Curcumin

Curcumin

Summary

Traditional Indian and Chinese cultures have used turmeric for cooking and health for thousands of years, but only recently has curcumin been isolated for the purpose of improving cognitive abilities and neurological health. Today, curcumin is an anti-inflammatory tool and is a powerful antioxidant [1].

Derived from turmeric, the curcumin compound is bright yellow and has well-researched and lasting results combating cancer and Alzheimer’s disease [2]. The compound is also useful for cognitive enhancement specifically for the elderly [3]. Increased neurogenesis in the hippocampus region of the brain is thought to cause antidepressant effects in users of this compound as well [4].

Although curcumin is not well absorbed in its basic form, there are pairings that helps increase the body’s utilization of the nootropic. As a natural antioxidant compound with positive long-term anti-inflammatory effects, it is considered a safe cognitive enhancing drug.

Also Known As

Turmeric extract, Curry Extract, Curcuma, Diferuloylmethane, JiangHuang, Curcuma Longa, 1, 7-bis-{3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenyl}-1, 6-heptadiene-3, 5-dione

Editors’ Thoughts on Curcumin

I never took curcumin specifically, but south Indian culture has a specific type of snack food that is full of turmeric as the main ingredient. In fact, most foods my mother cooked had at least 2 – 4 grams of turmeric (enough for adequate curcumin supplementation) so I was exposed this this healthful nootropic my entire life.

Obviously curcumin is not something that I “felt” or experienced in any way as it is non-stimulating or mood altering. Still, I’m grateful to my culture and mother for having me consume this for so much of my life. As an adult, I’m consistently finding new ways that I can add curcumin into my diet.

As a general rule, I’d suggest everyone take curcumin under “just in case” circumstances. Obviously if it is hurting you in some way (there are some side effects) then re-evaluate this statement, but it doesn’t seem like there are any real risks.

Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor

curcumin

Benefits of Curcumin

Inflammation and chronic health problems plague the modern western world and it would seem more natural and ancient remedies are being researched as the solution. Curcumin, a constituent polyphenol from turmeric root, is a powerful and reliable antioxidant.

One of the downstream effects of this is anti-inflammatory [5], which has uses in many chronic diseases that plague modern cultures. In one study, a high dose of curcumin helped alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis in middle-aged individuals. Some inflammatory markers were reduced up to 65% [6]. A smaller dose of turmeric and curcumin helped reduce inflammation in kidney tissue and blood pressure in diseased participants [7].

The same inflammation that can lead to cancerous symptoms and Alzheimer’s disease can also lead to general cognitive decline in the elderly. A powerful compound like curcumin can be an aid against these symptoms. While preliminary evidence does not show curcumin to reverse cognitive decline, a 6 month study showed it was successful in mitigating decline from getting worse [8].

The positive effects on Alzheimer’s patients and other neurological issues in the elderly are well researched and could be one of the main benefits of curcumin for the long term supplementation of this compound [9].

How Does Curcumin Work?

Curcumin is a polyphenol that is in many different plants, but primarily turmeric. This compound works by creating downstream effects in the body and brain. One of those effects is as an mTOR inhibitor [10], which is a pathway that is related to aging, longevity and general health. Beyond this, there are many ways curcumin works to improve cognitive health in adults and the elderly.

Side Effects of Curcumin

At a low or normal dose, it is possible to see a few minor side effects of curcumin. Some people record gastrointestinal distress (added flatulence), yellow stools and other issues, but this often occurs at larger doses in excess of 6 grams [11]. Studies looking at the higher range of doses (such as 8 grams per day) noticed that there was no significant short-term toxicity problems even despite the gastrointestinal distress [12].

Some further testing noted that there was a connection to nausea and diarrhea in patients with only a dose of 3.6 grams [13] and some other evidence suggests the possibility of headaches and skin rashes [14].

In general, these mild symptoms can be caught and isolated when supplementing with curcumin. While they are rare, if they are curcumin side effects that start to negatively impact your day, it might be time to consider an alternative.

Curcumin Dosage

The curcumin dosage is going to depend heavily on the other ingredients and personal goals and desires. This substance is not well absorbed, which means pairing curcumin with black pepper (piperine) or phosphatidylcholine is useful. Without taking one of these substances, 4 grams curcumin confers no real benefits and even 8 – 16 grams would be slightly beneficial.

Assuming you have one of these, a dosage of curcumin around 80 – 500 mg would be useful for cognitive enhancing, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory purposes. The trademarked “Longvida” drug helped increase bioavailability by 2000% with piperine (20 mg) in addition to the curcumin.

How and Where to Buy Curcumin

There are many ways that you can buy curcumin including your local health food or grocery store. Keep in mind that the poor absorption has created a number of different combination products that can be more useful for your purchase.

Make sure you either purchase curcumin in addition to piperine or buy a product that combines the two. The Sports Research brand on Amazon is both affordable and comes with an adequate (high even) dose of curcumin and piperine for absorption (4 months worth). This is the Nootropedia recommendation if you are interested in starting a regimen with this protective agent. It’s also the recommendation of community members who we have re-posted below.

Selected Community Experiences

I take it 500mg-1.5g daily for a while now and haven’t had any side effects. I take a complex that is standardized to 95% Curcuminoids and includes Bioperine (Black Pepper) for better absorption. It’s been a life saver in that it got me off of advil/tylenol which I had to take daily for joint pain.” [15] – hashcakes

Along with the mood boost I’ve noticed that I am able to stick to tasks without losing my concentration as easily as I used to. I’m hoping that the effects last so I don’t have to go on any other medication for my problems.” [16] – doafnuts

References (Click to Expand)
  1. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11606625
  2. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19605645
  3. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25277322
  4. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19900435
  5. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21907450
  6. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21194249
  7. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21742514
  8. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18204357
  9. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12907793
  10. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19176385
  11. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21796707
  12. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16545122
  13. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15501961
  14. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11712783
  15. //www.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/4pwqss/curcuminwhat_side_effects_have_you_experienced/
  16. //www.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/3oj4nm/increased_mood_and_energy_from_curcumin_turmeric/
Other Scientific Resources (Click to Expand)
  1. //www.mendeley.com/research/chemistry-biological-activities/
  2. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8221978
  3. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20004045
  4. //www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814610016122
  5. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22234408
  6. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20955148
  7. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18588355
  8. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17373747
  9. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22566109
  10. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21424961
  11. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9278892
  12. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11448902
  13. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16545122
  14. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11712783
  15. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18628464
  16. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9619120
  17. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17051370
  18. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19594223
  19. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21413691
  20. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21532153
  21. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21968952
  22. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21603867
  23. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9069263
  24. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3034432
  25. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17596214
  26. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9134658
  27. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12514113
  28. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19176385
  29. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18790744
  30. //www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16483311

Author

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