Curcumin—the active component of turmeric, which gives curry its distinctive color and flavor—is one of those rare nutritional rockstars that seems to be able to do it all.
It’s earned a spot on my list of “Desert Island” supplements year after year, thanks to its ability to fight inflammation, balance blood sugar, and conquer chronic diseases from arthritis to heart disease to cancer. So needless to say, I’m never surprised when it makes new headlines. (For the full list of my “Desert Island” supplements, refer to the January 2016 issue of Logical Health Alternatives. To access my archives, simply use your username and password to log in to the “Subscribers” section of www.DrPesatore.com.)
Still, the results of these studies never cease to amaze me. And the latest finding from a team of UCLA scientists is no exception.
Their double-blind, placebo-controlled study—the gold standard when it comes to research—featured 40 older adults with mild memory problems. Researchers randomly assigned subjects to take either a twice-daily, 90 mg curcumin supplement or a placebo for 18 months.
Subjects received cognitive assessments at the beginning of the study and every six months thereafter, along with regular monitoring of curcumin levels. Thirty of these subjects also received PET scans before and after the study, in order to identify any changes in levels of amyloid and tau—two notorious markers for Alzheimer’s disease.
At the end of the 18 months, the subjects taking curcumin showed a 28 percent boost in memory scores compared to the placebo group, not to mention mild mood improvements. And even more notably, a significant reduction in both Alzheimer’s markers, in areas of the brain associated with memory and emotion.
The most important detail of this study is that researchers used a bioavailable form of curcumin to achieve their incredible results. This matters because, on its own, curcumin is very poorly absorbed. (Previous studies have relied on dosages as high as 8 grams for this very reason.)
Fortunately, modern technology has been a game changer. And there are now a number of products available (capsules, tablets, liquids, and powders) that make it easier for your body to access curcumin’s benefits, at a reasonable dosage that won’t irritate your stomach.
This particular study used Theracurmin®, one of my preferred curcumin supplements. I also recommend Curcumin C3 Complex®, BCM-95®, and Meriva®. (For more information on each of these forms of curcumin, you can refer to the December 2016 issue of my newsletter archives on www.DrPescatore.com.) Suffice it to say, any one of these is well worth the investment.
Whichever bioavailable curcumin extract you choose, 500 mg per day is a great place to start for not only cognitive, but overall health.
- Small GW, et al. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2017 Oct 27.