In the double-blind investigation, researchers randomly assigned 56 patients with major depressive disorder to receive either 500 mg of curcumin twice a day or placebo over 8 weeks.
During the first half of the study, both curcumin and placebo were associated with an improvement in depressive symptoms, researchers found. But after the fourth week, curcumin emerged significantly more effective than placebo in improving mood, researchers reported.
Curcumin also was more effective for a subgroup of study participants with atypical depression.
While the study results are notable, additional research is needed to provide a more complete picture of curcumin’s potential role in depression treatment.
“Investigations with larger sample sizes, over extended treatment periods, and with varying curcumin dosages are required,” researchers noted.
Lopresti AL, Maes M, Maker GL, Hood SD, Drummond PD. Curcumin for the treatment of major depression: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2014; 167:368-375.