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Can Turmeric Affect Mental Health? Intriguing Anxiety Research- Thomas DeLauer
Anxiety and depression are REAL! I don’t take them lightly. I have had – and still have – my battles with both of them. I don’t have the answers on how to fix anxiety and depression, but I can share what I have learned to help mitigate them..
Turmeric/curcumin for Alzheimer’s Disease
There are many mechanisms by which turmeric/curcumin could prevent Alzheimer’s; here are two:
Just earlier this year, Huang P et al. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 2019 discovered, using a cell model of Alzheimer’s disease, that curcumin decreases the expression of the rate-limited enzyme (β-secretase) in the production of beta-amyloid oligomers, the toxic protein bundles that many think start the cascade of events that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.
Zhang X et al. European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2011 found that curcumin activates a neuroprotective signaling pathway called Wnt signaling by inhibiting a protein called GSK3β. This is an extremely important mechanisms because underactive Wnt signaling is common to many diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and diabetes.
Turmeric/curcumin also blocks inflammation by inhibiting NFκB and the NLRP3 inflammasome (see more below).
Curcumin for Depression
This past summer, Fusar-Poli L et al. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 2019 performed a meta-analysis of the available literature found that curcumin significantly improves depression and anxiety in patients. But how?…
Xia X et al. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2007 found that, in mice, a three-week treatment with treatment with turmeric boosted the feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin and decreased the stress hormone cortisol. Importantly, these hormonal changes improved behavioural markers of depression in the mice on a forced swim stress test. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17134862
Curcumin may Synergize with a Ketogenic Diet AND with Omega-3 Fats
Curcumin & Keto
Both curcumin and keto inhibit the NLRP3 inflammasome, delivering a double whammy to knockout inflammation and, thereby, protect against inflammatory diseases, including both Alzheimer’s and depression.
Marquadt J et al. Journal of Hepatology, 2016 found that, under certain conditions, chemicals that inhibit Histone Deacetylases Classes I and II (HDACs 1/II) boost the health effects of curcumin. And guess what inhibits HDACs I/II… ketones!
Curcumin & Omega-3
Wu A et al. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2015 found that curcumin increases ALA to DHA conversion in mammals by increasing the expression of the DHA synthesis enzymes FADS2 and elongase 2 in both the liver and the brain!!! What’s more, in rodents, ALA + curcumin actually increased brain DHA levels and decreased anxiety. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25550171
Curcumin is not, by itself, very bioavailable. To increase bioavailability, try the following three things:
Consume turmeric/curcumin with fats. Curcumin is fat-soluble and, therefore, requires fat to be absorbed.
Consume turmeric from the whole root, rather than ground turmeric. The whole food contains carrier oils that help turmeric get absorbed. By eating the whole root, rather than the ground and dried powder, you increase turmeric’s potency about 10-fold.
Consume turmeric/curcumin with black pepper. Black pepper contains piperine, which, as published by Shoba G et al. in Planta Medica, 1998, increases the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%.
Nicholas Norwitz – Oxford PhD Researcher and Harvard Med Student: