惊喜!“普通香料”姜黄素,能改善记忆力和情绪
2018/01/26
1月19日,《American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry》期刊在线发表一篇文章,揭示了一种非常普通的食物香料——姜黄素(curcumin),能够改善情绪和记忆力,特别是对于患有轻度记忆衰退的中老年人。


姜黄素曾被证实有抗炎症、抗氧化功能。(图片来源:Steven Jackson/Flickr)

姜黄素(curcumin)是提取自姜科、天南星科中一些植物根茎中的一种化学成分,最初被证实具有抗炎症、抗氧化的作用。它被认为是印度老年人阿尔兹海默症患病率低、认知能力较好的一个可能原因,这是因为姜黄素正是印度饮食中最常用的添加剂(增加咖喱等食物的色彩)。

“姜黄素的作用机制并不明确,但是可能与它的抗炎特性有关。” 加州大学洛杉矶分校长寿中心老年精神病学主任Gary Small推测道。他和团队试图弄清楚姜黄素对正常人(未患有痴呆症)记忆力的影响,以及对阿尔兹海默症患者大脑中大脑斑块、神经缠结等症状的潜在作用。


图片来源:期刊(DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2017.10.010)

提升28%的记忆力

为验证猜想,Gary Small团队开展了为期18个月的双盲、对照试验,共招募40名都有着轻度记忆衰退的中老年人(年龄范围在50-90岁)。受试对象被随机分成两组,每天分别接受两次90mg姜黄素或者安慰剂。

期间,参与者会进行认知评估(研究之前、6个月时)、血液中姜黄素的水平分析(研究之前、18个月后)。其中,有30名参与者还进行了大脑扫描检测,以确定大脑中淀粉样蛋白、Tau蛋白的含量。

结果显示,相比于对照组,服用姜黄素的一组在记忆力、注意力上有显著提高。具体而言,服用姜黄素的人其记忆力在18个月内提高了28%,同时他们的情绪也得到了轻微改善。大脑PET扫描结果显示,试验组大脑杏仁核、下丘脑(控制记忆、情绪功能的主要区域)中的淀粉样蛋白和Tau蛋白累积明显少于对照组。

有待进一步研究

这意味着,姜黄素在记忆、情绪调控上有一定的潜力。虽然曾有综述揭示,姜黄素的治疗效益有限,因为其在生理条件下是不稳定的,且不容易被身体吸收。但是,不少科学家仍然对它好奇。

Gary Small团队计划扩大试验规模,将囊括有轻度抑郁的人,以求证姜黄素抗抑郁的潜能。未来,他们试图弄清楚,姜黄素提高记忆力是否因阿尔兹海默症遗传风险、年龄、认知缺陷程度等不同而不同。

参考资料:

Curcumin improves memory and mood, study says

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  • Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18-Month Trial

    Objective Because curcumin's anti-inflammatory properties may protect the brain from neurodegeneration, we studied its effect on memory in non-demented adults and explored its impact on brain amyloid and tau accumulation using 2-(1-{6-[(2-[F-18]fluoroethyl)(methyl)amino]-2-naphthyl}ethylidene)malononitrile positron emission tomography (FDDNP-PET). Methods Forty subjects (age 51–84 years) were randomized to a bioavailable form of curcumin (Theracurmin® containing 90 mg of curcumin twice daily [N = 21]) or placebo (N = 19) for 18 months. Primary outcomes were verbal (Buschke Selective Reminding Test [SRT]) and visual (Brief Visual Memory Test-Revised [BVMT-R]) memory, and attention (Trail Making A) was a secondary outcome. FDDNP-PET signals (15 curcumin, 15 placebo) were determined in amygdala, hypothalamus, medial and lateral temporal, posterior cingulate, parietal, frontal, and motor (reference) regions. Mixed effects general linear models controlling for age and education, and effect sizes (ES; Cohen's d) were estimated. Results SRT Consistent Long-Term Retrieval improved with curcumin (ES = 0.63, p = 0.002) but not with placebo (ES = 0.06, p = 0.8; between-group: ES = 0.68, p = 0.05). Curcumin also improved SRT Total (ES = 0.53, p = 0.002), visual memory (BVMT-R Recall: ES = 0.50, p = 0.01; BVMT-R Delay: ES = 0.51, p = 0.006), and attention (ES = 0.96, p < 0.0001) compared with placebo (ES = 0.28, p = 0.1; between-group: ES = 0.67, p = 0.04). FDDNP binding decreased significantly in the amygdala with curcumin (ES = −0.41, p = 0.04) compared with placebo (ES = 0.08, p = 0.6; between-group: ES = 0.48, p = 0.07). In the hypothalamus, FDDNP binding did not change with curcumin (ES = −0.30, p = 0.2), but increased with placebo (ES = 0.26, p = 0.05; between-group: ES = 0.55, p = 0.02). Conclusions Daily oral Theracurmin may lead to improved memory and attention in non-demented adults. The FDDNP-PET findings suggest that symptom benefits are associated with decreases in amyloid and tau accumulation in brain regions modulating mood and memory.

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