Curcumin May Help Reduce Weight Gain and Obesity

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Curcumin is part of the widely used Indian spice tumeric. We’ve discussed many of its health benefits in a previous article. In short, they include anti-inflammation, anti-cancer, antioxidant, and other actions. Some newly discovered benefits of curcumin supplementation with regard to weight control have been brought to our attention and we’d like to share them with you.

Curcumin apparently inhibits angiogenesis (the growing of new blood vessels) that is necessary both for the growth of cancerous tumors and fatty (adipose) tissues. It also inhibits the maturation of fat cells (adipocytes) and lowers blood serum total cholesterol, triglycerides, and free fatty acids. Finally, it reduces weight gain from a fatty diet.

This finding was made from a mouse study in which subject mice were divided into three groups:

  1. Low-fat group was fed a 4% fat diet with no curcumin supplements
  2. High-fat group was fed a 22% fat diet with no curcumin supplements
  3. Curcumin group was fed a 22% fat diet with 500mg/kg of curcumin

The study went on for 12 weeks. At the end, the curcumin supplemented mice (group 3) had lower total cholesterol, triglycerides, and free fatty acids than both the other groups. The curcumin group also had a lower liver weight (indicating less fat accumulation) than the high-fat / no-curcumin group. The curcumin group mice also had less new blood microvessel development in fat tissues, thereby allowing them to keep weight gain between that of the high-fat and low-fat groups that did not take curcumin.

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Curcumin was first used by Indians over 3000 years ago in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Modern science has found that this extract from the common spice turmeric has remarkable qualities as an antioxidant. It can cause apoptosis (“programmed” cell death) of cancer cells, particularly in colorectal cancers. Further, it inhibits inflammation and platelet clumping that can lead to blood clots. Statistics also suggest it may be responsible for India’s lower prevalences of prostate cancer at less than 10% of the rate in the US.

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Further Reading

Curcumin reduces adipose tissue formation in mice

Curcumin Inhibits Adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes and Angiogenesis and Obesity in C57/BL Mice

Life Extension “Super Bio-Curcumin” on Member Sale

Novel Turmeric Compound Delivers Much More Curcumin to the Blood (October 2007)

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned in this post are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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