Home Christian Lifestyle Healthy Living Curcumin Supplementation May Impart Long-Term Cognitive Benefits By Dr. Mercola

Curcumin Supplementation May Impart Long-Term Cognitive Benefits By Dr. Mercola

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Turmeric, a yellow curry spice used in Indian cuisine, has a long history of medicinal use in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. Modern science has confirmed many of its ancient claims, and curcumin alone — one of the most well studied bioactive ingredients in turmeric — has been shown to have over 160 potentially therapeutic activities.

Studies suggest it can be a powerful ally in the treatment of depression, cancer, inflammatory bowel diseases and rheumatoid arthritis, for example. Many of curcumin’s benefits are attributed to its ability to quench inflammation, which is a hallmark of most chronic diseases, from obesity and metabolic syndrome to heart disease and dementia.

Importantly, it has the ability to cross your blood-brain barrier and exhibits potent neuroprotective properties, suggesting it may be useful for neurodegenerative disorders. Researchers at the University of California recently demonstrated it may have long-term effects on your cognitive function by protecting against brain inflammation.1

Curcumin May Protect Against Dementia

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study, published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry,2 included 40 adults between the ages of 50 and 90 who reported mild memory lapses. None had a diagnosis of dementia at the time of their enrollment. Participants randomly received either 90 milligrams (mg) of curcumin (Theracurmin supplement) twice a day for 18 months, or a placebo.

A standardized cognitive assessment was administered at the start of the study and at six-month intervals thereafter, and the level of curcumin in their blood was measured at the beginning and end of the study. Thirty of the participants also underwent positron emission tomography (PET) scans to assess their level of amyloid and tau deposits before and after treatment, which are strongly associated with Alzheimer’s risk.

Those who received curcumin saw significant improvements in memory and concentration, while the control group experienced no improvement. The treatment group also reported better mood, and PET scans confirmed they had significantly less amyloid and tau buildup in areas of the brain that control memory and emotion, compared to controls. Overall, the curcumin group improved their memory by 28 percent over the year-and-a-half-long treatment period. As reported by Science Daily:3

“The researchers plan to conduct a follow-up study with a larger number of people. That study will include some people with mild depression so the scientists can explore whether curcumin also has antidepressant effects. The larger sample also would allow them to analyze whether curcumin’s memory-enhancing effects vary according to people’s genetic risk for Alzheimer’s, their age or the extent of their cognitive problems.

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Story at-a-glance

  • Curcumin, a bioactive ingredient in the spice turmeric, has over 160 potentially therapeutic activities, including anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and anticancer benefits
  • Recent research suggests curcumin may have long-term effects on your cognitive function by protecting against brain inflammation. By boosting mood, it may also help prevent depression
  • Compared to controls, patients who took 90 mg of curcumin for 18 months experienced a 28 percent improvement in memory; brain scans also show they had less brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Research also suggests curcumin may offer potent protection against cancer, and it’s been shown to enhance conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy
  • Consumed alone in its raw form, bioavailability of curcumin is poor; however, there are formulas and methods that improve absorption. The addition of piperine can increase absorption of curcumin by 2,000 percent
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