Turmeric improves post-prandial working memory in pre-diabetes independent of insulin


Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition


Meei-Shyuan Lee DrPH, Mark L Wahlqvist MD, Yu-Ching Chou PhD,
Wen-Hui Fang MD, Jiunn-Tay Lee MD, Jen-Chun Kuan MPH, Hsiao-Yu Liu MPH, Ting-Mei Lu MPH, Lili Xiu ME, Chih-Cheng Hsu MD, DrPH, Zane B Andrews PhD, Wen-Harn Pan PhD


Background and Objectives:
Cognitive impairment develops with pre-diabetes and dementia is a complication of diabetes. Natural products like turmeric and cinnamon may ameliorate the underlying pathogenesis.

Methods: People ≥60 years (n=48) with newly-recognised untreated pre-diabetes were randomised to a double-blind metabolic study of placebo, turmeric (1g), cinnamon (2g) or both (1g & 2g respectively), ingested at a white bread (119g) breakfast. Observations were made over 6 hours for pre- and post-working memory (WM), glycaemic and insulin responses and biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)(0,2,4 and 6 hours): amyloid precursor protein (APP), γ-secretase subunits presenilin-1 (PS1), presenilin-2 (PS2), and glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3β). Differences between natural product users and non-users were determined by Students t and chi square tests; and between pre-test and post-test WM by Wilcoxon signed rank tests. Interaction between turmeric and cinnamon was tested by 2-way ANOVA. Multivariable linear regression (MLR) took account of BMI, glycaemia, insulin and AD biomarkers in the WM responses to turmeric and cinnamon.

Results: No interaction between turmeric and cinnamon was detected. WM increased from 2.6 to 2.9 out of 3.0(p=0.05) with turmeric, but was unchanged with cinnamon. WM improvement was inversely associated with insulin resistance (r=-0.418, p less than 0.01), but not with AD biomarkers. With MLR, the WM responses to turmeric were best predicted with an R2 of 34.5%; and with significant turmeric, BMI and insulin/glucose AUC beta-coefficients.

Conclusions: Co-ingestion of turmeric with white bread increases working memory independent of body fatness, glycaemia, insulin, or AD biomarkers.


October 20, 2014

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