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Turmeric extract–essential oil combo demonstrates neuro-protective potential

16/04/2021 – Ingredients / Nutraceuticals / Turmeric / Curcumin / Arjuna / Aluminium / Toxicity

Turmeric extract–essential oil combo demonstrates neuro-protective potential

A new study shows that turmeric extract combined with purified essential oil of turmeric can protect against aluminum induced neurotoxicity via enhanced bioavailability of the nutraceutical in brain tissue.

Turmeric boasts a long history of use throughout Asia as a popular culinary spice and medicinal herb. Epidemiological evidence has linked enhanced cognitive function in elderly Asians with their tradition of turmeric rich curry consumption. Now, a new study reveals a neuroprotective effect of curcumin extract (the key active ingredient in turmeric) in combination with its essential oil, suggesting a nutraceutical solution for mitigating the toxic effects of aluminum build-up in the brain. 

In the study, Arjuna Natural Pvt Ltd’s BCM-95® turmeric extract and purified essential oil of turmeric demonstrated new capabilities in preventing neurotoxicity resulting from aluminium exposure. Presence of free curcumin and its metabolites were observed in the brain and plasma secondary to the complex’s superior bioavailability capabilities. These findings present positive implications for harnessing this unique curcumin delivery system to alleviate a range of common neurodegenerative diseases.

Aluminum exposure: a major concern for human health

Research has suggested that brain health can be compromised by exposure to neurotoxins, with aluminum believed to be of particular concern. Major sources of aluminum exposure are cookware, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products. The average consumer takes in approximately 10mg of aluminum a day, of which up to one per cent undergoes absorption. It can traverse through the blood-brain barrier and is believed to exert a detrimental impact on the central nervous system, especially in older adults.

Chronic exposure can actuate a neuroinflammatory response and rouse a state of oxidative stress, raising risks for neural damage. It has been implicated in a number of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. High concentrations of aluminum have been found to increase amyloid aggregation and deposition in neuronal tissues — a key feature of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Boosting bioavailability

“Curcumin is known for its ability to bind to metals such as aluminum and thus could offer neuroprotection from the metal’s potentially toxic effects,” explained lead researcher David Banji, PhD – a Professor and Director of the postgraduate program in Toxicology at Jazan University, KSA. “But poor absorption and low blood levels of free curcumin after oral intake pose a major limitation for delivering its full clinical benefits. Curcumin’s characteristic low solubility, rapid metabolism, and quick elimination hampers its absorption into the bloodstream nor readily penetrates the blood brain barrier. This is what spurred us to examine BCM-95 of Arjuna Natural where curcumin, the key turmeric extract is combined with the purified essential oil component of turmeric as a bioavailability enhancer.”

Reversal of cognitive impairment observed

The study of curcumin extract in combination with its essential oil was conducted at the Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Jazan University, in Saudi Arabia and the Nalanda College of Pharmacy, Nalgonda, India. Results were published on 27 January 2021 in the journal Hindawi BioMed Research International. Lead researcher, David Banji, PhD, and his team assessed both the pharmacokinetic profile of turmeric extract and its efficacy in exerting neuro-protection.

Research evaluated the exposure of aluminium in experimental models at different doses comparing Bioavailable curcumin and turmeric extract. Following 45 days of intervention, the cognitive impairment exhibited by the aluminum was significantly reversed with the use turmeric extract and purified turmeric essential oil complex and elicited significant improvement in spatial learning and memory. This bioavailable turmeric extract complex also demonstrated abilities to prevent neurotoxicity significantly better than standard turmeric extracts. This was believed to be due to reducing oxidative stress and increasing antioxidant status in brain tissue with subsequent improvement in glutathione levels.

Neuroprotective benefits observed were correlated with higher plasma and brain curcumin levels, with concentrations shown to be up to 14-fold higher in the turmeric extract–turmeric essential oil complex group than in the curcumin extract group, with higher mean residence time of free curcumin in plasma and visible reduction in aluminium-induced lipid peroxidation.

“Immediate actionable results”

“Aluminium is unfortunately a prevalent toxin and contact with it is unavoidable in everyday life,” noted Dr Benny Antony, PhD, Joint Managing Director for Arjuna and inventor of BCM-95. “The challenge of maintaining brain health naturally via plant-derived supplements is that it has to be both practical and safe.  We were encouraged by the immediate actionable results of this high bioavailability turmeric extract which is already widely commercially available as a leading bio-available extract.” 

Arjuna’s BCM-95 formulation, which completes its 70th published research, is composed of a wholly natural blend of turmeric extract and purified essential oil of turmeric which work in unison to facilitate delivery of free curcuminoids in the brain tissues thereby minimizing microglia activation and subsequent neuronal damage.” “This effect has been linked to its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, bind to redox metal ions, and neutralize free radicals,” Prof. Banji concluded. “From the pharmacokinetic findings, the presence of Ar-turmerones in the essential oil complex is a key player in driving enhanced plasma bioavailability.”

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