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Turmeric Curcumin and Mood

Turmeric is a spice containing curcumin which is well-known for many health benefits which include strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Research has also suggested curcumin may aid in decreasing worry and supporting a healthier mood (1).

Turmeric could support a healthier mood.

Turmeric has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy for improving mood and anxiety (1) (2).

Multiple studies suggest curcumin has the ability to boost the production of neurotransmitters and to positively affect multiple biological pathways that influence mood (2)(3)(4).

Curcumin is also believed to support mood by playing a role in restoring insulin sensitivity, reducing inflammation and glutamate concentrations while improving neurogenesis (the production of neurons)(2).

A published review analyzed six prior studies and found evidence to support the “significant” clinical efficacy curcumin may have in decreasing symptoms associated with mood disorders. They also found significant anti-anxiety effects from curcumin in 3 of the 6 studies that were analyzed (5).

Curcumin enhances the production of DHA, a fatty acid that supports brain function.

Curcumin is believed to enhance the production of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is a fatty acid integral for brain development and protection. DHA deficiency has been linked to a number of disorders including anxiety and low mood.

Our body does not get DHA from the food we eat directly and must instead synthesize DHA from molecular precursors in food we eat. Studies show curcumin may enhance our body’s ability to do this. Curcumin may also boost the production of enzymes our body uses to make DHA in the brain (3).


1) Hewlings, S., &; Kalman, D. (2017). Curcumin: A review of its effects on human health. Foods, 6(10), 92. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods6100092
2) Ramaholimihaso, T., Bouazzaoui, F., &; Kaladjian, A. (2020). Curcumin in depression: Potential mechanisms of action and current evidence—A narrative review. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.572533
3) Wu, A., Noble, E. E., Tyagi, E., Ying, Z., Zhuang, Y., &; Gomez-Pinilla, F. (2015). Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders. Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Molecular Basis of Disease, 1852(5), 951–961. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbadis.2014.12.005
4) Kulkarni, S. K., Dhir, A., &; Akula, K. K. (2009). Potentials of curcumin as an antidepressant. The Scientific World JOURNAL, 9, 1233–1241. https://doi.org/10.1100/tsw.2009.137
5) Ng, Q. X., Koh, S. S., Chan, H. W., &; Ho, C. Y. (2017). Clinical use of curcumin in depression: A meta-analysis. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 18(6), 503–508. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2016.12.071