turmeric nooroots nootropic supplement

Turmeric: Nootropic Spotlight

Expert Writer
About the Author

Daniel was awarded a Master of Science degree from Imperial College London. He is currently completing a PhD in Regenerative Medicine at the Francis Crick Institute. 



  • What is Turmeric?
  • Turmeric Benefits
  • Turmeric Mechanism of Action
  • Turmeric Side Effects


Turmeric: A Health Guide to Safe and Effective Supplementation


turmeric nooroots nootropic supplements


What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a common spice and is actually a member of the ginger family. It is a well-known nootropic with a range of health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties1.

Turmeric is a popular spice in traditional medicines and is particularly used in Ayurvedic, Chinese and Siddha healing. In Sanskrit, turmeric has more than 50 names including jayanti (one that wins over diseases), jawarantika (which cures fevers) and nishawa (clears darkness and imparts color)2.

People usually supplement with turmeric by simply adding more to their food. However, this is not very effective as powdered turmeric does not have a high concentration of the specific active ingredient to have a nootropic effect3.


Turmeric Benefits

Turmeric has many amazing benefits that can boost our cognitive and physical performance.
  • Reduce inflammation: Turmeric is known to be a power anti-inflammatory agent and can reduce brain inflammation. This can help to prevent neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s4–6.
  • Enhance neuroplasticity: The active ingredient in Turmeric can significantly increase the amount of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor. This supports the creation of new neurons in the brain and increases plasticity7–9.
  • Boost mood: Turmeric can increase feel-good neurotransmitters, serotonin, and dopamine levels in the brain. This induces an antidepressant affect and can help to improve our mood. The efficacy of turmeric as a treatment for depression has been investigated in clinical trials with promising results! 10,11



Turmeric Mechanism of Action

Turmeric contains the active ingredient curcumin which is the main driving of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects7,12.

Interestingly, curcumin can be difficult for our bodies to absorb13. However, Piperine has been shown to increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%!14

Research has shown that curcumin significantly boosts Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor which increases the creation of new neurons in the brain7,9. This process of neurogenesis increases intelligence, memory and mood.

Curcumin also activates pathways in the brain that are known to regulate neuronal plasticity and stress responses.

On top of this, curcumin is known to reduce inflammation systemically15,16. Mice studies have shown that this wonder compound can prevent inflammatory immune responses in the CNS when delivered prior to injury or stimulation of the immune system15,17.

In models of Alzheimer’s, curcumin has been linked to a decrease in amyloid plaques, the main mechanism of damage in this neurodegenerative disease4.


Turmeric Side Effects

As with many naturally occurring compounds, turmeric is very safe unless consumed in huge doses for an extended period of time. Large amounts may cause an upset tummy.



  1. Chattopadhyay I, Biswas K, Bandyopadhyay U, Banerjee RK. Turmeric and curcumin: Biological actions and medicinal applications. Curr Sci. 2004;87(1):44-53.
  2. Prasad S, Aggarwal BB. Turmeric, the Golden Spice. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Accessed May 29, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/
  3. Arthritis Foundation. Supplement and Herb Guide for Arthritis Symptoms. Published 2022. Accessed May 29, 2022. https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/treatment/complementary-therapies/supplements-and-vitamins/supplement-and-herb-guide-for-arthritis-symptoms
  4. Mishra S, Palanivelu K. The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer’s disease: An overview. Ann Indian Acad Neurol. 2008;11(1):13-19. doi:10.4103/0972-2327.40220
  5. B. Mythri R, M. Srinivas Bharath M. Curcumin: A Potential Neuroprotective Agent in Parkinson’s Disease. Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(1):91-99. doi:10.2174/138161212798918995
  6. Wang XS, Zhang ZR, Zhang MM, Sun MX, Wang WW, Xie CL. Neuroprotective properties of curcumin in toxin-base animal models of Parkinson’s disease: a systematic experiment literatures review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017;17(1):412. doi:10.1186/s12906-017-1922-x
  7. Xu Y, Ku B, Cui L, et al. Curcumin reverses impaired hippocampal neurogenesis and increases serotonin receptor 1A mRNA and brain-derived neurotrophic factor expression in chronically stressed rats. Brain Res. 2007;1162:9-18. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2007.05.071
  8. Sarraf P, Parohan M, Javanbakht MH, Ranji-Burachaloo S, Djalali M. Short-term curcumin supplementation enhances serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor in adult men and women: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutr Res. 2019;69:1-8. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2019.05.001
  9. Wang R, Li YH, Xu Y, et al. Curcumin produces neuroprotective effects via activating brain-derived neurotrophic factor/TrkB-dependent MAPK and PI-3K cascades in rodent cortical neurons. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2010;34(1):147-153. doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2009.10.016
  10. Lopresti AL, Maes M, Maker GL, Hood SD, Drummond PD. Curcumin for the treatment of major depression: A randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Affect Disord. 2014;167:368-375. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2014.06.001
  11. Ng QX, Koh SSH, Chan HW, Ho CYX. Clinical Use of Curcumin in Depression: A Meta-Analysis. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2017;18(6):503-508. doi:10.1016/j.jamda.2016.12.071
  12. Lestari MLAD, Indrayanto G. Chapter Three - Curcumin. In: Brittain HG, ed. Profiles of Drug Substances, Excipients and Related Methodology. Vol 39. Academic Press; 2014:113-204. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-800173-8.00003-9
  13. Hewlings SJ, Kalman DS. Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health. Foods. 2017;6(10):92. doi:10.3390/foods6100092
  14. Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas PS. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med. 1998;64(4):353-356. doi:10.1055/s-2006-957450
  15. Anandakumar S, Joseph JA, Bethapudi B, Agarwal A, Jung EB. Anti-inflammatory Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) Extract on Acute and Chronic Inflammation Models. J Korean Soc Food Sci Nutr. 2014;43(4):612-617. doi:10.3746/jkfn.2014.43.4.612
  16. Ramadan G, El-Menshawy O. Protective effects of ginger-turmeric rhizomes mixture on joint inflammation, atherogenesis, kidney dysfunction and other complications in a rat model of human rheumatoid arthritis. Int J Rheum Dis. 2013;16(2):219-229. doi:10.1111/1756-185X.12054
  17. Sorrenti V, Contarini G, Sut S, et al. Curcumin Prevents Acute Neuroinflammation and Long-Term Memory Impairment Induced by Systemic Lipopolysaccharide in Mice. Front Pharmacol. 2018;9:183. doi:10.3389/fphar.2018.00183
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