Can Turmeric's Compounds Help Control Blood Sugar?

Research in animals suggests that turmeric and its curcumin compounds can lower blood sugar levels. For example, in one animal study, curcumin significantly lowered HbA1c values in diabetic rats. HbA1c (now referred to as A1c) is the best indicator of how well a person with diabetes is managing their condition. (vii.104)

The blood test does not measure the amount of sugar in in the blood plasma at the time the test is taken. Rather, A1c test results reflect the average amount of the most common type of an advanced glycosylation end product--AGE for short--over a 2 month time period. (vii.31)

Recently published clinical trials now corroborate the antidiabetic effects of turmeric's curcumin compounds. The examples below suggest that curcumin could help prevent and treat type 2 diabetes:

Clinical Trial
Table VII.15: Turmeric Compound Effects in Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
Dosage Clinical Study Details

Curcumin

(300 mg/day)

Results of this clinical trial involving 100 overweight/obese patients with type 2 diabetes recently published online suggest that even low doses of turmeric's curcumin compounds may help. Patients were randomly divided into 2 groups, one of which was given curcumin supplements while the other was given a placebo. Neither the patients nor the researchers knew which group each patient was in until the study was completed. (vii.113)

The group taking curcumin showed significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels. The turmeric compound also lowered triglyceride cholesterol levels. (vii.113)

Curcumin

(1500 mg/day in three doses of 500 mg)

In this 9-month long clinical trial, 240 pre-diabetic patients age 35 and older were randomly and evenly divided to take either curcumin supplements or placebo daily. Those who took curcumin showed improved adiponectin levels and pancreatic cell function. (vii.87)

Curcumin also significantly reduced insulin resistance in those who took it. In addition, at the end of the study there was a small loss in average body weight in the group of patients who took curcumin. Most importantly none of the pre-diabetic patients who took curcumin developed diabetes, while a little over 16% of those on placebo did. (vii.87)

Combination Treatments for Diabetes and Insulin Resistance with Turmeric Compounds

In combination with conventional drugs and other herbs or nutrients, animal and human clinical studies show that turmeric compounds significantly increase treatment effectiveness. Some examples include:

Clinical Trial
Table VII.16: Turmeric Combination Therapies for Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
Turmeric Combination Study Results

Irbesartan (2.5 mg/kg/day)
with Curcumin (200 mg/kg/day)

Fasting blood sugar levels in diabetic rats fed a high-fat diet. (vii.114)

Garlic and Turmeric Extract

(doses of 1.2, 1.6, or 2.4 g/day)

In a clinical study, patients with diabetes and high cholesterol levels were randomly assigned to take one of 3 different garlic-turmeric extract doses. Study results after 12 weeks showed the combination of turmeric and garlic: (vii.101)

  • Fasting, average (as measured by the HbA1C test), and post-meal blood glucose levels.
  • Markers for obesity and heart disease.

The highest dose worked the best. (vii.101)


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