One of the things I like best about nutrition-based medicine is there are no one-trick ponies. Unlike drugs, vitamins, herbs, supplements, spices and healthy foods are almost always multi-taskers.
For example, if you're taking garlic for heart health you're also protecting yourself against food poisoning. If you've been chowing down on blueberries to help ward off the toxins linked with Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease you've also been kicking diabetes to the curb at the same time. And that B12 you're taking to keep your energy levels up is serving as a natural antidepressant to boot.
Then there's multi-talented curcumin, which comes from the popular (and delicious) spice turmeric. We've featured this good-for-you natural anti-inflammatory many times over the years.
Natural inflammation fighter
Golden yellow turmeric has been used to flavor the cuisines of India and China for thousands of years. And, as I've explained before, the polyphenol-rich spice appears to have also been helping to ward off cancer one tasty -- and inflammation-fighting -- bite at a time.
In a 2011 study, the genes that help protect you against cancer were "reawakened" in several colon cancer cells lines when they were treated with curcumin. And a later study out of China found that curcumin may be able to trigger cell death (known as apoptosis) in triple-negative breast cancer cells.
But fighting cancer isn't the only trick that curcumin has up its golden sleeve -- not by a long shot.
You know the inflammation-fighting ability I just mentioned? It turns out it could also come in handy when it comes to soothing swollen and painful joints and tendons. And it's likely this very same property that makes it so promising as a brain-friendly Alzheimer's disease fighter.
A study last year linked the spice extract to better blood vessel function making it an excellent choice for boosting heart health. And the role it can play in supporting your body's natural insulin production is practically legendary.
Curcumin matched Prozac
for fighting depression
To say that curcumin has an extraordinary resume would be an understatement. But just when I thought the compound might have finally reached an impressive end to its healing abilities, a groundbreaking study -- published in the journal Phytotherapy Research -- has found that the extract is a safe and effective natural antidepressant for treating serious cases of depression, also known as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
The study was designed to compare the effectiveness of a popular depression drug against the natural antidepressantspice extract. Sixty volunteers who were pre-diagnosed with MDD were randomly assigned to take either fluoxetine (20 mg), curcumin (1000 mg) or a combination of both, for six weeks.
The volunteers were observed for those six weeks and evaluated using the standard Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. Not only was curcumin found to fight depression, it was every bit as effective (with just a tiny non-statistical difference of 2.2% between the two) as the Big Pharma favorite fluoxetine, which you may know as Prozac.
That's right, a natural antidepressant spice extract worked just as well as the heavy duty drug!
All of the power,
none of the side effects
Even better, the curcumin takers got all of those benefits with none of the prescription antidepressant side effects. According to the researchers, curcumin was well tolerated by all of the volunteers. Not really surprising since we already know that the spice extract is safe, and an earlier study had found that mega doses up to 8 grams a day were well tolerated.
On the other hand, the Prozac users likely didn't fare as well. The ugly list of potential side effects for Prozac include an increase in suicidal thoughts in young people, nausea, headaches, anxiety, tremors, libido issues, sleepiness and diarrhea to name just a few.
So in other words, in a head-to-head comparison, multi-talented natural antidepressant curcumin kicked Prozac's butt, coming out the clear winner when it comes to fighting depression effectively, safely, and of course naturally.
With so many benefits, it's clear you can't go wrong adding this healing spice extract to your daily routine. If you're currently suffering with depression, talk with your doctor about how you can put turmeric to work for you.
And for a little extra help SAMe and St. John's Wort are both proven blues beaters. Before you know it you could be tossing the prescription antidepressants...along with their terrible side-effects...for good.