Recent studies indicate that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric may play a role in weight loss (2Trusted Source Trusted Source). It can do so in several ways. Curcumin prevents fat accumulation and promotes the browning of white adipose tissue. It has a thermogenic action which helps to burn fat. Turmeric is also known to accelerate diet-induced weight loss. Apart from this, curcumin can help with other conditions commonly associated with excessive weight – diabetes, heart issues, depression etc. This article explains how curcumin may aid in weight loss.
1. Curcumin prevents fat accumulation and hastens fat loss
Accumulation of fat in the adipose- or other tissues such as that of the stomach and liver is characteristic of obesity.
Angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels) in the white adipose tissue of the body is linked to fat accumulation in obese people. In a study, curcumin has been shown to modulate the metabolic activities that prevent angiogenesis in the white adipose tissues. This, in turn, resulted in decreased fat accumulation.
Curcumin has also been found to decrease the volume of adipose tissues, i.e. lower fat accumulation in overweight patients. The body measurements of these patients showed a significant reduction of fat.
Moreover, it has been observed that turmeric, along with sulphur, can prevent fat deposition and improve the lipid profile of blood and liver in over-weight individuals.
What does it mean?
Curcumin can prevent fat accumulation in the adipose tissues and other organs. This can be useful in avoiding further weight gain in overweight or obese people.
2. Turmeric can accelerate diet-induced weight loss
In a study, overweight individuals were put on a weight loss treatment through diet and lifestyle interventions. Some of them did not show significant weight loss and were then treated with curcumin. These individuals, after the curcumin treatment, showed an increase in weight loss. There was a significant increase in fat reduction and BMI was also found to decline considerably.
What does it mean?
Curcumin use can assist in- and accelerate the weight loss induced by diet.
3. Turmeric promotes the browning of white adipose tissue
The function of brown adipose tissue in the body is to transfer energy from food into heat. When the tissue is active, high amounts of lipids and glucose are combusted leading to heat production in the tissue.
This novel action of the brown adipose tissue has placed its therapeutic potential in the fight against obesity under the spotlight. Studies have shown that white adipose tissue can undergo browning and become an energy liberating tissue instead of a storing one. Curcumin has been found to be a promoter of browning of the white adipose tissue. It does this by elevating levels of norepinephrine which induces the browning process.
This action of curcumin, in turn, can prevent obesity by burning fat in the body.
What does it mean?
Ingesting curmeric can promote burning of fat by inducing the browning of fat storing white adipose tissues. This can be very effective in preventing excessive weight gain.
4. Turmeric suppresses inflammation associated with obesity
Inflammation is greatly associated with obesity or excessive fat deposition in the body. In cases of obesity, the accumulation of pro-inflammatory substances (IL-6, TNF-α etc.) has been found. The inflammatory action of these substances, also called adipokines leads to the production of oxidative stress. This inflammatory response further leads to other diseases like metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, etc.
Turmeric being an anti-inflammatory substance can be very effective in targeting the inflammatory action of adipokines. Curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action is known to target the obesity-associated inflammation.
In a post hoc analysis of the randomized clinical trial, curcumin intake significantly decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines in patients.
What does it mean?
The use of turmeric can reduce chronic inflammation and associated oxidative stress and, thus, be useful in preventing disorders related to the obesity.
Dietary use of turmeric is regarded as very safe. Many cuisines use turmeric regularly as a spice and no adverse effects have been recorded due to its culinary use.
Acid reflux may be caused by the consumption of turmeric in an empty stomach. Turmeric’s use on an empty stomach must be avoided, as it can result in acidity.
Curcumin in turmeric interferes in drug metabolism activity. Though dietary turmeric should not pose any risks, if taking large doses of Golden Paste or curcumin supplements then avoid taking it at the same time as taking any medication. Maintain a 3-4 hour gap.
Bleeding disorder patients should not consume turmeric. Although the dietary use of turmeric is safe in bleeding disorders turmeric supplement should not be used.
Turmeric supplements have constituents in concentrated amounts which may result in problems as turmeric has a blood thinning activity. (Read Is Turmeric a blood thinning agent?)
Limit turmeric consumption in case of risk of gout and kidney stones. Turmeric in large quantities can raise the risk of developing kidney stones (in sensitive individuals). (Read Is turmeric safe in gout? Does turmeric cause kidney stones?)
Discontinue taking turmeric supplements if you are scheduled for surgery. Stop using turmeric supplements around 2 weeks prior to surgery. Being a blood thinner, turmeric can interfere with the process of blood clotting after surgery.
Avoid using turmeric supplements if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
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