War has been a plague on humanity that has had its effects on millions of those who were involved in it. Not only war damages the countries natural resources irreversibly, but they have also several physical and mental after-effects on the participating soldiers as well.
Gulf war was one of the hard-fought battles in which nearly 200,000 men participated from the home side. These veterans although claiming victory came back with several cognitive and mental problems. This illness was termed as GWI (Gulf War Illness), which was a direct effect of the combination of stress and several harmful gases ingested during the war.
The effects of Gulf War Illness
Nearly 25 years after the war, several veterans still complain of several physiological disorders they have been facing. From problems in sleeping and chronic fatigue to other gastrointestinal and skin problems, the illness has had its lasting effects.
Because of its symptoms, GWI is thought to be primarily associated with the increase in oxidative stress over the years which has resulted in the chronic inflammation of several brain tissues. Hence, scientists and doctors have been trying to find a cure that can relive the veterans of these symptoms.
Turmeric – the solution to GWI
In research funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense, turmeric has shown to have some reliving effects on the common symptoms of Gulf War Illness.
Through tests on animal models, scientists have deduced that curcumin, a major component of turmeric is known to reverse some effects caused by GWI. Because of its anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric might just be the answer to this illness.
Human group tests have also indicated positive results in favour of turmeric. Veterans who were given a healthy dose of turmeric in their diet showed better cognitive and motor skills as compared to those who went without it.
Why did turmeric work?
Curcumin has been linked to alleviating inflammation in several regions of the brain. It further enhances the production and release of antioxidants within the body, which is helpful in reducing the oxidative stress causing GWI.
The compound was also found to be effective on the neurological level, as it enhances the formation of fresh neurons within the hippocampus region of the brain. This resulted in a better mood as well as enhanced cognitive ability among its users.
Commonly found in curry or spicy food, turmeric is considered to be one of the essential spices that keep one healthy and active at all times. Through the help of natural ingredients, a hard-fought battle against GWI could move one step closer to victory.
The next steps
The only side effects recorded with turmeric were gastrointestinal upsets among a few of them. But this is natural, as their gut needs time to adapt to the spicy nature of turmeric. People should consider ingesting it in their regular diet or take it as a supplement, after consulting a certified professional.
Scientists continue to work towards this cure and are planning to move towards clinical trials in the near future. They hope that this solution might just work for those who served their country with their lives.