July 17, 2012
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Curcumin extract suggested as prevention method in prediabetes

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Researchers in Thailand are looking to curcumin extract, a popular spice used in Asian cuisine, as an intervention method for patients displaying prediabetes characteristics.

According to researchers, curcumin extract from rhizomes of turmeric has been shown to have anti-inflammation and antidiabetic properties. Moreover, it is believed to delay the development of type 2 diabetes, improve beta cell function, prevent beta-cell death and reduce insulin resistance in animals.

“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,” researchers wrote.

Somlak Chuengsamarn, MD, professor of medicine from the division of endocrinology and metabolism at HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Medical Center at Srinakharinwirot University in Thailand, and colleagues led a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of 240 patients with prediabetes.

Patients were given instructions to take three capsules with blinded labels (curcumin 250 mg or placebo), twice daily for 9 months. Measurements were conducted at baseline, 3, 6 and 9 months.

Researchers found that after 9 months of treatment, 16.5% of patients in the placebo group (n=116) were ultimately diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, whereas patients taking curcumin (n=119) were not diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, they wrote.

Additionally, patients who took curcumin displayed improved overall function of beta cells, with higher HOMA-beta (61.58 vs. 48.72; P<.01) and lower C-peptide (1.7 vs. 2.17; P<.05), according to data. Those taking curcumin also showed a lower level HOMA-IR (3.22 vs. 4.04; P<.001) and higher adiponectin (22.46 vs. 18.45; P<.05), compared with the placebo group.

“From these results, we believe that curcumin intervention in the prediabetes population can prevent type 2 diabetes conversions and lower the IR level by maintaining healthy beta cell functions,” researchers concluded.

Chuengsamarn and colleagues report no significant adverse events caused by curcumin treatment compared with placebo. They propose that this treatment option be considered as interventional therapy for patients with prediabetes.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.