Is Turmeric the Ultimate Remedy for Depression?

| May 8, 2016

turmeric-depression

In case you haven’t already noticed, turmeric offers an astounding array of health benefits that’s just short of miraculous. We’ve outlined in past articles how turmeric is revolutionizing the way we treat cancer, how it’s outcompeting hordes of pharmaceuticals, and how its restoring industry-wide trust in “natural remedies,” which were viewed with derision and skepticism throughout most of modern medicine’s history.

Science is now beginning to demonstrate that turmeric is also an incredible remedy for depression, a neurological imbalance that affects up to 20% of the world’s population at any given time[1] (and that’s a low number based only on the cases that are actually diagnosed).

If you’ve ever suffered from depression, you know just how debilitating the condition can be. Disrupted lifestyle schedules and relationships, lethargy, extreme fatigue, lack of motivation, and deep sadness are all common attributes of the disease. Studies have even shown that depression causes physical brain damage, wreaks havoc on many of the body’s vital systems, and increases the likelihood of other diseases and conditions.

And here’s the worst part: conventional treatments for depression just aren’t working. In fact, Big Pharma’s own studies reveal that drug-assisted depression recovery rates are almost never higher than with a placebo.[2] When antidepressants do convey some measurable benefit, they do so incidentally, and not because of the mechanism for which the drug was designed (we’ll talk more about this phenomenon later in the article).

Turmeric, on the other hand, actually works. One notable study pitted turmeric against Prozac and found that turmeric exceeded the success rate of Prozac without causing any side effects.[3] This is the kind of finding that changes everything.

In case you need some more evidence, though, let’s take a look at the main reasons why turmeric just might be the ultimate depression treatment tool.

Just like antidepressants, but better

We’ll start with an apples-to-apples comparison. Pharmaceutical antidepressants are designed to alter levels of brain neurotransmitters (usually serotonin and dopamine, and sometimes norepinephrine). The correlation between neurotransmitter imbalance and depression is not a misguided notion. However, the assumption that balance can be restored just by messing with isolated chemicals in the brain is woefully simplistic.

The brain is a vastly complex, little-understood system—and healing it requires equally dynamic approaches and tools.

Here’s where turmeric comes in. This incredible little root also works by balancing neurotransmitter levels—but it does so in a much more sophisticated way. Rather than simply tweaking brain chemicals in one way (i.e. increasing or decreasing their levels), turmeric modulates the levels of all neurotransmitters relative to one another—increasing and decreasing as is necessary in each case—until perfect balance is achieved.

This mechanism is the Holy Grail of antidepressant drug development…which perhaps is why several companies have already attempted to patent turmeric! And this is only the first of many mechanisms through which turmeric heals the brain and combats depression.

What antidepressants wish they could be

As more and more evidence continues to reveal that the antidepressant industry is one big moneymaking charade, medical researchers are finally starting to dig deeper.

What they’re finding is that the conventionally held model for how to treat depression may be completely wrong. What puzzled researchers for some time was this: prescription antidepressants do seem to work for a certain percentage of people, but only after a somewhat long period of time. If they were working only by increasing or decreasing neurotransmitter levels, they should work right away. And why do they only work for some people?

It turns out that the real underlying factor at work is the increase of neurotrophic factors in the brain, especially brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that controls the growth of neurons. Antidepressants, when taken over time, can slowly help increase BDNF levels, but only in individuals with a specific genetic profile.

But using antidepressants to increase BDNF levels is a dramatically inefficient and unwise choice. Based on the limited research available, the increase they provide is marginal in the even the best case scenarios—and their use can cause a staggering number of side effects, including depression itself.

On the contrary, turmeric increases BDNF levels in the hippocampus (the center of emotion, mood, memory, and the autonomic nervous system) more effectively than antidepressants—and it does so with zero side effects. This mechanism has now been conclusively demonstrated by peer-reviewed studies.[4]

And that still doesn’t even scratch the surface of the multi-faceted support that turmeric offers for mental and emotional health.

Turmeric tackles depression in ways Big Pharma isn’t even attempting

The final mechanism that we’ll cover is perhaps the most important of all, because it has the furthest reaching implications and because it isn’t even on Big Pharma’s radar.

It’s the multi-pronged mechanism for which turmeric is already famous: its unparalleled anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity.

Many studies have demonstrated that brain inflammation (caused by chronic inflammation in the body) and oxidative stress (caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS)) cause brain and DNA damage, both of which can lead to depression.[5]

Turmeric thus address one of the root causes of depression by working on every level to eliminate brain inflammation[6] and protect against oxidative damage. It even supercharges the brain’s own ability to support itself by increasing the endogenous protection of glutathione and other powerful antioxidants.[7]  

Pharmaceutical companies understand the connection between inflammation and depression, but none of their medications put this knowledge into practice.

Ready to be supported by turmeric?

Whether you’re suffering from depression or just searching to optimize your health in some other way, turmeric is always a wise choice. After all, research has shown it be an effective treatment for over 100 different conditions.

Cooking with whole turmeric root (or consuming it raw in smoothies) is a good way to start, but you’ll need to work with a liposomal, full-spectrum extract if you really want to glean its full benefit.

We sincerely believe that this one is the most powerful and unique on the market.

You don’t have to labor under the burden of depression or other debilitating condition. Give turmeric a try today, and you’ll see why this ancient root is captivating the hearts and minds of the medical community.

 


References

[1] http://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-benefits/can-turmeric-help-in-depression

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/depression-medication-why_b_550098.html

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23832433

[4] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166432812006997

[5] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278584610001776

[6] http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/curcumin

[7] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15501961

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