A study published in the journal Diabetes Care has linked curcumin, a compound found in the Indian spice turmeric, to the prevention of type 2 diabetes in individuals who already have prediabetes.
Prediabetes is defined by very high blood sugar levels, and is thought to be the first step towards developing type 2 diabetes. The study, although small in scale, presented significant data that curcumin could delay or prevent this development.
The study was performed on 235 Thai adults with prediabetes, who were observed for nine months. 119 of the volunteers were given six supplement capsules per day, containing 250 milligrams of curcuminoids each. The other 116 volunteers were given a placebo which looked identical to the curcumin capsules.
When results were assessed after nine months, researchers found that 19 of the placebo volunteers had developed type 2 diabetes, while none of the volunteers taking a curcumin supplement had developed it.
Previous lab studies performed on curcumin have linked this compound with anti-inflammatory properties, and the ability to fight oxidative damage to the cells. While the researchers are unsure exactly how curcumin could prevent type 2 diabetes, it seemed to improve the functionality of beta cells in the pancreas, which release insulin. The researchers speculate that curcumin helps protect the beta cells from becoming damaged.
Critics of the study, such as Constance Brown-Riggs of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, say that more testing must be done, as this study was very small, and only lasted for nine months. Brown-Riggs also cautions prediabetics to avoid seeing curcumin as a miracle preventative, and to focus on a healthy diet and exercise instead.
However, the research team, led by Dr. Somlak Chuengsamarn, is optimistic. They write, “because of its benefits and safety, we propose that curcumin extract may be used for an intervention therapy for the prediabetes population.”
Luckily, turmeric is a flavorful spice that can add an exotic deliciousness to a number of meals, so adding it into a healthy diet is simple. Next time you’re cooking a soup or a stew, throw in a teaspoon of turmeric instead of your usual spices.
Turmeric is also one of the main spices in Indian curries, which when made with organic ingredients can be wonderfully healthy, as well as tasty.
You can even throw a few dashes onto a mix of sliced fruits, and if you have never tasted curry in carrots, you’re in for a treat. While we wait for more research regarding curcumin and type 2 diabetes, adding turmeric to your meals certainly couldn’t hurt.
-The Atlernative Daily