Generic Name: Curcuma Longa
Brand Names: Turmeric Curcumin, Pure Turmeric
Available dosage forms: Gel capsules
What is Curcumin?
Curcumin is a curcuminoid that is extracted from Tumeric. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-microbial, and anti-oxidative properties. Curcumin provides most of the pharmacological effects of turmeric.
It has been established that Curcumin plays a part in decreasing the symptoms of depression and anxiety. The widely accepted theory on the primary cause of depression is monoamine deficiency.2 It is postulated that Curcuma Longa inhibits the enzyme that blocks the activity of monoamines (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine). 2
Researchers found raised levels of pro-inflammatory molecules in people with depression. Curcumin acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and causes a reduction in symptoms of depression.
A study tested the effects of curcuminoids on symptoms of anxiety and depression. A decrease in anxiety symptoms was noted, while no significant decrease in symptoms was noted in patients with depression.1
It has also been linked in reducing:
– Low-density Lipid (LDL) or bad cholesterol in obese people
– Pain in osteoarthritis
– Itching pruritis in people with long term kidney disease
– Growth of cancer cells
How to use Curcumin?
Since it is a constituent of the Turmeric spice, Curcumin is consumed in numerous ways. The most popular way is its addition in food, warm milk, and tea. But absorption and bioavailability are not possible with insignificant Curcumin content in Turmeric spice. Therefore, curcumin supplements with different dosages become necessary.
It is advised to purchase your supplements from trusted sources only. The supplements are available in gel-coated tablets. People with a history of prolonged medication intake for a co-morbidity or disease should consult their doctor before consuming these supplements.
What are the side effects of Curcumin?
Curcumin can elicit the following side effects with chronic use:
– GI problems – diarrhea, yellow stool, constipation, GERD.
– Gall bladder issues
– Skin rash, headache
– Estrogen-like effects
– Infertility in males
– Risk of interaction with drugs
The approved dosage of Curcumin for therapeutic use is 0-3 mg/kg body weight. 1
Who should not use Curcumin?
Safety precautions must be taken in the following groups:
– Pregnant women
– Hypersensitivity to Curcumin
– GI issues involving dyspepsia, constipation, gastrointestinal reflux disease
– Biliary tract disorders – cholangitis, bile duct obstructions, infection
– Women with hormone-related conditions and cancer
– Immunocompromised people who are on cancer therapy or immunosuppressive medications
– Iron-deficient patients
– Those with bleeding disorders
Curcumin was also found to increase the levels of a molecule- sICAM- responsible for the propagation of atherosclerosis. 1
Individuals with underlying co-morbidities are advised to consult their physician before administering Curcumin for therapeutic purposes.
- Hewlings SJ, Kalman DS. Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health. Foods. 2017;6(10):92. Published 2017 Oct 22. doi:10.3390/foods6100092
- Ramaholimihaso Tahiana, Bouazzaoui Fayçal, Kaladjian Arthur. Curcumin in Depression: Potential Mechanisms of Action and Current Evidence—A Narrative Review. Frontiers in Psychiatry. Published: 2020 Nov 27. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.572533/full