Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Spice Improves Fatigue and Memory

A new study examining the effect of curcumin, an extract found in turmeric, has shown remarkable improvements in levels of fatigue and memory in older people.

Katherine Cox, a PhD student at Swinburne University of Technology, said that “cultures with a diet rich in curries are associated with better cognitive function and a lower prevalence of dementia”. Animal studies also suggest that curcumin might be underlying this improved cognitive effect.

In a study of the effects of Longvida, a commercial extract of curcumin that is 65 times more bioavailable than pure curcumin, healthy adults aged 60–85 demonstrated significant improvements on two measures of attention after 1 hour. After 4 weeks of treatment there was the same beneficial effect of curcumin but on one attention measure only.

“What really surprised us was that the chronic effect of curcumin was associated with significantly lower levels of fatigue compared with the placebo group,” Cox said. “Fatigue in the elderly is quite important for health and psychological reasons, and interventions such as curcumin that can decrease levels of fatigue may have the potential to reduce vulnerability to depression and anxiety disorders,” she said.