Curcumin possesses many properties which may prevent or ameliorate pathological processes underlying age-related cognitive decline, dementia or mood disorders. These benefits in preclinical studies have not been established in humans. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial examined the acute (1 and 3 h after a single dose), chronic (4 weeks) and acute-on-chronic (1 and 3 h after single dose following chronic treatment) effects of solid lipid curcumin formulation (400 mg as Longvida®) on cognitive function, mood and blood biomarkers in 60 healthy adults aged 60-85. One hour after administration curcumin significantly improved performance on sustained attention and working memory tasks, compared with placebo. Working memory and mood (general fatigue and change in state calmness, contentedness and fatigue induced by psychological stress) were significantly better following chronic treatment. A significant acute-on-chronic treatment effect on alertness and contentedness was also observed. Curcumin was associated with significantly reduced total and LDL cholesterol and had no effect on hematological safety measures. To our knowledge this is the first study to examine the effects of curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population or to examine any acute behavioral effects in humans. Results highlight the need for further investigation of the potential psychological and cognitive benefits of curcumin in an older population.
Keywords: Curcumin; attention; cholesterol; cognition; elderly; fatigue; mood; older; working memory.
© The Author(s) 2014.