Curcumin proves to have memory and mood boosting properties, according to a new study published in January 2018.
Researchers from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), conducted a study that revealed that daily consumption of a certain form of curcumin was closely associated with improved memory and mood, especially among those suffering from mild age-related memory loss.
The team studied an easily absorbed curcumin supplement and in turn, its effects on memory performance among people with healthy memory, without dementia. They also attempted to study the potential impact of curcumin on the brains of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Curcumin, being an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, is widely used across India as a dietary staple. The researchers thus found relevance as with this being a part of the staple diet and the low prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and better cognitive performance among the geriatric population in the country.
“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 Dr. Gary Small, first author of the study.
An experiment was conducted, which involved 40 adults between the ages of 50 and 90 years experiencing mild memory loss. Each of these participants were randomly placed as part of the control and experimental group. One group was given the placebo while the other was given 90 milligrams of curcumin twice daily for a period of 18 months.
Each of the 40 subjects were asked to take a standardized cognitive assessment at the beginning of the study and after six months. Furthermore, curcumin levels were monitored in their blood at the beginning of the study and after the completion of the study on the 18 month. Thirty of these participants also underwent positron emission tomography, or PET scans, so as to determine the amyloid and tau levels in their brains at the beginning and after the study.
The results showed that those who took curcumin experienced significant improvements in their memory and attention abilities and overall mood, while those who received the placebo did not. PET scans showed considerably less amyloid and tau signals in the amygdala and hypothalamus than those who took placebos.
“These results suggest that taking this relatively safe form of curcumin could provide meaningful cognitive benefits over the years,” said Small, UCLA’s Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging.