Turmeric Compounds Promote Healthy Fat Metabolism

Keeping cholesterol levels within healthy limits can help prevent and fight metabolic syndrome conditions. Many of the natural plant compounds and nutrients in turmeric help regulate fat metabolism. Studies suggest turmeric also counteracts the negative effects of high cholesterol, and could help heart conditions and fatty liver disease. (vii.9, 16, 22, 66)

Dysregulated Immune System Cells & Fat

Figure VII.2: Inflammatory Macrophage Activity in Fat Cells

Figure VII.2: Inflammatory Macrophage Activity in Fat Cells

WAT is infused with activated immune system cells called macrophages. In this state, these immune system cells promote metabolic syndrome conditions: (vii.2, 9, 40)

  • Chronic inflammation in obesity: Activated M1 macrophages contribute to the chronic inflammation of obesity because they: (vii.2, 40)
  • High levels of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol: Macrophages also cause fat cells to release saturated fatty acids. This sets off a cascade of even more inflammatory proteins in the liver and other organs, increasing harmful cholesterol. (vii.2, 9, 40)
  • Heart Disease: Activated macrophages play a key role in the development of the lesions and plaque build-up in arteries (atherosclerosis (vii.67)).
Figure VII.3: Activated Macrophages Can Clog Your Arteries

Figure VII.3: Activated Macrophages Can Clog Your Arteries

Immature fat cells (pre-adipocytes) in obese patients behave like activated macrophages as well. (vii.2, 40)

How Can Turmeric Help?

The good news is that studies show turmeric's curcumin compounds can help defeat harmful macrophages. In a number of different ways, curcumin: (vii.9)

  • Prevents the activation of macrophages.
  • Blocks and reduces the harmful effects of already activated macrophages.

Cholesterol-Regulating Activity

A number of different enzymes, proteins, and antioxidants regulate, affect, or react to cholesterol levels. These include:

  • Antioxidant enzymes (HO-1, GSH, & SOD) that protect against effects of high cholesterol. (vii.16, 22)
  • Cholesterol 7 α-hydroxylase, an enzyme that converts cholesterol into bile to get rid of it. (vii.9)
  • Apo A, a protein that helps metabolize and maintain high levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol. (vii.66, 68)
  • Apo B, a protein that promotes unhealthy, dense, LDL cholesterol. (vii.66, 68-69)
  • Fatty acid synthase (FAS), and tyrosine phosphatase, enzymes that promote inflammation & unhealthy cholesterol levels. (vii.1)
  • HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme that helps produce cholesterol in the liver. Statin drugs used to treat high cholesterol work by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase. (vii.22, 52)

Experts suggest that regulating the signaling pathways these molecules are involved in can help treat metabolic syndrome diseases. (vii.66)

Table VII.8: Turmeric Compounds Help Regulate Fat Metabolism
Turmeric Compounds Effects
↑ HO-1, GSH, SOD ↑ Cholesterol 7 α-hydroxylase (CYP7A1) ↑ Apo A ↓ Apo B ↓ FAS & Tyrosine Phosphatase ↓ HMG-CoA reductase
Alpha-linolenic acid (vii.18)      (vii.66)  (vii.66)  (vii.70)  (vii.66)
Beta-sitosterol (vii.29, 60)    (vii.22)  (vii.66)  (vii.66)    (vii.66)
Cinnamic acid (vii.20)            (vii.71)
Curcumin (vii.16, 22, 29)  (vii.9)        (vii.9)  (vii.66)
Farnesol (vii.72)        (vii.22)    (vii.22)
Geraniol (vii.56)            (vii.64)
Limonene (vii.20)            (vii.73)
Niacin (vii.29)      (vii.66)  (vii.22)    (vii.22)
Quercetin (vii.25)            (vii.74)
Resveratrol (vii.27)  (vii.60)        (vii.42)  
Turmeric extract  (vii.16)  (vii.16)  (vii.68)  (vii.68)    (vii.16)
Vitamin C (vii.22, 29)            (vii.66)
Vitamin E (vii.22, 29)            (vii.66)
Why Is This Important?
Heme oxygenase 1, a phase 2 detoxifying enzyme. (vii.62)
Glutathione. (vii.62)
Superoxide dismutase. (vii.1)

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