What if a natural supplement was just as effective as prescription drugs without the cost and dangerous side effects? A recent study found that curcumin, the main polyphenol in turmeric, is as at least as effective as fluoxetine (Prozac) in treating depression. So how could turmeric actually treat depression? Curcumin possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, immuno-modulatory, anti-cancer, and neuroprotective properties. Studies have shown that curcuminoids are very effective in scavenging free radicals and neutralize them.
Turmeric acts as a reactive oxygen scavenger; it is able to inhibit the body’s production of pro-inflammatory signaling compounds called eicosanoids. Curcuminoids in turmeric have been found to nfluence more than 700 genes, and it can inhibit both the activity and the synthesis of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOX), as well as other enzymes that have been linked to inflammation. As we know, inflammation affects every aspect of your health. Inflammation can play a role in depression — even in the absence of a physical illness.
In the study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, the researchers found that people with clinical depression had a 30 percent increase in brain inflammation, also referred to as neuroinflammation.
Groundbreaking Study Finds Turmeric Extract Superior to Prozac for Depression
A recent study, Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial, was done to compare the efficacy and safety of curcumin with fluoxetine in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). According to the researchers, “This study provides first clinical evidence that curcumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment in patients with MDD [major depressive disorder] without concurrent suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders.”
The study found that the effectiveness of curcumin stems from the fact that it can inhibit monoamine oxidase, an enzyme which is linked to depression if found in the brain in high levels. Turmeric also raise the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, two neurotransmitters responsible for happiness, curbing depression and overall emotional well-being.
Another study, published in the journal, “Brain Research,” examined the effects of curcumin administration to laboratory rats after exposure to a chronic stress protocol. The study found that that curcumin supplementation had a beneficial effect on reducing stress-related depressive symptoms.
How to Use Turmeric for Depression
- Take turmeric extracts (available in tablets or capsules) three times per day or as directed on the product label. It’s important when supplementing to use a standardized, bioavailable source to ensure maximum absorption.
- Make Turmeric Tea
- 2 tablespoons of grated fresh turmeric root, or 1 full teaspoon of ground organic turmeric (where to find)
- 4 cups of water
- Raw Honey and lemon to taste
- Take four cups of water in a pot and boil it.
- Add the turmeric. Now, simmer for 10 minutes, before straining it.
- When ready, strain the tea through a mesh strainer, and add the honey to taste.