Effect of curcumin on serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in women with premenstrual syndrome: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Neuropeptides. 2016 Apr;56:25-31. doi: 10.1016/j.npep.2015.11.003. Epub 2015 Nov 11.


Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a variety of physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms that start during the late luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, and the symptoms disappear after the onset of menses. Serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels during luteal phase in women associated with PMS have more alterations than women not suffering from PMS. In this regard, altered luteal BDNF levels in women with PMS might play a role in a set of psychological and somatic symptoms of the PMS. Studies of last decade revealed neuroprotective effects of curcumin and its ability to increase BDNF levels. In the present study, we evaluated the effect of curcumin on serum BDNF level and PMS symptoms severity in women with PMS. Present study is a Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Curcumin treatment was given for three successive menstrual cycles and each cycle ran 10 days. After having identified persons with PMS, participants were randomly allocated into placebo (n=35) and curcumin (n=35) groups. Each sample in placebo and curcumin groups received two capsules daily for seven days before menstruation and for three days after menstruation for three successive menstrual cycles. Participants noted the severity of the symptoms mentioned in the daily record questionnaire. Self-report was used to determine menstrual cycle phase of participants. At the fourth day of each menstrual cycle venous blood samples were collected for BDNF measurement by ELISA method. Before intervention, BDNF levels and mean scores of PMS symptoms (mood, behavioral and physical symptoms) between two groups showed no significant differences. But in curcumin group first, second and third cycles after interventions BDNF levels were significantly higher and mean scores of PMS symptoms were significantly less than placebo group. Based on our results part of these beneficial effects of curcumin may be mediated through enhancing serum BDNF levels in women with PMS.

Keywords: Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; Curcumin; Premenstrual syndrome.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / blood*
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / blood*
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Young Adult


  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • BDNF protein, human
  • Curcumin