Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 May;1852(5):951-61. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2014.12.005. Epub 2014 Dec 27.
|Scooped by Dr. Maud Nerman, DO., CSPOMM, CA|
Curcumin has been a superstar in the nutraceutical approaches to healing TBI for some time, and of course has been a mainstay in ayurvedic medicine for centuries.. Curcumin, a derivative of the root spice turmeric, has powerful anti inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties and may be one of the most powerfully healing herbal substances on the planet. There are over 5000 research papers on curcumin's healing properties. In TBI, curcumin reduces acute activation of microglia and other immune responders after experimental injury and reduces neuronal cell death (http://www.jneuroinflammation.com/content/pdf/1742-2094-11-59.pdf), reduces cerebral edema (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20132469), and counteracts the adverse outcomes on synaptic plasticity and cognition. (https://www.ibp.ucla.edu/research/GomezPinilla/publications/Diet_InPress.pdf), a subject for further discussion in itself.
Curcumin's apparent low bioavailability to the brain has perplexed researchers, given its powerful healing impact on TBI. Since turmeric (from which curcumin is derived) is traditionally prepared in ghee, I always recommend to my patients that they take curcumin with fat. The addition of lipids to newer curcumin formulations may boost its power by mimicing the traditional uses of turmeric in cooking.
This article is fascinating because it suggests that one of the mechanisms of action of curcumin in TBI is its ability to enhance the synthesis of the main fatty acid in the brain, DHA. DHA by itself, in the form of fish oil, has shown enormous promise in helping the brain heal from even severe traumatic injury. Perhaps the addition of curcumin to the diet after TBI can enhance the synthesis of DHA and explain one reason that curcumin has proved so powerful.