Curcumin May Offer Protection Against Diabetes

Life Extension Update Exclusive

June 27, 2008

Curcumin may offer protection against diabetes

Curcumin may offer protection against diabetes

At the 90th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society, held in San Francisco June 15 to 18, 2008, research conducted at Columbia University Medical Center was presented which showed a protective effect for curcumin, a compound found in the spice turmeric, against the development of diabetes in two mouse models of diabetes and obesity. The research is scheduled for publication in the journal Endocrinology.

For their study, Drew Tortoriello, MD, who is an endocrinologist and researcher at Columbia’s Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, in collaboration with Stuart Weisberg, MD, PhD, and Rudolph Leibel, MD, used male mice fed high fat diets to induce obesity and genetically obese female leptin-deficient mice. Normal, lean mice fed low fat diets were used as controls. The animals were divided to receive diets containing a high dose of a curcumin extract or no curcumin for five weeks.

Mice given high doses of curcumin showed less susceptibility to the development of diabetes, based on blood glucose levels, and glucose and insulin tolerance test results. The animals additionally experienced a small reduction in body fat and weight, even when calorie intake was the same or higher than mice that did not receive curcumin. Obese mice that received curcumin also had less inflammation in liver and fatty tissue compared with animals that did not receive the compound.

Inflammation is believed to play a role in the onset of diabetes type 2 as well as obesity. The researchers suggest that curcumin helps prevent diabetes by reducing the inflammation that occurs in obesity. By suppressing the number and activity of inflammatory cytokines produced by immune cells in fatty tissue, which can damage the heart and insulin-producing pancreatic islands as well as increase muscle and liver insulin resistance, curcumin may help reduce some of obesity’s adverse effects.

"It's too early to tell whether increasing dietary curcumin intake in obese people with diabetes will show a similar benefit," Dr. Tortoriello stated. "Although the daily intake of curcumin one might have to consume as a primary diabetes treatment is likely impractical, it is entirely possible that lower dosages of curcumin could nicely complement our traditional therapies as a natural and safe treatment."

Printer Friendly Save as PDF Email this Page View Archive Subscribe Today
Health Concern Life Extension Highlight


Recent advances in dietary science have highlighted the crucial role of insulin in weight gain. Produced in the pancreas, insulin is a critical hormone for the control of blood sugar (glucose). Its job is to transport glucose into cells, where the glucose is burned as fuel. While this process is necessary for life, abnormalities in the insulin-glucose system caused by aging, lack of exercise and poor diet can cause major health problems. In aging, cells become more resistant to the effects of insulin. As cells become increasingly insulin resistant, the body compensates by increasing the number of insulin receptors on cells and secreting more insulin in an attempt to drive more blood sugar into muscle and liver cells (Fulop 2003).

Insulin resistance is a dangerous condition. Research suggests that adipose tissue (fat) is a source of pro-inflammatory chemicals that have a role in the development of insulin resistance (Sharma AM et al 2005). Insulin resistance is associated with obesity (in particular, abdominal obesity) (Greenfield JR et al. 2004). It is also associated with aging muscle (Nair KS 2005), physical inactivity, and genetics.

This increase in insulin (called hyperinsulinemia) and decreased insulin sensitivity have a number of harmful effects, including contributing to diseases associated with being overweight (Zeman et al 2005; Garveyet al 1998). Over time, high insulin and insulin resistance may lead to type 2 diabetes in susceptible individuals, a major risk factor for heart disease. A study sponsored by the NIH showed that over a 10-year period, hyperinsulinemia was associated with increased all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, independent of other risk factors (NIH 1985).

Controlling insulin levels as we age is essential for overall health, longevity, and weight management. An increasing number of physicians recognize the role of insulin resistance in the current obesity epidemic. The good news is that nonprescription drugs and low-cost dietary supplements that have demonstrated beneficial effects upon insulin action are already available.

Life Extension Vacations

Take a vacation and come back slimmer, fitter and healthier!

A vacation at a destination spa can either jump start your fitness, wellness and skin care program, or enhance the one to which you already adhere. A spa retreat can help you to improve fitness level, unwind, improve eating habits, detoxify, commune with nature, learn about nutrition, regain inner balance, manage weight, learn healthy cooking, have fun, manage stress, meet other health conscience people, and much more.

At Life Extension Vacations, our goal is to immerse you in the ultimate spa experience where the focus is entirely on you. Contact us today at 1-800-791-4457 to help you choose a destination that suits you best.

Life Extension Vacations (Operated by Caribbean Islands Travel) Phone: 1-800-791-4457 Email: Office operation hours: Mon-Fri 8:30 am to 6:00 pm.

Featured Products

Super Polyphenol Extracts with CocoaGold™

add to cart

Super Polyphenol Extracts with CocoaGold™ contains a diverse blend of polyphenols — including cocoa, apple, aronia, and green tea — to support vascular health and fight the processes that damage aging arteries.

Standardized cocoa polyphenols have been shown to induce rapid and significant improvement in endothelial and platelet function. Additionally, studies of cocoa polyphenols show that they can maintain already healthy HDL, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels in those already within normal ranges. A recent randomized, controlled clinical trial showed daily consumption of 6.3 g of dark chocolate containing 30 mg of polyphenols can improve endothelial function, increase formation of vasodilative nitric oxide, and help maintain healthy blood pressure levels that are already within normal range.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine Arginate

add to cart

A major cause of aging is the deterioration of the energy-producing components of the cell, which results in reduced cellular metabolic activity, the accumulation of cellular debris, and eventual death of the cell.

L-carnitine helps to maintain cellular energy metabolism by assisting in the transport of fat through the cell membrane and into the mitochondria within the cell, where these fats are oxidized to produce the cellular energy ATP.

Acetyl-L-carnitine arginate is a patented form of carnitine that stimulates the growth of neurites in the brain. Studies show that acetyl-L-carnitine arginate stimulates the growth of neurites by 19.5%, which is almost four times better than acetyl-L-carnitine.

News Archive

Life Extension Update

What's Hot

Life Extension magazine

If you have questions or comments concerning this issue or past issues of Life Extension Update, send them to or call 1-800-678-8989.

For longer life,

Dayna Dye
Editor, Life Extension Update
954 766 8433 extension 7716