Major depressive disorder (MDD) can be a debilitating condition for some people and affects more than 16 million adults in the United States. In addition, the World Health Organization has stated that more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression. Symptoms may include:
– A depressed mood.
– Loss of energy.
– Lack of interest in things that formerly gave pleasure.
– Feelings of worthlessness.
The cause of depression is complex and is likely a combination of genetic predispositions, environmental factors, and biological systems. While science is making advancements in psychological and pharmacological therapies, current treatments are still somewhat limited. This has led some people afflicted with depressive disorders to seek alternative therapies.
One such treatment is curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice turmeric. Turmeric is derived from a plant in the ginger family that is native to Southeast Asia. Although it is best known for its uses as a culinary ingredient, it has been used to treat anxiety and depressive disorders in Asian cultures for centuries.
In the past few decades, curcumin has received attention from the western medical community as it seems to possess a broad range of properties that researchers have found to be connected to the physiology of depression. In a review of current research published in Frontiers of Psychology, Dr. Tahiana Ramaholimihaso and his colleagues from the University Hospital in Reims, France, found that curcumin can affect neurotransmitter concentrations, inflammatory pathways, and other brain functions.
According to Rudri Bhatt Patel, a writer for the newsletter Everyday Health, curcumin may be an effective dietary supplement because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin may also be beneficial in treating depression because it has been found to benefit overall health. Some research suggests that when inflammation is reduced, body pain decreases, and the person simply feels better.
People interested in using curcumin as a treatment for low-grade depression should use caution, as the research has been limited thus far and has used a small number of people. In addition, dietary supplements are not reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so there is little oversight when it comes to purity, quality, and effectiveness. Though curcumin is not a replacement for conventional treatments, it may be worth a discussion with your physician to see if it could be used in addition to talk therapy and medication.
To get more curcumin on a daily basis, after consulting with your physician, try incorporating more turmeric into your diet as food. A few simple ways to do this are: researching recipes rich in turmeric as a key ingredient, adding turmeric to recipes you already cook and adding small amounts to things like vegetable and fruit smoothies.
For more information on wellness, personal training, or health coaching, please contact me through my website bellomofitness.com or find me on Facebook.