Spinal cord injury victims may recover faster when taking omega-3 fatty acids and curcumin, says a new study.
Researchers at UCLA found that rats with spinal cord damage recovered faster when fed a diet rich in omega-3 ingredient DHA and curcumin, often found in curry.
One group was fed a Western-based diet high in fat and sugar; the next, typical rat food, and the third group docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a compound in omega-3s and curcumin, reported Science Daily.
The latter two ingredients have been found to decrease inflammation and repair cells.
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The researchers found that the rats that ate the Western diets had far more cell damage than the others.
Those that ate the DHA and curcumin saw improvements in cell-membrane damage.
The scientists even found that rats fed the DHA and curcumin recovered faster and could walk better than their counterparts fed Western diets.
“DHA and curcumin appear to invoke several molecular mechanisms that preserved neurological function in the rats,” said UCLA professor and study leader Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, according to Science Daily.
“This is an exciting first step toward understanding the role that diet plays in protecting the body from degenerative disease.”
The study was published in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.