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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Benefits of Curcumin for Down syndrome

I finally had a chance to research curcumin and I am delightfully surprised. It has some properties similar to prozac but it has even more. One research study I found looked at curcumin using what is called an 'unpredictable stress model'.  This is when the researchers stress the mice in random, unpredictable ways. They have found this to be the most stressful on the mice.  If stress is consistent and/or predictable, it is not as hard on the body or brain.

Curcumin did increase neurogenesis by increasing serotonin and BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor). But it did something more that I think may be the biggest help to Down syndrome.

Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory as well as an antioxidant, but that is not the most intriguing part of the research. Lots of herbs and vitamins are anti-inflammatory or have antioxidant properties.

The most intriguing part is the idea that curcumin is structurally capable of binding to amyloid plaques and breaking up the aggregation of them. Curcumin literally sticks itself to the junk (amyloid plaque) and breaks up the group of them stuck together.

This group of junk clogs up the brain and stops it from working.

Down syndrome has a triplicate copy of the APP gene. Amyloid precursor protein gene. This is the gene associated with Alzheimer's disease. In Alzheimer's disease, brain researchers find the brains full of plaques and tangles. The plaques are called amyloid plaques.

Now, the big drawback I see to curcumin is getting it into the brain. It doesn't cross the BBB (blood brain barrier) easily. But, one brand, Longvida Curcumin, came up with an intriguing solution. They combined curcumin with lecithin. What does that do, you ask? Well, lecithin is phosphatidyl choline, a fat that will cross the BBB. Brilliant!!!

I think curcumin is a fantastic addition for the health of the Down syndrome brain (and probably everyone would benefit).


  1. Hi Teresa,
    Always a blessing to see you in action on the cutting edge of research.
    Just to clarify, so does the CMF protocol change the Prozac part to Curcumin...or adds to it?
    gri buongiorne in Alaska

  2. Hi Teresa,
    Great to know your approval.

    So, should we consider it with Prozac or withou it? Any collateral effects reported so far?

    Pat from NY

  3. Hi Theresa, I give M Nutrivene's Daily Supliments for a long time and about 2 years ago they added curcumin (I remember exactly when the formula changed because if I get the stuff on any material I cannot wash it out). However, I checked and don't see letchitin in it (maybe I don't know how to recognize it on the list) and probably the curcumin is not really absorbed properly.
    How do you think those high doses of curcumin will work in combination with Ginko and Body Oil?

  4. Me again! Just checked again and has it for sale (new! Nutrivene Longvida) but I am not sure it is the same formula as Longvida's original, with letchitin?

    Many thanks!

  5. Teresa,
    Thanks for your passion and dedication, and for sharing this info. I would also like to know if there is a recommendation on using Longvida Curcumin Powder instead of Prozac.


  6. Teresa,
    My question(s) are similar in nature to some of the other comments on this blog. We are having difficulty, as many parents likely are, getting a Rx of Prozac for our infant son (12 months now). As I was researching for a better understanding of the Protocol and reading this blog on Curcumin I kept coming to the question, “why specifically Prozac?” It seems as though there are several drugs and supplements that claim they promote neurogenesis and are even compared directly to Prozac. Everything from blueberries to lithium has been ‘proven’ to increase neurogenesis. All things being equal other than cost I can see the benefit of Prozac if you can get the Rx (~$4/mo). Even blueberries are going to cost 3-4 times more than Prozac. I am not sure, nor do I know how to be sure, that one treatment or supplement is better than the other. Studies that I read seem to stop discussing the details after showing an increase in nuerogenesis. Cost aside if we are hitting a road block in getting an Rx for our son, do you believe or have any evidence that supplementing something like blueberries or Curcumin for Prozac would be beneficial?

    Additionally, am I missing something about the Prozac other than neurogenesis, is there more it does (in regards to DS)? I have read through the protocol and hours of other literature and am still questioning my understanding.


    Jess (saw you at the Madison convention)

  7. Hi Teresa,i am using Nutrivene Curcumin Longvida for my 4 years old son with down syndrome. however i have noticed that he is not digesting it well even when we added trienza enzymes to his diet. can you please suggest what we can do to enable him to benefit from the curcumin that he ingest?