Turmeric is a yellow spice that has been widely used for its medicinal properties. It contains a polyphenol called curcumin that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
While research is underway, recent evidence suggests that the medicinal herb curcumin can be used to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition characterized by decreased insulin secretion.
Insulin is a hormone that pulls glucose (sugar) from the blood into cells for use as energy. When there isn’t enough insulin to do that, it causes a state of persistently high blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, which leads to metabolic disruption and inflammation.
Benefits of Turmeric for Diabetes
Regulation of lipid metabolism
Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of conditions characterized by altered metabolism that are associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. The metabolic syndrome includes insulin resistance, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, elevated triglyceride levels, and obesity.
Curcumin, present in turmeric, may help regulate lipid metabolism in people with diabetes by altering the activity of enzymes involved in metabolism to lower blood triglyceride and cholesterol levels.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of several randomized controlled trials found that turmeric was able to reduce blood triglyceride levels by an average of 19.1 mg/dL, with a mean total cholesterol of 11.4 mg. /dL and mean LDL cholesterol was 9.83 mg/dL. However, more research is needed to confirm these suggested effects.
Curcumin present in turmeric may also be helpful in reducing other symptoms of metabolic syndrome by reducing insulin resistance through improving insulin sensitivity, inhibiting new fat cell production and reducing blood pressure. pressure.
Clinical research shows that the pharmaceutical ingredient curcumin can improve markers of oxidative stress throughout the body by increasing levels of certain protective antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase.
Curcumin may also increase the activation of enzymes, such as lipid peroxides and glutathione peroxidase, which work to break down harmful free radicals. Free radicals such as reactive oxygen and nitrogenous species are unstable molecules that can cause widespread cell damage throughout the body.
Inflammation is the cause of many chronic conditions, including diabetes, and increases oxidative stress and complications. Increased oxidative stress can also cause free radicals to activate cell signaling pathways that increase the activation of inflammatory responses throughout the body, leading to a cycle of chronic inflammation.
Tumor necrosis factor is an inflammatory protein that is elevated with inflammatory conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Tumor necrosis factor becomes activated when high blood sugar occurs with diabetes.
Recent studies show that curcumin can block this activation, helping to reduce inflammation in the body. A randomized controlled trial found that supplementing with one gram of curcumin daily for eight weeks reduced tumor necrosis factor levels to an average of 16.22 pg/mL in women with the syndrome. metabolism.
Effects of specific organ systems as they are implicated in diabetes
Usually diabetics have fatty liver disease or other liver disorders. Research shows that curcumin can help regulate liver enzymes that control lipid and glucose levels due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
A meta-analysis of four randomized controlled trials found that a daily supplement of one gram or more of curcumin for eight weeks reduced alanine aminotransferase levels by an average of 11.36 IU/L and aspartate levels. aminotransferase average 9.22 IU/L.
Fat tissue dysfunction
Diabetes is often associated with dysfunction of adipose tissue, or adipose tissue, that controls glucose levels in the body. Adiponectin is a hormone mainly found in adipose tissue that regulates blood sugar and the breakdown of fatty acids. In type 2 diabetes, the secretion of adiponectin is disrupted and reduced due to high blood sugar.
Curcumin may be beneficial for dysregulation of adipose tissue by regulating the secretion of adiponectin. Curcumin has the potential to help reduce inflammatory markers, such as tumor necrosis factor and nitric oxide, that cause abnormal accumulation and activation of macrophages (specialized cells involved in the growth and development of macrophages). and destroy bacteria and other harmful organisms) in adipose tissue, disrupting adiponectin secretion.
Diabetic neuropathy is a common symptom of diabetes characterized by damage to the peripheral nerves that transmit signals to and from the arms and legs. Diabetic neuropathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels that supply the nerves of the arms and legs. It is caused by widespread inflammation caused by disrupted blood sugar levels.
Elevated levels of inflammatory proteins known as advanced glycation end products become altered in the presence of excess blood sugar and induce oxidative stress and chronic inflammation in diabetic neuropathy. Curcumin contains both phenols and flavonoids that can scavenge free radicals and slow down induced oxidation. Curcumin may also increase the activation of antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase, to fight free radicals.
Diabetic kidney disease
Diabetic nephropathy, also known as diabetic nephropathy, affects the kidneys’ ability to filter and remove waste and fluid from the body. It is characterized by the presence of albumin in the urine, increased arterial blood pressure, and decreased glomerular filtration rate, an indicator that the kidneys are functioning normally.
Curcumin may help manage diabetic nephropathy by promoting the clearance of creatine and urea from the body, reducing urinary albumin and enzymes, and regulating kidney enzyme activity.
Diabetic vascular disease
Vascular disease as a result of diabetes occurs as a result of damage to both small and large blood vessels throughout the body due to widespread inflammation. Studies show that curcumin may help reduce complications from diabetic vascular disease in a variety of ways.
These include blocking the accumulation of inflammatory proteins and inhibiting the activation of certain cells that promote oxidative stress and cellular damage. Curcumin can also improve wound healing and the formation of new blood vessels and reduce tumor necrosis factor that causes excessive constriction of blood vessels.
Complications associated with diabetes
Taking curcumin may also be beneficial for reducing other complications of type 2 diabetes, including musculoskeletal diseases by inhibiting bone resorption and reducing bone-degrading enzymes. Curcumin also helps skeletal muscle increase glucose uptake to reduce insulin resistance.
Curcumin may also help reduce other complications associated with type 2 diabetes such as erectile dysfunction and gastroparesis, a condition caused by delayed gastric emptying, by reducing inflammation levels and oxidative stress.
Bioavailability refers to the amount of a substance that can be absorbed into the bloodstream for systemic circulation. Substances given directly intravenously via the intravenous route have the highest bioavailability, but when substances are given orally, their bioavailability decreases as they are digested and absorbed through the intestine.
Taking curcumin by mouth does not necessarily mean that someone can get its beneficial effects because curcumin has poor bioavailability due to poor absorption from the gut, rapid metabolism (it breaks down very quickly), and rapid elimination, where it was previously eliminated from the body. it can exert its positive effects.
Research shows that these absorption, metabolism, and elimination problems can be alleviated by consuming curcumin with piperine, a chemical compound found in black pepper. When combined with piperine, curcumin’s bioavailability can be increased by up to 2,000%, greatly increasing its effects.
Curcumin has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration with the label “Recognized As Safe” due to its good tolerability, safety, and effectiveness, covering dosages ranging from 4,000 to 8,000 mg/day. While curcumin is generally considered safe to use, a number of negative side effects, including headache, nausea, diarrhea, rash, and yellow stools, have been reported.
Curcumin may also potentially interact with certain medications such as blood thinners (anticoagulants), antibiotics, antidepressants, heart medications, and cancer medications.
Turmeric should not replace other diabetes treatment plans prescribed by your doctor. Always ask your doctor about taking turmeric or any other form of treatment or supplement to make sure it is safe for you and will not interact with any medications you are taking. Any changes to your treatment regimen to control diabetes should always be discussed with a healthcare professional, such as your primary care provider or endocrinologist.