Turmeric Compound Regenerates Brain Cells Damaged by Stroke

While turmeric contains a wealth of beneficial compounds, curcumin is usually the star of the show. Curcumin has been shown to be one of the most powerful, versatile anti-inflammatory compounds in existence—and that’s just the beginning.

Research has revealed that curcumin can be successfully used to treat a wide variety of health conditions, including diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, eye diseases, depression and other mood disorders, cardiovascular issues, brain dysfunction, and cancer.

Beyond curcumin

It wasn’t long before researchers realized that there were probably even more benefits hiding within turmeric’s unexplored compounds. More than 100 components have been isolated from turmeric, and it’s very possible that there’s more still to be discovered.

Seeing the wide-range applicability of turmeric alkaloids, medical scientists have begun to develop their own “hybrid molecules” derived from turmeric. One exceptionally promising one is CNB-001, a compound that has been shown to repair stroke damage by regenerating brain cells. Strokes are often lumped into the same category with heart attacks, and for good reason. Like heart attacks, strokes occur when a blood clot blocks bloodflow to the brain (just like how heart attacks occur when bloodflow to the heart is blocked). You can think of strokes as “brain attacks.”

Without a source of revitalizing oxygen, the affected brain cells will sustain damage—the worse the clot, the worse and more widespread the damage.

Conventional medicine offers remarkable medications for dissolving cerebral blood clots and attenuating the damage caused during a stroke, but they’re only helpful if a stroke patient is able to receive them within an hour of the stroke’s onset. Once the damage is done, there’s not much that even emergency medicine can do—and the road to recovery can be a long and hard one.

This is where CNB-001 comes in.

Turmeric offers hope for stroke victims

The hybrid molecule CNB-001 is a gamechanger for stroke victims—research has demonstrated that it has the ability to repair stroke damage on a molecular level after a stroke has already occurred. This is a critical tool for emergency medicine physicians to have in their repertoire, because a large percentage of stroke victims simply aren’t able to seek out medication quickly enough to prevent damage from happening.

Researchers have taken note of turmeric’s brain-cell-regenerating qualities for some time, and have long hoped to be able to develop analog compounds like CNB-001 that can target specific types of brain damage.

Ancient Ayurvedic practitioners have used turmeric for thousands of years for its brain-balancing properties—and not long after the modern turmeric revival began, researchers confirmed that turmeric really is the brain’s best friend.

One prominent set of studies expored ar-tumerone, a lesser known turmeric alkaloid. What they found is truly remarkable: ar-tumerone can speed up the rate at which neural stem cells differentiate into functioning neurons by up to 80%. It even helps migrate neural stem cells to areas in the brain that are most in need of neurogenesis (brain cell regeneration).[2]

Subsequent studies demonstrated that ar-tumerone also helps defend the brain against further damage, and that the compound readily passes through the blood brain barrier (which thwarts the absorption of the vast majority of pharmaceuticals).[3]

A compound that is naturally derived, packs all the anti-inflammatory punch of curcumin, can regenerate brain cells with the same efficacy as ar-tumerone, and can pass through the blood brain barrier—this would be a sort of holy grail for brain researchers.

And this is precisely what CNB-001 offers.

Research surrounding the compound was first presented at the American Heart Association International Stroke Conference in February of 2010, and the medication is now undergoing clinical trials, which are continuing to show positive results.[4] 

This promising innovation was developed by Lapchak Laboratories, a translational stroke research laboratory directed by Dr. Paul Lapchak. Dr. Lapchak is a leading figure in the field of neurodegenerative disease, and hopes to expand the available treatment choices for stroke victims (as of now, there is only one FDA-approved post-stroke treatment). To this end, he routinely assesses the therapeutic potential of novel compounds like CNB-001.   

Physicians like Dr. Lapchak hope that as this revolutionary new compound gains traction, it will ease the suffering of hundreds of thousands of stroke victims (every year, approximately 795,000 people in the United States experience a stroke).

CNB-001 may not be the 100% “natural” form of turmeric, but we should always remember that conventional medicine has its place, especially during medical emergencies like strokes. At least this “conventional” medication is derived directly from a plant that’s been safely used for thousands of years.

It’s important to note that raw turmeric will not be sufficient if used during a stroke. The natural root—especially liposomal, full-spectrum extracts of turmeric—can work wonders for preventing heart attack and stroke. Once the crisis sets in, though, you should always seek emergency medical attention.

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