How Curcumin Extract Works as a Nootropic

Written on October 27, 2022 by | Reviewed by William Gallagher, MNeuroSci

Curcumin extract is a supplement derived from turmeric.

It has been used for centuries in China and India as a natural remedy for many ailments, including arthritis, heart disease, stomach ulcers, liver problems, and much more.

Curcumin extract is also known to be an effective nootropic because it increases the levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin in the brain.

In this article, I will describe how curcumin extract works as a nootropic, its benefits, and much more.

So without further ado, let’s get into the article...

What is Curcumin Extract?

When it comes to nootropics, curcumin extract is a popular choice.

Curcumin extract is also known as the yellow pigment of turmeric root and it’s been used for centuries in China and India.

Curcumin extract is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that possesses neuroprotective qualities.

It’s also known as a natural antidepressant because it increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine in our brain. These are two key neurotransmitters to fight depression.

The most common applications of curcumin extract are to treat arthritis, heart disease, stomach ulcers, and liver problems.

Curcumin is also known as a natural painkiller because of its anti-inflammatory qualities which makes it very useful in the treatment of many types of pain including backaches, muscle aches, and menstrual cramps.

The Health Benefits of Curcumin Extract


There are tons of health benefits associated with curcumin extract.

For example, it can improve digestive function and soothe an upset stomach.

Curcumin also has the ability to fight off free radicals in our body which makes us look younger and protects cells from damage that could lead to skin cancer or other diseases.

It’s also known to protect our brain by fighting off free radicals and reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Curcumin extract is also an effective anti-inflammatory agent which makes it very useful in treating conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, or even rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Last but not least, curcumin extract can protect our hearts by lowering bad cholesterol levels and keeping blood vessels healthy.

This makes it useful in preventing or treating cardiovascular disease which is the number one cause of death worldwide.

Side Effects

Although curcumin extract is considered safe for most people, there are some side effects associated with it.

For example, someone who takes blood-thinning medication like warfarin can experience increased bleeding so it’s important to talk to your doctor first before taking curcumin extract.

How does Curcumin Extract work as a Nootropic?

Curcumin extract works great as a nootropic and there are several reasons for this.

First of all, curcumin extract increases the levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin in our brain which makes us feel happier and more relaxed.

This can be very helpful to those who suffer from depression or experience mood swings.

Secondly, curcumin extract also increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is a protein that stimulates the growth of new neurons.

This can be very useful to those who want to improve their memory or even prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Last but not least, curcumin extract has anti-inflammatory properties which makes it very useful in the treatment of many psychiatric disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, depression, or even anxiety.

Is Curcumin Extract the same as turmeric?

When it comes to curcumin extract, it’s important to differentiate it from turmeric.

Turmeric is the spice that gives Indian cuisine its characteristic yellow color and curcumin extract comes from the root of this plant so they are both related but not exactly one in the same thing.

Curcumin extract also possesses more anti-inflammatory properties than regular turmeric which makes it more effective.

Curcumin extract when stacked with Piperine is more bioavailable than regular turmeric.

Piperine is an alkaloid found in black pepper and it’s known to increase the bioavailability of many substances including curcumin extract.

The best dosage and how to use it

In terms of dosage, it’s recommended to take 500mg of curcumin extract every day.

You can choose whether you want to take one dose in the morning or evening but make sure that you do not exceed 2000 mg per day since higher doses are associated with gastrointestinal issues like nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Always make sure to take curcumin extract with a meal containing some healthy fats since they are known to increase the absorption of curcumin in our body.

Curcumin is fat-soluble so it’s important that your meals contain healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, or coconut butter.

Ideally, you should stack curcumin extract with black pepper and/or piperine to increase its absorption in your body.

As mentioned above, Piperine is a natural alkaloid found in black pepper and it’s known to increase the bioavailability of curcumin extract.

When you take both, they interact synergistically which allows for a much higher absorption rate by your body.

Mechanisms of Action

The majority of curcumin's therapeutic effects are due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

According to this study, curcumin has been shown to improve systemic markers of oxidative stress.

There is evidence suggesting that it may boost antioxidant enzymes in the body, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD).

A meta-analysis of randomized control trials examining the effects of curcuminoid supplementation on oxidative stress parameters found a significant effect on all investigated oxidative stress parameters, including plasma SOD and catalase activities, as well as serum GSH and lipid peroxides concentrations.

It should be noted that all of the studies included in the meta-analysis utilized some form of delivery (Piperine) to overcome bioavailability issues.

Curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities as well as the potential to scavenge a variety of free radicals, such as reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS and RNS, respectively).

It has been shown that curcumin can dampen free radical activity by modulating GSH, catalase, and SOD enzymes involved in the neutralization of radicals.

Curcumin is also a lipophilic compound, making it an effective scavenger of peroxyl radicals. As with vitamin E, curcumin is sometimes labeled as a chain-breaking antioxidant because of its lipophilicity.

Bottom Line

Curcumin extract has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which makes it very useful as a Nootropic.

When taken at a proper dosage, curcumin extract can have several positive effects on your mood without any side effects.

Curcumin extract works by increasing the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities in your body, which can help to decrease levels of oxidative stress.

The studies discussed in this article, suggest that curcumin extract might be useful for people suffering from depression as well as anxiety.

In addition, it has been shown that curcumin extract can improve your mental performance and protect you against neurological damage caused by oxidative stress.

Curcumin is a good alternative to pharmaceutical drugs since it has no side effects when used properly.