There are only a few natural products that have demonstrated the wide range of protective properties as curcumin. Turmeric has three main bioactive components which are curcumin, desmethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Curcuminoids are the strongest, most protective, and most researched components of the turmeric root. These curcuminoids have many biological effects including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.

According to a study published in March in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers investigated the effect of curcumin supplementation on anthropometric indices.

This review consisted of 14 systemic reviews and meta-analyses and 50 randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Assessments included body mass index (BMI), body weight (BW), and waist circumference (WC).

As a result, curcumin supplementation significantly reduced BMI, BW, and WC. This result was more significant in an enhanced bioavailable form as well in individuals with obesity and diabetes. Dosing ranged from 40 mg to 3000 mg per day over a period of 4 to 39 weeks.

Previous research has demonstrated therapeutics benefits in metabolic syndrome, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and cognition. There are several mechanisms in which curcumin can influence obesity and body composition. Curcumin suppresses adipocyte differentiation, induces fatty acid oxidation, increases adipocyte apoptosis, and inhibits NF-kβ. This results in a reduction of inflammatory cytokines including TNF-α, IL-1, and IL-6.

Curcumin supplementation should be considered as a therapeutic in individuals with PCOS, diabetes, NAFLD, obesity, and metabolic syndrome as these are a result of lifestyle and increased BMI and WC.

A limitation of curcumin is bioavailability, so it is ideal to use an enhanced bioavailable form or to take with a meal containing fat. Other nutrients that should be considered include essential fatty acids, chromium, and alpha lipoic acid.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Unhapipatpong C, Polrunag N, et al. The effect of curcumin supplementation on weight loss and anthropometric indices: an umbrella review and updated meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2023 May;117(5):1005-1016.

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