Friday, October 31, 2008
Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
The common cooking spice turmeric may help prevent against Type 2 diabetes, as well as reducing the dangerous inflammation associated with obesity, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center, published in the journal Endocrinology and presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Francisco.
The effect is believed to come from curcumin, a key ingredient in turmeric that is known to function as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
"It's too early to tell whether increasing dietary curcumin - via turmeric - intake in obese people with diabetes will show a similar benefit," researcher Drew Tortoriello said. "Although the daily intake of curcumin one might have to consume as a primary diabetes treatment is likely impractical, it is entirely possible that lower dosages of curcumin could nicely complement our traditional therapies as a natural and safe treatment."
The researchers fed high doses of dietary curcumin to obese male mice that had been fed a high-fat diet and to obese female mice that had been bred to be deficient in the appetite-regulating hormone leptin. Mice that were fed the curcumin experienced a small but statistically significant decrease in body weight and body fat percentage, even though their diet had not changed. They exhibited improved glucose tolerance and blood sugar levels, indicating a reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. They also showed lower levels of inflammation in their fat tissue and livers.
Turmeric has long been used as a dietary supplement, natural medicine and even as an antiseptic applied directly to wounds. Recent research suggests that it may have benefits for the prevention or treatment of Alzheimer's disease, cancer and liver problems. There are no known negative side effects to consuming the spice in quantities of up to 12 grams (0.42 ounces) per day.