Forgot your password?



Back to login

Curcumin improves memory and mood
February 4, 2018, 4:49 pm
Share/Bookmark

Lovers of Indian curry can give themselves a second helping; it appears that daily consumption of curcumin, a key ingredient in Indian curries, improves memory and mood in people with mild, age-related memory loss.

Curcumin, found in raw turmeric and in its powder form, is what gives many Indian curries their bright yellow color. Now researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, examining the effect of an easily absorbed curcumin supplement, have found that it improved memory performance in people without dementia, as well as having a potential impact on the microscopic plaques and tangles in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease.

Curcumin has previously been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in lab studies. It also has been suggested as a possible reason that senior citizens in India, where curcumin is a dietary staple, have a lower prevalence of Alzheimer's disease and better cognitive performance.

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 the researchers.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled study involved 40 adults between the ages of 50 and 90 years who had mild memory complaints. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or 90 milligrams of curcumin supplement twice daily for 18 months.

All 40 subjects received standardized cognitive assessments at the start of the study and at six-month intervals, and monitoring of curcumin levels in their blood at the start of the study and after 18 months. Thirty of the volunteers underwent positron emission tomography, or PET scans, to determine the levels of amyloid and tau in their brains at the start of the study and after 18 months.

The study found that people who took curcumin experienced significant improvements in their memory and attention abilities, while the subjects who received placebo did not. In memory tests, the people taking curcumin improved by 28 percent over the 18 months. Copared to thos who took placebos, those taking curcumin also had mild improvements in mood, and their brain PET scans showed significantly less amyloid and tau signals in the amygdala and hypothalamus regions that control several memory and emotional functions.

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.

 

 

Share your views
CAPTCHA
 

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."

"Envy comes from wanting something that isn't yours. But grief comes from losing something you've already had."

Photo Gallery