Turmeric benefits for Brain Health

Scientifically, turmeric is named as Curcuma longa. Different chemical constituents like polyphenols, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes, triterpenoids, sterols, and alkaloids based phytochemicals present in this spice. The included phytochemicals are curcuminoids, turmerin, turmerone, elemene, curdione, furanodiene, bisacurone, cyclocurcumin, germacrone, calebin A, and volatile oil present in turmeric along with curcumin. [1,2,3] Only one tablespoonful of turmeric powder meets the need of several nutritional components, such as 93 percent daily value (DV) of manganese, 29% DV of iron, 9% DV of fibers, 6 percent daily value of potassium and copper, 3 percent daily value of zinc and phosphorus and 2% DV of carbohydrate and vitamin. (4) These nutrients are essential for our normal mental and physiological functions.

Besides these essential nutrients and bioactive phytochemicals, turmeric contains Docosahexaenoic acid.  Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid that makes up almost half of the brain weight. DHA has a significant role in the optimal development of the brain and maturation of nerve tissues and neural networks of the brain and thus supports cognitive functioning throughout the lifespan. (5)


Following are the different mechanism of action perform by turmeric to boost brain health.

  • Researchers found that curcumin present in turmeric improves DHA synthesis in liver and brain tissues and elevates the level of DHA in the brain. The enhancement of DHA provides improved memory and learning capacity during growing age. In addition, it also prevents age-related degenerative cognitive diseases, such as Alzheimer disease. (6)
  • The antioxidant property of curcumin reduces oxidative stress in liver and thus activates FADS2 and elongase 2. These are the two liver enzymes that are involved in the conversion of α-linolenic acid to DHA and thus curcumin increases DHA synthesis. (6)
  • It is also recommended that turmeric can be added as rehabilitative interventions in treatment regimen of brain traumatic patients, as it fosters the recovery process by preventing reduction of DHA level in the brain.(7)
  • There are vast benefits of curcumin in brain tissue. It has a medicinal use for treating different neurological disorders, including retinal diseases, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, brain injury, Alzheimer disease and psychiatric disorders. (6)

Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention

Aggregation of Aβ into fibrils, development of amyloid plaques, and plaques deposition into the brain causes Alzheimer’s disease. In such cases, affected older aged patients lose their cognitive health due to progressive neurodegenerative disorder.  Administration of curcumin can improve the mental status of the affected individual. [8,9]

Parkinson’s disease prevention

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease often develop with increasing of age. Nervous system impairment in elderly patients is usually having  Parkinson’s disease. The polyphenolic compound present in turmeric is known as curcumin and it has potent antioxidant and neuroprotective effect. Curcumin can easily reach to the brain tissues, as it can cross the blood-brain barrier. The neuroprotective effect of curcumin is promising to prevent and treat Parkinson’s disease. [10]

Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury leads to severe oxidative stress and that causes progressive degeneration of neuronal function. Research findings showed that administration of curcumin after traumatic brain injury leads to a reduction of the oxidative stress, improve cognitive functioning and normalize the neuronal functions. [11]

Repair brain cells

It is quite common that after a stroke incidence brain cells become damaged. Turmeric can regenerate brain cells, as it contains a novel curcumin compound CNB-001. [12] This novel curcumin compound has the potency to repair the damaged brain cell after a stroke attacks. Expert supported that CNB-001 quickly distributed in the brain cells and able to alter the etiology of the damaged nerves and improve neural survival rate. [13]

Retinal diseases Prevention

The brain is made up of nervous tissues and distributed different organs. Nervous system disorder often causes retinal diseases and leads to eye problems. Some common disease conditions like diabetes, glaucoma damage retina in addition to age-related problems. The anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and anti-aging properties of turmeric/ curcumin is effective to prevent retinal diseases. [14] In addition, it is also found that curcumin can inhibit protein accumulation in the retina and maintain the retinal rods and cones cells number.  [15]



  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22887802
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23847105
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/
  4. https://www.healthaliciousness.com/nutritionfacts/nutrition-facts.php?idn=2043&s=9.400
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772061/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4754352/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23911971/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5386596/
  9. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2014/186864/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22211691
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16364299
  12.   https://bcenter.org/beconnected/spice-being-used-to-repair-brain-cells-after-stroke/
  13. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1355306/Turmeric-stroke-treatment-protect-regenerate-brain-cells.html
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23417969
  15. https://www.fic.nih.gov/News/GlobalHealthMatters/november-december-2012/Pages/eye-institute-turmeric-retinitis-pigmentosa.aspx
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