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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 May;1852(5):951-61. doi: 10.1016/j.bbadis.2014.12.005. Epub 2014 Dec 27.

Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.

Author information

1
Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of California at Los Angeles, 621 Charles E. Young Drive Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.
2
Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of California at Los Angeles, 621 Charles E. Young Drive Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA; Department of Neurosurgery, UCLA Brain Injury Research Center, David Geffen School of medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. Electronic address: fgomezpi@ucla.edu.

Abstract

Dietary deficiency of docosahexaenoic acid (C22:6 n-3; DHA) is linked to the neuropathology of several cognitive disorders, including anxiety. DHA, which is essential for brain development and protection, is primarily obtained through the diet or synthesized from dietary precursors, however the conversion efficiency is low. Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), which is a principal component of the spice turmeric, complements the action of DHA in the brain, and this study was performed to determine molecular mechanisms involved. We report that curcumin enhances the synthesis of DHA from its precursor, α-linolenic acid (C18:3 n-3; ALA) and elevates levels of enzymes involved in the synthesis of DHA such as FADS2 and elongase 2 in both liver and brain tissues. Furthermore, in vivo treatment with curcumin and ALA reduced anxiety-like behavior in rodents. Taken together, these data suggest that curcumin enhances DHA synthesis, resulting in elevated brain DHA content. These findings have important implications for human health and the prevention of cognitive disease, particularly for populations eating a plant-based diet or who do not consume fish, a primary source of DHA, since DHA is essential for brain function and its deficiency is implicated in many types of neurological disorders.

KEYWORDS:

ALA; Curcumin; DHA synthesis; DPA; Docosahexaenoic acid; Omega 3 fatty acid

PMID:
25550171
PMCID:
PMC4754352
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbadis.2014.12.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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