How Curcumin Boosts the Brain
Love a curry? Then grab the curcumin and start cooking! Because the yellow spice that gives curries its bright yellow flavour has been shown to boost memory and mood in people with age-related memory loss.
That’s according to a new study out of UCLA, published
in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
Researchers already knew curcumin was an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, but this is the first time they’ve linked it to memory and mood.
So how does curcumin boost the brain?
"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,” said study author Dr. Gary Small.
How was the discovery made?
The double-blind study was conducted on 40 adults aged 50-90 years who have mild memory issues. They were randomly given the placebo, or a curcumin supplement twice a day over 18 months.
Several cognitive tests were carried out at the start of the research, and then at six-month intervals. Some of the participants also had a PET scan to check their levels of amyloid and tau in the brain up to 18 months after the study.
The people on the supplements noticed a big difference in their memory and focus, and those on the placebo reported no difference.
When it came to memory tests, the supplemented group had 28% improved memory. They also had better moods, and improved amygdala and hypothalamus – the parts of the brain that control memory and emotion.
Should we take curcumin supplements?
That’s the next question: as we age, is it sensible to take a curcumin supplement – or eat more curry?
"These results suggest that taking this relatively safe form of curcumin could provide meaningful cognitive benefits over the years," Small said.
But before taking any supplements, it’s wise to chat with a health professional, and a nutritionist
. They can also help you choose the best supplements for your needs.
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