Updated: Aug 15
TL;DR: Curcumin has preliminary research suggesting a benefit on fat reduction, so it seems that curcumin does in fact help with weight loss.
Curcumin is the active ingredient found within turmeric, a spice readily available. Some research has suggested a potential benefit for weight loss when supplementing with curcumin.
In this article, I will discuss the research and attempt to find out whether curcumin can help with weight loss or if it's just another fad.
Table of Contents:
Chronic inflammation plays a major role in the development of insulin resistance, and therefore inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, dyslipidemia, and obesity, to name a few. (1)
Curcumin, a yellow pigment derived from turmeric, has received the most attention as a potential treatment for obesity and obesity-related metabolic diseases.
It interacts directly with adipocytes and muscle cells, among other cells. (1)
Curcumin is able to regulate certain pro-inflammatory pathways within cells, resulting in the correction of insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, and other obesity-related symptoms. (1)
This anti-inflammatory mechanism seems to be the primary mechanism of curcumin in relation to fat reduction and weight loss.
So, the theory makes sense, but what does the research say?
Turmeric and curcumin may be helpful for weight reduction, according to results from human and animal studies.
Curcumin is also recognised as a powerful anti-inflammatory. Studies indicate that it may help to prevent obesity-related inflammatory indicators.
Curcumin has a low bioavailability, making it difficult to absorb adequate amounts into the bloodstream.
This is why curcumin supplements often combine it with black pepper or pure piperine, a substance that may increase curcumin absorption by up to 2,000%. (6)
It has also been linked to weight reduction in other studies.
A review of 21 studies involving over 1,600 individuals connecting curcumin usage to not just a lower weight, but also a lower BMI and slimmer waistline. (7)
In one study, 44 people who had struggled to lose weight were given 800 mg of curcumin and 8 mg of piperine twice daily for 30 days.
Participants dropped a substantial amount of weight, had smaller waistlines and hip circumferences, and lower body mass indexes after 30 days (BMI). (8)
Does Curcumin Help With Weight Loss?
Many people have agreed that using curcumin supplements has made their weight loss journey easier.
The science is there, the research backs up the claims, and people seemed to have noticed a benefit from taking curcumin.
Although there is promising research, there is simply not enough evidence to conclusively say that curcumin helps with weight loss. Therefore, it is best to say that curcumin likely helps with loss.
Like any supplement, curcumin will not be a magic pill, you would still have to put in the effort.
Although curcumin has an excellent safety record, like any supplement, there are still some side-effects you need to aware of, as listed below.
Digestive: At doses more than 1,000mg per day, some individuals may suffer minor digestive side effects such as stomach pains, acid reflux, bloating, constipation, distention, diarrhoea, yellow stool, and flatulence. (9, 10)
Skin Rash: A skin rash has been reported in some individuals after taking 8,000mg or more of curcumin, although this seems to be an uncommon occurrence. (10)
There may be some other adverse effects not mentioned here. Curcumin also has some potentially serious interactions with some medications.
You should avoid consuming curcumin or turmeric if you're pregnant or taking medications.
Always speak to your doctor first.
Should You Take Curcumin?
Curcumin has a pretty solid safety profile, providing typical dosages are followed.
There are some adverse effects associated with the consumption of curcumin and turmeric, but they are mostly mild in nature.
Curcumin has a range of benefits, in this article I discussed its ability to help with weight loss.
Due to its benefits and great safety profile, I recommend you to browse various curcumin supplements or include turmeric into your diet.
Curcumin has some promising research and studies supporting its beneficial role on weight loss and fat reduction.
There are multiple animal and human studies suggesting it can reduce BMI, waistline size, fat mass, etc.
It's safe and effective, providing you take typically suggested dosages. But avoid this curcumin and turmeric if you're taking medication or are pregnant.
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This evidence based analysis on curcumin and its effect on weight loss features 11 references, listed below.
1. Aggarwal BB. Targeting inflammation-induced obesity and metabolic diseases by curcumin and other nutraceuticals. Annu Rev Nutr. (2010, Aug 21) ✔
2. Agbor GA, Oben JE, Ngogang JY, Xinxing C, Vinson JA. Antioxidant capacity of some herbs/spices from cameroon: a comparative study of two methods. J Agric Food Chem. (2005, Aug 24) (Comparative Study) ✔
3. Bradford PG. Curcumin and obesity. Biofactors. (2013, Jan-Feb) (Review) ✔
4. Teich T, Pivovarov JA, Porras DP, Dunford EC, Riddell MC. Curcumin limits weight gain, adipose tissue growth, and glucose intolerance following the cessation of exercise and caloric restriction in rats. J Appl Physiol (1985). (2017, Dec 1) ✔
5. Ding L, Li J, Song B, Xiao X, Zhang B, Qi M, Huang W, Yang L, Wang Z. Curcumin rescues high fat diet-induced obesity and insulin sensitivity in mice through regulating SREBP pathway. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. (2016, Aug 1) ✔
6. Hewlings SJ, Kalman DS. Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health. Foods. (2017, Oct 22) (Review) ✔
7. Akbari M, Lankarani KB, Tabrizi R, Ghayour-Mobarhan M, Peymani P, Ferns G, Ghaderi A, Asemi Z. The Effects of Curcumin on Weight Loss Among Patients With Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Front Pharmacol. (2019, Jun 12) ✔
8. Di Pierro F, Bressan A, Ranaldi D, Rapacioli G, Giacomelli L, Bertuccioli A. Potential role of bioavailable curcumin in weight loss and omental adipose tissue decrease: preliminary data of a randomized, controlled trial in overweight people with metabolic syndrome. Preliminary study. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. (2015, Nov) (Randomised Controlled Trial) ✔
9. Carroll RE, Benya RV, Turgeon DK, Vareed S, Neuman M, Rodriguez L, Kakarala M, Carpenter PM, McLaren C, Meyskens FL Jr, Brenner DE. Phase IIa clinical trial of curcumin for the prevention of colorectal neoplasia. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). (2011, Mar) (Clinical Trial) ✔
10. Lao CD, Ruffin MT 4th, Normolle D, Heath DD, Murray SI, Bailey JM, Boggs ME, Crowell J, Rock CL, Brenner DE. Dose escalation of a curcuminoid formulation. BMC Complement Altern Med. (2006, Mar 17) (Clinical Trial) ✔
11. Sharma RA, Euden SA, Platton SL, Cooke DN, Shafayat A, Hewitt HR, Marczylo TH, Morgan B, Hemingway D, Plummer SM, Pirmohamed M, Gescher AJ, Steward WP. Phase I clinical trial of oral curcumin: biomarkers of systemic activity and compliance. Clin Cancer Res. (2004, Oct 15) (Clinical Trial) ✔
✔ Citations with a tick indicate the information is from a trusted source.
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