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One out of ten Americans suffer from a mood-related disorder, and experts predict that in six years, mood disorders will be the world’s second leading cause of disability. (1) To make matters worse, 63% of folks who take medications for these conditions experience side effects. (2)
Surprisingly, a new study on turmeric is suggesting that this age-old spice has powerful mood-regulating and brain-stimulating effects.
In one study, the extract of turmeric was shown to boost the brain chemical norepinephrine, which supports healthy mood, attentiveness, sleep, dreaming and higher learning. (3)
It also boosted levels of dopamine, which supports pleasure, emotion, satisfaction and locomotion. (3) Finally, it boosted levels of serotonin, which plays a key role in mood, memory, learning, appetite, sexual behavior, sleep, and many other functions. (3)
In a 2013 study, a group given turmeric showed a 64% improvement in mood, the highest improvement found by this study.
Turmeric is also believed to act as a brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which means it supports the healthy proliferation of brain cells and resists the degeneration of brain neurons when under stress, and also supports their survival and longevity. (3) Simply put, it supports the protection of your brain cells and healthy brain size.
Turmeric’s Sidekick for Absorption
Researchers have been documenting these benefits for years. The only drawback with this spice was its sluggish absorption rates. As a result, sophisticated extracts have been developed and researched, all based on one of the original studies on curry.
One of those studies happened in 1998, at St. John’s Medical College in Bangalore, India, where researchers found that turmeric taken with black pepper – both common ingredients in curry – increased the absorption of turmeric by an astonishing 2000%, with no adverse effects. (4)
While I believe in the value of extracts for medicinal purposes, I am a bigger fan of combining herbs according to Ayurvedic principles that have been time-tested for literally thousands of years.
The simple combination of turmeric and black pepper is one amazing example of how modern science is proving this ancient wisdom.
- World Psychiatry. 2003. Oct;2(3):162-3
- The Scientific World Journal. 2000;9:1233-41
- Planta Med. 1998 May;64 (4):353-6. PMID: 9619120