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Does turmeric prevent Alzheimer's?

The FDA says supplements are a waste of time and money. The natural medicine sites promote this as a way to not get dementia. If it doesn't work why does India have such a low rate of dementia compared to the western world?
Status: Open    Jun 18, 2015 - 02:28 PM

Dementia, Senior Health & Nutrition

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Expert Answers

Dec 08, 2015 - 11:34 AM

I read a study some time ago published in AYU, which is an international quarterly journal of research in Ayurveda. The report was concerning a study of Alzheimer’s patients who were showing signs of irritability, anxiety and agitation. The reseach finding showed that behavioral issues improved significantly after being treated with less than a gram of turmeric daily for a period of three months. The conclusion of the study was that turmeric used daily, combined with routine therapy did increased the quality of life while also improving the performance of the patient’s activities of daily living .

Mar 23, 2016 - 10:17 AM

India does indeed have a lower rate of dementia compared to other parts of the world, a fact that has led some to theorize that a common staple of the diet for many in the nation – the spice “turmeric” that gives curry its flavor – is at the root of Indian’s being less prone to dementia. And because turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, people have put those two ideas together and theorized that turmeric may somehow prevent dementia.

Unfortunately there is no scientific data that supports the idea that turmeric prevents, slows or reverses the impact of Alzheimer’s Disease or any other dementia. There are some clinical trials underway testing turmeric’s effects on subjects at risk for Alzheimer’s, but we won’t have those results for some time.

Turmeric also has anti-carcinogenic properties. And it is a great spice to cook with. So it’s not a bad idea to add turmeric to your diet, but only in moderation. Chronic over-use of turmeric can have a toxic effect on the kidneys, liver and gastrointestinal track.

The best defense against dementia in old age is a lifetime of exercise, a heart healthy diet, and keeping active physically and mentally. A little turmeric won’t hurt, but stick with the basics first.

APFM Staff Answers

Sep 08, 2015 - 01:57 PM

There are several articles on the APFM blog that discuss turmeric as part of a healthy diet:

The Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory Foods List

Improve Your Memory with Super Foods for Brain Health

12 Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System



Jul 07, 2015 - 10:59 AM

The Alzheimer's Association has some good information on alternative therapies and treatments for Alzheimer's. Much of what I have read and continue to read maintains there is no 'cure' for the disease but it appears that scientists are onto several things that may in fact slow the progression of the disease. I have referenced this article with many families in recent times:


Jul 13, 2015 - 09:59 AM

We have turned up a great deal of information in our reading.

Curcumin (turmeric) is considered to have an anti-inflammatory effect; the research points to the AD plaques in the brain as a potential consequence of inflammation. Curcumin is one ingredient in the "natural cocktail" described in 2010 as having potential to reduce the effects of Alzheimer's in mice. (see Formulation of a medical food cocktail for Alzheimer's disease: beneficial effects on cognition and neuropathology in a mouse model of the disease .), cited on the NIH website.

Individual elements of the cocktail have been under study both prior to, and since, publication of this 2010 study. See Indian Academy of Medicine Study, 2008, as well as UCLA Alzheimer's Research Center publication. In May 2015, an article was published by the University of Missouri, describing the results of a study on the effects of curcumin and EGCG (green tea extract) in the brains of mice with Alzheimer's characteristics.

1. Bioavailability of curcumin is a big area of study; black pepper (piperine), delivery with omega 3 oils (as it is water soluble), and the uptake potential in conjunction when combined with Vitamin D3 are all areas which have received attention.

There are numerous studies available which will give you more information on this and other dietary supplements aimed at preventing/slowing/ the progress of Alzheimer's.

One key point I have come across in the literature:

1. Curcumin consumption is not recommended for anyone using blood thinner medications, like Coumadin. DOCTORS ALWAYS RECOMMEND YOU CHECK WITH THEM BEFORE ADDING ANY SUPPLEMENT TO YOUR DIET, especially if you are taking any medications.


Aug 12, 2015 - 01:14 PM

Thank you for all of the information, I never thought about looking on the Alzheimer's society webpage for dietary articles.
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