Consumption of Asia’s popular spice extract curcumin has been linked to a reduced risk in the development of Type 2 Diabetes mellitus and improved beta-cell function in a new Thai study.
Published in Diabetes Care , the research found that intervention in a pre-diabetes population with curcumin extract “significantly lowered” the number of individuals who eventually developed Type 2 Diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and “appeared to improve the overall function of beta-cells”.
The randomised, double-blinded, placebo controlled trial was conducted over a nine-month period using 240 Thai subjects. Individuals consumed three capsules twice a day of either curcumin extract or placebo.
Findings at 12 months showed that 0% of the curcumin-treated subjects developed T2DM, compared to 16.4% of the placebo-treated group that did.
The Thai researchers, led by Somlak Chuengsamarn, said that additionally, curcumin intervention also improved beta-cell functions, indicated by an increased HOMA-beta and reduced C-peptide.
Adiponectin levels were also significantly increased with curcumin consumption – an anti-inflammatory cytokine associated with a lower risk of T22DM. It is the anti-inflammatory properties that encourage healthier beta-cell activity, the researchers said.
Insulin resistance (HOMA-IR levels) was also found to be significantly lower in the curcumin group.
“Because of its benefits and safety, we propose that curcumin extract may be used for an intervention therapy for the pre-diabetes population,” the researchers wrote.
A burgeoning health concern curbed?
Globally, there are approximately 311m people living with T2DM, according to World Health Organisation statistics. This is a number set to surge to 380m by 2025, as indicated by The International Diabetes Federation, with 60% of incidences coming from Asia.
As T2DM is currently incurable, the researchers said that the intervention approach is “appealing”.
“The intervention represents a chance for the diabetes-prone population to halt the disease progression and maintain a normal and healthy lifestyle,” they said.
“In an attempt to find safe, well-tolerated and easily-available intervention agents for the prediabetes population, we tested a potential candidate, ethanol-extracted curcumin, because of its known in vitro and in vivo antidiabetes activity.”
This is a popular spice in Asian cuisine and already widely consumed, the researchers noted, and would thus make for an apt intervention choice.
Source: Diabetes Care
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.2337/dc12-0116
'Curcumin Extract for Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes'
Authors: S. Chuengsamarn, S. Rattanamongkolgul, R. Luechapudiporn, C. Phisalaphong, S. Jirawatnotai