Turmeric: Indian spice strengthens the memory

Turmeric: Indian spice strengthens the memory

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Researchers are studying the effects of curcumin on memory

When people consume a special form of curcumin every day, this consumption can improve memory and mood. This will surely please fans of Indian cuisine in particular, because curcumin contains many Indian dishes and helps them to achieve their typical light yellow color.

In their current study, scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found that curcumin helps improve memory and mood in people with mild, age-related memory impairments. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry".

How does curcumin affect plaques in the brain?

In their research, the experts examined the effects of consuming an easily consumable curcumin supplement on memory performance in people without dementia. In addition, the possible influence on the so-called microscopic plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease was also analyzed.

Other positive effects of curcumin on health

Earlier studies have found curcumin to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Experts have suggested that older people in India have a lower prevalence of Alzheimer's and better cognitive performance because curcumin is a staple there and is consumed daily. Another study found, for example, that the yellowish spice is as healthy for the vessels as sports.

Curcumin can reduce brain inflammation

"It is not certain how curcumin will work, but this could be due to its properties that reduce brain inflammation, which are associated with both Alzheimer's disease and severe depression," explains author Dr. Gary Small in a press release from the University of California.

The study participants were between the ages of 50 and 90

The placebo-controlled study included a total of 40 adult subjects between the ages of 50 and 90 who had mild memory problems. The participants were randomly divided into two groups and either took a placebo twice daily or 90 milligrams of curcumin for 18 months.

Various measurements were made during the study

All 40 subjects received standardized cognitive assessments at the start of the study and every six months. Blood curcumin levels were also measured at the start of the study and after 18 months. Thirty of the volunteers also underwent so-called positron emission tomography or PET scans to check the levels of amyloid and tau (special protein deposits that are associated with Alzheimer's disease, for example) in their brains at the start of the study and after 18 months to determine.

Subjects taking curcumin achieved better results in memory tests

The people who took curcumin experienced a significant improvement in their memory and attention skills compared to placebo-taking subjects. In memory tests, the results of the participants taking curcumin improved by 28 percent.

In addition, the mood of these subjects rose slightly, and brain scans showed less amyloid and tau deposits in the amygdala and hypothalamus compared to the placebo group. The experts explain that the amygdala and hypothalamus are regions of the brain that control several memory and emotional functions. According to the researchers, four people from the curcumin group and two participants taking placebo experienced minor side effects. These included, for example, abdominal pain and nausea.

More research is needed

The researchers plan to conduct a follow-up study with a larger number of people. This study is designed to include some people with mild depression so that scientists can investigate whether curcumin also has antidepressant effects. A larger number of participants would also make it possible to analyze whether the memory-enhancing effect of curcumin varies depending on the genetic risk of people for Alzheimer's, their age or the extent of their cognitive problems. "Current results suggest that taking this relatively safe form of curcumin could offer significant cognitive benefits over the years," explains Dr. Small. (as)

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