Curcumin supplementation and motor-cognitive function in healthy middle-aged and older adults.
BACKGROUND: Recent studies suggest curcumin is a promising nutraceutical for improving important clinical and physiological markers of healthy aging, including motor and cognitive function. OBJECTIVE: To determine if curcumin supplementation improves motor and cognitive function in healthy middle-aged and older adults. METHODS: 39 healthy men and postmenopausal women (45-74 yrs) were randomized to 12 weeks of placebo (n = 19) or curcumin supplementation (2000 mg/day Longvida®; n = 20) with motor and cognitive function assessed at week 0 and 12. RESULTS: Using measures of the NIH Toolbox and other standardized tests, there were no changes in muscle strength and rate of torque development, dexterity, fatigability, mobility, endurance, and balance between the placebo and curcumin groups after 12 weeks (all P > 0.05). Additionally, there were no changes after 12 weeks of placebo and curcumin supplementation in measures of fluid cognitive ability, a cognitive domain that declines with age, including processing speed, executive function, working memory, and episodic memory (all P > 0.3). There were marginal changes in language, a measure of crystallized cognitive ability that is stable with age, following the intervention, wherein reading decoding increased 3% in the curcumin group (post: 2428±35 vs. pre: 2357±34, P = 0.003), but was unchanged in the placebo group (post: 2334±39 vs. pre: 2364±40, P = 0.07). CONCLUSIONS: Overall, 12 weeks of curcumin supplementation does not improve motor and cognitive functions in healthy middle-aged and older adults. It is possible that curcumin may enhance these functions in groups with greater baseline impairments than those studied here, including adults greater than 75 years of age and/or patients with clinical disorders.