Curcumin Improves Mood And Memory

Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. Research shows it has some pretty amazing benefits for your brain. A new study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry showed that a daily supplement of curcumin improved memory and mood in people with mild  age related memory loss.

This study examined memory performance in individuals without dementia, as well as the effects of curcumin on the microscopic plaques and tangles in the brains of subjects with Alzheimer's disease. Turmeric is a yellow colored spice that is commonly used in Indian cooking. Curcumin has been extensively researched and has numerous confirmed health benefits. Curcumin is a polyphenolic phytochemical. It has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-tumor, and antioxidant properties.

According to Dr. Gary Small, director of geriatric psychiatry at UCLA's Longevity Center and of the geriatric psychiatry division at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, curcumin acts to reduce inflammation in the brain. Excess inflammation in the brain is known to raise the risk of both depression and dementia.

This study was a double blind, placebo controlled trial that involved 40 adults aged between 50 and 90 years who had mild memory impairment. Individuals were randomly selected to receive either a placebo or 90 milligrams of curcumin, taken twice daily for 18 months.

All participants received standardized cognitive assessments at the beginning of the study and at regular six month intervals. They also had blood levels of curcumin monitored at the start of the study and after 18 months. Thirty study subjects had a PET scan, to determine the level of amyloid in their brain at the start of the study and again after 18 months.

People who took curcumin noticed significant improvements in their memory and attention abilities. In memory tests they improved by 28 percent during the 18 months. Those on curcumin also had some improvements in mood. Interestingly their brain scans showed significantly less amyloid in the amygdala and hypothalamus. The amygdala and hypothalamus are those parts of the brain responsible for memory and emotional functions.

Protecting your brain from inflammatory damage is of utmost importance. Having a better memory and mood today will make your life easier, as well as reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, which is a devastating condition. For more information on protecting your brain see the book Alzheimer’s What you must know to protect your brain.