Stress causes damage to our brain and while we can feel anxious due to stress; these feelings are slight compared to the damage done to our brain cells. Continued (chronic) stress-induced brain changes often lead to anxiety, depression or worse.
Curcumin is a polyphenol obtained from the turmeric plant that has been shown to reverse harmful brain changes brought on by chronic stress. It can also trigger the creation of new brain cells and their connections. These two actions can prevent or moderate symptoms of depression.
Curcumin has been used for nearly 4,000 years to prevent and treat numerous illnesses. It has been used in India and Asia as a medicine and food for centuries and was introduced to Europe by traders in the 13th century. New studies show that it can help protect mental health by fighting stress-induced anxiety and depression.
One in 10 Americans and 20% of Canadian adults suffer from depression and the standard practice is prescription medications that are not adequate and loaded with often serious side effects. In addition for many patients the effectiveness of these drugs can fade over time which forces the depressed individuals to learn to live with their mood disorder.
In a 2013 study, on humans, the effectiveness of curcumin was comparable to that of a typical antidepressant medication without any of the side effects connected with commonly used drug therapies and provided other health benefits as well. These findings tie into earlier research showing that curcumin increases levels of “feel good” neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.
Individuals who are suffering from the effects of depression or anxiety should consider taking a high quality, Enhanced-absorption curcumin to help fight the damage of chronic stress. Curcumin can be taken alone or in combination with prescription medications and has been shown to improve the efficacy of the drugs.
Since standard Curcumin supplements are not well absorbed you must look for a brand that is enhanced-absorption and/or contains Piperine (an alkaloid from black pepper). Piperine/Bioperine has been shown to substantially increase the bioavailability of the nutrients in foods and supplements.
A couple brands I recommend are: Life Extension – Super Bio-Curcumin or Advanced Bio-Curcumin with Ginger & Turmerones; available in many Health food and quality Vitamin shops.
MegaFood – Turmeric Strength
Sources: Life Extension, June 2014 & December 2016
* first posted with Nu Healings
Michelle Thibodeau Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Health & Cancer Coach at Fascial Connections Myofascial Release and Wellness Centre. Learn more about Michelle. Call to book an appointment or go online to www.fascialconncections.ca