Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Curcumin Aerosol to Fight Alzheimer's?

CURCUMIN (FROM TURMERIC) destroys Alzheimer's plaque. Japanese researchers are developing an atomizer that generates a curcumin aerosol to get it past the blood-brain barrier barrier. Find out more.

One of the most promising new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease may already be in your kitchen. Curcumin, a natural product found in the spice turmeric, has been used by many Asian cultures for centuries, and an important study indicates a close chemical analog of curcumin has properties that may make it useful as a treatment for the brain disease.

Curcumin Gets in the Brain

“Curcumin has demonstrated ability to enter the brain, bind and destroy the beta-amyloid plaques present in Alzheimer’s with reduced toxicity,” said Wellington Pham, Ph.D., assistant professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences and Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt and senior author of the study, published recently in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Accumulation and aggregation of protein fragments, known as beta-amyloid, drives the irreversible loss of neurons in Alzheimer’s disease.

Developing small molecules to reduce this accumulation or promote its demolition is crucial, but the ability of these small molecules to cross the blood-brain barrier has been a restricting factor for drug delivery into the brain.

Pham and colleagues at Shiga University of Medical Science in Otsu, Japan, developed a new strategy to deliver a molecule similar to curcumin more effectively to the brain.

“One of the difficulties in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is how to deliver drugs across the blood brain barrier,” he said. “Our body has designed this barrier to protect the brain from any toxic molecules that can cross into the brain and harm neurons.

“But it is also a natural barrier for molecules designed for disease-modifying therapy,” Pham said.

Curcumin Aerosol

To work around the problems of giving the drug intravenously, the researchers decided to develop an atomizer to generate a curcumin aerosol. The Japanese researchers developed a molecule similar to curcumin, FMeC1, which was the one actually used in this study.

“The advantage of the FMeC1 is that it is a perfluoro compound, which can be tracked by the biodistribution in the brain noninvasively using magnetic resonance imaging. Curcumin is a very simple chemical structure, so it is not expensive to generate the analog,” Pham said.

“In this way the drug can be breathed in and delivered to the brain,” he said, noting that nebulizers are out in the market already, and are relatively inexpensive.”

“In this paper we also showed that delivery to the cortex and hippocampal areas is more efficient using aerosolized curcumin than intravenous injection in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease,” Pham said.


  1. Do you have any additional info on the nebulizers that are currently on the market?

  2. I have seen some references to curcumin and ultrasonic nebulizers, so this might be the best option.

    This research is very promising. Curcumin is not very water soluble so it does not enter the bloodstream well. By inhaling it, much of this problem is bypassed.

    Curcumin is a peroxynitrite scavenger and it partially reverses much of the damage that peroxynitrites create in the brain of a person with Alzheimer's disease. This damage includes a decline in the synthesis and release of neurotransmitters involved in short-term memory, sleep, mood, social recognition, and alertness, disrupted neurotransmissions, restricted blood flow and glucose in the brain which can contribute to apathy, delusions, and wandering, the end to the regeneration of neurons in the hippocampus, and the death of brain cells.

    A number of compounds similar to curcumin have partially reversed Alzheimer's disease. These include eugenol in rosemary (and several other essential oils) via aromatherapy (see Jimbo study; orange and lavender were used in this study to help reduce agitation that might result from eugenol), eugenol and ferulic acid in a lemon balm/Melissa officinalis extract (Akhondzadeh), and syringic acid and ferulic acid in red panax Korean ginseng and heat-processed ginseng (Heo studies). Alzheimer's disease has been partially reversed several times in human clinical trials such as these.

    1. How can I find the dosage for use in a nebulizer? Is Curcumin available in liquid form?

  3. Is this something we could do now if we have a nebulizer? How would you do it? What form of curcumin and what dosage? It would be nice to know.

    1. Warning, this article does not mention any clinical trials. Would not use/try until much more testing. Until we see the results of clinical trials could be dangerous or completely non effective in humans.


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