In my last health alert, I showed you how statins can cause Parkinson's disease. Now I've got a great way to protect your brain. It probably can't overcome the damage done by statins. But it can help with other factors that lead to Parkinson's.

I've been touting curcumin, the yellow pigment in curry, for some time. It protects the cells of your body and it's emerging as a premier anti-inflammatory. Now a new Italian study shows that curcumin nourished certain brain cells that help detoxify your brain.

The researchers gave rats curcumin and studied its effect on brain cells called astrocytes. These are star-shaped cells that are critical for protecting the brain. They help make up the blood-brain barrier and also protect other cells in the brain from injury. When astrocyte cells are injured or weakened in any way, they can't protect your brain as effectively.

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The team of researchers found that curcumin increased two protective enzymes.  These enzymes spare the astrocytes from free radical damage, keeping them healthy, and protecting your brain.

By the way, curcumin also increases the levels of glutathione, your body's leading detoxifier.  Why is this important?  Because Parkinson's has been linked to pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxins.  And one of the best ways to flush those toxins out of your system is to increase glutathione.  

The best way to get curcumin in your diet is by eating curry.  But you can also buy it in supplemental form (consider 500 mg twice daily) at your local health food store.

Ref: Scapagnini, G., C. Colombrita, et al. "Curcumin activates defensive genes and protects neurons against oxidative stress," Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, 2006; 8(3-4): 395-403.

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