Yoga, turmeric and cognitive health
The health benefits of yoga have been known for millennia, particularly in India, where this discipline was created more than 5000 years ago!
Turmeric, also from India, or more precisely curcumin (the active ingredient), is now recognized as a powerful antioxidant and natural anti-inflammatory as made evident by numerous scientific studies worldwide.
And what if we were to combine the regular practice of Yoga with daily intakes of curcumin? What benefits would we get?
A group of researchers led by Dr. Sally Frautschy of UCLA (University of California - Los Angeles) decided to study the benefits of a therapy combining the daily intake of curcumin and the regular practice of yoga in patients showing signs of mild-cognitive impairment, often a precursor of Alzheimer's Disease.
80 persons aged 60-90 years (both men and women) will be participating in this clinical trial, which began recruiting patients in July 2015.
Clinical trial design:
This clinical trial will take place over a year and involves 4 groups of 20 participants.
Group 1 will be taking 800mg of curcumin from Longvida (the formulation of the dietary supplement Optim Curcuma) or a placebo. In the last six months of the study, one group of subjects will participate in an aerobic yoga exercise program (a more intense exercise at the cardiovascular level) consisting of two 1-hour classes and two 30-minute home practices per week.
Group 2 will perform the same exercise combination as the first group, but instead of practicing aerobic yoga, participants will practice non-aerobic yoga (a less intense activity).
Groups 3 and 4 will follow the same protocol, but instead of taking curcumin, participants will take a placebo.
This study will be double-blinded; meaning neither the participants nor the caregivers/ investigators will know who is taking the curcumin or the placebo capsules.
How will the results be assessed?
During the study (months 0, 6 and 12), the investigators will measure the changes in the levels of blood biomarkers (like beta-amyloid or white blood cells) associated with inflammation and mild-cognitive impairment.
The Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) will be used to assess the change of scores of the participants before and after the study. The neuropsychiatric Inventory collects information related to behavioral disturbances in patients with dementia such as Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. This test assess behavioral changes including hallucinations, delusions, agitation/aggression, depression, anxiety, irritability, disinhibition, euphoria, apathy and aberrant motor behavior
The purpose of this study is to determine if the intake of curcumin as Longvida (the formula of Optim Curcuma) can decrease the risk of Alzheimer's Disease and associated symptoms, and to determine if the practice of a physical activity like aerobic yoga increases these positive effects.
The results of the clinical trial are expected to be published in December 2016.
Study details: ClinicalTrials.GOV Yoga and Curcumin Clinical Trial
Data on Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Alzheimer Europe estimates the number of people with dementia in Europe in 2012 as being over 8.7 million representing 1.55% of the EU population, with women representing two-thirds of the affected population.