Curcumin Now Touted as a Significant Weight Loss & Disease Prevention Nutrient

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Korean researchers reviewed the last ten years of curcumin science as it applies to supporting weight loss and preventing obesity-related disease. Their conclusion is, “The modulation of several cellular transduction pathways by curcumin has recently been extended to elucidate the molecular basis for obesity and obesity-related metabolic diseases. These findings might enable novel phytochemical treatment strategies as well as curcumin translation to the clinical practice for the treatment and prevention of obesity-related chronic diseases. Furthermore, the relatively low cost, safety and proven efficacy of curcumin make it advisable to include curcumin as part of healthy diet.” 

Most recently, high-profile and mainstream cancer researchers at the MD Anderson Cancer Center have explained the extreme benefit of curcumin to prevent cancer and to help treat cancer. This benefit applies especially to types of cancer that are resistant to chemotherapy drugs. One of the authors of the cancer study, Bharat B. Aggarwal, has published a second study on curcumin and weight loss, “Targeting inflammation-induced obesity and metabolic diseases by curcumin and other nutraceuticals.”

The theme of the MD Anderson article is reflected in the following: “Obesity and metabolic syndrome are considered to be major public health crises not only in the United States but also globally…Americans spent as much as $34 billion out of pocket on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in 2007…Extensive research within the past two decades has revealed that obesity, a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, cancer, and other chronic diseases, is a proinflammatory disease…Curcumin-induced alterations [in inflamed, overweight people] reverse insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and other symptoms linked to obesity….Curcumin and the other spices have favorable effects against obesity and insulin resistance as well as against various complications resulting from these diseases.”

It is important for consumers to understand that the FDA is trying to help the failing pharmaceutical industry have marketing rights to high-quality curcumin that is currently available in dietary supplements. They want to take the exact same compound that is proven to be safe and effective and make it into a drug. I further explain this scheme in my article “The FDA’s Scheme to Reclassify Nutrients as Drugs.”

It is also worth noting that the MD Anderson Cancer Center does not publish “surface level” data. The information in their study on curcumin, which you can read in full by clicking on the above link, is detailed and accurate gene science showing curcumin’s influence on the precise molecular and genetic pathways, combating obesity and related diseases. 

Curcumin influences key hormones, supports major body organs, and regulates inflammatory signaling all in ways that help correct or prevent metabolic problems.

Curcumin helps lower inappropriately high levels of leptin (reducing leptin resistance) while boosting the all-important levels of the adiponectin (which lowers insulin resistance).

Curcumin helps activate the fat-burning gene signal PPAR gamma, which also helps to make more new, metabolically-fit fat cells.

Curcumin directly reduces major inflammatory events from occurring inside white adipose tissue (tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-6, and monocyte chemotactic protein-1). When these inflammatory signals are excessively activated in white adipose tissue they keep sending “911” messages to immune cells around your body to come to the white adipose tissue and join in the inflammatory party (like immune cells causing the swelling of a sprained ankle—in this case, sprained fat). By lowering such inflammation, the source of overweight-induced disease is stopped.

Curcumin acts directly on liver cells to help prevent them from becoming fatty. And it works directly on pancreatic beta cells to help them produce insulin normally. By helping the liver and the pancreas, curcumin is taking stress off the two most important organs whose function declines before the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Curcumin helps to lower triglycerides and dangerous small particle LDL cholesterol.

Curcumin lowers the core inflammatory gene signal, NF-kappaB, resulting in a beneficial domino effect throughout the body. One benefit of this domino effect is a direct reduction in the risk of cancer from overweight-induced inflammation.

If any drug on the market did any one of the above in a safe way, it would be a multi-billion dollar blockbuster. This study shows at least seven powerful ways that curcumin can help weight loss and prevent disease—without dangerous side effects. It is little wonder why the pharmaceutical industry wants control of this nutrient.

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