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Incorporate Turmeric into your Diet to Help Fight MS

By Daryl H. Bryant (557 words)
Posted in Living with MS on February 28, 2013

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Incorporate Turmeric into your Diet to Help Fight MS

Researchers continually uncover the amazing properties of chemicals contained within different substances. These discoveries often generate the development of medications and treatments that improve quality of life in patients diagnosed with numerous diseases and medical conditions. Health care providers commonly recommend dietary alterations based on evidence that chemical compounds found in foods provide health benefits. Curcumin is a chemical constituent found in the spice turmeric which can possibly treat cancer, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.


Asian and Indian cultures have long included turmeric in a long list of herbal medicines. Western medicine only recently began studying the possible health benefits of the spice. Curcumin gives turmeric the spice’s distinctive yellow color. Belonging to a group of polyphenol compounds known as curcuminoids, curcumin exhibits anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties. Over 600 studies producing over 400 publications agree that curcumin demonstrates anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics. The anti-inflammatory properties alone hold promise in treating a number of autoimmune disorders.

Scientific Research

When studying elderly populations of Indian descent, researchers discovered that these people who regularly consume turmeric had very low incidences of Alzheimer’s disease. A subsequent study performed by the Departments of Medicine and Neurology located at the University of California indicated that curcumin slowed the progression of Alzheimer’s in laboratory animals. Scientists also performed further research into the possibility that curcumin possessed neuroprotective properties.

At Vanderbilt University in 2002, Dr. Chandramohan Natarjan studied the effects of curcumin on multiple sclerosis. Natarjan used mice afflicted with autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a condition similar to MS in humans. Administering various doses of curcumin three times a week, the physician evaluated the effects on the mice. Following a month of treatment, mice given 50 micrograms of curcumin exhibited only minor neurological damage. Mice receiving 100 microgram doses experienced almost no neurological symptoms.

Recent Studies

Research progresses on the effects of curcumin. An article published in “Advancements in Experimental Medicine and Biology” in 2007 agreed that chemical compounds alleviated symptoms associated with MS by regulating cytokines, a chemical that inhibits inflammation. Studies also suggest that curcumin prevents the secretion of interleukin-12, also known as IL-12. IL-12 plays an essential role in triggering myelin destruction. An article published in “International Immunopharmacology” stated that recreating Dr. Natarjan’s study produced similar results. Studies as recent as 2011 indicate that the substance indeed slows the path physiological changes that occur in MS.

Adverse Effects

As research continues, physicians have not determined a specific dose for taking curcumin. MS patients may include the turmeric spice as a seasoning while cooking without experiencing side effects. If taking curcumin as a dietary supplement, nausea and vomiting may occur. Curcumin interacts with a number of prescription medications. At high enough levels, the compound interferes with the blood’s clotting ability, which also occurs when taking aspirin, ibuprofen and warfarin. The chemical also enhances the effects of diabetic and anti-hypertensive medications.

Health care providers suggest that individuals exercise caution when using dietary supplements because of the lack of regulation involved. MS patients should not start a regimen of curcumin supplementation without the knowledge, guidance and supervision of a physician.

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