There is a growing body of evidence that regular consumption of turmeric may reduce the risk of developing dementia. There are also a number of studies demonstrating that turmeric and one of its key constituent phytochemicals, curcumin, can improve cognitive function
Turmeric and Cognition
A 2018 study published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry looked at the benefits of taking curcumin over an 18 month period. The study was a double blend placebo-controlled trial and it found that taking curcumin over time led to significant memory and attention benefits. Scans performed pre- and post-treatment suggested that behavioural and cognitive benefits are associated with decreases in plaque and tangle accumulation in brain regions modulating mood and memory.
And the benefits of taking turmeric/curcumin do not just build up over the long term. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in 2015 by Cox et al found that only one hour after taking curcumim participants demonstrated “significantly improved performance on sustained attention and working memory tasks, compared with placebo”.
Turmeric and Alzheimer’s Disease
Epidemiological studies in India, a country where turmeric consumption is widespread, suggest that it has one of the lowest prevalence rates of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) in the world.
A2008 review of the effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer's Disease provided an overview of the benefits of curcumin for preventing and treating AD. It found these included; decreased Beta-amyloid plaques, delayed degradation of neurons, metal-chelation, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and decreased microglia formation so the overall memory in patients with AD was improved.
A 2012 preliminary study of three individual cases by Hushikawa et el suggested “a significant improvement of the behavioural symptoms in AD with turmeric treatments”