One of the most commonly talked about substances in holistic spaces comes from the brightly colored turmeric. Curcumin is a compound within the yellow root turmeric and it has amazing properties that can greatly improve your mood and your memory. UCLA researchers wanted to know if the hype about this special compound held up.
Curcumin is absorbed very easily and has impressive interactions with the mind in a way that can potentially be beneficial to those with dementia and Alzheimer's. One of the most common effects is its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has largely been thought that there is a type of inflammation that happens in the brain that accounts for the widespread prevalence of cognitive disorders that are seen more commonly in the elderly. This would certainly account for why those who consume a lot of this substance would have less of a chance of suffering from these conditions.
Meaningful Cognitive Benefits
Exactly how curcumin exerts its effects is not certain, but it may be due to its ability to reduce brain inflammation, which has been linked to both Alzheimer's disease and major depression, says Gary Small, lead doctor on the study. The results suggest that taking this relatively safe form of curcumin could provide meaningful cognitive benefits over the years.
The results that Smith is referring to looked at 40 different people between the ages of 50 and 90, all in relatively good health other than some mild complaints regarding their memory. There were individuals who were randomly picked to be given the placebo while the others received 90 milligrams of curcumin twice a day for a year and a half.
All 40 of the participants took part in cognitive awareness tests every six months and their results were monitored and logged. Eighty percent of the participants also took PET scans to determine the exact amount of both tau and amyloid that their brain had at the beginning and end of the year-and-a-half period.
A Real Game Changer
Those who did take the curcumin experienced noticeable differences in their memory and their ability to stay on task. The PET scans also showed much less of the tau and amyloid signals in the patients who were given the placebos instead of the curcumin dosage. A couple of individuals mentioned that they were experiencing a bit of abdominal pain and nausea, however these reactions may not have been related as two of them were taking the placebo while four were taking the curcumin.
The researchers were incredibly impressed by the results and will be conducting a similar study with a larger test group of people. There will also be more elaborate and thorough testing regarding the ability of curcumin to positively impact those who struggle with mild depression. The fact that curcumin also has antidepressant effects could be a real game changer in the psychiatric realm.