June 24, 2008

Turmeric May Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Turmeric, an Asian spice used in curry, may help reverse inflammation associated with obesity and reduce type 2 diabetes risk, U.S. researchers said.

Dr. Drew Tortoriello of Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center and colleagues discovered that turmeric-treated mice were less susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes, based on blood glucose levels and glucose and insulin tolerance tests.

The research team also discovered that turmeric-fed obese mice showed significantly reduced inflammation in fat tissue and liver compared to controls.

The researchers speculate that curcumin -- the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant ingredient in turmeric -- lessens insulin resistance and prevents type 2 diabetes in these mouse models by dampening the inflammatory response provoked by obesity.

It's too early to tell whether increasing dietary curcumin -- via turmeric -- intake in obese people with diabetes will show a similar benefit, Tortoriello said in a statement. 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 findings are scheduled to be published in Endocrinology and were presented at ENDO, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in San Francisco.