Curcumin possible treatment for Alzheimer’s when delivered properly

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Curcumin can be delivered effectively in human cells via tiny nanoparticles, opening possibility for treatment of chronic conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s, according to a new study by researchers at the University of South Australia and published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences.

Turmeric is well-known in the integrative healthcare community for its anti-inflammatory properties, but researchers have struggled to validate claims that the body can absorb its active compound, curcumin, to successfully treat diseases. An international team of researchers developed a nano formulation that changes curcumin's behavior to increase its oral bioavailability by 117 percent, according to the study.

For the study, the researchers used animal experiments to show that nanoparticles containing curcumin not only prevent cognitive deterioration but reverses the damage. This finding paves the way for clinical development trials for Alzheimer's, the researchers said.

"Curcumin suppresses oxidative stress and inflammation, both key pathological factors for Alzheimer's,” said Xin-Fu Zhou, PhD, lead author of the study, in a statement, “and it also helps remove amyloid plaques, small fragments of protein that clump together in the brains of Alzheimer disease patients.”

Zhou said the new formulation offers a potential solution for Alzheimer's disease. The researchers are currently testing the delivery method on treatment and prevention of several other conditions.