Posted on Mar 25, 2019, 8 p.m.
Curcumin/turmeric would appear to be an allstar compound found in food, now it seems as if it is pulling another trick out of its sleeve. Its power to reduce inflammation, fight cancer, and battle depression are impressive enough, but now curcumin has been suggested to help treat spinal cord injuries better than drugs and surgery.
Curcmin’s anti-inflammatory power has been well documented, now a new systematic review of available data on how the compound may impact spinal cord injuries published in Neurology Research International suggests curmcumin may make a difference in those suffering with spinal cord injury.
According to the researchers in all studies comparing to corticosteroids, curcumin was found to outperform the drug every time. The positive effects were attributed to dysregulated or overexpressed inflammation being the main driver of tissue damage, and when there is spinal cord injury it is believed primary and secondary inflammation processes are in play. Primary injury follows physical impact damaging some axons, this triggers onset of other inflammatory events that lead to loss of axons and sensorimotor losses.
Curcumin is thought to help fight both primary and secondary inflammation, and is believed to help spinal cord injuries in other ways much like its multipronged approach to fighting cancer, to provide an efficient and thorough approach to spinal cord injury.
Curcumin is known to stimulate regenerative stem cells, stimulate regeneration of damaged neurological tissue using neural stem cells, stimulate proliferation of neural progenitor cells capable of healing the spinal cord, and recently scientists learned regenerative stem cells exist within the spinal cord and have the power to regenerate damaged tissue.
UCLA studies have found diets enriched with turmeric and DHA helped rats with damaged spinal cords preserve ability to walk; indicating these supplements can help to repair nerve cells and help to maintain neurological function after suffering degenerative damage to the neck. Surgery may have prevented further injury and relieve pressure, but surgery can not actually repair damage incurred by cells and nerve fibers. Animals on the DHA/curcumin enriched diet had marker levels linked to cell membrane damage, cellular communication and neural repair equivalent to a control, showing repair did occur.
Curcumin has been demonstrated over the years to be as effective as 14 different drugs; been the subject of 12,000+ published and peer reviewed studies; to have 800+ potential uses in treating and preventing disease; and this powerhouse has an impressive listing that continues to grow as additional studies emerge.
The question remains if a more natural treatment with curcumin ever be the preferred course over corticosteroids or some surgeries? Most likely not, because natural substances such as turmeric are not patentable, with no profit to be made big pharma won’t be interested, making it hard to find anyone interested in funding clinical trial research needed to gain FDA approval; meaning being there isn’t much potential to return on investment gain it won’t be happening anytime soon. Nevertheless there is nothing to stop those with spinal cord injury from using it as a complementary therapy; curcumin/turmeric has so many health benefits it is one one the most popular daily supplements.