Curcumin Reverses Aluminum Toxicity in the Brain

Aluminum is one of the most common minerals on the planet. And while you wouldn’t normally consider it as part of a meal, we ingest or take in about 10 mg of aluminum every day. Sources include cookware, cosmetics, lotions, beverage containers, and buffered medications, just to name a few.

While 10 mg may not sound like much, over time, this metal crosses the blood/brain barrier, a natural shield that protects us from many other harmful substances. Aluminum inflames brain tissue, damaging neural cells and potentially setting the stage for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis. Fortunately, a well-studied curcumin blended with turmeric oil (BCM-95) can repair and reverse the damage. That’s because this powerful botanical from turmeric also crosses the blood/brain barrier, helping sweep away the damage caused by aluminum and restoring the brain’s cognitive strength.

The reason that this study used curcumin blended with turmeric essential oil is that even concentrated curcumin extracted from turmeric is poorly absorbed and requires a boost to get it through the intestinal walls and into the bloodstream efficiently. From there, the next stop is the brain.

In this animal study, the curcumin blended with turmeric oil raised free curcumin levels in the brain 14 times higher compared to standard curcumin without any enhanced bioavailability. It also prevented damage to the hippocampus, a portion of the brain involved in memory and learning, and helped improve levels of glutathione and acetylcholinesterase – two valuable naturally occurring compounds that preserve cognitive ability.


Banji D, Banfi OJF, Srinivas K. Neuroprotective effect of turmeric extract in combination with its essential oil and enhanced brain bioavailability in an animal model. Biomed Res Int. 2021;2021:6645720

Purpose. The study evaluated the neuroprotective effect and pharmacokinetic profile of turmeric extract and their metabolites in the blood and brain in an aluminum-induced neurotoxic animal model.

Methods. Swiss albino mice received turmeric extract (TE), TE essential oil combination (TE+EO) at doses of 25 and 50 mg/kg/day orally, vehicle (control), and a positive control group. Neurotoxicity was induced by injecting aluminum chloride (40 mg/kg/day, i.p.), and the effect of the intervention was studied for 45 days. The pharmacokinetic and behavioral biochemical markers of brain function and brain histopathological changes were evaluated.

Results. The AUC 0-t showed a 30.1 and 54.2 times higher free curcumin concentration in plasma with 25 mg/kg and 50 mg/kg of TE+EO vs. TE, respectively. The concentration of free curcumin in the brain was 11.01 and 13.71-fold higher for 25 mg/kg and 50 mg/kg of TE+EO vs. TE, respectively. Aluminum impairs spatial learning and memory, which was significantly reversed with TE+EO by 28.6% (25 mg/kg) and 39.4% (50 mg/kg). In the elevated plus maze test, 44.8% (25 mg/kg) and 67.1% (50 mg/kg) improvements were observed. A significant reduction in aluminum-induced lipid peroxidation was observed. Also, the levels of glutathione, acetylcholinesterase, and catalase were improved with TE+EO. Damage to the hippocampal pyramidal cells was averted with TE+EO.

Conclusion. The neuroprotective and antioxidant response confirms the benefits of TE+EO against aluminum-induced neurotoxicity. The presence of free curcumin and its metabolites in the brain and plasma establishes its improved bioavailability and tissue distribution. Therefore, the benefits of TE+EO could be harnessed in neurodegenerative diseases.