A daily 400mg dose of Longvida (providing 80 mg of curcumin) for 12 weeks was associated with improvements in working memory, and lower fatigue scores in the Profile of Mood States scale. This study was funded by a grant from Verdure Sciences.
The study is a follow-up to an earlier four-week trial by the same researchers published in 2015 that examined the effects of curcumin supplementation over four weeks, compared to placebo.
“These data further support previous findings that Longvida curcumin improves working memory and mood as well as the possibility of learning in healthy individuals,” wrote scientists from Swinburne University in Nutrients.
“It is noteworthy that memory and fatigue are widely reported as the two more concerning non-physiological aspects of ageing. This has potential promise to offset these effects and may also be relevant to conditions where mood and cognition are fragile.”
The study adds to the ever-growing body of science supporting the potential health benefits of turmeric and curcumin.
The ingredient is experiencing blockbuster growth in some markets, most notably the US. Turmeric/ curcumin supplements were the top selling herbal supplement in the US natural channel from 2013-2017, but lost the crown as sales of CBD supplements surged in that channel, according to the 2018 Herb Market Report published by the American Botanical Council.
Despite dropping to number two, turmeric supplements still accounted for $51 million in sales in 2018, and $93 million in sales in the Mass Channel (HerbalGram 123).
The study published in Nutrients included 80 healthy people with a mean age of 68 who were randomly assigned to received either 400 mg per day of the Longvida supplement or placebo for 12 weeks. The Swinburne researchers measured a range of outcomes at four and 12 weeks, including cognitive performance, measures of mood, cardiovascular function, and various other blood biomarkers.
The data showed that the curcumin group experienced significantly lower fatigue scores at four and 12 weeks, compared to placebo. Differences between the groups were also reported for tension, anger, confusion and total mood disturbance, but these were only observed after 4 weeks and not after 12 weeks.
“As with our previous study, curcumin administration resulted in significant improvements to working memory and reductions in fatigue. These results support our hypothesis that the highly bioavailable curcumin preparation Longvida can improve mood and cognition in older, cognitively intact people,” they wrote.
The researchers did record significantly higher blood glucose in the curcumin group after 12 weeks, which they note did not reach levels that would indicate a risk of diabetes.
“In fact, slightly elevated glucose levels are known to facilitate aspects of cognitive function including working memory and specifically Serial Sevens,” they explained. “This suggests that this slight elevation in circulating glucose may contribute to the mechanisms of cognitive enhancement seen in the curcumin group. This possibility requires further exploration.”
They also note that reductions in cholesterol reported in the 2015 study were not replicated in the new study.
"We are very excited this study has shown replicative results in a similar population of healthy older adults. Further confirming Longvida's benefits in mood and memory, it is very promising to see these results in subjects that have more education and slightly higher cognitive abilities prior to the study," said Leisha Jenkins, Marketing Associate at Verdure Sciences.
"Additionally, it is exceptionally promising to see very significant results (31% at 12 weeks) in spatial memory and learning. Spatial memory is known to occur in the hippocampus of the brain, and this is an area of particular interest for cognitive wellbeing. We are anxious to see the results from the next arm of the study with imaging of the hippocampus and how this all correlates to healthy brain aging,” she added.
Verdure was the recipient of the 2019 NutraIngredients-USA Award for Nutrition Research of the Year for the study, “Retinal amyloid pathology and proof-of-concept imaging clinical trial with Longvida Optimized Curcumin”, performed in collaboration with NeuroVision Imaging, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and UCLA.
In addition, the 2015 NutraIngredients-Europe University Research of the Year award went to Swinburne University of Technology in Australia for its earlier study on curcumin and cognitive function and mood in healthy older people.
2020, 12(6), 1678; doi: 10.3390/nu12061678
“Further Evidence of Benefits to Mood and Working Memory from Lipidated Curcumin in Healthy Older People: A 12-Week, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Partial Replication Study”
Authors: K.H.M. Cox, et al.