Today we are going to delve into one specific and very important issue, what is the relationship between Turmeric and Diabetes?
Much has been written about turmeric and its main bioactive component, curcumin.
In this post you have more specific information about this very “special” spice.
Curcumin as an anti-diabetic: molecular actions
Curcumin is the bioactive compound present in the rhizome of the Curcuma Longa plant (or simply turmeric)
In-vitro and in-vivo studies have demonstrated “anti-everything” properties, with the following properties being found just to mention a few:
But it doesn’t stop there, cardioprotective, nephroprotective, and hepatoprotective effects have also been shown.
It is also an immunomodulator and hypoglycemic
And if that were not enough, in animal models turmeric slows the onset of diabetes, improves the function of the pancreatic beta cell, prevents beta cell death and decreases insulin resistance (1)(2).
Well, research often differs quite a bit from reality, and that may be one of the main reasons. Let’s look now at the molecular actions by which turmeric exerts its antidiabetic action
Reduces the build up of hepatic fat
- On the one hand, curcumin decreases gene expression of transcription factors related to hepatic lipogenesis and cholesterol synthesis, such as SREBP1c (3).
- On the other hand, it increases the activity of lipolytic enzymes such as carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1) and acyl CoA cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT).
The accumulation of fat in the liver is one of the “hallmarks” of type 2 diabetes
Curcumin, by increasing regulation of PPARy by activating AMPK, reduces this pathological accumulation of fat in the liver (lipotoxicity).
Curcumin has been shown to increase our antioxidant barriers, increasing levels of enzymes such as superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase (5).
Curcumin and clinical trials
Chuengsamarn (2)(7) conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 240 prediabetic individuals
The active dose was 250 mg curcuminoids per day, or placebo, for 9 months.
After this period, 16.4% of patients in the placebo group were diagnosed with DMT2, while in the group treated with turmeric, NONE were diagnosed with diabetes. This reflects the potential preventive role of turmeric with respect to the development of DMT2.
Pahani and colleagues conducted a clinical trial in which they used 500 mg of turmeric daily with 5 mg daily of piperine (black pepper, which increases intestinal absorption and bioavailability of turmeric) in DMT2 patients for three months (8).
Turmeric and interactions
An important precaution to take if you are medicating with other drugs is that curcumin has been identified in some studies as a cytochrome P450 inhibitor, so it may interact with blood thinners, antibiotics or antidepressants, for example.
In short, pre-clinical and clinical studies to date show that curcumin is a promising bioactive compound in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes, optimizing the metabolic profile of patients.
However, its bioavailability and absorption is quite limited, something that is partially reduced by taking it together with black pepper (piperine).
HSN’s supplement uses this as an ingredient, achieving an excellent bioavailability:
If the article has been helpful, leave your feedback in the comments. See you in the next one friends. Keep going!
- Yang Y-S, Su Y-F, Yang H-W, Lee Y-H, Chou JI, Ueng K-C. Lipid-Lowering Effects of Curcumin in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Phyther Res. 2014;
- Pivari F, Mingione A, Brasacchio C, Soldati L. Curcumin and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Prevention and Treatment. Nutrients [Internet]. 2019 Aug 8 [cited 2019 Sep 28];11(8).
- Seo K Il, Choi MS, Jung UJ, Kim HJ, Yeo J, Jeon SM, et al. Effect of curcumin supplementation on blood glucose, plasma insulin, and glucose homeostasis related enzyme activities in diabetic db/db mice. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008;
- Jain SK, Rains J, Croad J, Larson B, Jones K. Curcumin supplementation lowers TNF-α, IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 secretion in high glucose-treated cultured monocytes and blood levels of TNF-α, IL-6, MCP-1, glucose, and glycosylated hemoglobin in diabetic rats. Antioxidants Redox Signal. 2009;
- Jiménez-Flores LM, López-Briones S, Macías-Cervantes MH, Ramírez-Emiliano J, Pérez-Vázquez V. A PPARγ, NF-κB and AMPK-Dependent mechanism may be involved in the beneficial effects of curcumin in the diabetic db/db mice liver. Molecules. 2014;
- Yu W, Wu J, Cai F, Xiang J, Zha W, Fan D, et al. Curcumin Alleviates Diabetic Cardiomyopathy in Experimental Diabetic Rats. PLoS One. 2012;
- Chuengsamarn S, Rattanamongkolgul S, Luechapudiporn R, Phisalaphong C, Jirawatnotai S. Curcumin extract for prevention of type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2012;
- Panahi Y, Khalili N, Sahebi E, Namazi S, Simental-Mendía LE, Majeed M, et al. Effects of Curcuminoids Plus Piperine on Glycemic, Hepatic and Inflammatory Biomarkers in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial. Drug Res (Stuttg). 2018;
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