The new study — recently published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry — provides further evidence that curcumin can protect the brain.
First study author Dr. Gary Small, of the Longevity Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, and colleagues tested the compound on 40 adults aged between 51 and 84, all of whom had mild memory problems.
At study baseline, all participants underwent standard cognitive tests, and these were repeated every 6 months throughout the study, as well as at the end of the study.
Additionally, 30 of the subjects — 15 of whom who were receiving curcumin — had positron emission tomography (PET) scans of their brain at the beginning and end of the study.
These scans were conducted in order to assess levels of the beta-amyloid and tau, which are proteins that are considered a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Research has suggested that an increase in levels of beta-amyloid and tau can occur up to 15 years before symptoms of Alzheimer’s arise, suggesting that the proteins may be an early indicator of the disease.
Results revealed that the subjects who took curcumin twice daily demonstrated a 28 percent improvement in memory tests over the course of the study, while those who took the placebo showed no significant memory improvements.
Subjects who received curcumin also experienced slight improvements in mood, unlike those who took the placebo.
What is more, participants who took curcumin also had lower levels of beta-amyloid and tau in the hypothalamus and amygdala brain regions, which are regions that play key roles in memory and emotion.
Dr. Birken carries the most bio-available turmeric, Meriva, in his office.
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