Nutraceutical Knowledge

Relationship Between Turmeric and Depression

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The yellow spice that gives curry and even mustard its color is also showing promise as a weapon in the fight against depression. This natural anti-inflammatory could also help ease the signs and symptoms of depression; studies on animals have found that curcumin, a component of turmeric, can help improve brain function in a variety of ways.

There's a reason turmeric is surging in popularity; this medicinal spice can help ease anxiety and combat depression naturally and nutraceutical companies are noticing. Check out the surge of interest calculated by the number of searches from Google Trends!

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Turmeric has been considered a powerful medicine for centuries in some cultures; both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine use turmeric root as both a spice and a healing aid. How could turmeric help those with depression – and could adding this tasty spice to your diet or taking a supplement improve your outlook? Learning more about the spice and some recent scientific studies can help you determine if turmeric is right for you.

Scientific Research Suggests Turmeric Could Ease Anxiety and Depression

A recent study of curcumin’s impact on depression and anxiety on human subjects revealed that the active component of turmeric could effectively ease anxiety. It also enhanced the soothing effect of prescribed antidepressants, inducing Prozac (fluoxetine) and Norpramin (desipramine). When human users took curcumin in combination with an antidepressant medication, they reported an improvement; users in the same sturdy who took a placebo indicated there was no change in the performance of their medication.

Turmeric and Depression

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Understanding what depression is can help you learn more about the effectiveness of any treatment or supplement,  including turmeric.  Depression is more than just feeling sad or out of sorts; it is a brain condition that indicated the neurotransmitters in your brain are not at the right levels or not functioning as they should.

Depression can be triggered by many different circumstances, from dealing with stressful changes to genetics, hormones and even medical problems like diabetes.

Depression impacts the whole person, though, not just the emotions or brain. When you are depressed, you may feel sad, anxious and apathetic. Anger, loss of interest in hobbies and even a feeling of disconnect from family and friends are common as well.

Even physical complaints like weight gain or loss, body aches and pains and even insomnia can be attributed to depression. Anti-depressant drugs restore the natural balance of chemicals in your brain and help to ease depression over time.

How Could Turmeric Help Anxiety and Depression?

Early research suggests that curcumin can help balance those brain chemicals that can trigger depression. The curcumin in turmeric may help balance dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline, leading to a less depressed, less anxious state of mind. Curcumin also seems to support hypothalamus pituitary adrenal (HPA) functioning and protects the brain against leptin resistance as well. The surging interest in turmeric by an informed and health aware population is due in part to the spice's effectiveness as an anti-depressant supplement.

Why Turmeric?

Turmeric gets its distinctive yellow color and positive impacts on health from the curcuminoids it contains; a teaspoon of turmeric is about 5% curcumins; supplements that contain turmeric can also have added curcumins to increase the amount per serving.  

How does Turmeric Help Depression?

The best way to learn how turmeric eases depression is to look at the most recent scientific studies using both the turmeric for depression image 3.jpgspice and its primary active component, curcumin. Recent research suggests that turmeric can boost antioxidant’s effectiveness, ease anxiety and even regulate neurotransmitters in the brain.

Turmeric eases inflammation: While researchers are still working on a definitive answer on all the causes of depression, inflammation is considered one of the causative factors.

A 2013 study showed the connection between inflammation and depression; a poor diet or a lack of “good” bacteria in your gut can also contribute to inflammation and result in depression.

Curcumin is considered an effective remedy for inflammation that benefits the patient without causing some of the side effects of an NSAID pain reliever. Researchers studying the beneficial effects of turmeric showed that by targeting inflammation, they were also able to ease depression.

Turmeric boosts the body’s natural defenses: When you eat a poor diet, or have signs of inflammation and are also depressed, you could be taking in fewer antioxidants than you should. A recent study working with college age participants revealed a link between the reduced intake of antioxidants and an increase in depression.  

Poor antioxidant defenses can directly contribute to depression; supplementation with antioxidants can help shore up your body’s natural defenses. Curcumin can help naturally improve your body’s antioxidant defenses and ensure that your body is making the most of the antioxidants you consume via foods or supplements. Researchers found that 500mg of curcumin daily can help your body use antioxidants more effectively and make you less susceptible to depression. One study comparing the effects of Prozac (fluoxetine) with curcumin found that both substances had similar impacts on antioxidant levels in the body.

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The chemicals that help your brain function and communicate as it should are called neurotransmitters.

Some researchers believe that depression comes from a deficiency in key neurotransmitters – dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.

Studies on animals reveal that curcumin can help increase the body’s natural levels of serotonin and dopamine to relieve depression. Researchers combined curcumin with the active ingredient in black pepper, piperine and saw a decrease in depression in subjects.

This research is making waves beyond the medical community; natural health advocates and bloggers have begun spreading the word and turmeric is a hotly trending topic in the world of natural remedies.

Turmeric relieves Anxiety

Anxiety and depression are often complementary conditions, if you have anxiety you often suffer from depression as well. Since curcumin eases anxiety it can also help with the resulting depression for those who suffer from both conditions. Some animal studies also show that curcumin improves brain function and protects the bran from anxiety that is triggered by stress.

How Much Turmeric for Depression Relief?

Since turmeric can be effective in relieving anxiety and may be beneficial to those suffering from depression, it can be taken alone or alongside a traditional anti-depressant. A study that tested the effectiveness of turmeric as a supplement to a traditional antidepressant had participants take 500mg a day of curcumin for 5 weeks.  Patients taking curcumin reported more rapid relief from depression than those on the placebo.

In 2015, researchers compared turmeric with commonly prescribed Prozac. For 6 weeks, participants either took Prozac (20mg) or 1000mg of curcumin each day. At the end of the studies there was only a 2% difference in the effects of Prozac (64.7%) and Curcumin (62.5%) on depression.

A third study specifically outlined daily turmeric for depression dosage; patients in 4 groups tool varying levels of curcumin and in one group, saffron and curcumin:

  • Group 1 500mg of curcumin
  • Group 2: 1000mg of curcumin
  • Group 3: 500mg curcumin and 30mg saffron
  • Group 4: placebo

Results shoes that patients in Group 3, who took the combination of curcumin and saffron had the best outcomes,
while those taking 500 and 1000 mg of curcumin alone saw roughly the same benefit. Placebo patients saw no turmeric for depression image 5.jpgimprovement at all.

The results of the studies above suggest that consuming both turmeric and curcumin can help ease depression. To reach 500 mg of curcumin, you may need to take a supplement in addition to consuming turmeric as part of your diet.

As we continue to learn more about how turmeric aids depression, you can expect this particular spice to continue to be heavily searched and written about as an effective and in demand natural remedy.

Thanks to a variety of studies, we can tell that turmeric in general and curcumin in particular can have a beneficial impact on depression. The suggested therapeutic dose seems to be about 500mg of curcumin daily; 1000mg did not have a harmful effect on participants in dosage studies, but did not provide additional benefits either. Natural turmeric could be one more weapon in the fight against depression and is well worth trying if you are struggling with this condition.

StockNutra offers a  private label turmeric complex that could help the body’s immune system by reducing inflammation.Turmeric also assists with digestive problems by allowing the gallbladder to release bile, helping the body break down food and digest it properly making a versatile addition to your supplement line!

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