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Curcumin shows promise in attacking Parkinson's disease


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#1 Kathrynne Holden, MS

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 05:49 PM

Long-time forum members will recall that I've championed turmeric, an herb that contains curcumin. It is true that curcumin is not readily metabolized, but until a drug with similar properties is discovered, it's good to know that mixing it with oil and ground black pepper, increases its bioavailability. -Kathrynne



Public release date: 20-Mar-2012

Contact: Layne Cameron
layne.cameron@ur.msu.edu
517-353-8819
Michigan State University

Curcumin shows promise in attacking Parkinson's disease
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Curcumin, a compound found in the spice turmeric, is proving effective at preventing clumping of a protein involved in Parkinson's disease, says a Michigan State University researcher.

A team of researchers led by Basir Ahmad, an MSU postdoctoral researcher, demonstrated earlier this year that slow-wriggling alpha-synuclein proteins are the cause of clumping, or aggregation, which is the first step of diseases such as Parkinson's. A new study led by Ahmad, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, shows that curcumin can help prevent clumping.

"Our research shows that curcumin can rescue proteins from aggregation, the first steps of many debilitating diseases," said Lisa Lapidus, MSU associate professor of physics and astronomy who co-authored the paper with Ahmad. "More specifically, curcumin binds strongly to alpha-synuclein and prevents aggregation at body temperatures."

Lapidus' lab uses lasers to study protein folding. Proteins are chains of amino acids that do most of the work in cells. Scientists understand protein structure, but they don't know how they are built – a process known as folding. Lapidus' team is shedding light on the process by correlating the speed at which protein folds with its tendency to clump or bind with other proteins.

When curcumin attaches to alpha-synuclein it not only stops clumping, but it also raises the protein's folding or reconfiguration rate. By bumping up the speed, curcumin moves the protein out of a dangerous speed zone allowing it to avoid clumping with other proteins.

Finding a compound that can fix a protein when it first begins to misfold can lead scientists to identify drugs that can treat certain diseases. Doctors won't be prescribing curcumin pills any time soon, though, Lapidus said.

"Curcumin's usefulness as an actual drug may be pretty limited since it doesn't go into the brain easily where this misfolding is taking place," she said. "But this kind of study showcases the technique of measuring reconfiguration and opens the door for developing drug treatments."

###

Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

http://www.eurekaler...u-csp032012.php
Best regards,

Kathrynne Holden, MS

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#2 carruthers209

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 02:17 PM

Long-time forum members will recall that I've championed turmeric, an herb that contains curcumin. It is true that curcumin is not readily metabolized, but until a drug with similar properties is discovered, it's good to know that mixing it with oil and ground black pepper, increases its bioavailability. -Kathrynne



Public release date: 20-Mar-2012

Contact: Layne Cameron
layne.cameron@ur.msu.edu
517-353-8819
Michigan State University

Curcumin shows promise in attacking Parkinson's disease
EAST LANSING, Mich. — Curcumin, a compound found in the spice turmeric, is proving effective at preventing clumping of a protein involved in Parkinson's disease, says a Michigan State University researcher.

A team of researchers led by Basir Ahmad, an MSU postdoctoral researcher, demonstrated earlier this year that slow-wriggling alpha-synuclein proteins are the cause of clumping, or aggregation, which is the first step of diseases such as Parkinson's. A new study led by Ahmad, which appears in the current issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, shows that curcumin can help prevent clumping.

"Our research shows that curcumin can rescue proteins from aggregation, the first steps of many debilitating diseases," said Lisa Lapidus, MSU associate professor of physics and astronomy who co-authored the paper with Ahmad. "More specifically, curcumin binds strongly to alpha-synuclein and prevents aggregation at body temperatures."

Lapidus' lab uses lasers to study protein folding. Proteins are chains of amino acids that do most of the work in cells. Scientists understand protein structure, but they don't know how they are built – a process known as folding. Lapidus' team is shedding light on the process by correlating the speed at which protein folds with its tendency to clump or bind with other proteins.

When curcumin attaches to alpha-synuclein it not only stops clumping, but it also raises the protein's folding or reconfiguration rate. By bumping up the speed, curcumin moves the protein out of a dangerous speed zone allowing it to avoid clumping with other proteins.

Finding a compound that can fix a protein when it first begins to misfold can lead scientists to identify drugs that can treat certain diseases. Doctors won't be prescribing curcumin pills any time soon, though, Lapidus said.

"Curcumin's usefulness as an actual drug may be pretty limited since it doesn't go into the brain easily where this misfolding is taking place," she said. "But this kind of study showcases the technique of measuring reconfiguration and opens the door for developing drug treatments."

###

Michigan State University has been working to advance the common good in uncommon ways for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU focuses its vast resources on creating solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges, while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

http://www.eurekaler...u-csp032012.php


Hello Kathrynne. Thanks for the article. Can't forget about the OTHER amazing benefits that turmeric/curcumin provides for other diseases such as Alzheimer's which apparently has the same misfolding proteins spreading neuronal death (via amyloid plaques). By using turmeric/curcumin in recipes and herbal supplements we are both helping to save our neurons and providing neuroprotective properties to our brains and cognitive processing. Turmeric/curcumin is also an anti-cancer substance. Turmeric is one of Dr. Oz's five favorite cancer fighting foods. He suggests putting it in a shaker with garlic and black pepper. I substitute Montreal Steak seasoning (salt and black pepper) to the turmeric and garlic. It makes a delicious way to add turmeric to your diet.

It feels good to be able to use "food as medicine." It benefits us all in a very proactive and safe manner. Alzheimer's and cancer are probably everyone's two more feared diseases and here is a way to give our bodies healthy ways to help prevent these two dreaded diseases!

#3 noah

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Posted 24 March 2012 - 12:21 PM

this article mentions that curcumin doesnt cross the blod brain barrier so I guess tumeric pills are out?

#4 noah

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 12:42 PM

I dont usually use curcumin, can you suggest a resource for recipes?

#5 Kathrynne Holden, MS

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 03:51 PM

I agree, Carruthers -- foods, and herbs, as medicines are a way that we can empower ourselves to achieve better health. I like your idea of putting the turmeric in a shaker with Montreal seasoning, one of my favorites! I do add it to many things, but it hadn't occurred to me to combine it that way -- thanks!
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#6 Kathrynne Holden, MS

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 04:15 PM

Noah, I don't think turmeric in pill form would have much value; I think the better choice would be to use it in cooking, to improve absorption of the curcumin component. I like Carruthers' idea of having it in a shaker, preferably by the stove, to sprinkle on all kinds of dishes.
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Kathrynne Holden, MS

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#7 Kathrynne Holden, MS

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 04:28 PM

Noah, I don't know of a cookbook, per se, focused on turmeric. However, here are some suggestions:

- Scrambled eggs -- stir 1/2 teaspoon turmeric into a bowl with 2-3 eggs, and stir well. Heat a skillet, add extra-virgin olive oil or butter, and when hot, add eggs and cook.

- Soup -- if making homemade soup, add 1-2 teaspoons turmeric along with any onions or spices to be cooked at the start. If using canned soup, add 1-2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon turmeric, to a saucepan; heat and cook, stirring, for a minute, then add the canned soup and heat through.

- Chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad, potato salad, etc. made with mayonnaise -- Add 1 teaspoon turmeric plus 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper to the mayonnaise, mix well, and add to the remaining salad ingredients.

- Cooking hamburgers, hot dogs, chops, fish in a frypan -- Sprinkle 1 teaspoon turmeric onto the meat or fish, then cook as usual.

- Or, more simply, keep a shaker of turmeric and ground pepper by the stove and just shake a bit onto anything you are cooking.
Best regards,

Kathrynne Holden, MS

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