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New Research: Black Seed Oil Effective in Treating Alzheimer’s and Ischemia Organ Damage

Black cumin oil with seeds

Black cumin oil with seeds

by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News

A centuries-old healing agent, Nigella sativa (N. sativa) aka black cumin seeds, often pressed to create black seed oil, has been scrutinized by science to confirm what traditional healers have known for ages: N. sativa is preventative and curative for many ailments without the side effects of modern pharmaceutical drugs. 

Two recently published journal articles looked at how black seeds can heal organ ischemia [1] damage and prevent or help Alzheimer’s disease.

The Review Study on Ischemia Damage

The first study is titled: A glance at black cumin (Nigella sativa) and its active constituent, thymoquinone, in ischemia: a review [2].

Ischemia occurs when an organ is not receiving enough blood for its ability to function properly. 

Most of us are familiar with ischemic induced strokes, which comprise an estimated 80 percent of all strokes. A clot, collapsed blood vessel, or some other inhibiting factor stops the blood flow into brain tissues and those tissues collapse or are damaged from a lack of oxygen.

But other organs have ischemic issues as well.

Since this is a review study or analysis, the researchers used the words N. sativa, black cumin, and ischemia combined with the words brain, heart, liver, and kidney in their search using large medical research literature databases. There was no restriction on study times.

The review researchers explained how there are many robust studies confirming a black seed’s efficacy and safety among a wide array of maladies from constipation to cancer. But there was very little conclusive evidence for preventing ischemic damage.

So their mission was to find as many ischemic black seed studies, both in vitro [3] and in vivo [4], to analyze each and observe a connecting pattern among them sufficiently to conclude the validity of using N. sativa for ischemic related issues. 

Adding to the obvious front-end damage from ischemic events is ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI), which occurs from the sudden rush of blood and oxygen after a period of ischemia. 

According to the researchers of this study, this leads to:

…a complex of intracellular chemical operation and inflammatory response. Reduction in cellular energy (ATP) content, as one of the mechanisms for IRI, leads to destroying cellular ion homeostasis with activation of hydrolases and damage of elective permanence of cell membranes and cause of decrease in organ function.

This review study mentioned that IRI is a major factor for the reduced functional capacity of transplanted organs as well as issues of organ rejection.

The most common transplants are liver and kidney while heart transplants are rarely performed with much success. So far, there’s no market for brain transplants and donors.

On their way to the final 142 published studies used for their conclusions, the researchers discovered: 

Several studies were found reporting the anti-ischemic activity of black cumin and its active constituent on different organs including brain, kidneys, heart, and liver.

Black cumin exerts its beneficial effects as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptosis [5], and anti-necrosis [6]agent through inhibition of growth factors, biochemical and oxidative stress markers and regulating gene expression.

From their wide review perspective, the researchers concluded that N. sativa is a valid treatment for ischemia disruption and damage with vital organs such as the brain, liver, kidney, and heart.

This applies to preventing strokes and heart attacks as well as preventing organ rejection with liver and kidney transplants. 

Their conclusion supports the complete N. sativa seed product, especially as an oil, not thymoquinone (TQ) as an isolate or any pharmaceutical synthesis of it.

This review study was published by the Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences. The complete study is available here. [2]

The Nigella Sativa Study With Alzheimer’s Disease

This one is titled Neuroprotective efficacy of thymoquinone against amyloid beta-induced neurotoxicity in human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cholinergic neurons [7]. A little terminology explanation regarding the title is required before continuing.  

Amyloid beta (AB) is the stuff that makes up the recognizable brain plaque that forms with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Pluripotent stem cells are able to manifest into cells that form all the body’s tissues. They are usually obtained from human embryonic sources. (Source) [8]

Cholinergic refers to that which liberates or activates acetylcholine, a vital neuron transmitter of the nervous system and brain. (Source) [9]

Unlike the earlier discussed Nigella sativa study, this was not a review of dozens of earlier similar studies. Nor was this an animal study, although it referenced those that involved N. sativa or thymoquinone (TQ) for neurodegenerative disease. 

It was an in vitro [3] study using thymoquinone (TQ) isolated from N. sativa or black cumin seed. What this group did was culture pluripotent stem cells. Then they added a chemical solution of amyloid beta called AB-42 to the culture containing developing human neuron cholinergic cells. 

After observing what happened to those cells, the process was reversed by adding thymoquinone (TQ) to the mix. From the study:

… an important feature in AD [Alzheimer’s disease] marked by overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS), oxidation in neuronal lipids, proteins, DNA, and RNA leading to the dysfunction and loss of neurons.

When Aβ1–42 [amyliod plaque solution] was applied to the cells, it resulted in decreased viability of hiPSC [human induced pluripotent stem cells]-derived cholinergic neurons marked by low levels of ATP [adenosine phosphate [10], cellular mitochondria [11] energy], which was restored by the co-administration of TQ.

In AD, low levels of ATP may lead to leakage of electrons and increase ROS production in the mitochondria, thereby leading to an additional source of oxidative stress. [Emphasis added]

This study was published by the journal Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports which concluded:

Thus, the findings of our study suggest that TQ [thymoquinone] holds a neuroprotective potential and could be a promising therapeutic agent to reduce the risk of developing AD and other disorders of the central nervous system.  

You can access the complete study text here. [7]

Of course, we don’t need to acquire a solution of extracted thymoquinone. It is abundant in cumin seed (N.sativa) oil along with several co-nutrient terpenes [12], phytonutrients [13], and essential fatty acids [14]to create a synergistic effect for so many aspects of overall health. 

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