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Depression Study Published on BCM-95 Curcumin

DALLAS, July 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A recently published clinical trial on major depressive disorder (MDD) showed that high absorption BCM-95® Curcumin equaled the effects of the prescription drug fluoxetine (generic form of Prozac®), without the adverse effects. [J Sanmukhani, V Satodia, J Trived, T Patel, D Tiwar, B Panchal, A Goel and CB Tripathi. Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder: A randomized controlled trial. Phytotherapy Research.] BCM-95 Curcumin is absorbed 7 to 10 times better than plain curcumin and has been the subject of 13 published studies, 8 of them human clinical trials.

When asked how curcumin is applicable to depression, Dr. Ajay Goel, Baylor Research Institute and Charles A Sammons Cancer Center, Baylor University Medical Center and study co-author, stated, "It is a novel and surprising application for this natural medicine. People with depression have higher levels of inflammation in the brain. Also, people with depression have lower levels of neurogenesis in the brain, meaning they make fewer new brain cells than people with no history of depression. Curcumin is both a potent anti-inflammatory agent and a powerful stimulator for neurogenesis. A recent animal study was published on BCM-95 Curcumin compared to both fluoxetine and imipramine (an older class of antidepressant medications) and showed excellent results. We are excited to learn the effectiveness of BCM-95 Curcumin in a human study." 

When asked about the importance of this study, Dr. Goel replied, "Depression is a major global public health issue leading to substantial disability. The pharmaceutical interventions can be quite costly, and have many potentially serious adverse effects. There are also many people whose disease does not fully respond to treatment. The BCM-95 Curcumin used in this study shows efficacy on major depression on its own at the same level as the drug, and even better results when combined with the drug. This may be meaningful for the health of millions of people."

The study included 3 arms of 20 volunteers diagnosed with major depressive disorder receiving either BCM-95 Curcumin, 500 mg capsules twice daily; fluoxetine 20 mg daily, or the combination of BCM-95 Curcumin twice daily with fluoxetine once daily. Results were assessed using the clinically validated Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D17 scale). This scale is used to rate the severity of  depression by evaluating mood, feelings of guilt, suicide ideation, insomnia, agitation or motor retardation, anxiety, weight loss, and other somatic symptoms.

The authors reported that curcumin was well tolerated by all the patients. The proportion of responders as measured by the HAM-D17 scale was higher in the combination group (77.8%) than in the fluoxetine (64.7%) and the curcumin (62.5%) groups, however, these data were not statistically significant (P = 0.58) from one another. Therefore, the BCM-95 Curcumin worked as well as the prescription drug fluoxetine in terms of changes in the HAM-D17 score from baseline to six weeks of treatment. This study provides the first human clinical indication that curcumin may be used as an effective and safe treatment for patients with MDD without concurrent suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders.

The study was made available online in July in advance of publication in the journal Phytotherapy Research. Phytotherapy Research is a monthly, international journal for the publication of original research papers on medicinal plant research. Key areas of interest are pharmacology, toxicology, and the clinical applications of herbs and natural products in medicine. The journal is indexed in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Library of Medicine's (NLM) electronic database, Medline, and on PubMed ( 

Ajay Goel, Ph.D., is Director of Epigenetics and Cancer Prevention at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, TX. He has spent more than 20 years researching cancer and has been the lead author or contributor to over 150 scientific articles published in peer reviewed international journals and several book chapters. He is currently researching the prevention of gastrointestinal cancers using integrative and alternative approaches, including botanical products. Two of the primary botanicals he is investigating are curcumin (from turmeric) and boswellia.

Dr. Goel is also a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Gastroenterology Association and is on the international editorial boards of Gastroenterology, Clinical Cancer Research, PLoS One, Digestive Diseases and Sciences and World Journal of Gastrointestinal Oncology. He also performs peer-reviewing activities for almost 75 scientific journals, as well as serves on various grant funding committees of the National Institutes of Health.

SOURCE Ajay Goel, Ph.D.
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