Posted on Mar 01, 2016, 6 a.m.
Consumption of curcumin may boost levels of docohexaenoic acid (DHA) in the brain.
Known best as the substance in turmeric that gives the curry spice its characteristic yellow color, curcumin has been found by previous studies to exert antioxidant, anti-inflammation, anticancer, and lipid-lowering effects. Curcumin may also help with mental health concerns, notably – anxiety. Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, from the University of California/Los Angeles (UCLA; California, USA), and colleagues employed in vitro cell culture tests and animal modeling, and observed that dietary curcumin has the potential to enhance conversion of alpha-linolenic acid, a docohexaenoic acid (DHA) precursor, in the liver. Writing that: curcumin enhances [docohexaenoic acid] synthesis, resulting in elevated brain [docohexaenoic acid] content,” the study authors conclude that: “These findings have important implications for human health and the prevention of cognitive disease, ... since DHA is essential for brain function and its deficiency is implicated in many types of neurological disorders.”
Wu A, Noble EE, Tyagi E, Ying Z, Zhuang Y, Gomez- Pinilla F. “Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.” Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 May;1852(5):951-61.