Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bites: Turmeric Inhibits Weight Gain

Dietary curcumin in the form of curry and turmeric appears to inhibit weight gain and body fat, according to results from a new animal model study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS)-funded scientists and colleagues.

The study found that supplementing a high-fat diet with curcumin reduced weight gain and total body fat. Animals with curcumin in their diets had less blood vessel growth in fat tissue and lower blood glucose, triglyceride, fatty acid, cholesterol and liver fat than test animals in control groups.

In the study, 18 mice were assigned to three groups of six mice each. For 12 weeks, the mice were fed special diets. A “control” group’s mix contained 4 percent fat, a “high fat” group’s mix contained 22 percent fat, and another group was fed the same “high fat” diet supplemented with curcumin. A mouse typically eats about 3,000 to 3,500 milligrams (the weight of about six or seven paper clips) daily, so the curcumin-supplemented mice would have consumed about 1.5 to 1.75 milligrams of curcumin daily--a relatively small amount.

The researchers recorded the body weight and food consumption of the mice twice each week. At the end of the 12-week period, their total body weight and fat distribution were measured.

Researchers theorize that dietary curcumin could stall the spread of fat-tissue by inhibiting new blood vessel growth, called angiogenesis, which is necessary to build fat tissue.

Curcumin is a bioactive component in curry and turmeric that has been consumed daily in Asian countries for centuries without reported toxic effects.

It is not known whether the amount of curcumin normally present in food dishes prepared with turmeric is sufficient to inhibit complex fat-tissue secretions that are involved in recruiting new blood vessel growth. The researchers’ next step is to determine the effectiveness of dietary intake of curcumin in reducing weight in humans.

No comments: