Curcumin Shows Potential For Treating Alzheimers
One of the most potentially exciting uses for curcumin is in helping to prevent Alzheimers.
Populations that consume turmeric as a regular part of their diet have low rates of this dreaded disease.
A senior in the US, for example, has a 4 times greater risk of developing Alzheimers than a senior in India, due to the latters use of turmeric in cooking.
Preliminary studies show that curcumin breaks up the plaques found in the brains of Alzheimers patients.
It also reduces inflammation, oxidative stress, and metal toxicity all believed to play a role in Alzheimers.
However, its widely agreed that more research is needed, especially clinical trials.
Curcumin also shows promise for treating Parkinsons disease by preventing the clumping of a protein found in the first stages of this disease.
It is being studied as a potential treatment by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research.
Can Turmeric Boost Your Mood Naturally
Chronic stress, anxiety and depression can strike anyone at any time. Although it can often be difficult to pinpoint why you might be feeling that way, these feelings can often be triggered by a traumatic or stressful event, such as the loss of a loved one or even just a stressful period at work.
However, physical stress on your body can have as much of an impact on your wellbeing as psychological stress, so its important to manage these levels in order to keep yourself feeling like the happiest, healthiest version of yourself. In addition to traditional therapy and medication, turmeric may be able to boost your mood naturally. But how exactly could turmeric boost your mood and how often do you need to take it?
Turmeric Benefits In Epilepsy And Seizures
Epilepsy and seizures on a long term can present with depression. Curcumin and turmeric oil have anti-seizure and anti-epileptic properties.
Also, they can help reduce side effects and dosage of epilepsy medications and treat depression associated with it.
What does this mean?Turmerics antidepressant property benefits in various conditions like bipolar disorder, PTSD, premenstrual dysmorphic disorder, dementia etc.
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Clinical Studies For Depression
Clinical evidence for turmeric compounds in treating depression is limited, but generally positive. In one study, adding curcumin to antidepressant treatment did not appear to improve their effectiveness. The 5 week study involved 40 patients. Twenty of the patients were treated with an antidepressant drug combined with 500 mg of curcumin a day, and 20 were given the antidepressant with a placebo. Symptoms improved in all patients after a week but there were no significant difference between the placebo and curcumin groups. The researchers did note that the curcumin group showed a positive trend toward more rapid relief of symptoms.
Results from two more recent randomized clinical trials showed positive evidence of the antidepressant effects of turmeric compounds:
In a 6 week blinded study, patients were given 1 of 3 different treatments: 1000 mg/day of curcumin/turmeric oil, 20 mg/day of fluoxetine, or a combination of the two . Curcumin was as effective as fluoxetine, using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. The combination treatment showed a slightly better response rate, but it was not statistically significant.
These studies are promising, given the risk of negative side effects from pharmaceutical antidepressants. Turmeric compounds have none of these potential side effects.
How Can Turmeric Help
Turmeric compounds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could counteract or prevent some of the underlying chemical imbalances in mood disorders. Studies suggest that COX-2 inflammatory enzyme inhibitors such as curcumin could reduce symptoms and even bring about remission in some patients with depression. COX-2 inhibitors even appear to benefit those patients who are non-responsive to conventional antidepressant medication.
In other studies, substances that inhibit the inflammatory transcription factor and kinase proteins p38 and MAPK had antidepressant effects. Curcumin is known to inhibit these inflammatory proteins. Blocking them also helps prevent opioid tolerance. Researchers suggest that natural substances such as curcumin from turmeric that inhibit NF-B and block excitotoxicity could also be beneficial in treating mood disorders.
Lab and animal experiments demonstrate that curcumin has these properties and others that could help prevent or relieve the symptoms of depression and other mood disorders:
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Contextual Fear Conditioning And Extinction
A separate group of rats that did not undergo the EPM testing was tested for contextual fear conditioning and extinction, after the SPS procedure. Contextual fear conditioning tests took place over 3 days and followed the procedures according to a method described previously . Briefly, on the acquisition day, rats were placed in a foot shock chamber with an overhead camera and were allowed to explore freely for 120 s. After 120 s, a total of 10 electric shocks were delivered at intervals of 74 s through the testing chamber floor. The rats then remained in the chamber for an additional 300 s with no shocks delivered. On test days 1-2, rats were placed for 8 min in the same chambers as on acquisition day, with no shocks delivered, to determine the extinction of contextual fear conditioning and extent of contextual fear learning. This behavior was chosen because it was previously shown to facilitate behavioral sensitization and to induce a reexperiencing of the aversive event. The percentage of freezing responses was calculated by dividing the freezing time by the total time. Freezing behavior was defined as complete immobility except for minor movements required for respiration.
Corticosterone Tryptophan And 5
After the 15 days of rest designed to allow the development of PTSD, corticosterone and tryptophan in the plasma and 5-HT concentration in the brain tissue were assayed according to a previously described procedure . Four rats from experimental group were deeply anesthetized through inhalation with isoflurane and were sacrificed one day after behavioral testing. The plasma was rapidly collected via the abdominal aorta, and the medial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, striatum, and hippocampus were quickly removed from the rat brain in a randomized order. Special care was taken to avoid presacrifice stress and the rats were killed quickly. CORT, TRP, and 5-HT levels were evaluated by a competitive enzyme-linked immunoassays using a TRP antibody , a 5-HT antibody , and a CORT antibody according to the manufacturerâs protocols.
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Are There Any Side Effects For Turmeric
Its fair to ask whether there are any downsides you should be aware of if you start taking turmeric to help your insomnia.
Obviously, this is less likely an issue if you have it in your food. However, if you take it in a high potency supplement, youre talking way higher amounts than you get in food.
While its been used for centuries in Indian and eastern medical traditions, were still learning about its affects and interactions with other things like medications.
Turmeric and curcumin is considered safe for most people, but some people may experience side effects when taking it at higher doses:
- digestive issues
- headache and nausea
- skin rash
- supplements may suppress iron absorption, a potential issue for pregnant or breast feeding moms and people with iron deficiencies
To be safe, it best to check with a complementary health specialist. They can advise you of any potential issues you should be aware of.
Can Turmeric Help With Anxiety
Studies on the effects of turmeric for anxiety or curcumin for anxiety are somewhat limited. For this reason, its difficult to determine to what extent turmeric can help with anxiety.
This study on individuals with obesity did, however, find curcumin to have a potential anti-anxiety effect on subjects. Another study on rats found curcumin to have anxiolytic-like effects on biochemical and behavioral symptoms associated with anxiety they concluded that curcumin may be useful for decreasing psychiatric disorders similar to PTSD.
Of course, more studies are needed to draw any clear conclusions about the effects of curcumin on anxiety in the general population. Nonetheless, such studies are extremely promising and show that turmeric, and the curcumin within it, are certainly worth investigating further.
There are a number of ways that curcumin could work to achieve this. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant and natural anti-inflammatory that helps to protect the brain. It also appears to boost serotonin and lower stress hormones like cortisol. All of these benefits can help to increase mood and brain health.
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Turmeric May Help With Sleep Apnea Too
Theres reason to believe that turmeric can help fight sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder and major cause for poor sleep.
Sleep apnea is a life-changing ailment that affects millions of people in the US and nearly a billion worldwide.
If you get it, your breathing is interrupted throughout the night which leads to repeated awakenings out of deep sleep into a lighter sleep and horrible sleep quality.
People with sleep apnea wake up feeling as if they havent slept at all which can make for miserable nights and even more miserable days.
Unsurprisingly, researchers have found a connection to inflammation. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea, the most common sleep apnea type, have upper airway and systemic inflammation.
And, in studies, sleep apnea symptoms have been found to correlate with inflammation the worse the sleep apnea is the more inflammation found in the body.
So, the way turmeric could help patients with obstructive sleep apnea is by fighting inflammation in the body which could mean fewer nighttime awakenings and more restful sleep.
Animals And Curcumin Administration
Seven-week-old adult male Sprague-Dawley rats , weighing 220245 g, were used in all of the experiments. The rats were housed in a limited access rodent facility with up to five rats per polycarbonate cage. The rats were sustained on a 12-h light/dark cycle under controlled temperature and relative humidity conditions. All of the animals adapted to this condition during the 7 days after their arrival. All of the methods were approved by the Animal Care and Use Committee of Kyung Hee University . All of the procedures were executed according to the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals issued by the Korea National Institute of Health.
After exposure to SPS, CUR and fluoxetine , which was used as the positive control, were intraperitoneally injected at a volume of 1 ml/kg for 14 days. The standard doses of CUR for rats considering the long-term treatment used in the present study was based on a previous study . In total, six to seven animals were allotted to each group. CUR and FLX were dissolved in 0.9% saline before use. As a vehicle control, animals in the saline-treated group were intraperitoneally given the equivalent volumes in saline without SPS exposure. Another group was pretreated with CUR without SPS exposure. The whole experimental schedules of SPS and behavioral experiments are shown in .
Experimental schedules for developing SPS-induced anxiety-like behaviors and curcumin treatment in the rats. Different groups of rats were used for all experiments.
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Are There Safety Concerns With Taking Turmeric
The primary benefit of using turmeric for depression is that it is a naturally occurring spice, and it can easily be taken as a supplement or within someones diet, says Goldman.
Turmeric appears to be well tolerated, but it may cause side effects like change of stool color, minor headaches, and diarrhea, Safai adds. The risk of diarrhea, in particular, gets higher the more you take or the longer you take it.
Turmeric thats sold as a spice, for use in food, is regulated under the Food Safety and Modernization Act, which focuses on preventing foodborne illness from contaminated spices.
Dietary supplements, including turmeric supplements, are regulated under a different law, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which states that Manufacturers and distributors of dietary supplements and dietary ingredients are prohibited from marketing products that are adulterated or misbranded.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness the way it does for over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
When considering turmeric supplements for the treatment of depression, therefore, Yalda Safai, MD, MPH, a psychiatrist based in New York City, cautions, Be aware that supplements are not subjected to the same regulations as prescribed medications. These supplements are not required to prove efficacy, safety, or quality of a product prior to marketing.
Curcumin & Saffron Benefits In Atypical Depression
Lopresti et.al designed a study to overcome the limitations in the design of studies till date on turmeric and depression.
123 individuals with Major Depressive Disorder participated in the study and were assigned to 4 groups:
- Low dose curcumin: 500mg a day
- High dose curcumin: 1000mg a day
- Low dose curcumin and saffron: 500mg and 30mg respectively per day
The combination treatment resulted in the highest decrease in depressive symptoms. Patients with atypical depression showed a better response.
The response rate was unaffected by a high or low dose of curcumin.
Curcumin and saffron were safe and effective in reducing depression and anxiety in MDD.
What does this mean?There is considerably good evidence in the form of human studies to show that curcumin is a safe and effective antidepressant. It takes around 4 weeks to deliver results and improvement in symptoms is observed on longer duration of treatment.
In case of Major Depressive Disorders curcumin works best as an add-on therapy to standard antidepressant treatment. Additionally curcumin reduces inflammation, boosts brain health and improves overall health in depressed individuals.
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Curcumin Supplements Relieve Stress And Anxiety
There hasnt been a lot of research done on curcumin for stress and anxiety, but heres what a few studies show.
Curcumin, when taken alone or with the herbal antidepressant saffron , effectively minimizes both anxiety and depression symptoms in people with major depressive disorder.
When curcumin is taken with the herb fenugreek, it reduces stress, anxiety, and fatigue, while increasing the quality of life in people suffering from extreme occupational stress.
Curcumin can alleviate the anxiety experienced by women with premenstrual syndrome .
The severity of PMS-related emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms has been shown to be significantly reduced with curcumin supplementation.
There are also a few relevant animal studies to consider.
When curcumin is given to rats under stress, it helps to normalize cortisol balance, adrenal gland function, BDNF levels, and behavior.
Dietary deficiency of DHA is linked to several mental health disorders, including anxiety.
Curcumin boosts DHA levels in the brain and reduces symptoms of anxiety.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a common anxiety disorder characterized by compulsive behavior.
Curcumin supplementation has resulted in significant improvement in the compulsiveness and associated memory loss of OCD.