A PAIN-2-POWERFUL SUPPLEMENT: CURCUMIN TO LIFT MOOD AND REDUCE ANXIETY
I briefly mentioned Curcumin (the main active ingredient in the spice turmeric) in a previous blog, but it deserves its own because of how powerful it can be.
Back in 2013, a randomized, double blind scientific study looked at how curcumin fared against the antidepressant Prozac in relieving symptoms of depression. Amazingly, at the end of six weeks, those receiving Prozac and those receiving Curcumin showed the same level of improvement on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) which includes questions about mood, sleep, anxiety, gastrointestinal symptoms and energy.
Other studies have confirmed the miraculous effects of Curcumin.
These studies are important because medications to treat depression—while a Godsend for many people—can also sometimes cause side effects like weight gain, insomnia and sexual dysfunction (and can even cause worsening depression).
Curcumin is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. This is tremendously important since inflammation has been theorized to be one of the sources of impaired mood, anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain and many other symptoms. It may, in fact, be a central cause of depression itself.
Inflammation has also been implicated in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, heart disease, asthma, colitis, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and becoming overweight.
How does curcumin achieve its anti-inflammatory power? For one thing, it blocks a molecule called NF-kB which seems to turn on inflammation and has been linked not only to depression but to many inflammation-related illnesses.
Here’s more amazing data on curcumin. In a 2015 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled scientific trial, researchers observed the effects of curcumin just hours after people took it and after they had taken it for four weeks. Just one hour after administration, curcumin significantly improved performance on attention and memory tasks, compared with the placebo. Working memory and mood were significantly better following four weeks of treatment. Curcumin even reduced total and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
In yet another study (also during 2015), overweight adults without depression were given curcumin or placebo, along with bioperine, a common agent added to curcumin supplements to enhance its absorption. Both the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) tests were filled out by each participant at the beginning of the study and then, again, at four, six and ten weeks of taking curcumin. Anxiety was significantly reduced by curcumin.
Curcumin is considered very safe and generally causes no side effects. There are some people who have reported headache, diarrhea or rash, when given large doses.
Curcumin supplements can be ordered from many sources. The link below will take you to just one of them, which I consider to be a reliable source.
In the quest to be powerful in the face of pain—whether emotional or physical—curcumin is on my P-2-P list.
Dr. Keith Ablow