Turmeric (Curcumin) Research
A Deeper Dive...
Curcumin is a naturally-occurring chemical polyphenol compound found in the spice turmeric.
Curcumin has been documented in publications as early as 1972 to be associated with diabetes prevention.
In a study of 240 patients with prediabetes treated for 9 months with curcumin, 16.4% of subjects in the placebo group were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, whereas NONE were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the curcumin-treated group. In addition, the curcumin-treated group showed a better overall function of pancreatic beta-cells and lower levels of insulin resistance. Other benefits seen were increased levels of the anti-inflammatory biochemical adiponectin and a reduction in average body weight and waist circumference. None of the curcumin-treated patients reported worsening kidney or liver function or hypoglycemia (low blood sugars). The doses of curcumin used were 250 mg of total curcuminoids content per capsule.
Curcumin’s effects on liver have been studied in two separate randomized placebo-controlled trials. In one trial, compared with placebo, curcumin was associated with a significant reduction in liver fat content (78.9% improvement in the curcumin vs 27.5% improvement in the placebo group). The second trial showed liver fat was significantly improved in 75.0% of subjects in the curcumin group, while the rate of improvement in the control group was only 4.7%. These outcomes were reported over a period of taking curcumin for 8 weeks at 500 mg per dose.
The studies also reported significant reductions in body mass index (BMI) and cholesterol, liver enzymes (AST/ALT) blood sugar, and A1C in patients taking Curcumin. Curcumin was safe and well tolerated during the course of trial.
One analysis of data from 7 clinical studies shows that taking turmeric, or curcumin, moderately reduces LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Another analysis of data from 20 clinical studies shows that taking turmeric significantly reduces triglycerides and improves HDL cholesterol compared to placebo. Ultimately, turmeric and curcumin may protect patients at risk of cardiovascular disease through improving serum lipid/cholesterol levels. Turmeric and curcumin appeared safe, and no serious adverse events were reported.