Turmeric shown to improve mental health and mood in overweight participants – Japan 12-week RCT

By Guan Yu Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

The results of this study showed significant improvements in mental health scores, through reducing negative mood, anger and hostility, in the turmeric extract group compared to the placebo. ©Getty Images
The results of this study showed significant improvements in mental health scores, through reducing negative mood, anger and hostility, in the turmeric extract group compared to the placebo. ©Getty Images

Related tags: Japan, Turmeric, Overweight and obesity

Consumption of turmeric extract for 12 weeks improved mental health and mood disturbance, as well as reducing inflammatory markers, in healthy but overweight participants.

This is according to a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted on middle-aged Japanese subjects to investigate the effect of turmeric extract on low-grade inflammation.

Low-grade inflammation has been recognised as a state where systemic inflammatory mediators are only slightly elevated relative to the levels seen in acute inflammation.

This type of inflammation is considered to be related to ageing, obesity, and an unhealthy lifestyle, and potentially associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, mood disturbance, cancer, and mortality.

While hot water and supercritical carbon dioxide extracted turmeric has shown anti-inflammatory activities in animal studies, its effect on inflammation and general health conditions in humans is not clearly understood.

So researchers from House Wellness Foods Corporation’s Research & Development Institute carried out this study which is published in Nutrition Journal​.

Results suggest that daily intake of a mixture of a hot water extract and supercritical carbon dioxide extract of turmeric may have the potential to improve mental health and negative mood state by reducing chronic low-grade inflammation​.”

House Wellness Foods is a Japanese firm manufacturing rice, seasoning, foods, confectionery, beverages, food additives, health foods, pet foods, and pharmaceuticals.

Methodology

This study recruited 90 men and women between 50 to 69 years old who were overweight, identified as a body mass index ≥ 23 to < 30 kg/m2​.

The participants were randomly allocated to the two groups. One group (n=45) took two capsules of turmeric extract daily for 12 weeks, the other group took two placebo capsules.

The turmeric capsules was prepared by House Wellness Foods, containing a mixture of a hot water and a supercritical carbon dioxide extract containing turmeric. The capsules also contains gelatin, glycerin, soybean-derived emulsifier, and beeswax.

Placebo capsules also contained carob and tartrazine as colouring agents so that they matched the colour of the turmeric capsules.

Participants visited the study center at baseline, and weeks 4, 8 and 12 where body weight, BMI, and serum inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured. They also completed questionnaires on their quality of life and mood states.

Findings

The results of this study showed significant improvements in mental health scores, through reducing negative mood, anger and hostility, in the turmeric extract group compared to the placebo.

Researchers say the turmeric extract may improve mental health by reducing low-grade inflammation and alleviating undesirable symptoms related to inflammation.

Other findings also reported a significantly lower body weight, body mass index, and serum levels of CRP in the turmeric extract group compared to the placebo.

These results suggest that turmeric extract may reduce the low-grade inflammation associated with ageing and obesity and thus may be able to decrease the risk of chronic inflammatory diseases in these populations​.”

One thing the study did not investigate was neuroinflammation.

Mental health problems and mood disturbances are known to be associated with not only systemic inflammation but also neuroinflammation. Brain macrophages, also known as microglial cells, are central players in promoting the development of neuroinflammation by producing inflammatory cytokines. Researchers recommend future studies to investigate the effect of turmeric extract on human microglial activation.

 

Source: Nutrition Journal

https://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-021-00748-8

“Curcuma longa extract improves serum inflammatory markers and mental health in healthy participants who are overweight: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial”

Authors: Ryusei Uchio, et al.

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