Yes, that title is a bit ostentatious. But the foods we eat contain many compounds that can be beneficial to brain health. One strategy for optimizing our brains for long-term peak performance is to identify these compounds and discover how they are beneficial. Head-healthy chemicals have previously been isolated from curries and spices before, and it looks like we’ve found another curcuminoid, bisdemethoxycurcumin, which may be useful in combating Alzheimer’s Disease:
Researchers have isolated bisdemethoxycurcumin, the active ingredient of curcuminoids — a natural substance found in turmeric root — that may help boost the immune system in clearing amyloid beta, a peptide that forms the plaques found in Alzheimer’s disease. Using blood samples from Alzheimer’s disease patients, researchers found that bisdemethoxycurcumin boosted immune cells called macrophages to clear amyloid beta.
The results also suggest a new drug development approach for the disease that differs from the amyloid-beta vaccine. The new approach relies on the innate immune system, which is present at birth rather than on antibodies produced by B cells, which is a later developed part of the active immune system.
I like these strategies. Chemicals that occur naturally in the diet and which have anti-inflammatory properties can be consumed in low levels, chronically, and provide health benefits on the cheap. Combining these dietary benefits with drug-based strategies may in fact boost performance of the drugs, and if nothing else we have a new chemical structure to tinker with and hopefully provide more effective therapeutic agents in the future. Additionally, anti-inflammatory dietary factors can protect other organ systems from a myriad of inflammation-related issues that occur with aging.