Written by Dr. Savannah Muncy, Pharm.D on:

Trying to combat brain fog can be tricky. There are many things you could do, but you need to find what works for you. For example, some people drink coffee in the morning and it helps them feel more alert.

Others don’t like coffee so they have a cup of tea or chamomile instead. Turmeric has been shown to be a major anti-inflammatory. It helps with a variety of health conditions, including brain fog. But does turmeric help with brain fog? For real?

Read what doctors say here!

What Exactly is Brain Fog and How Does it Feel Like?

Brain fog does not have a set definition. It is the feeling that there’s a cloud in your brain. Your mind can’t form thoughts and you feel as if you’re in a sleepy haze.

It does sound fairly confusing, and it does generate some concern. Brain fog does not typically last long. It does bring about some certain concerns for the person who feels they suffer from it on an intermittent basis.

What Exactly is Turmeric?

Turmeric (Curcumin) is a golden, yellow root from the Ginger family that often has a rich, earthy taste. Turmeric comes from the Curcuma longa plant. It has been used for a variety of things, including as a food additive, ingredient in cosmetics, and for medicinal purposes.

Turmeric contains several chemical compounds known as curcuminoids. The main compound that provides benefits is curcumin.

What are the Components of Turmeric that Help Brain Function?

There are several components in turmeric that can help with cognitive function. Turmeric contains over 100 components. The root is made up of the volatile oil, turmerone.

There are other plant pigments that are found in turmeric. These include curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and 5’-methoxycurcumin.

Curcumin is the component of turmeric that does the most for brain health, followed by gingerol.

Curcumin has neuroprotective properties which protect your brain from inflammation and oxidative stress. Both of these can result in cognitive impairment over time.

Curcumin protects your brain health by blocking enzymes called COX-2 and lipoxygenase. Turmeric enhances the release of neurotransmitters. It also increases levels of dopamine, serotonin and GABA. It can combat vascular dementia as it does with Alzheimer’s disease.

Turmeric is also known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It can help in treating depression symptoms by blocking an enzyme that causes mood disorders like anxiety and depression.

Curcumin does all of this without any side effects. This is unlike traditional treatments with antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.

The other component of turmeric that helps improve brain function is gingerol. This does pretty much the same thing as curcumin but to a lesser degree. It is not recommendable without turmeric in your diet at all times for maximum benefits.

What Does Research Say About Turmeric and Brain Health?

There has been a lot of recent research on the health benefits of curcumin.

Curcumin is found inside turmeric, and it helps with different things in your brain like inflammation. It also protects you from age-related cognitive decline and mental health problems. The curcumin in this plant is lipophilic. It can cross the blood-brain barrier, so it can bind to plaques.

In one study in India, curcumin was given to a group of people who were diagnosed with major depressive disorder. People who took the supplement for 60 days had better moods than those who took the placebo pills. The positive effects on their depression lasted even after supplementation ended.

Curcumin does show potential as a treatment for other mental health conditions, too. It may help with the symptoms of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) by reducing inflammation in these cases.

The neuroprotective effects are promising, but they do not only apply to those diagnosed with depression or PTSD.

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, is a protein that helps brain cells to grow and develop neurons. It also helps the brain to remember things and learn new things.

Research shows curcumin does affect the parts of the brain responsible for memory function and mood regulation. People who take curcuminoids will have increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factors.

Curcumin does appear to help with brain fog and memory function. It does this by having your brain make more BDNF and while decreasing inflammation. This is good for you because it could help to protect your hippocampus that is in charge of your long-term memory.

Curcumin vs Turmeric: What’s the Difference? Which Is Better?

Most people who are not following a plant-based diet (and even some vegetarians) may have never heard of curcumin. Turmeric is an orange-yellow spice found in foods like curry. Curcumin is the active agent in turmeric and has many uses including being a powerful antioxidant.

Curcumin does not taste good on its own, while high-quality turmeric does. Curcumin can be dissolved in alcohol to help it taste better. Turmeric does not dissolve in alcohol which means it does not get rid of the earthy flavor or yellow color.

Common Mental Health Benefits of Curcumin

Curcumin doesn’t only help with brain fog. Below are some common mental health benefits you can get from taking curcumin:

1. Curcumin Is a Natural Antidepressant

Curcumin is thought to help treat depressive symptoms by increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine. These are mood-regulating chemicals produced naturally within our brains. Curcumin can block certain enzymes that break down these happy brain chemicals too quickly. That means you will feel better for a longer time.

According to research, curcumin has properties that are relevant to depression. Curcumin from turmeric has been shown to have a powerful antidepressant effect in clinical trials. There are a dozen of these, and all of them indicate that curcumin might be an excellent treatment for depression with many mechanisms.

Since curcumin does not have appreciable side effects and is considered safe for human consumption. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a go-to to help treat your depression symptoms.

2. Curcumin Protects Against Brain Aging

Curcumin protects against brain aging by making it less likely that you’ll experience inflammation of the brain. Scientists have found that it affects cytokine production and inflammation in the brain. This affects gene expression and regulation of inflammatory markers.

One study found that taking a curcumin pill each day may help your memory and attention. Symptoms improve when there is less amyloid and tau in the brain. These are found in the regions that affect mood and memory.

3. Curcumin Shows Potential for Treating Alzheimer’s

Curcumin has been shown to have some potential for treating Alzheimer’s Disease. In one study, it was shown to reduce the buildup of amyloid plaques which are responsible for Alzheimer’s by up to 50%. Another study showed that curcumin does not actually remove these plaques but does prevent their formation.

It may also have some potential in treating tau protein build-up as well. Tau proteins are responsible for the formation of tangles in the brain. Tangles have a similar effect to amyloid plaques. They disrupt nerve cells and promote cell death, but might be more difficult to treat as they are not located around blood vessels like amyloids.

Curcumin does seem to protect against tau protein build-up and does not promote cell death like other Alzheimer’s drugs. It also shows potential for lessening the symptoms of Alzheimer’s by increasing blood flow to the brain. This in turn increases glucose uptake in regions affected by dementia.

Some results are not as good, but it seems promising when you use this in combination with other Alzheimer’s drugs. It is not very useful on its own, but when used together with other treatments, shows promise.

4. Curcumin Supplements Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Curcumin supplements are used as an herbal remedy for stress and anxiety. They work by regulating hormones that affect mood. One study showed that curcumin does affect the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA is responsible for regulating our mood.

People who were suffering from major depressive disorder showed a reduction in their symptoms. This was after taking 500mg doses of turmeric extract daily for six weeks.

Research does support the claim that curcumin does affect our mood. It does not necessarily mean that turmeric supplements are a cure for stress and anxiety.

How Can I Incorporate Turmeric or Curcumin into My Diet?

One of the best ways to get turmeric or curcumin into your diet is by using this spice in your food as a seasoning. This way, you’ll have a lot more flavor!

You can also drink turmeric or mug root tea for example. You can also find turmeric and curcumin in supplement form, which is a great way to get it if you don’t like the taste of traditional spices or tea!

Being a natural substance, turmeric does not have known negative side effects. It does potentiate anti-coagulant effects. Make sure you talk to your doctor before taking it if you’re on anti-coagulation therapy!

So, Does Turmeric Help with Brain Fog?

There are many turmeric benefits for brain fog, and we’ve only touched on a few. One thing is clear though; the future looks bright for those looking to improve their cognitive function with this ancient spice!

Every day more research is being conducted. It can be hard to keep up-to-date on all the latest findings of what makes turmeric so effective in boosting our mental acuity. Especially when there are plenty of other substances that claim they do too.

That’s why we offer free consultations with medical staff who will walk you through everything you need to know before making your decision. Do you want to learn how much better your life could be if you were able to think clearer? Contact us today!

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