New Tool for Depression

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New Tool for Depression

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The loss of actor and comedian Robin Williams has opened up a national conversation on depression.

There are many tools available for people to try and cope with this mental illness. Recent studies show that curcumin—an active component of the spice turmeric—is gaining attention for its antidepressant qualities.

Curcumin was shown in a recent study to be as effective as the antidepressant medication fluoxetine (Prozac) in patients with major depressive disorder. Patients who took 1,000 millgrams (mg) of curcumin per day fared as well as those who took 20 mg of fluoxetine. Curcumin was also well tolerated, and the study authors concluded that it was effective and safe.

Lead author Ajay Goel, PhD, said curcumin may also help alleviate short-term mood issues. He added that the spice’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a good choice for everyone.

A recent eight-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that individuals diagnosed with major depressive disorder who took BCM-95 Curcumin (500 mg twice daily) had significantly more relief from symptoms than those taking placebo. 

Interestingly, the positive results were even greater in those with atypical depression, which is generally more difficult to treat. Researchers theorize that the anti-inflammatory power of curcumen may account for this finding. 

Sources: 

"Curcumin for the Treatment of Major Depression: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study" by A. Lopresti et al., Journal of Affective Disorders, 6/1/14

“Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder” by J. Sanmukhani et al., Phytother Res, 7/13

“Nature’s Prozac,” Prevention, 1/14