Rocking the bedrockIt is largely accepted that depression is caused by an imbalance of chemicals, particularly serotonin and norepinephrine, in the brain. Increasing and reducing those chemicals has long been the bedrock methodology of Big Pharma treatments. But it's all wrong. It's now been proven that depression is not a symptom of a chemical imbalance in the brain. Like nearly every other disease we can name, it's a symptom of chronic inflammation. That's where perhaps today's hottest new health hero steps up to the plate.
Curcumin—again?Yes, curcumin again. Hardly a week goes by without a story about curcumin's amazing preventive and curative powers—for every disease from cardiovascular disorders to at least a dozen different kinds of cancer to neurodegenerative diseases. There's good, but limited, evidence that it even helps patients with bipolar disorder, or manic depression, a particularly vicious and often very destructive disease. But the research already done and that underway all point to one thing. This stuff is amazing, indeed.
About curcuminThe spice turmeric—the bright yellow seasoning used worldwide in countless delicious Asian, Indian, Indonesian, Mexican recipes—contains around five percent curcumin. If you regularly eat turmeric-rich foods, you probably get enough curcumin to enjoy some of its amazing health benefits. If your diet is more Western, you'll need to get your curcumin in supplement form. But please insist on a formula that makes curcumin easier to absorb. Without these added "bioavailability" enhancers, the curcumin exits your body very quickly and provides very little benefit. Increased bioavailability means curcumin stays in your system long enough to really help you.
How curcumin works its wondersIt may seem almost impossible that curcumin can do everything I mentioned. But remember, curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory, and inflammation is the source of just about every disease. (We have plenty of evidence, in fact, that people with acute inflammatory diseases are very often depressed.) So whether inflammation is in your joints, your brain, your liver ... curcumin knows what to do. And if you are depressed and recognize any of these common sources of inflammation, you should talk with your doctor about curcumin.
Are you chronically inflamed?With trillions of cellular interactions underway in our bodies every second, there's no limit to the number that can cause inflammation. Here are the top causes—all of which have been shown to respond to curcumin—and a few added measures to help speed up your return to health. Diet Always at the top of the list, thanks to the aptly acronymed Standard American Diet—SAD. The presence of chemicals and preservatives, the refined flour, excess sugar, oxidized fats, and trans-fats are only part of the problem. The lack of inflammation-reducing foods like long-chain omega-3's, fermented foods, and fermentable fiber in our diets complete this recipe for diet-related depression. Solution? Practice safe eating—organic, local, heavy on fruits, veggies, and healthy oils and fats—the Mediterranean Diet, for example.
Has curcumin sealed the deal?Curcumin's proven role in relieving or preventing the agony of depression is easily the best news millions of people using antidepressant drugs could hear. And some of the worst Big Pharma could hear, considering this inexpensive spice threatens their $10 billion dollar market. There are very few, very minor, and very rare cautions about curcumin. The only one you and your doctor should definitely know about: it's a blood thinner, so if you're already on a thinning regimen, think twice before adding curcumin. For most people, research shows that 500 mg, twice a day, and up to four times a day, is just what the doctor ordered. Take good care.
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