Did you know that there are approximately 46.8 million people suffering from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia worldwide today?
This means that almost every seven seconds, a new case of dementia is diagnosed.
It may come as a surprise that the United States consistently ranks in the top five countries most affected by these degenerative illnesses, in addition to Finland, Canada, Iceland, and Sweden.
But which countries typically suffer the least from Alzheimer’s disease and why might this be?
Globally, rural india is considered to have the lowest validated rates of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia worldwide, with many Asian countries such as Singapore and Cambodia following close behind.
Indian culture traditionally includes diets that are especially high in turmeric and other spices, and particularly in rural India, diets are also usually high carb and based largely on grains, beans, vegetables, and very little meat.
Alzheimer's rates among adults 70-79 years of age in India have been reported to be 4.4 times lower than adults of the same age in the United States.
More and more studies are now being released that find environmental factors (such as diet) to be much more influential than genetic factors when it comes to preventing Alzheimer’s.
Could this mean that there might be a possible link between Eastern diets and lower rates of age-related cognitive decline in these regions of the world? Could high turmeric consumption possibly play a role in this?
Alzheimer’s is currently the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and of all those affected, two-thirds are women. Alzheimer's is responsible for approximately 50 to 70% of all dementia cases.
These illnesses are the only conditions that cannot be prevented, slowed, or cured with modern medicine. This means that the power lies in our hands to naturally preserve brain health as we age.
Most turmeric-based studies on dementia are centered around curcumin. The main compound found in turmeric, curcumin is a potent healing extract that has been shown in some lab-based studies (including a recent UCLA study) to help break down amyloid-beta plaques. Although more research is needed, these plaques are considered to be the "hallmark of Alzheimer's disease" by The Alzheimer's Society.
Neurodegenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer’s begin by breaking down nerve cells in the brain caused by inflammation and oxidative damage. Turmeric is historically believed to provide the body with a powerful anti-inflammatory effect that may help reduce or prevent the nerve cell inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s. Many studies have shown that prolonged exposure to anti-inflammatory substances may be linked to lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s symptoms. Although researchers are just now beginning to uncover the true potential of curcumin when it comes to inflammatory responses, initial findings are promising!
Turmeric is widely known to be a potent source of antioxidants. These antioxidants can help neutralize the increased amount of incoming free-radicals as we age that cause oxidative stress (a common property associated with Alzheimer’s). Curcumin can actually kick-start the body's antioxidant enzymes into high gear, stimulating them to function at a higher level. Because of this, it has the potential to help prevent the deterioration of neurons in patients suffering from age-related cognitive decline.
Alzheimer’s disease occurs when certain brain cells are damaged, slowly causing memory and cognitive impairment over time. However, some studies are now finding that another compound found in turmeric known as turmerone may actually help stimulate the growth of new brain cells. This incredible compound may actually help enhance the self-repair and recovery functions in the brain, giving new hope to the promise of future treatments for Alzheimer's. We can't wait to see what the future holds for the promising studies on turmerone and cognitive health!
Alzheimer’s disease has also been associated with high levels of metal toxicity in some patients, such as cadmium and lead. The exposure to many heavy metals is said to cause neuron damage over time and may eventually lead to neurodegenerative illnesses. The curcumin found in turmeric has been reported in some studies to help prevent neurotoxicity caused by these metals by suppressing inflammatory neuron damage and protecting the brain from further toxin intake.
It's important to note that these studies have been conducted by professional researchers using potent curcumin extracts (not generic turmeric spice), and that although initial research is very promising, turmeric supplements are not meant to act as a replacement for prescribed medication or meant to prevent, treat, or cure pre-existing conditions.
They can, however, act as an excellent supplement to any powerful healthy aging routine when used correctly! Be sure to consult with your personal physician before making any lifestyle changes or starting a new supplement routine.
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