For years, researchers have been gaining ground on what exactly causes brain conditions, such as dementia, depression, and other mood disorders. Well, they've taken another step closer to solving the mystery with a new study on curcumin.
Curcumin, as you may know, is the spice that gives Indian curry its bright color. We've known for some time that curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, works especially well at reducing inflammation. We've even seen it work quite effectively in the brain. In fact, many scientists believe curcumin is the reason senior citizens in India have a lower prevalence of Alzheimer's disease. But this new study found that it does more than just reduce inflammation. It also reduces oxidative stress in the brain, which can damage and impair tissues in the brain.
Curcumin has an antioxidant effect that helps reduce oxidative stress, which in turn helps improve memory and mood in people with mild, age-related memory loss. Notice this research showed that the curcumin helped improve memory and mood in people who were already showing signs of memory loss. It wasn't just a preventive. It actually worked to reverse the damage.
The researchers in this study found these effects by conducting a double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 40 adults between the ages of 50 and 90 years old. All of them had mild memory complaints. The researchers randomly divided the participants into two groups. One took 90 milligrams of curcumin twice daily for 18 months. The other group took a placebo.
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The researchers gave 40 subjects standardized cognitive assessments at the start of the study and at six-month intervals. They also monitored curcumin levels in their blood at the start of the study and after 18 months. They even had 30 of the volunteers undergo PET scans to determine the levels of amyloid and tau in their brains at the start of the study and after 18 months.
The people taking the curcumin experienced significant improvements in their memory and attention abilities. In fact, their memory tests showed a 28% improvement. That's a significant improvement. As expected, those taking the placebo did not see any improvement. What's more, their mood had noticeable improvements. And their brain PET scans showed significantly less amyloid and tau signals in the amygdala and hypothalamus (areas of the brain that control several memory and emotional functions). These are highly significant findings.
The mood benefits were surprising to the researchers. They plan to conduct a follow-up study to explore whether curcumin also has antidepressant effects.
Obviously, the longer you take curcumin and/or turmeric, the better your results will be. And, according to this study, you have to take it every day. The researchers in this study gave the participants a form of curcumin that's more easily absorbed, since it's normally hard to digest. This form is similar to the Meriva® used in Reduloxin. Taking this form of curcumin/turmeric can greatly reduce inflammation and fight oxidative stress, improving your memory, mood, and even your joint performance.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND.