow new brain cells, but they busted that myth with the discovery of neurogenesis, the scientifically validated creation of new brain cells. University of Florida researchers have now confirmed that Curcumin stimilates the birth of new neurons, particularly in the hippocampus, the seat of memory in the human brain.  

Protect the brain cell: Authors of a study published in the journal Curumin Alzheimer’s Research were enthusiastic about antioxidant properties of Curcumin to prevent brain cell deteriororation and death. Inflammatory cells called cytokinens have a role in speeding up Alzheimer’s, and the abilities of Curcumin  to inhibit the COX-2 enzyme can help protect those brain cells. Destory plaques and tangles: Scientists at UCLA called Curcumin “anti-amyloid” for its ability to overcome the beta-amyloid protest that forms the plaques and tangles. They also noted that people with Alzheimer’s show signs of inflammatoion in their brains and  credit Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties with an ability to address that problem. Another UCLA animal study showed Curcumin supplements reduced substances believed to cause plaque by 43 to 45%. Some researchers have suggested Curcumin binds directly to plaques and eliminates them.

The most exciting new research on Curcumin, and particularly the BCM-95 formulation, suggests that Curcumin helps dissolve those beta-amyloid plaques that are widely believed in the scientific community to cause the neuronal “short-circuit” that results in memory loss indicative of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of demintia.

The 34 participants in this study published in the Journal of Psychopmacology had all been diagnosed with probable or possible Alzheimer’s disease based on criteria set by the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke-Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association.

 They were given either a placebo or one or four grams of BCM-95 Curcumin. There were few side effects and , interestingly, the most side effects occurred in the placebo group.

 Researchers commented on the resulting increased levels of beta-amyloid in the bloodstream as indicative that the beta-amyloid plaque formations in their brains were dissolving and the bloodstream was carrying them away for waste disposal.  In addition, BCM-95 has been selected for study in a ground-breaking, exciting, year-long  Australian clinical study searching for ways to prevent  or delay the expected declines of Alzheimer’s disease, being conducted by renowned Australian researcher Ralph Martins, Ph.D.,  who directed the study on beta-amyoid plaque.

As head of the Sir James McCusker Unit for Alzheimer’s Disease Research for over 20 years, Director of the Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer’s  Disease  Research and Care, Director and Inaugural Chair for Ageing and Alzheimer’s Disease at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, Dr. Martins is working to develop an early diagnostic blood test in order to effectively prevent and/or treat this devastating degenerative brain disease.

In addition, Dr. Martins and his team are working to substantiate their theory that the presence of Curcuminin the retina of the eye, when it is bound to the beta-amyloid plaque, may help doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, prevention, diagnosis and treatment in the not-too-distant future.

Curcumin studies in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease  have demonstrated that it can play a significant role in the destruction of beta-amyloid plaque. It is also a powerful antioxdant, with an ORAC value of 1.5 million per 100 grams, as determined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Other studies have shown that Curcumin plays a role in neuronal regeneration. All these properties contribute to its potential utility in addressing this brain disease.

“I chose BCM-95 Curcumin for my human studies it has published human bioavailability data,’ says Dr. Martins.  “Therefore, I can use a reasonable amount and expect that the serum levels will achieve a therapeutic range for a significant period of time.”

Improve memory in people with Alzheimer’s:  This exciting Indian study explores multiple ways in which  Curcumin not only prevents Alzheimer’s and slows the progression of the disease , but actually improves memory in people diagnosed with the disease.

Chelating heavy metals: The  same Indian study says that Curcumin  helps eliminate heavy metals from the brain cells and shields the cells from heavy metal contamination. These heavy metals have long been implicated in Alzheimer’s and dementia.

These are chapters from a book called “Curcumin The 21st Century Cure” by Jan McBarron M.D. N.D. and after each chapter the Dr. says that If she had a love suffering from any of these conditions she would be giving them Curcumin. Next post will be about Depression and Brain Disorders