July 23, 2013

Curcumin for Depression

Regular visitors to this blog know I’ve written often about the many positive peer-reviewed clinical trials for curcumin, the active agent in the Indian curry spice turmeric, often called "the holy powder." Studies have indicated curcumin’s efficacy in treating an amazing range of illnesses and conditions, including cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, MS, and other neurodegenerative diseases. Some have even characterized the natural compound as a "cure all."

Now, a new study reported in a recent Wall Street Journal e-article indicates that this natural product – specifically the high absorption BCM-95® Curcumin I’ve frequently described – treats people with major depressive disorder (MDD) as effectively as the prescription drug fluoxetine, Prozac’s generic.

Results WITHOUT the Side Effects
What’s more, study subjects taking curcumin avoided all the standard side effects that typically plague sufferers who take this wildly popular prescribed medication.

Co-author Dr. Ajay Goel (Baylor Research Institute and Charles A Sammons Cancer Center, Baylor University Medical Center) explained how curcumin helps people suffereing with MDD:
It is a novel and surprising application for this natural medicine. People with depression have higher levels of inflammation in the brain. Also, people with depression have lower levels of neurogenesis in the brain, meaning they make fewer new brain cells than people with no history of depression. Curcumin is both a potent anti-inflammatory agent and a powerful stimulator for neurogenesis. A recent animal study was published on BCM-95 Curcumin compared to both fluoxetine and imipramine (an older class of antidepressant medications) and showed excellent results. We are excited to learn the effectiveness of BCM-95 Curcumin in a human study.
As we often find, this study was small – only 20 subjects. It will be useful down the road to see these positive findings reconfirmed using a much larger group of volunteers.

Study participants were split into three groups, who received:
  • 500mg of BCM-95 Curcumin twice daily,
  • 20mg of fluoxetine daily, or
  • a combination of the curcumin and fluoxetine.
How the Study "Measured" Depression
Using the clinically validated Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression – which assesses mood, feelings of guilt, suicide ideation, insomnia, agitation or motor retardation, anxiety, weight loss, and other somatic symptoms – researchers found after the six-week trial that the BCM-95 Curcumin worked as well as fluoxetine in treating those symptoms of major depression.

These results will appear soon in Phytotherapy Research, a monthly journal that publishes original research about medicinal plants. I’ve encountered this publication before; it is indexed in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Library of Medicine's electronic database "Medline," and on PubMed (www.pubmed.gov).

There’s no indication I’m aware of that the researchers involved in this study have any financial interest in BCM-95 Curcumin. In fact, I’ve seen nothing so far that sullies the study results for curcumin. I wish I could say the same for coconut oil, a natural supplement wildly touted as an Alzheimer’s treatment by hucksters who invariably have some stake in the product’s sales. If you enter "coconut oil" in the search bar at right, you'll see how often I've raged against the Coconut Oil Machine!

1 comment:

Helen said...

Do you know what the difference is between Curcumin BCM-95 and Curcumin C3 that I recently ordered on Amazon? Am looking for information on depression. Really enjoy your blog by the way. Many helpful posts.