I would like to introduce a very powerful supplement that is gaining popularity as it’s health benefits are becoming clear. This supplement is called Curcumin.
Curcumin has long been known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties and chronic pain management. It has been a recommendation of ours for the management of chronic inflammation for quite some time. A recent study has come to my attention, indicating other health benefits of this compound found in the spice of Turmeric.
Curcumin (aka Turmeric) is derived from the Turmeric root. Turmeric root has long been prized in South and East Asian medicine. The term “curcumin” refers to the complex of pigments that give turmeric (and curry powder) its characteristic color (bright yellow-orange).
Curcumin exerts potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and has been the subject of hundreds of test tube, animal, and human studies. Curcumin works by inhibiting a dangerous inflammatory mediator called nuclear factor kappa beta (NFkB) thus reducing inflammation.
It is now believed that chronic inflammation is a significant risk factor for a multitude of illness ranging from Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis and many other diseases. Recently, it has been discovered that chronic inflammation plays a major role in depression.
A recent published clinical trial on major depressive disorder (MDD) showed that high absorption BCM curcumin equaled the effects of the prescription drug Fluoxetine (generic form of Prozac) without the adverse effects.
The team was led by Ajay Goel, Ph.D., Director of Epigenetics and Cancer Prevention at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. As the authors wrote, “This study provides the 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.”
Dr. Goel explained how curcumin might ease major depression (Goel A 2013): “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.”
In 2011 the USA Today reported that more than 20 percent of American adults took at least one drug for conditions like anxiety and depression in 2010. Many of these medications have well-known side effects.
A word about BCM-95
Curcumin is not well-absorbed when extracted from turmeric … unless it is accompanied by turmeric volatile oils. A rare, patented extract called BCM-95®, includes the full spectrum of turmeric volatile oils. Clinical studies show that BCM-95 curcumin is absorbed six to seven times better than the curcumin in conventional 95%-curcumin dietary supplements (Antony B et al. 2012).
The dosage used in the study referenced above is 500 mg capsules twice daily.
Lastly, as a natural health care professional, I gravitate towards natural options rather than seeking pharmacology first. This is a supplement that I would recommend adding to your daily regimen.