The polyphenol compound curcumin is the main component of turmeric curcuminoids derived from tumeric spice, which exhibits many therapeutic properties. Numerous studies have shown that curcumin possesses not only anti-inflammation, anti-oxidative stress, and tumor reduction properties, but also neuroprotection against a wide spectrum of neurodegenerative conditions in animal models.
There is scientific evidence to suggest that curcumin may have several beneficial effects on brain health. Here are some of the ways in which it may support brain function, neurogenesis, and mood:
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory properties and is able to reduce inflammation in the brain. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a number of brain disorders, including depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline. By reducing inflammation, curcumin may help to protect the brain from damage and improve brain function.
- Antioxidant effects: Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, which means it can neutralize harmful molecules called free radicals that can damage cells and contribute to the development of various diseases. Free radicals are produced naturally in the body as a result of metabolism, but environmental factors such as pollution and stress can increase their production. By neutralizing free radicals, curcumin may help to protect the brain from oxidative stress, which can lead to brain cell damage and contribute to the development of brain disorders.
- Neuroprotective effects: Curcumin has been shown to have neuroprotective effects, which means it can help to protect brain cells from damage and death. This may be due to its ability to reduce inflammation and neutralize free radicals. By protecting brain cells, curcumin may help to improve brain function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
- Neurogenesis: Curcumin has been shown to stimulate the production of new brain cells, a process known as neurogenesis. This is important because neurogenesis is believed to be involved in learning, memory, and mood regulation. By stimulating neurogenesis, curcumin may help to improve brain function and treat mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
- Mood: Curcumin has been shown to have a positive effect on mood. It may improve symptoms of depression and anxiety and reduce feelings of stress and fatigue. It may also have a positive effect on sleep quality. The prevailing hypothesis of its molecular effect suggests that inflammation is important in the pathophysiology of depression. The simi larities between “sickness behavior” and depression symptoms such as anorexia, decreased locomotor activity, and cognitive disturbances that can be found in both conditions prompted this hypothesis, and some studies have found that these depression symptoms are positively correlated with C-reactive protein levels (CRP) (Fried et al. 2020).
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition in which synovial fibroblasts proliferate over time. Anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects have been discovered in curcumin (Sumeet et al. 2018). Patients with active RA were given curcumin in real time and compared to a diclofenac sodium control group. Curcumin treated patients had the greatest over all improvement in rheumatoid arthritis, and these values were significantly higher than those treated with diclofenac sodium (El-Sayed et al. 2012; Waghmare et al. 2011). Curcumin was found to be a safer and healthier alternative to diclofenac sodium (Waghmare et al. 2011). The antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative, and immune-suppressive properties of curcumin have been linked to rheumatoid arthritis symptom alleviation (Alsamydai & Jaber 2018).
- Curcuminoids have also been shown to reduce plasma triglycerides and cholesterol levels via influencing gene expression and the activity of lipoprotein metabolism enzymes (Panahi et al. 2015; Sahebkar 2014).
Overall, the scientific evidence suggests that curcumin may have several beneficial effects on brain health, including reducing inflammation, neutralizing free radicals, protecting brain cells, stimulating neurogenesis, and improving mood. Muddaser Shah et al (2021) came to the conclusion that natural ingredients can be prominent in the field of different disease cure based on their reports and findings. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, neuroprotective, and anti-cancer properties, as well as a variety of molecular targets. Curcumin is poorly absorbed and rapidly eliminated and metabolized when given orally to human volunteers, according to research. Curcumin may aid in the treatment of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, and hyperlipidemia, according to research. It may also aid in the management of exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, allowing active people to recover faster and perform better.
Despite the promising findings, it is important to note that curcumin is not a panacea and should not be used as a sole treatment for different disorders. If you are interested in using curcumin to improve your brain health, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider first to determine if it is appropriate for you and to determine the appropriate dosage.