Turmeric is a good alternative to drugs and medication in the management of depression. It is a cost-effective option that does not yield unfavorable side effects.
Turmeric is a natural herb that is sold in most stores. It is a root with medicinal value and has been used for decades to treat and manage health conditions. There are many benefits that you can get from turmeric.
Turmeric: 4 Benefits in Treating Depression
Turmeric is rich in a polyphenol known as curcumin. Tests have confirmed that curcumin is very effective in the treatment of depression. Studies show this polyphenol is more efficient than most antidepressants. Curcumin helps depressive disorders in the following ways:
1. Promotes synthesis of new brain cells
When one is depressed the brain neurons begin to lose their function. This condition is known as neurodegeneration and is also common in aging. Depressive disorders lead to a reduction in the creation of brain neurons. Curcumin promotes neurogenesis by boosting generation of new cells in the brain.
2. It acts as an antioxidant
Many depression patients usually have low concentrations of antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes. Antioxidants are important in the body because they prevent oxidative damage of cells. When the cells are damaged, the brain will not receive enough oxygen and glucose and this may lead to brain oxidative stress. The brain is the most affected by oxidative damage due to its high metabolic rate. Curcumin increases the level of antioxidants in the body. It also acts directly on the free radicals and repairs the oxidative damage.
Depressive disorders are usually accompanied by inflammation. Curcumin inhibits a number of compounds and processes that are responsible for inflammation. Studies show that it inhibits cyclooxygenase-2 and nuclear factor-kappa B, both of which contribute to inflammation. It also blocks the production of inducible nitric oxide synthase thus reducing the release of inflammatory nitric oxide.
4. Controls neurotransmitter levels
Neurotransmitters are the messengers in the brain that transmit signals between cells. Antidepressants work by inhibiting enzymes that promote the breakdown of neurotransmitters. Curcumin inhibits monoamine oxidase enzyme and regulates the level of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine in the brain. Norepinephrine is responsible for attentiveness, good sleep, and learning. Dopamine improves emotions whereas serotonin regulates one’s mood, memory, and appetite.
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