LOWER anxiety and the risk of depression by consuming curcumin, evidence reveals
(NaturalHealth365) According to recent statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “1 out of every 6 adults will have depression at some time in their life. ” Of course, anxiety disorders are out of control, within our society, as well.
But, have no fear (pun intended), there are many highly effective ways to reduce the risk of anxiety and depression – without the need for toxic medications that often make matters even worse.
Let’s focus on solutions: a relatively recent study conducted by researchers at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia, supports the ability of curcumin – the active principle in turmeric – to treat depressive symptoms and anxiety.
Historically speaking, curcumin has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese healing systems to treat conditions such as arthritis, asthma, allergies and hepatitis. But, now, there’s plenty of evidence that our mood can be elevated with the use of this natural substance.
Defeating anxiety: What the study reveals…
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in Journal of Affective Disorders, 123 participants with major depressive disorder were given either a placebo, low dosages of curcumin, high dosages of curcumin, or a combination of low-dose curcumin and saffron for twelve weeks.
The researchers found that the curcumin extracts were effective in reducing depression and anxiety.
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Specifically, the team reported that curcumin was associated with significantly greater improvements in depressive symptoms – and superior improvements in a scale that measures anxiety. In other words, curcumin helped both depression and anxiety, but had its strongest effects on the latter.
Interestingly, both “high” (500 mg of curcumin extract twice a day) and “low” dosages (250 mg of curcumin extract twice a day) were effective. However, the addition of saffron (15 mg twice a day) to the curcumin did not have a significant effect.
The team noted that curcumin’s positive antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects were likely due to its ability to elevate neurotransmitters that help to maintain stable mood.
Curcumin elevates serotonin and dopamine levels while lowering cortisol
Curcumin, a flavonoid and natural plant pigment, gives turmeric its distinctive, bright orange-yellow color. In addition to having powerful anti-inflammatory effects, curcumin is antioxidant, antimicrobial and anticancer.
According to James Phelps, M.D., director of the mood disorders program at Samaritan Mental Health in Corvalis, OR, curcumin helps to regulate levels of serotonin and dopamine – while decreasing markers of neuroinflammation.
This is significant, because inflammation can contribute to mood disorders.
Specifically, curcumin combats inflammation by decreasing the expression of inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. It also decreases levels of cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” while protecting against oxidative damage.
Curcumin may even have the potential to ease disturbances in the HPA (hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal) axis. Dysfunction in the HPA axis can adversely affect mood and sleep.
Surprising (important) news for mental health professionals focused ONLY on drug ‘therapies’
Earlier research has also contributed to the body of evidence showing that curcumin targets depression.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in 2015 in Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Chinese researchers found that supplementation with 2,000 mg a day of curcumin enhanced the effectiveness of pharmaceutical antidepressants, without causing adverse effects.
The side effects of pharmaceutical antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, such as Zoloft and Paxil) can include weight gain, sexual dysfunction, nausea, migraines and drowsiness — and even suicidal behavior.
Combining these medications with curcumin could potentially allow patients to take smaller doses, possibly decreasing the odds of troublesome and dangerous side effects.
As in the Australian study, levels of inflammatory cytokines decreased – while cortisol levels dropped as well. The team credited curcumin with enhancing the outcome of antidepressant treatment in major depressive disorder.
Additional studies have shown that curcumin can sharpen memory, help to treat age-related cognitive decline and slow or prevent the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
New curcumin formulation enhances absorption
It is important to take a curcumin supplement that allows for proper absorption, as curcumin is generally poorly absorbed by the body – a fact that can limit its usefulness.
In order to address this problem, some curcumin preparations include black pepper, as experts say that piperine – its active ingredient – can dramatically increase curcumin’s bioavailability.
Dr. Lopresti advises using a curcumin formulation known as BCM-95. Produced from essential oil of turmeric from non-GMO sources, BCM-95 is reported to be 95 percent bioactive.
Most natural health experts advise curcumin dosages ranging from 500 to 2000 mg a day for anti-inflammatory (and antidepressant) effects.
Of course, we suggest you talk to a trusted, integrative physician before using curcumin to treat any health issue.
Bottom line, as unscientific as it sounds, the bright-orange hue of curcumin-rich turmeric root could signal a brighter, more optimistic, outlook for many people. This colorful flavonoid has proven to be a potent anti-inflammatory agent and a valuable weapon against depression.
Editor’s note: The NaturalHealth365 Store offers the highest quality curcumin supplement on the market. Click here to learn more.
Sources for this article include:
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