Love curry? You're going to love it even more now: Researchers have found that a compound locked inside a key curry spice has the power to stop Parkinson's disease in its tracks.
The compound is curcumin, which is found in the spice turmeric -- something I already recommend as a safe and natural anti-inflammatory and an excellent alternative to many common painkillers.
Now, it might also become a front-line defense against Parkinson's disease, a condition the mainstream has been almost powerless to beat or even treat.
One of the hallmarks of the disease is a clumping of certain proteins in the brain (specifically alpha-synuclein). But researchers say curcumin seeks out those proteins and clings to them -- and when it clings, the proteins can't clump.
Another problem with those proteins is that they move too slowly to "fold," which is the process by which proteins are built. And once again, it's curcumin to the rescue, because the researchers found that the spice compound can also bring the folding process back up to speed.
Curcumin isn't just what helps give curry its flavor. It's also what gives the dish its color -- and the reason why your fingers might be stained for days if you happen to touch the turmeric while you're cooking with it.
It's such a powerful coloring agent that autopsies of older Indians and Asians who've eaten this stuff for most of their lives often reveal a yellowish tinge to the brain itself.
Despite that tinge, however, most of the curcumin we eat or take in supplement form doesn't actually make it to the brain. As a result, the researchers behind the new study say the Parkinson's benefits might not last.
But that's not the only way to get curcumin.
There's a much more efficient way to get almost any nutrient, and that's intravenously. And so far, studies on mice have shown that curcumin delivered this way has a quicker and better route to the brain itself.
Obviously, we'll need to see more research before we start injecting each other with curry spice -- but it seems to me we're on the right track here.