turmeric, curcumin, turmeric so wonderful

Curcumin is the active ingredient in the yellow spice turmeric. Numerous studies have confirmed its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. Could it help against depression and anxiety?

Studying Curcumin for Depression and Anxiety:

Preliminary research has suggested that it might also have antidepressant effects. A new study from Australia reinforces this conclusion.

How the Study Was Set Up:

Investigators recruited 123 adults with major depressive disorder. The volunteers were randomized into four groups. In addition to placebo, they were given low-dose curcumin extract (250 mg twice daily), high-dose curcumin extract (500 mg twice daily) and a combination of low-dose curcumin and saffron extract (15 mg twice a day). The extract used was BCM-95. The study lasted for three months.

How the Volunteers Responded:

People in the groups receiving curcumin had improvements in both depression and anxiety scores. Saffron did not make a significant difference.

The researchers conclude that both low and high doses of curcumin are helpful, especially against atypical depression.

Journal of Affective Disorders, Jan. 1, 2017

We suggest that any time you can get the same benefit from a low dose as from a high dose, go with the lower dose. In most cases, it is less likely to produce side effects.

Adverse Reactions to Curcumin?

Even though it is a natural compound, some people react badly to curcumin. They may break out in the hives typical of an allergic reaction or they may experience digestive upset. People taking the anticoagulant warfarin should not add curcumin to their regimen. We have received reports that the combination pushes INR too high. This indicates a serious risk of bleeding.

You can learn more about depression and other nondrug approaches in our Guide to Dealing with Depression.

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  1. Clark
    New York

    I think the agnst of post-industrialized capitalism is best attenuated by 500mg of apathetic nihilism.

    • Sara
      Oslo, Norway

      haha, Clark’s comment is gold. My existential dread is cured for the day.

  2. Agatha

    I just read the highlights of the study and the results listed there seem somewhat different than your summary of them. I really enjoy your newsletter, but please double check your accuracy in this case.

  3. Beach Boui

    The question is, where do you find a quality source of curcumin extract? This isn’t something you find on the shelf at the grocery store. And, if you did, you couldn’t necessarily trust that is has in the bottle what it says on the label. (See https://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2015/02/16/are-supplements-any-good/). Even Einstein couldn’t guess what would come in a bottle ordered online from Scamazon.com.

    • Carolyn

      CURCUMIN BCM-95 60C
      Manufacturer: Progressive Labs

      Is the best on the market for this supplement

  4. Nell

    Why do you mention saffron? Does it have any curcumin in it?

  5. David Eick

    I need help with insomnia. My Dr says visit with psychiatrist is next.
    Been fighting this for over 3 years. Haven’t found a long term solution.

  6. Mickey M.

    I keep reading about the many benefits of curcumin, but years ago I began taking a turmeric supplement and my wife insisted that I quit: she complained mightily about the bad breath and body odor the supplement caused (and these side effects promptly disappeared soon after I did discontinue the turmeric). Has anyone else suffered from these “complications”? Is there a way to avoid them, perhaps with a different approach to getting curcumin/turmeric into one’s system? Thanks!

    • Kathryn

      Hi Mickey. I hope you’re not ready to give up! It is possible that a curcumin extract will not produce these odors. Also, it might be as simple as using a deodorant for the body and chlorophyll capsules for the breath.
      Is your wife perhaps unaware of the many benefits turmeric/curcumin could provide to her? Seems to me that if she were to also indulge in this wonderful spice she would no longer notice any malodor from you at all as she would be producing her own… ;-) Good luck!

  7. Diana

    People prone to digestive upset can take this supplement with food. I also remember another column of yours in the newspaper recently (I think) where a lady said it lowered her cholesterol and blood sugar levels over time.

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