New research determined that Curcumin, the yellow pigment of turmeric (Curcuma longa), may provide significant benefit in preventing telomere shortening and may actually promote elongation of telomeres.
Although telomeres shorten with each cell division, dividing cells express telomerase, a protein complex that synthesizes and elongates telomeres. Researchers sought to determine if Curcumin could increase telomerase expression and thereby help preserve telomere length. To test their hypothesis, they chose to look at its effects on telomerase expression in brain cells exposed to beta-amyloid, a primary source of oxidative damage and brain cell death linked to Alzheimer’s.
Curcumin Protects Telomerase
They measured the effects of Curcumin on cell survival and cell growth, intracellular oxidative stress and telomerase expression in these brain cells. Results indicate that the brain protecting effects of curcumin in Alzheimer’s may be primarily due to its effects on telomerase expression. When telomerase expression was inhibited the protective effects produced by Curcumin disappeared.
These results indicate that another key aspect of Curcumin in maintaining good brain health is through its effects on telomere expression.
There is considerable experimental evidence that Curcumin, the yellow pigment of turmeric, protects against age-related brain damage and in particular, Alzheimer’s disease.
Xiao Z, Zhang A, Lin J, et al. Telomerase: a target for therapeutic effects of curcumin and a curcumin derivative in aβ1-42 insult in vitro. PLoS One. 2014 Jul 1;9(7):e101251.