turmeric and dementia

Turmeric and Dementia

Recent compelling research and clinical trials have seen a link between turmeric and dementia. Commonly, curcuma longa is a perennial flowering plant linked to the ginger family and used in Ayurveda. Curcumin resides within turmeric, while turmeric is inside the Curcuma longa root. This plant requires moderate temperatures and heavy annual rainfall to prosper. Around 3.14 percent of turmeric powder is curcumin, the main ingredient of turmeric. These curcuminoids possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory features, exemplary for treating and preventing many diseases.

Dementia results from various conditions and injuries that mainly affect the brain. More than 55 million people live with dementia worldwide, and nearly 10 million new cases yearly. Dementia is currently the seventh ultimate cause of death among older people globally. 


According to the World Health Organization:

Dementia has bodily, psychological, social, and financial effects on persons who have dementia and their careers, families, and society. Additionally, it hits memory, thinking capacity, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning skills, language, and judgment.

The impairment in cognitive function is commonly accompanied and sometimes followed by mood swings, emotional control, behavior, or motivation changes. Only Consciousness remains unaffected.

Approximately 10 percent of the population aged 65 live with dementia in the USA, which is expected to reach four times by 2050. Curcumin (Turmeric) is an ancient Indian herb used in curry powder. Generally, it has been long studied in modern medicine for the treatment of various medical conditions, including:

dementia and curcumin
Left-Dementia affected Brain
Right-Healthy Brain

Reliable evidence shows that oxidative stress, free radicals, and cerebral deregulation caused by abnormal inflammatory reactions contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin, an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and lipophilic action, enhances cognitive functions in patients with Alzheimer’s. Moreover, it has been used in various dementia and traumatic brain injury treatments. Due to the different impacts of curcumin, such as delayed degradation of neurons, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and decreased microglia formation, the overall memory in dementia patients showed improvement.


Dementia spoils the nerve cells, leading to inflammation, oxidative damage, and, most notably, the formation of beta-amyloid plaques and metal toxicity. Worldwide, over 1000 published animal and human studies, both in vivo and in vitro, have examined the impacts of curcumin on various diseases. Also, studies have primary and clinical research on AD.

curcumin and dementia

Firstly, macrophages play an essential role in the immune system—Curcumin, when treated with macrophages in the blood of six AD patients and three healthy ones. The AD patients, whose macrophages were treated with curcumin, showed improved ingestion of the plaques. Hence, curcumin may support the immune system in clearing the amyloid protein.

Secondly, microglia is chronic inflammation in brain cells. Curcumin’s lipophilic property enables it to pass via all cell membranes, thus exerting pressure on cells that block brain pathways. Further, curcumin’s anti-spreading action on microglia affects neuroglial expansion.

A six-day trial showed that curcumin dose-dependently stops neuroglial cell expansion and crosses blood-brain barriers.

Lastly, Curcumin has mighty antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; scientists accept these properties help relax Alzheimer’s signs induced by oxidation and inflammation.


The absorption of curcumin in the human body is poor. About 75 percent of an ingested dose of curcumin is discharged in the feces. Absorption appears to be better with fatty food.

Indeed, no apparent side effects have been declared so far. GI upset, chest tightness, skin rashes, and swollen skin happen with higher doses.

The chronic use of curcumin can cause liver toxicity. For this reason, individuals with liver disease, heavy drinkers, and those who take prescription medications should avoid turmeric products. Pharmacologically, it is safe in human clinical trials with doses up to 10 g/day. One human trial with 25 individuals using up to 8000 mg of curcumin daily for three months found no toxicity from curcumin. Curcumin may interact with blood thinning agents, NSAIDs, and reserpine.

Pairing curcumin with 20 mg of piperine (black pepper extract) significantly improves the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000 percent.

Based on the main findings and studies above, curcumin can lead to a hopeful treatment for dementia. Apart from this, the clinically studied chemical effects of curcumin on dementia offer the chance for further research and the creation of better curcumin-based drugs for treating dementia. Also, recent research papers support the properties of curcumin. Yet, large-scale human studies must pinpoint curcumin’s preventive and therapeutic effects.


Hishikawa N, Takahashi Y, Amakusa Y, Tanno Y, Tuji Y, Niwa H, Murakami N, Krishna UK. Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer’s disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665200/ Ayu. 2012 Oct;33(4):499-504. doi: 10.4103/0974-8520.110524. PMID: 23723666; PMCID: PMC3665200..

Goozee KG, Shah TM, Sohrabi HR, Rainey-Smith SR, Brown B, Verdile G, Martins RN. Examining the potential clinical value of curcumin in the prevention and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26652155/ Br J Nutr. 2016 Feb 14;115(3):449-65. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515004687. Epub 2015 Dec 14. PMID: 26652155.

Mishra S, Palanivelu K. The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer’s disease: An overview. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19966973/ Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2008 Jan;11(1):13-9. doi: 10.4103/0972-2327.40220. PMID: 19966973; PMCID: PMC2781139.

Tang M, Taghibiglou C. The Mechanisms of Action of Curcumin in Alzheimer’s Disease. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28527218/ J Alzheimers Dis. 2017;58(4):1003-1016. doi: 10.3233/JAD-170188. PMID: 28527218.

Hamaguchi T, Ono K, Yamada M. REVIEW: Curcumin and Alzheimer’s disease. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20406252/ CNS Neurosci Ther. 2010 Oct;16(5):285-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2010.00147.x. PMID: 20406252; PMCID: PMC6493893.

Taiba Tariq

Taiba Tariq is a healthcare nutrition hobbyist, enthusiastic about researching healthcare & skincare news while analyzing the latest and science-backed evidence about nutrition, skin care, and supplements. She wants to help people regain their beauty, health, and well-being through natural means.

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