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Is Turmeric Good for Depression Too?

Posted by Gail Bowman on

Turmericby Gail Bowman

We have all heard how good turmeric is for inflammation.  There are many articles available that tell us that turmeric is beneficial for inflammation, and in fact is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world.

However, many do not realize the benefits of Turmeric for Depression.

According to a meta-analysis of six short-term, placebo-controlled clinical trials, curcumin "appears to be safe, well-tolerated and efficacious among depressed patients," and could serve as a "novel antidepressant." Three of the trials also reported significant anti-anxiety effects. 

One of the mechanisms behind curcumin's beneficial impact on neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression appears to be its ability to tame the flames of inflammation, which can wreak havoc on your psychiatric health. 

Previous research10 suggests gastrointestinal (GI) inflammation in particular may play a critical role in the development of depression, as depression is often found alongside GI inflammation and/or autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

Chronic low-grade inflammation is a hallmark of and significant contributing factor to all of these conditions, leading researchers to suggest "depression may be a neuropsychiatric manifestation of a chronic inflammatory syndrome." The study of these connections is known as psychoneuroimmunology, i.e., the impact of inflammation on behavior.

Aside from general GI inflammation, a number of studies have concluded the primary cause of inflammation is related specifically to dysfunction of the gut-brain axis, which is largely lifestyle driven. Diet, exercise and toxic exposures, for example, all have the ability to influence your gut microbiome, thereby affecting your gut-brain axis.

One of the reasons sugar is so detrimental to your mental health is because it triggers a cascade of chemical reactions — starting with elevated insulin — that promote chronic inflammation. Excess sugar and processed fructose also distort the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut. Sugar does this by serving as a fertilizer/fuel for pathogenic bacteria, yeast and fungi that inhibit the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

What this all boils down to is that chronic inflammation not only disrupts the normal functioning of many bodily systems, it can also wreak havoc in your brain and affect your psychological health. In fact, at least one previous study15 has suggested chronic low-grade inflammation may be the very root cause of depression.

What Can You Do?

The sources that I have studied suggest that you can:

  • Learn about and adopt a ketogenic diet to reduce inflammation
  • Take Omega-3 Fatty acids and Vitamin D
  • Optimize your gut health with probiotics and fermented foods
  • Take turmeric to further reduce the inflammation in your body
  • turmeric

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