Improve your learning with turmeric
Turmeric – Latin name Curcuma longa – improves storage and retrieval of new information in rats that are aging artificially. This emerged from an animal study that researchers at Seoul National University in South Korea published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.
The researchers performed experiments on rats, in which they induced premature aging by giving them large quantities of galactose, which boosts free radical activity. If this process happens in the brain then its ability to store and use information will decrease.
The researchers gave some of the lab animals galactose for 10 weeks; others were not given galactose. Half of the animals in both groups were given 300 mg turmeric extract per kg bodyweight in the last three weeks of the experiment. You can calculate the human equivalent of this dose here.
Improved information processing
In the last week of the experiment the rats had to swim in an aquarium where a platform had been hidden just under the surface of the water. The rats that were prematurely senile found the platform less quickly than the healthy animals, but turmeric largely negated this effect of aging.
The hippocampus plays an important role in the storage and retrieval of new information in the brain. Turmeric boosted the activity of the transcription factor CREB [pCREB] and the concentration of the growth factor BDNF. BDNF makes brain cells grow and develop.
These effects were present in both the aging and healthy rats. It might just be the case that turmeric extracts not only help improve learning processes in older people, but also in younger ones.
The researchers suspect that the effects are largely due to curcumin [structural formula on the right]. They used high doses because the body does not absorb curcumin easily. Read here and here on how you can boost uptake.
The Korean government funded the research.
J Med Food. 2014 Jun;17(6):641-9.
Curcumin just as effective antidepressant as Prozac, study concludes 26.08.2013