Turmeric and diabetes 2

Turmeric is popping up everywhere these days—from spicing up smoothies and stir-fries to coloring curries, soups, and even teas.

Derived from the stem of the Curcuma longa plant then ground into a powder, turmeric originated in India and has been around for thousands of years. Many cultures have used turmeric for cooking, religious significance, and medicinal purposes, such as treating cuts and burns, relieving GI distress, improving blood circulation, and curing the common cold.

But does the golden yellow powder really live up to all the hype? Take this quick quiz to see if you can decipher the facts from the fiction when it comes to this spice.

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The answer: Yes, it can help.

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties, according to New York City-based dietitian Natalie Rizzo, R.D. That could be beneficial in preventing chronic inflammation, which is responsible for issues like arthritis, an inflammatory disease of the joints; depression and anxiety, which has been associated with inflammation in the brain; heart disease, which is caused by an inflammatory response to the buildup of fatty plaque in your arteries; and cancer, in which inflammation is a component of tumor progression.

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For us runners specifically, turmeric can help with the acute—or short-term—inflammation in the joints after a long run. “We want to prevent that inflammation or treat it as much as possible to help with the pain,” Rizzo says. “If we don’t, it could lead to chronic inflammation, which is associated with developing diseases.”

It can also be helpful to speed up recovery after a workout, according to Frank Lipman, M.D., founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. And Rizzo agrees, saying it can be beneficial in preventing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). A 2017 study in The FASEB Journal supports this, finding that participants who supplemented with curcumin had less overall muscle soreness than those who didn’t.

What’s more, turmeric is much easier on your body than taking an over-the-counter NSAID, Lipman says, which can have unwanted side-effects, such as stomach ulcers or heartburn.

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The answer: Turmeric is beneficial for many facets of your overall health.

“It has positive effects on brain function and cardiovascular health, can interrupt the normal progression of cancer cells, and help slow aging by slowing your telomeres from shortening,” Lipman says. (Telomeres are found at the end of every chromosome, and they help cells divide. Every time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter and shorter until they can’t divide anymore.)

A 2018 study published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that when participants took 90 milligrams of curcumin twice a day, they saw improvements in their memories and attention spans. “ behavioral and cognitive benefits are associated with decreases in plaque and tangle accumulation in brain regions modulating mood and memory,” the study states.

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The answer: Well…it depends.

For specific therapeutic uses, like treating arthritis, a turmeric supplement at a higher dose—up to 4 grams per day—is more beneficial, according to Lipman. Look for the active property curcumin, he says. And make sure the supplement has no food coloring or fillers either.

But if you’re just looking to stay healthy and use turmeric as a preventative measure, adding it to your foods is a safe bet. “It’s a spice you can add to anything—roasted veggies, eggs, soup, etc.,” Rizzo says.

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Rizzo says ½ to 1 tablespoon of turmeric a day will give you most of the benefits. Keep in mind, your body absorbs turmeric best when you pair it with certain nutrients. For instance, the piperine in black pepper and the fats in things like olive oil and avocados help your body process it best.

Consuming more than the recommended amount could cause GI distress for some people, Lipman says. But because research has shown that different amounts of turmeric and curcumin are recommended to help treat different diseases, always check in with your doctor first for the best treatment and dosage for any medical condition you may have.

Danielle Zickl Associate Health & Fitness Editor Danielle specializes in interpreting and reporting the latest health research and also writes and edits in-depth service pieces about fitness, training, and nutrition.

By now you know: Inflammation is considered by many to be the root cause of some major health ailments (everything from bloating to autoimmune disorders).

Which might explain why inflammation-fighting turmeric has become the spice du jour, showing up in everything from milkshakes to a cult fave cooking oil.

But as much as people talk about the vibrant-colored spice, the health rules are still hazy. Does a golden milk latte a day really keep the inflammation away? Or is it more effective to pop a capsule?


Here, experts share everything you need to know about turmeric—from the best way to consume it to how much you need to be taking to actually see a real impact.

Photo: Stocksy/Treasures Travels

Dosage and sourcing

First, a little Turmeric 101. As Parsley Health founder and Well+Good Council member Robin Berzin, MD, explains, the active ingredient in the root is curcumin (that’s where its superpowers lie). So when checking out a turmeric capsule’s label, it’s important to note how much curcumin is actually in it. “Curcuminoids only comprise a small part of turmeric,” she says. “If you want anti-inflammatory effects you need to get 500 to 1,000 milligrams of curcuminoids per day.”

When using the spice on its own, the common rule of thumb is that there are 200 milligrams of curcumin in one teaspoon of fresh or ground turmeric (though it varies a bit depending on the source and origins).

About 500 milligrams of curcuminoids a day is a good wellness dose for keeping inflammation away and promoting gut health.

While a popping a pill may be the easiest way to make sure you’re getting enough, it certainly doesn’t all have to come from the same place. Pioneering herbalist and Gaia Herbs founder Ric Scalzo, for example, says he takes a few different products every day so that the dosage adds up.

About 500 milligrams of curcuminoids a day is a good wellness dose for keeping inflammation away and promoting gut health, Scalzo says—but if you’re experiencing chronic pain, you might want to quadruple that, he adds.

Capsules are good for covering your bases, but both Dr. Berzin and Scalzo respect the power of the spice in foods (and their wellness beverage counterparts). “Spices are some of nature’s most powerful natural medicines, so cooking with turmeric is a great idea,” Dr. Berzin says. “That said, it’s likely to help with maintenance, but won’t cure or fix a problem.”

Want to know even more about turmeric? Watch this RD break down the trendy ingredient:

Power pairing: black pepper

Although it’s powerful, curcumin isn’t all-mighty. In fact, both Dr. Berzin and Scalzo point out that it’s poorly absorbed on its own. So you could be taking the recommended dosage, but if it’s not making its way into your gut, you aren’t getting the full spectrum of benefits.

You could be taking the recommended dosage, but if it’s not making its way into your gut, you aren’t getting the full spectrum of benefits.

The solution lies in coupling it with another common spice: black pepper. When combined with turmeric, it increases your body’s ability to absorb the inflammation-fighting spice.

That’s why many turmeric and curcumin capsules often include it (it’s smart to check the label closely the next time you’re shopping). And if you’re cooking with the spice, it’s best to add black pepper to your recipe, too.

Photo: Stocksy/Alejandro Moreno

Beware of “inflammation-washing”

Food and beverage manufacturers are savvy—they know consumers are on the lookout for new ways to get their turmeric, which is why the buzzy ingredient is starting to pop up in more products. While additional opportunities to get anti-inflammatory ingredients is definitely a good thing, Dr. Berzin says that she’s noticed some brands taking advantage of the buzzword in ways that are less than honest.

“A health bar or juice made with 20 grams of sugar and preservatives with a dash of an anti-inflammatory herb thrown in is so much more toxic and inflammatory than it is anti-inflammatory.”

“We’ve all seen green-washing; now we have inflammation-washing,” she says. “A health bar or juice made with 20 grams of sugar and preservatives with a dash of an anti-inflammatory herb thrown in is so much more toxic and inflammatory than it is anti-inflammatory.”

Which brings up another good point: Popping a couple of curcumin capsules every day isn’t going to make up for an unbalanced diet. If your daily regimen relies heavily on dairy, sugar, and soy, before you hit the supplement aisle, maybe give the ultimate anti-inflammatory meal a try? (Seasoned liberally with your new favorite super-healthy spice, of course.)

Originally posted February 21, 2017. Updated June 13, 2019.

Now that you’ve gotten the lowdown on turmeric, check out these recipes that all contain the good-for-you spice—you might want to add one to the menu of your next sober dinner party.

Can Turmeric Help Prevent or Treat Type 2 Diabetes?

Turmeric has long been a staple in Asian cuisine, and in recent years it has earned an international reputation as a cure-all. That isn’t true, but there may be some validity to the notion that turmeric can improve your health, according to a review published in October 2017 in the journal Foods. In the paper, researchers cite several studies that illustrate how this trendy spice may play a role in treating health conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, allergies, depression, multiple sclerosis, and even diabetes — an irreversible disease marked by high blood sugar levels the body can’t bring down on its own. More research is needed before healthcare providers widely prescribe turmeric for disease prevention or treatment, but existing studies suggest there’s something to the health claims.

RELATED: 6 Surprising Alternative Treatments That Worked for People With Diabetes

How Curcumin’s Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects May Boost Health

The likely driver of turmeric’s potential health benefits is curcumin, the primary active chemical in this yellow-orange spice. “Curcumin is what has mostly been studied because of its important signaling pathways. It acts mostly in two areas: It’s an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory,” says Marina Chaparro, RDN, MPH, a certified diabetes educator and a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

According to an article published in January 2015 in the Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, antioxidants help fight against free radicals, which are molecules produced by behaviors like smoking, drinking alcohol, eating fried food, or being exposed to air pollution or pesticides, and which cause oxidative damage. These behaviors, according to a blog article from Huntington’s Outreach Project for Education at Stanford University, trigger cell dysfunction and may increase your risk for chronic diseases including diabetes. The cool thing about antioxidants is that they scavenge those harmful free radicals and render them nontoxic to cells, helping stave off disease.

Inflammation is the body’s natural response when fighting an illness or injury, and symptoms of inflammation can include pain, swelling, and redness, notes an article published by InformedHealth.org. Researchers believe inflammation and oxidative damage are closely related in their ability to contribute to disease risk, as noted in a review published in January 2016 in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. An article in EMBO Reports makes the case that inflammation is the underlying state of just about every disease, from autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis to metabolic ones such as obesity, and even infectious diseases like the common cold. The potential to stunt or treat chronic conditions is why agents that block inflammation are so fascinating to scientists.

RELATED: Here’s How Stress and Inflammation Are Linked

When Combined With Metformin or Diet and Exercise, Turmeric May Help With Blood Sugar Management

Type 2 diabetes is just one disease tied to inflammation and oxidative stress, notes a review in Nature Reviews Immunology. In particular, oxidative stress likely plays a role in insulin resistance, the hallmark of type 2 diabetes that affects insulin secretion and leads to uncontrolled blood sugar, the authors write.

Because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, turmeric supplements may help with blood sugar management in people with type 2 diabetes. (You can also rest assured that turmeric is low-carb, so adding it to your plate or supplements regimen won’t throw your blood sugar levels out of whack.)

A review of mice research published in November 2014 in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine cites studies that suggest curcumin may help lower A1C — a two- to three-month blood sugar average — insulin sensitivity, and fasting blood sugar, in addition to preventing weight gain.

Clinical trials on humans that have analyzed curcumin’s effect on diabetes management are more limited. But a study published in April 2015 in the Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry found that human participants who supplemented their Glucophage (metformin) — a diabetes medication that helps lower blood sugar — with turmeric did lower their blood sugar, inflammation, and levels of oxidative stress.

In another human study — this one a randomized controlled trial that was published in 2012 in Diabetes Care — a supplement of 250 milligrams of curcumin daily was associated with a delay in participants progressing from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes. Researchers studied 240 people for nine months and reported that at the end of the study, 16.4 percent of people in the placebo group developed type 2 diabetes, versus 0 percent in the curcumin-supplemented group. Participants didn’t report any side effects except for mild stomachaches.

Furthermore, in the Diabetes Care study, curcumin notably appeared to help improve the function of beta cells, which research shows help produce the hormone insulin. Insulin is responsible for ferrying glucose to cells, but in type 2 diabetes, cells become insensitive to glucose, leading to high blood sugar. As the pancreas cranks out more insulin to try to lower blood sugar levels, blood sugar remains elevated because of insulin resistance — until it wanes in producing insulin because of beta cell dysfunction.

Chaparro calls the latter study “interesting” but cautioned against the idea that turmeric is a quick-fix for treating diabetes. “If you have a poor lifestyle and diet, and you’re just taking the supplement, it may not have as much of an impact,” Chaparro says.

But she doesn’t discount the potential benefits of turmeric. “The levels of prediabetes and diabetes are such a big problem that if we can find ways to help us improve our overall health, or minimize our risks by making our insulin more effective, I’m all for it,” she adds. “But No. 1 — we have to understand that we need to consume not just curcumin by itself. It’s not going to be a cure-all.”

RELATED: A Detailed Guide to Building a Type 2 Diabetes-Friendly Diet

Tips for Choosing a Safe Turmeric Supplement to Add to Your Diabetes Treatment Plan

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate supplements the same way it regulates traditional medication, Chaparro says. “Getting recommendations or looking at websites that could provide information on what the supplement really has is important,” she says. “If you are a general Joe and you want to start taking curcumin, just make sure it’s an adequate dose, that it’s from a manufacturer you trust, and you know what is actually in it.” Of course, that’s easier said than done, but luckily, the FDA does offer a tip sheet to help you get started.

If you want to take turmeric — or any supplement, for that matter — talk to your healthcare team first, especially if you’re taking a medication to treat diabetes, Chaparro advises. If you’re not taking diabetes medication, a supplement that you know is going to be safe and have those compounds you are looking for is worth looking into, she says, adding that the benefit of curcumin on beta cell function may result in hypoglycemia. Research cited in the aforementioned Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine review also notes that potential side effect of turmeric.

RELATED: 11 Vitamin-Packed Superfoods for People With Type 2 Diabetes

5 Creative and Delicious Ways to Add Turmeric to Your Diet

While most of the research on turmeric so far has involved turmeric supplements, you can also enjoy this slightly bitter herb in your food and drinks. Here’s a handful of ways.

1. Sip Turmeric Tea

Walk into your grocery store and there’s a good chance you’ll find prepackaged turmeric tea bags on the shelf. But if you want to whip up your own cup from scratch, recipes abound online. Check out this one, which involves concocting this comforting tea with cinnamon and freshly ground pepper, among other flavorful ingredients. To keep it diabetes-friendly, swap the honey for a sprinkle of a lower-carb sweetener, such as Splenda or stevia.

Get the recipe from Meghan Telpner.

2. Brew Some Coconut Golden Milk

For a richer take on turmeric tea, try coconut golden milk. This recipe combines turmeric tea and unsweetened almond and coconut milk for a creamy drink you can jazz up with a dash of maple syrup or stevia. Just go easy on the sweeteners to avoid a blood sugar spike.

Get the recipe from the Minimalist Baker.

RELATED: The Best Sugar Substitutes for People With Type 2 Diabetes

3. Dial Up Your Hummus

Protein-rich hummus and veggie sticks are a healthy snack if you’re managing your blood sugar. Reap the satiating perks of chickpeas and the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric with this party-ready dish.

Get the recipe from Savory Nothings.

4. Add Some Spice to Your Chicken Broth

Give the bone-broth trend a try and get an anti-inflammatory boost to boot. In addition to turmeric, this bowl calls for fresh ingredients such as parsley, cabbage, and leeks.

Get the recipe from Parsnips and Pastries.

5. Liven Up Your Tofu

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, tofu offers protein, fiber, and few carbs and calories, making it a diabetes-friendly addition to your plate. While plain tofu can taste bland, adding turmeric to your seasoning mix can make for a dish that’s bursting with color and flavor. This recipe adds in cumin, ground ginger, cayenne, chili powder, and other easy-to-find spices that ensure your meal will be anything but boring.

Get the recipe from Running on Real Food.

Additional reporting by Melinda Carstensen.

By Sayer Ji • Originally published on GreenMedInfo.com

Many diabetics already know about the benefits of a low-glycemic diet, but why haven’t they heard about turmeric, one of the world’s most extensively researched anti-diabetic plants?

A recent literature review published in the International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism titled, “Anti-Hyperglycemic Effect and Insulin Sensitizing Effects of Turmeric and Its Principle Constituent Curcumin,” adds promising new support to the notion that the ancient Indian spice turmeric may provide an ideal drug alternative to treating and perhaps even preventing type 2 diabetes, which has become of the world’s most prevalent diagnoses.

The study reviewed research published between 1998 to 2013 that indicates the active polyphenol in turmeric known as curcumin may provide an ideal intervention for type 2 diabetes, capable of mitigating characteristic pathophysiological hallmarks of the disease such as elevated blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and insulin resistance.

Nineteen of the studies reviewed were cell (in vitro) and animal (in vivo), all which showed beneficial effects. Five of the studies were human clinical trials using turmeric or curcumin, three of which were performed in those with either diabetes or prediabetes.

Amazingly, the animal and cell research literature review concluded that curcumin could improve the type 2 diabetic state through 10 distinctly different mechanisms, such as:

  • Reduction in liver glucose production
  • Reduction in liver glycogen production
  • Stimulation of increased glucose uptake (by increasing GLUT4, GLUT2 and GLUT3 gene expressions)
  • Increasing the activation of AMP kinase
  • Promoting PPAR γ ligand- binding activity
  • Suppressing hyperglycemia-induced inflammatory state
  • Stimulating insulin secretion from pancreatic tissues
  • Improvement in pancreatic cell function,
  • Increasing phosphorylation of AKT
  • Increasing insulin receptor β and reduction of insulin resistance

The human clinical research conducted on diabetic and pre-diabetic patients revealed that curcumin had the following beneficial effects:

  • Glucose lowering effect
  • Improved beta cell function
  • Improved fatty acid oxidation and utilization

One of these studies is especially worth highlighting, as it found a turmeric extract was highly effective in preventing the development of diabetes within pre-diabetic subjects. The study published in 2012, in the American Diabetic Association’s own journal, Diabetes Care, and titled, “Curcumin extract for the prevention of type 2 diabetes,” found that the administration of six capsules containing 250 mg of curcumin daily for 9 months was 100% effective at preventing the development of type 2 diabetes in prediabetics; more specifically: “16.4% of the subjects in the placebo group were diagnosed with T2DM, whereas none were diagnosed with T2DM.”

Observed effects like these are extremely promising when viewed within the context of the highly dismal pharmaceutically-based standard of care. For instance, oral anti-diabetic drugs like metformin are notorious for their serious side effects. They often lower blood sugar, generating the surface appearance of physiological normality, e.g. blood sugar within range, but actually increase morbidity and mortality. With the possibility of deadly side effects, we need natural, safe, affordable and easily accessible alternatives like turmeric now more than ever.

Moreover, despite the well-known problem of insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes, recombinant or genetically modified insulin is often used in these patients – a highly illogical and irresponsible approach, and which is endemic to a medical paradigm that does not seek to identity for resolve root causes of disease. A small, but highly concerning recent clinical study found that insulin accelerated the progression of type 2 diabetes, as well as caused type 1 diabetes, or “double diabetes.”

Diabetes is, of course, driven by a dietary pattern that reflects evolutionary mismatch, i.e. the Western diet is a lethal disease vector that has no resemblance to the traditional diet humans consumed for thousands of years, and upon which it still depends for good health.

Turmeric, therefore, while an amazing alternative to diabetic drugs, should not be considered a “natural cure”; rather, it is something of a palliative counter-balance to a biologically inappropriate diet, which while far better than pharmaceuticals (learn more by reading: Science Confirms Turmeric As Effective As 14 Drugs), still needs to be part of a broader, more holistic plan that takes into account diet, exercise, toxicant exposure, and mind-body/emotional factors that underpin well-being and contribute significantly to most dis-eases.

From Ocean Robbins, Food Revolution Network CEO:

Many of our members have been asking how much curcumin to take, how to take it in a bioavailable form, and where to get curcumin from a source they can trust. The challenge with taking full advantage of the curcumin in turmeric is low bioavailability. Personally, I love mixing fresh and dried turmeric into all sorts of foods – and I always try to include black pepper with it, because studies show that piperine (found in black pepper) helps to increase absorbability.

But now PuraTHRIVE has developed a curcumin supplement that utilizes a cutting-edge micelle liposomal delivery mechanism that’s been found to increase bioavailability by up to 185 times. Their formula also contains ginger oil, vegan DHA fatty acids from algae, and beneficial phospholipids. The product is 100% vegan, organic, soy-free, and non-GMO. And if you get it from this link, they’ll contribute a portion of the proceeds to the work of the Food Revolution Network. .

A Word of Caution:

Turmeric is a natural blood thinner. If you’re currently taking blood thinning medications, are pregnant, have gallstones, or are susceptible to kidney stones you may want to moderate your turmeric consumption or take it under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

Lead in Tumeric

Investigators believe that in some countries, turmeric may be intentionally contaminated with lead to enhance its weight, color, or both. Lead-contaminated turmeric has repeatedly been found in India and Bangladesh, and it may be a concern in the United States, as well.

The FDA has not set maximum permissible levels of lead in spices. As a result, the agency does not regulate lead levels in turmeric. If you want to protect yourself and your family from possible lead contamination, the best option is to buy fresh turmeric root or to buy organic turmeric and curcumin products. You can also contact manufacturers to ask if they test for lead and other metals.

We asked PuraTHRIVE about their products and lead, and they told us they run ICPMS (the highest standard for heavy metal testing) on every batch of Curcumin Gold. They test internally and also hire a third party for independent verification. The test results show there is no lead in their products. They report that they are also fully compliant with California’s Prop 65. See more about Curcumin Gold here.

Note: Image from Steven Jackson on Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Original article
Effect of curcumin on glucose and lipid metabolism, FFAs and TNF-α in serum of type 2 diabetes mellitus rat models


Compared with the model group, AUCs of FBG, blood glucose at 30 min, 60 min and 120 min, and glucose were decreased in varying degrees in the curcumin group, and the differences had statistical significance (p < .05). After subcutaneous injection of insulin, we found that the blood glucose at 40 min and 90 min in the curcumin group was decreased, while AUC of glucose level was also decreased (p < .05 or .01). Eight weeks after medication, compared with the rats in the normal group, the levels of HDL-C, LDL-C, TC and TG in rats of the model group and the curcumin group were obviously increased (p < .05). In comparison with the model group, the level of LDL-C in rats of the curcumin group was also decreased significantly (p < .05). In comparison with the normal control group in the same period, we found that the content of FFAs and TNF-α in serum of rats of the model group were elevated significantly, and the differences had statistical significance (p < .05 or .01); the levels in the curcumin group were significantly decreased in comparison with the model group in the same period, and the difference had statistical significance (p < .05 or .01).

One diabetes medicine may lower blood sugar and cholesterol, protect your eyes and kidneys, relieve pain, prevent cancer, and improve your sex life. It also tastes good.


This medicine is turmeric, made from the root Curcuma longa, a member of the ginger family. About 2% to 5% of turmeric is the yellow/orange powder called curcumin, which gives curry powder its beautiful color. The taste has a bite to it, but with the right recipe, you’ll love it. Or you can take capsules.

Turmeric has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic (Indian) and Chinese medicine. They give it for pain relief, improved digestion and liver function, and for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Curcumin may also help treat aspects of diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2. A scientific paper from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and McGill University reviewed multiple studies of curcumin from around the world. Most of these are studies of diabetic rats and mice. They need to be repeated in humans to gain scientific acceptance, but I’m convinced of the benefits of turmeric and diabetes management.

Turmeric and diabetes

1. In many of these studies, curcumin reduced blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

In addition:

2. Curcumin prevented liver fat accumulation. Rats who consumed curcumin had reduced liver fat on a high-fat diet compared to rats not consuming curcumin.

3. Curcumin suppressed the activities of white blood cells called macrophages that cause inflammation. This action of turmeric/curcumin could potentially slow down many complications of diabetes, in which inflammation plays a role.

4. Curcumin improves insulin function. It reduces insulin resistance by helping insulin get into cells, perhaps on the AMPK pathway that exercise also opens up.

In a study of 240 people in Thailand, curcumin prevented prediabetes from progressing to diabetes. Roughly 16% of the 116 people on placebo (inactive treatment) progressed to Type 2 diabetes within nine months. Nobody in the group receiving 250 milligrams daily of “curcuminoids” from supplements progressed.

In a rat version of Type 1, a derivative of curcumin nearly completely reversed the disease over ten months. Islet cells regrew, and insulin levels increased.

5. Curcumin protects beta cells, which produce insulin. Studies found that beta cells grew faster and lived longer in rats who consumed curcumin.

6. Curcumin supports kidneys. It promotes clearance of creatinine and urea from the blood, which is what kidneys are supposed to do.

7. Curcumin fights cancer. According to Cancer Research UK, “It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the strongest effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer, and skin cancer cells.”

8. Curcumin improved erection function in rats who had “diabetes-induced erectile dysfunction.” It apparently did this by increasing blood flow to their genitals.

9. Curcumin speeded stomach emptying in rats. It improved digestion. This could potentially be a valuable treatment for those with the complication called “gastroparesis,” which we wrote about here.

10. Curcumin is an “antioxidant.” Oxygen is needed for life. However, oxygen also corrodes things, as you can see when iron rusts into ferric oxide. Molecules called ROS (reactive oxygen species) can “rust” blood vessels and organs. In some studies, curcumin was found to “scavenge” ROS from the body, thus protecting healthy cells from oxidation.

Turmeric, curcumin, cumin, and curry

What’s the best way to get the benefits of curcumin? It can get confusing.

Turmeric is a root, sold whole or ground up. You can use it to cook with, sprinkle it on food, or buy it in capsules.

Curcumin is the much-studied “active ingredient” in turmeric. Many sellers use the terms “curcumin” and “turmeric” to mean the same thing.

Cumin is a different thing altogether, a spice made from the seeds of a flowering plant. It has no curcumin, but does have antioxidant effects of its own.

Curry powder often contains turmeric, cumin, and other seasonings. If you like the taste, it might be a good way to get your curcumin dose.

Curcumin is poorly absorbed

Curcumin has the disadvantage of being hard for the body to absorb. You don’t get much of it, and it’s quickly cleared from the body.

One reason curry powder is so healthy is that it often contains black pepper. Black pepper contains a chemical called piperine that keeps curcumin in the blood longer. You can also buy turmeric/curcumin capsules that include piperine.

You can cook delicious food with turmeric powder. The website Kitchn suggests adding it to egg scrambles, vegetables, rice, soups, smoothies, or making a tea with milk and honey.

You can make your own curry powder with recipes like these. I can see the advantage of making your own, starting with whole turmeric root, because then you’ll know what you’re getting and can make it more or less spicy for your taste.

You will have to ask to find out what ingredients a particular curry powder or turmeric capsule contains. If you buy capsules, the supplement website Smarter Reviews says the top ingredient on the label should be “pure turmeric curcumin.” Some capsules are full of fillers and don’t have much curcumin at all.

Vani Hari, the “Food Babe,” says “buy organic high-quality ground turmeric or fresh turmeric root from the produce section,” not some random powder in a bottle.

The prices of capsules vary dramatically. I saw prices online ranging from $8.00 for 100 capsules up to $45 for 60 capsules. I’m sure quality varies sharply as well.

This could be a healing cooking adventure for you. I hope you will try more turmeric in food, or take the capsules (after checking with your doctor) and let us know how it goes.

Looking to learn about more foods that may help with diabetes? Read Bitter Melon, Diabetes,” “Leaves and Fruits for Diabetes,” “Vinegar for Diabetes? Yes!” and “Cinnamon and Diabetes: An Update.”

David Spero, BSN, RN

A nurse for 25 years at University of California San Francisco and Kaiser hospitals, and one of the first professional health coaches. Nurse Spero is author of Diabetes: Sugar-Coated Crisis and The Art of Getting Well: Maximizing Health When You Have a Chronic Illness, as well as co-author of Diabetes Heroes and the diabetes chapter in Where There is No Doctor. He writes for Diabetes Self-Management, Pain-Free Living, and Everyday Health.

Learn more about David Spero:

Professional website • LinkedIn

Turmeric is a spice which in its raw form looks a bit like ginger root, but when it’s ground down you get a distinctive yellowy orange powder that’s very popular in South Asian cuisine. Until recently the place you would most likely encounter turmeric would be in chicken tikka massala, one of Britain’s most popular dishes.

These days, thanks to claims that it can improve everything from allergies to depression, it’s become incredibly trendy, not just cooked and sprinkled on food but added to drinks. Turmeric latte anyone?

Now I’m usually very cynical about such claims, but in the case of turmeric I thought there could be something to it. There are at least 200 different compounds in turmeric, but there’s one that scientists are particularly interested in. It gives this spice its colour. It’s called curcumin.

Thousands of scientific papers have been published looking at turmeric and curcumin in the laboratory –some with promising results. But they’ve mainly been done in mice, using unrealistically high doses. There have been few experiments done in the real world, on humans.

This is exactly the sort of situation where we on Trust Me like to make a difference. So we tracked down leading researchers from across the country and with their help recruited nearly 100 volunteers from the North East to do a novel experiment. Few of our volunteers ate foods containing turmeric on a regular basis.

Then, in true Trust Me style, we divided them into three groups.

We asked one group to consume a teaspoon of turmeric every day for six weeks, ideally mixed in with their food. Another group were asked to swallow a supplement containing the same amount of turmeric, and a third group were given a placebo, or dummy pill.

The volunteers who were asked to consume a teaspoon of turmeric a day were ingenious about what they added it to, mixing it with warm milk or adding it to yoghurt. Not everyone was enthusiastic about the taste, with comments ranging form “awful!” to “very strong and lingering”

But what effect was eating turmeric having on them? We decided to try and find out using a novel test developed at University College, London by Professor Martin Widschwendter and his team.

Professor Widschwendter is not particularly interested in turmeric but he is interested in how cancers start. His team have been comparing tissue samples taken from women with breast cancer and from women without it and they’ve found a change that happens to the DNA of cells well before they become cancerous. The change is in the “packaging” of the genes. It’s called DNA methylation. It’s a bit like a dimmer switch that can turn the activity of the gene up or down.

The exciting thing is that if it is detected in time this change can, potentially, be reversed, before the cell turns cancerous. DNA methylation may explain why, for instance, your risk of developing lung cancer drops dramatically once you give up smoking. It could be that the unhealthy methylation of genes, caused by tobacco smoke, stops or reverses once you quit.

So we asked Professor Widschwendter whether testing the DNA methylation patterns of our volunteers’ blood cells at the start and end of the experiment would reveal any change in their risk of cancer and other diseases, like allergies. It was something that had not been done before.

Fortunately he was very enthusiastic. “We were delighted”, he said, “to be involved in this study, because it is a proof of principle study that opens entirely new windows of opportunity to really look into how we can predict preventive measures, particularly for cancer”

So what, if anything, happened?

When I asked him that, Martin pulled out his laptop and slowly began to speak. “We didn’t find any changes in the group taking the placebo (the dummy pill)”, he told me. That was not surprising. “The supplement group also didn’t also show any difference”, he went on.

That was surprising and somewhat disappointing.

“But the group who mixed turmeric powder into their food”, he continued, “there we saw quite substantial changes. It was really exciting, to be honest. We found one particular gene which showed the biggest difference. And what’s interesting is that we know this particular gene is involved in three specific diseases: depression, asthma and eczema, and cancer…so this is a really striking finding”.

It certainly is. But why did we see changes only in those eating turmeric, not in those taking the same amount as a supplement? Dr Kirsten Brandt, who is a senior lecturer at Newcastle University and who helped run the experiment thinks it may have something to do with the way the turmeric was consumed.

“It could be”, she told me, “that adding fat or heating it up makes the active ingredients more soluble, which would make it easier for us to absorb the turmeric. It certainly gives us something, to work on, to try to find out exactly what’s happening”.

She also told me, because our volunteers all tried consuming their turmeric in different ways, that we can be confident it was the turmeric that was making the difference and not some other ingredient used to make, say, chicken tikka marsala.

There is a lot more research that needs to be done, including repeating the experiment to see if these findings can be confirmed. But in light of what we’ve discovered will I be consuming more of the stuff? Probably. It helps that I like the taste and I’ve already begun experimenting with things like adding it with a touch of chilli to an omelette.

Turmeric Latte (2 servings )

Turmeric, like ginger is one of nature’s natural anti-inflammatories.

  • 250 ml nut milk – such as almond or cashew (or dairy)
  • 125 ml full fat coconut milk
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or 1 tablespoon butter) optional
  • Pinch of salt
  • Ground cinnamon to sprinkle

Combine all ingredients, except the cinnamon, in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir to combine until hot but not boiling. To create a frothy texture blitz with a stick blender or in a blender (about 30 seconds). Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Serve hot and drink immediately or serve chilled.

Tip; To significantly enhance the benefit of turmeric add a grind of black pepper, though this will change the flavour!

Utility of curcumin for the treatment of diabetes mellitus: Evidence from preclinical and clinical studies

Turmeric or Curcuma longa is a natural product, whose medicinal properties have been extensively studied and a wide variety of therapeutic effects on several diseases such as neurodegenerative, hepatic and renal damage, cancer, and diabetes have been mainly attributed to its curcuminoid content. In the last decades, diabetes mellitus has become an alarming worldwide health issue, because of the increasing number of people suffering from the disease, as well as the devastating consequences for them. In this paper, we review the current basic and clinical evidence about the potential of curcumin/curcuminoids for the treatment of diabetes mellitus, mainly by its hypoglycemic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. The activity of curcumin (or curcuminoids) as a hypoglycemic agent or just as an adjuvant to improve the metabolic profile and to ameliorate the associated complications of diabetes mellitus, such as diabetic nephropathy and cardiopathy is discussed. The interactions between curcumin and conventional antidiabetic drugs might be explored for the therapeutic management of diabetes mellitus.

Turmeric For Diabetes Dosage, Research, Treatment + Prevention

Turmeric is a well-known spice and one of the worlds most extensively researched anti-diabetic herbs. The main active ingredient in Turmeric is curcumin and its derivatives curcuminoids. In this article we consider turmeric for diabetes, as well as turmeric research, turmeric for diabetes dosage and turmeric for diabetes prevention.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article.

What Is Diabetes Mellitus?
Types Of Diabetes Mellitus
Diabetes Mellitus In Ayurveda
Pathogenesis (Samprapti) Of Diabetes Mellitus (Madhumeha): Ayurvedic Perspective
Turmeric For Diabetes Mellitus
How It Works: Turmeric’s Mode Of Action In Diabetes Mellitus, The Ayurvedic Perspective
Turmeric For Diabetes? What The Scientific Research Says
When To See The Doctor
Turmeric Precautions And Contraindications

READ MORE: Easy Turmeric Latte Recipe + Benefits, Turmeric Benefits (Curcumin), Dosage, Side Effects + More, Can Turmeric Help You Lose Weight?

What Is Diabetes Mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic disorders characterized by recurrent or persistent high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period of time. It is diagnosed by demonstrating any one of the following.

READ MORE: The Best Food For Diabetics, According To Ayurveda, Will Turmeric Lower Blood Pressure?

Types Of Diabetes Mellitus

There are two main types of diabetes mellitus called type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes) is characterized by beta cell destruction caused by an autoimmune process. It usually leads to absolute insulin deficiency often first present in children or in young adults.

Type 2 diabetes occurs due to a progressive insulin secretory defect on the background of insulin resistance and is more associated with being overweight. It most often first presents in people over the age of 40. This is because people with type 2 diabetes still make insulin however they do not make enough insulin according to the body’s needs, or the body is not able to use the insulin properly. It tends to develop gradually (over weeks or month).

Diabetes Mellitus In Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, diabetes mellitus (Madhumeha) falls under a set of 20 urinary disorders (Prameha)1 which are generally characterized by the production of excess turbid urine (Prabhootavilmutrata).2 Although in this set of urinary disorders (Prameha) there is involvement of all three doshas, Kapha dosha involvement is predominant. Pitta and Vata doshas are involved at later stages.

Any one of these twenty urinary disorders (Prameha), when left untreated, can be converted into diabetes mellitus (Madhumeha)3 and in this condition there is a passage of a large amount of sweet and astringent urine.

READ MORE: Kapha Diet: Everything You Need To Know

Pathogenesis (Samprapti) Of Diabetes Mellitus (Madhumeha): Ayurvedic Perspective

According to Charaka, due to the imbalance of all three doshas there is disturbed metabolism of fat (meda). As a result, channels are blocked causing obstruction in the movement of Vata dosha. Obstructed Vata transforms the sweet essence of all the tissues (ojas) into an astringent and sweet taste like honey, which discharges in the form of urine. This condition is called diabetes mellitus (Madhumeha).

The pathogenesis (Samprapti) of diabetes mellitus (Madhumeha) can be understood in the following way.

According to Ayurveda, vitiated Kapha is considered the prime culprit for the occurrence of a set of 20 urinary disorders (Prameha) which when left untreated are converted into diabetes mellitus (Madhumeha). The invariable vitiation of Kapha dosha can be correlated with increased levels of glucose in the blood.

According to Ayurveda, the nourishment of all tissues (Dhatus) is influenced by the function of the main digestive fire (Agni or Jatharagni) which is responsible for digestion of food as well as absorption and respective metabolic digestive fire of each tissue (Dhatvagni). All the seven tissues develop sequentially and nourish further tissue (Dhatu).

During the pathological process of diabetes mellitus (Madhumeha), there is a state of imbalance of all the three doshas along with low digestive fire (agnimandya) and metabolic impairment (dhatwagni mandya). Metabolism of fat tissue (medodhatvagni mandya) is especially disturbed. It blocks the formation as well as the nourishment of tissues, resulting in the development of freely flowing fats in the blood circulation (Abaddha Medas). This pathological process may cause insulin resistance due to which glucose does not enter the cell effectively and remains in the blood in high concentrations causing diabetes mellitus (Madhumeha).

READ MORE: Kapha Pacifying Date Pickle Recipe, 10 Rules For The Kapha Diet, Kapha Balancing Roasted Chickpeas Mix Rexipe

Turmeric For Diabetes Mellitus

The Ayurvedic Properties of Turmeric

The ancient Ayurvedic scholar Charaka enlisted Turmeric as one of the herbs in a group of ten most effective herbs for scraping or having a lipolytic effect (Lekhaniya mahakashaya).5

According to the ancient Ayurvedic classical text Ashtang Hridaya, Turmeric and Indian gooseberry (Embellica officinalis, Amalaki) are considered the best herbs for the management of diabetes.6 In fact, Ayurveda considers Turmeric the best among all the herbs mentioned for diabetes.

How It Works: Turmeric’s Mode Of Action In Diabetes Mellitus, The Ayurvedic Perspective

According to Ayurveda, Diabetes mellitus (Madhumeha) involves the imbalance of all the three doshas, and Turmeric is known to pacify all the three doshas (tridoshashamaka).

By virtue of its hotness, it balances Vata and Kapha. Because of its dry (Ruksha) and light (Laghu) property, hot (Ushna) potency (veerya) and pungent (Katu) post-digestive effect (Vipaka), it balances Kapha dosha. Due to its bitterness, it balances Pitta dosha.

Turmeric basically works in four ways in managing diabetes mellitus (Madhumeha).

  • Due to its Kapha antagonist properties, Turmeric effectively reduces the increased level of glucose (vitiated Kapha) and freely flowing fats in the blood circulation (Abaddha Medas).
  • Due to its lipolytic or scraping (Lekhaniya) quality and Kapha and Pitta pacifying properties, it reduces inflammation (Shothahara) and destroys the accumulated bad cholesterol (Meda). Turmeric removes blockages in the blood vessels and cleanses the channels (Srotoshodhana), making the circulation of blood and nutrients easy.
  • Due to its pungent, bitter taste and its dry, light property and hot potency, Turmeric rectifies the digestive fire (Agni or Jatharagni) and metabolic digestive fire (Dhatavagni). It aids in the proper nourishment of the tissues (Dhatus), balances Vata Dosha with unobstructed movements of Vata. As a result, the essence of all the tissues (ojas) reverts into its normal condition.
  • The lipolytic or scraping property of Turmeric helps in removing excess fat. It may also help in shedding weight. And weight loss helps in regression of the pathology of diabetes and further promotes reduction in insulin resistance further.7

READ MORE: 37 Tips To Fight Inflammation Caused By Pitta Dosha, Turmeric Smoothie Recipe With Ginger

Turmeric For Diabetes? What The Scientific Research Says

The impressive benefits of Turmeric are due to the presence of a natural compound curcumin, the principal curcuminoid. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It helps in lowering blood sugar levels in diabetes. Let’s see how it may help in managing as well as preventing diabetes and its related complications.

1. Turmeric Has Antihyperglycemic Effects

Research says that curcumin helps in balancing blood glucose and insulin levels in diabetes. It lowers elevated blood sugar by bringing down glucose production in the liver, stimulating glucose uptake by the body, stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic tissues, improving pancreatic cell function and reducing insulin resistance.8

2. Turmeric Manages Postprandial Glucose level

Alpha‐glucosidase inhibitors (AGIs) play an important role in the healing of type‐2 diabetes. Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors act as competitive inhibitors of alpha-glucosidase enzymes in the brush border of the small intestines. They reduce the rate of digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. That means they have a lowering effect on postprandial blood glucose and insulin levels.

Turmeric is capable of inhibiting glucosidase enzymes effectively. During a research study, it was seen that dry rhizomes of turmeric exhibited potent α-glucosidase inhibitory capacities. It was then postulated that it is capable of managing Postprandial Glucose level efficiently.9.

READ MORE: When To Eat: The Best Times To Eat Different Foods, Ayurvedic Foot Care: Pampering Treats For Tired Feet

3. It Stops The Risk Of Developing Diabetes (Turmeric For Diabetes Prevention)

Clinical research supports the fact that curcumin supplementation has been proven to reverse pre-diabetes. A 9-month curcumin intervention in a pre-diabetic population significantly lowered the number of pre-diabetic individuals who eventually developed type 2 diabetes.

In addition, curcumin therapy appeared to improve overall function of β-cells. This study demonstrated that curcumin intervention in a pre-diabetic population may be beneficial and may reduce the risk of developing diabetes.10 According to this research study, curcumin has been shown to have anti-diabetogenic effects. It improved the activity of pancreatic adrenergic receptors and regulated the ability of the pancreas to sense glucose and secrete insulin.11

4. It Inhibits Inflammation

There is an association between inflammatory biomarkers and the occurrence of type 2 diabetes mellitus and its complications. Adipose tissue are the major sites for the production of those inflammatory biomarkers. These inflammatory biomarkers produce inflammatory response and contribute to the occurrence of type 2 diabetes mellitus by causing insulin resistance.

In addition to this, in the presence of hyperglycemia the inflammation intensifies and promotes long-term complications of diabetes. Targeting inflammatory pathways is one of the strategies to prevent and control diabetes and related complications.12 Research during the study found that curcumin present in Turmeric suppresses and reverses many of the inflammatory and metabolic derangements caused by diabetes and prevents its proliferation. Research also shows that curcuminoids exert anti-diabetic effects, by reducing serum Adipocyte-fatty Acid Binding Protein Levels, a reduction in enzymes and proteins involved in inflammation, which leads to improved metabolic parameters in type 2 diabetes.13

5. It Reduces Oxidative Stress And Its Complications

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are formed as a natural byproduct of the normal metabolism of oxygen and have important roles in cell signaling and homeostasis. When ROS levels increase dramatically, this may result in significant damage to cell structures. Any imbalance between the reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidant level leads to a condition known as “oxidative stress”. It results in the development of a pathological condition such as Diabetes.

Under hyperglycemic (high blood sugar levels) conditions, increased uptake of glucose leads to excess production of ROS which causes oxidative degradation of fats (lipid peroxidation), oxidative damage to cell and initiation of inflammatory pathways. Oxidative stress further produces complications of diabetes which includes stroke, neuropathy, retinopathy and nephropathy.14

Research says that Turmeric acts as an antioxidant, scavenges ROS and inhibits lipid peroxidation. Curcuminoid present in Turmeric supplements has shown to raise the level of antioxidant enzymes in diabetes.15 This property of turmeric can help in reducing oxidative stress observed in diabetes. Besides this, research has also shown that curcumin can prevent the deleterious complications of diabetes.16

6. It Improves Liver Function

Patients with diabetes often suffer from fatty liver disease and other liver disorders. It was seen in a study that dietary fed curcumin for 8 weeks excreted less albumin, urea, creatinine, and inorganic phosphorus. During a research study, curcumin intake exhibited reduced liver weight and lipid peroxidation products in the plasma and urine which are considered as indicators of improved liver function.17

Researchers also concluded that curcumin supplements help in the improvement of different features of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In a research study it was seen that 70mg of bioavailable curcumin per day for 8 weeks reduced liver fat content in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and brought about a 78.9% improvement in the disease.18

7. Checks the Diabetes induces High Cholesterol levels

There is a link between the insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and diabetic dyslipidemia that tends to cause people with type 2 diabetes to get heart disease or a stroke at a younger age than people without type 2 diabetes. Diabetic dyslipidemia is a characteristic pattern. It consists of low HDL cholesterol, an increased concentration of small dense LDL-cholesterol particles, increased triglycerides, and postprandial lipemia. This pattern is most frequently seen in type 2 diabetes. Dietary intake of Curcumin has demonstrated a significant lower level of liver cholesterol, triglycerides and phospholipids.19

8. It Reduces The Risk Of Diabetes Induced Cardiovascular Disease

Hyperglycemia is the hallmark of Diabetes mellitus and is a major risk factor for endothelial dysfunction. Endothelium dysfunction precedes and portends the development of atherosclerosis and is an independent prognostic predictor for the risk of future of cardiovascular events. In a research study, Curcumin was found to be as good as atorvastatin allopathic medicine in improving endothelial dysfunction along with reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Moreover, long-term curcumin intake have also shown improvement in lowering plasma and hepatic cholesterol and suppressing early atherosclerotic lesions as comparable to the protective effects of lovastatin allopathic medicine during a study20

9. It Has Anti-Obesity Potential

Curcumin, a major active component of Turmeric overcomes insulin resistance in obesity-induced diabetes and is helpful for the prevention of obesity and insulin resistance.

10. It Hastens Wound Healing

Curcumin has been shown to possess significant anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, anti-coagulant and anti-infective effects in research studies. Curcumin has shown to enhance granulation tissue formation, collagen deposition, tissue remodeling and wound contraction. A study found that it’s topical application has been shown to speed up the wound healing process.21

A research study showed that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential of curcumin caused faster and better wound healing in diabetic rats which proves that curcumin could be an additional novel therapeutic agent in the management of impaired wound healing in diabetics.22

In order to manage diabetes and its complications and reap several of turmeric’s benefits, enjoy a healthy amount of Turmeric in your diet. Try an easy and tasty Golden Milk recipe.

READ MORE: Golden Milk For Joints, Does It Work?, How Golden Milk Benefits Memory, Golden Porridge: A Turmeric Breakfast Bowl Recipe

When To See The Doctor

Though ample preliminary research shows that Turmeric may lower the sugar level in diabetes mellitus, one should take caution while consuming large quantities of Turmeric along with anti-diabetic medications.

The curcumin present in Turmeric has an anti-hyperglycemic effect. So the quantity of this herb needs to be carefully monitored and regulated when taken along with anti-diabetic medications. In order to know the best suitable amount of Turmeric according to one’s blood sugar level, it is best to seek the advice of an experienced Ayurvedic practitioner or health care provider.

Turmeric Precautions And Contraindications

Dietary intake of turmeric in the form of a spice, in the quantity of 1-3 grams in food, is always safe for consumption. In this amount, it is unlikely to cause any adverse side effects. In the following conditions however, it is best to avoid health supplements of Turmeric. Do not consume Turmeric in more than the regular dietary amount in the following health conditions.

Do not take Turmeric supplements during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Studies found that Turmeric may stimulate uterine contraction.23 In addition, due to the lack of research on Turmeric, pregnancy and postpartum, it is better not to take it during this time.

READ MORE: How To Breastfeed The Ayurvedic Way

Do not take Turmeric supplements if you’re on blood thinners or have a bleeding or clotting disorder.

Curcumin has shown to have anticoagulant or blood thinning effects.24

Do not take Turmeric supplements prior to surgery.

Curcumin has shown to have blood thinning properties.

Do not take Tumeric supplements if you are suffering from kidney stones or gout.

Research has shown that Turmeric may increase the level of oxalates in the blood.25

Do not take Turmeric supplements when there is gall bladder obstruction.

Research has shown that curcumin may cause painful contractions in conditions of gall bladder obstruction.26

Do not take Turmeric supplements in low blood pressure conditions.

Studies found that curcumin has the property of reducing blood pressure.27

READ MORE: Will Turmeric Lower Blood Pressure?, Heal With Haldi: Turmeric Milk Recipe, 50 Ayurvedic Herbs You Need To Know

1. Vaidya Yadavaji Trikamaji, Charaka Samhita Nidana sthana chapter 4 verse 3, Chaukhmba surbharati prakashana, reprint 2000.
2. Astang Hridya “Vidyotini” commentary by Kaviraja Atrideva Gupta, Chowkhamba publication, Varanasi, reprint edition. Nidan sthanam, 2009; 10/7.
3. Susruta Samhita Nidan sthanam chapter 6 verse 30 Hindi Commentary, Editor Kaviraj Ambika dutta Shastri, Choukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan Varanasi, 14th Ed. 2003.
4. The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia Of India, Part 1, volume 1.
5. Vaidya Yadavaji Trikamaji, Charaka Samhita Sutra sthana chapter 4 verse 8-3, Chaukhmba surbharati prakashana, reprint 2000.
6. Vagbhatta Astanga Hridaya ) Chikitsa Sthana chapter 12 verse 5, with commentaries, edited with ‘Vidyotini’ Hindi Commentary by Kaviraj Atridev Gupta, Vd. Yadunandana Upadhyaya14th edition, published by Chaukhambha Sanskrit Sansthan, Varanasi, 2003; 372.
7. L.D.Clamp, Enhanced insulin sensitivity in successful, long-term weight loss maintainers compared with matched controls with no weight loss history Nutrition & Diabetes volume 7, page e282 (2017)doi:10.1038/nutd.2017.31.
8. Zeinab Ghorbani, Anti-Hyperglycaemic and Insulin Sensitizer Effects of Turmeric and Its Principle Constituent Curcumin, Journal List Int J Endocrinol Meta by. Published online 2014 Oct 1. doi: 10.5812/ijem.18081PMCID: PMC4338652PMID: 25745485.
9. P. C. Lekshmi, Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) volatile oil inhibits key enzymes linked to type 2 diabetes Journal International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition Volume 63, 2012 – Issue 7.
10. Chuengsamarn, Somlak, Suthee Rattanamongkolgul, Rataya Luechapudiporn, Chada Phisalaphong, and Siwanon Jirawatnotai. “Curcumin extract for prevention of type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes care 35, no. 11 (2012): 2121-2127.
11. Naijil G Curcumin pretreatment mediates anti-diabetogenesis via functional regulation of adrenergic receptor subtypes in the pancreas of multiple low-dose streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats Nutr Res. 2015 Sep;35(9):823-33. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2015.06.011. Epub 2015 Jul 2.
12. Lontchi-Yimagou E, Diabetes mellitus and inflammation. Curr Diab Rep. 2013 Jun;13(3):435-44. doi: 10.1007/s11892-013-0375.
13. Na LX, Curcuminoids Target Decreasing Serum Adipocyte-fatty Acid Binding Protein Levels in Their Glucose-lowering Effect in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes. Biomed Environ Sci. 2014 Nov;27(11):902-6. doi: 10.3967/bes2014.127.
14. Asmat, Ullah, Khan Abad, and Khan Ismail. “Diabetes mellitus and oxidative stress—a concise review.” Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal 24, no. 5 (2016): 547-553.
15. Sreejayan N,Free radical scavenging activity of curcuminoids. Arzneimittelforschung. 1996 Feb;46(2):169-7.
16. Dong-wei Zhang,Curcumin and Diabetes: A Systematic Review Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 636053 PMCID: PMC3857752PMID: 24348712.
17. Zhang, Dong-wei, Min Fu, Si-Hua Gao, and Jun-Li Liu. “Curcumin and diabetes: a systematic review.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013 (2013).
18. Rahmani S Treatment of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease with Curcumin: A Randomized Placebo-controlled Trial. Phytother Res. 2016 Sep;30(9):1540-8. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5659. Epub 2016 Jun 8.
19. P. Suresh Babu, Hypolipidemic action of curcumin, the active principle of turmeric (Curcuma longa) in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry January 1997, Volume 166, Issue 1–2, pp 169–175 |
20. Su Kyung Shin, Curcumin_Administration_Protects_Against_Atherosclerosis_via_Hepatic_Regulation_of_Lipoprotein_Cholesterol_Metabolism Mol. Nutr. Food Res. 2011, 55, 1829–1840.
21. Akbik D ,Curcumin as a wound healing agent. Life Sci. 2014 Oct 22;116(1):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2014.08.016. Epub 2014 Sep 6.
22. Kant V Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential of curcumin accelerated the cutaneous wound healing in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Int Immunopharmacol. 2014 Jun;20(2):322-30. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2014.03.009. Epub 2014 Mar 24.PMID: 24675438.
23. Khayat S, Curcumin attenuates severity of premenstrual syndrome symptoms: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2015 Jun;23(3):318-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2015.04.001. Epub 2015 Apr 9.
24. Heck AM,Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2000 Jul 1;57(13):1221-7; quiz 1228-30.
25. Tang M ,Effect of cinnamon and turmeric on urinary oxalate excretion, plasma lipids, and plasma glucose in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1262-7.PMID: 18469248.
26. Rasyid A ,The effect of curcumin and placebo on human gall-bladder function: an ultrasound study. Send toAliment Pharmacol Ther. 1999 Feb;13(2):245-9.
27. Lekshmi, P. C., Ranjith Arimboor, V. M. Nisha, A. Nirmala Menon, and K. G. Raghu. “In vitro antidiabetic and inhibitory potential of turmeric (Curcuma longa L) rhizome against cellular and LDL oxidation and angiotensin converting enzyme.” Journal of food science and technology 51, no. 12 (2014): 3910-3917

How To Use Turmeric To Fight Diabetes Ravi Teja Tadimalla Hyderabd040-395603080 February 28, 2019

Very few spices have been researched as extensively as turmeric. Talking about that, hundreds of studies have been conducted on curcumin (the most important component of turmeric) and its effects on diabetes. And guess what, the results about using turmeric for diabetes have been extremely encouraging. In this post, we talk about everything you possibly need to know about turmeric and turmeric for diabetes can be helpful. Keep reading.

Is Turmeric Good For Diabetes?

The curcumin in turmeric has been credited with most of its anti-diabetic effects. It was found to lower blood glucose levels and even fight inflammation – which is one severe effect of diabetes.

One 2013 study conducted by the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine showed how curcumin could lower the glucose levels and help improve other diabetes-related conditions (1). Even turmeric extracts (often found in pharmacies) were found to make diabetes more manageable. And they also prevented other diabetes-related complications like nerve damage and cataracts.

But how to use turmeric to manage diabetes?

How To Use Turmeric For Diabetes Treatment

1. Turmeric Root Extract For Diabetes

According to a report by the American Diabetes Association, the curcumin extract from turmeric was found to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes (2).

Supplementation by turmeric root extract was also found to reduce fasting glucose and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when our body fails to properly respond to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. This condition, called diabetes, can be prevented by turmeric root extract. The curcumin in the extract works by reducing the levels of free fatty acids (or FFAs), high amounts of which can interfere with the cells’ ability to receive glucose.

The root extract was also found to improve the functioning of the β-cells, which reside in the liver and are beneficial for diabetes (3).

What You Need To Do

You can purchase the root extract from the nearest pharmacy. Or you can also go for the capsules. Check with your doctor before you do so.

2. Gooseberry And Turmeric For Diabetes

Gooseberry is often considered a traditional remedy for controlling high blood sugar levels. It also contains chromium, another mineral that regulates carbohydrate metabolism – and this makes your body’s cells more responsive to insulin.

Another study talks about several trials that have backed the fact that gooseberry possesses anti-diabetic properties. The study, conducted by the University of Rhode Island, stated how gooseberries could be effective in lowering blood glucose levels in diabetic patients (4).

More interestingly, gooseberry was also found to improve cholesterol levels in diabetic patients – and hence can prevent diabetes-related cholesterol issues in the patients (5).

You need two tablespoons of gooseberry juice and a pinch of turmeric. Mix the two and have it in the morning. This can help control your blood sugar levels.

3. Cinnamon And Turmeric For Diabetes

Cinnamon is another spice well known for its purported anti-diabetic properties. Some reports state mixed reviews regarding its anti-diabetic properties. However, one study had found that cinnamon lowered blood sugar levels by as much as 24% (6).

Other research also suggests that cinnamon can lower glucose by boosting the effect of insulin. And cinnamon might also lower cholesterol in diabetes patients. This, along with curcumin’s anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties, can be a good supplemental treatment for diabetes.

Another report talks about how a combination of turmeric and cinnamon can lower insulin and triglycerides triggered by high-fat meals. And as per a report by Harvard Medical School, a phytochemical in cinnamon, called cinnamaldehyde, can lower blood sugar levels and ward off diabetes (7).

Research has stated that regularly taking 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon for four months can lower the blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes patients. However, do take care if you have liver disorders – as cinnamon might do more harm than good. Consult your doctor.

You can simply mix a pinch or two of cinnamon with the regular doses of turmeric and add to your meals. Or you can mix cinnamon with turmeric milk and drink it in the mornings.

4. Honey And Turmeric For Diabetes

With honey, there are studies with mixed results. Though honey intake was found to reduce cholesterol levels in diabetics, it was also found to increase blood sugar levels if taken long-term (8). Intake of honey might also have beneficial effects on the body weight and blood lipids of diabetes patients – but ensure you take honey with caution.

Honey works exceptionally well in the treatment of diabetic wounds, though. Studies have stated how dressings soaked in natural honey are a great way to treat diabetic wounds (9).

Some observations have talked about honey and its desirable effects on type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Honey stimulated insulin secretion and lowered blood glucose levels (10).

You can add honey to your food preparations along with turmeric. Adding honey to turmeric milk and drinking in the morning can also help. However, we advise you to exercise caution. Talk to your doctor before using honey for this purpose.

5. Ginger And Turmeric For Diabetes

Oral administration of ginger powder was found to improve fasting blood sugar (11). One possible way ginger works is by inhibiting hepatic phosphorylase, which is an enzyme that breaks down glucose storage molecules. Also, keep in mind not to use ginger while taking blood thinners as it can have a similar effect.

Another study also found how ginger could prevent cardiac ailments often associated with diabetes (12).

You can take ginger shots (along with turmeric) in the morning. This can help keep your blood sugar levels in control.

6. Black Pepper And Turmeric For Diabetes

One common (and quite serious) effect of diabetes is the damage of blood vessels. Piperine (one phytochemical in black pepper), along with the curcumin in turmeric, prevents this blood vessel damage associated with diabetes.

Studies have also shown that the oil from black pepper can prevent type 2 diabetes and related hypertension. The oil also inhibits two enzymes that break down starch into glucose. Also, the other beneficial antioxidants in black pepper may help stabilize blood sugar levels (13).

However, one study states that having curcumin along with black pepper might nullify the anti-diabetic effects of the former (14). Hence, talk to your doctor before using the two to supplement your diabetes treatment.

You can add a pinch of black pepper to a glass of turmeric milk and take it in the morning. Or add a pinch of black pepper along with turmeric to your food preparations.

7. Milk And Turmeric For Diabetes

Talking about milk alone, there are some studies that have linked regular dairy intake to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (15). Another study found that consuming high-fat milk can reduce a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as one-fifth (16).

Diabetes might also increase your risk of bone fractures, which can be prevented with the adequate intake of calcium through milk.

But keep in mind that milk also might increase your blood glucose levels – hence, take it in moderation.

You can add a pinch of turmeric to a glass of milk and have it in the morning.


Turmeric is something you find readily in your home. And it is something that can keep one of the dreadful diseases out of it. Include it in your diet and welcome a healthy lifestyle.

Also, tell us how this post has helped you. Do leave a comment below.

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  2. “Curcumin extract for…”. American Diabetes Association.
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  6. “Does cinnamon help diabetes?” WebMD.
  7. “Can everyday spices make you…?” Harvard Medical School.
  8. “Effects of natural honey…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  9. “Management of diabetic…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  10. “Traditional and modern…”US National Library of Medicine.
  11. “The effects of ginger…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  12. “Protective effects of …”. US National Library of Medicine.
  13. “Recent progress for the…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  14. “Piperine, a natural…” US National Library of Medicine.
  15. “Adolescent dairy…”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
  16. Food sources of fat…”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Ravi Teja Tadimalla

Ravi Teja Tadimalla is a Senior Content Writer who specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has been in the field for well over 4 years now. His work involves extensive research on how one can maintain better health through natural foods and organic supplements. Ravi has written over 250 articles and is also a published author. Reading and theater are his other interests.

Turmeric & Diabetes: Is Curcumin Good for Lowering Blood Sugar?

The history of the Curcuma longa plant is quite prestigious. Dating back thousands of years to its roots in Southeast Asia, this member of the ginger family served numerous medicinal purposes.

The constituent of Curcuma longa known for its health benefits is curcumin, extracted from turmeric root. This powerful antioxidant is the poster child for modern natural medicine, as it’s both safe and nearly side effect free. But, can turmeric help with diabetes and lowering blood sugar?

Turmeric and Diabetes

We know that turmeric is capable of benefiting a wide variety of diseases and illnesses. These conditions range from arthritis and joint pain, all the way up to Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Curcumin can even help with blood-thinning and depression and anxiety.

Today, research suggests that curcumin may also have a positive impact on diabetes. Specifically, it may lower and stabilize blood sugar levels in type 1 and type 2 diabetics. To fully understand how turmeric can help, let’s explore diabetes in more detail. (1)

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when your blood sugar (glucose) is too high. Blood glucose is the body’s primary energy source derived from the food we eat. In an otherwise healthy person, the pancreas secretes insulin, the hormone used to help glucose into your cells for energy conversion.

Sometimes, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or any insulin at all. This inefficiency causes glucose to stay in your blood without reaching the cells. Over time, high blood sugar can cause severe health problems if not properly managed.

There are a few types of diabetes to keep in mind as we proceed through the article:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: The body cannot efficiently produce insulin. The immune system attacks the cells in your pancreas responsible for insulin production.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: The body cannot manufacture insulin or use it efficiently.
  • Gestational Diabetes: Often diagnosed in women during pregnancy. Usually, this condition disappears following childbirth but may increase the odds of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

There also appears to be an apparent link between chronic inflammation and metabolic disorders. Thus, it’s thought that obesity-induced inflammation may further contribute to the development and worsening of the diabetic condition. (2)

Diabetes can impact anyone from any walk of life, and it’s not necessarily dependent on age. Though, people over the age of 65 tend to have a higher risk. While it’s possible to live a completely healthy life with the condition, others have more severe cases and are not quite as fortunate. (3)

Why Turmeric Curcumin?

Turmeric is famous for its ability to reduce inflammation and boost immunity by acting as a powerful antioxidant in the body. Curcumin also appears to benefit hyperlipidemia and glycemia in various studies.

  • Glycemia: The existence of sugar (glucose) in the blood.
  • Hyperlipidemia: Excessive lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) in the blood.

Lipid accumulation from obesity may cause insulin resistance that inhibits glycolysis (the breakdown of glucose). This problem is a key feature of type 2 diabetes. The thought is, if curcumin can lower blood sugar and influence lipid levels, then it should be able to help manage diabetes and aid weight loss. (4)

In this article, we’ll dissect the research surrounding curcumin’s ability to help lower blood sugar and stabilize type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Turmeric for Diabetes: Can Curcumin Help Lower Blood Sugar?

The first study we’ll look at examined curcumin’s effects on total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides in 75 patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The results showed a trend indicating that a lower dose of curcumin yielded higher cholesterol reduction. However, the study did not show any decrease in triglycerides. (5)

A second study sought to uncover one of curcumin’s potential anti-diabetic mechanisms of action. The research team used a curcumin C3 complex on a rat model. Researchers observed an apparent suppression of gluconeogenesis (the opposite of glycolysis).

In other words, turmeric reduced glucose creation from non-carbohydrate carbon substrates such as the breaking down of proteins and lipids. The result showed a promising glucose-lowering effect through the use of curcuminoids. (6)

Further research assessed the potential of turmeric to delay the onset of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in a prediabetic condition. This trial contained 240 subjects in a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, and randomized environment.

All subjects were split and assigned to curcumin capsules or a placebo for a 9-month treatment period. The results showed that 16.4% of the placebo group developed type 2 diabetes mellitus after nine months. Impressively, none of the curcumin group progressed from a prediabetic state into T2DM.

The curcumin group also saw an improvement in the function of Beta cells (β-cells) within the pancreas. β-cells are responsible for the synthesizing and secretion of insulin and amylin (helps glycemic regulation), both of which are deficient in people with diabetes. (7, 8)

Similarly, in patients who have already developed type 2 diabetes mellitus, the addition of 150 mg of curcumin twice daily exhibited positive benefits. In total, 67 subjects completed the 8-week study.

The results showed enhanced endothelial (blood vessel) function, with notable reductions in oxidative stress and inflammation over the placebo group. These benefits can help stabilize the diabetic condition. (9)

Obesity can be a major obstacle in the management of chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. When looking at obesity-related metabolic disorders, curcumin has demonstrated several mechanisms of action.

Turmeric can interact with pancreatic cells, white blood cells, beta cells, and downregulate inflammatory cytokines. These various benefits allow curcumin to potentially reverse insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia, and hyperglycemia (heightened blood glucose levels). (10, 11)

Curcumin may also lower the risk of developing atherosclerosis, a common cardiovascular condition among people with diabetes. One 6-month double-blind, placebo-controlled, and randomized trial assessed turmeric’s effects on atherogenic risk factors. The results showed that turmeric administration significantly improved metabolic profiles in this high-risk population. (12)

Since diabetes also puts you at higher risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), turmeric can be of further use. Studies show that curcumin is an excellent way to detox and cleanse the liver. In other words, it helps support the body’s primary filtration processes.

Our last study of note used a 300 mg dosage of curcumin per day on a group of overweight type 2 diabetic patients for a 3-month treatment period. The study also contained a placebo group. The results showed that curcumin supplementation drastically reduced fasting blood glucose and insulin resistance in the patients. (13)

Turmeric Dosage for Diabetes

What is the correct turmeric dosage for diabetes? We’ve seen that lower doses of curcumin may yield greater cholesterol reduction than higher dosages. Also, doses as low as 300 mg per day have shown substantial improvements in the diabetic condition. It seems clear that you’ll want to start small and assess your results over time.

In past articles, some studies used as much as 8,000 mg of curcumin per day with no treatment-related toxicity to report. But for managing diabetes, a dosing range of 250 mg to 500 mg of curcuminoids per day should suffice. Make sure to include piperine (black pepper extract) for enhanced absorption.

Final Thoughts on Turmeric Benefits for Blood Glucose Levels

Is turmeric good for lowering blood sugar in diabetes? The answer appears to be, yes. Remember, there is no cure for type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and curcumin should not be viewed as such. However, several animal and human studies show definitive glucose-lowering and insulin-sensitizing effects that people with diabetes or prediabetes can appreciate. (14, 15)

Turmeric’s anti-diabetic activities may help reduce insulin resistance, lower cholesterol levels, and prevent other metabolic and obesity-related complications. As always, please consult with a certified medical professional to see if a turmeric supplement can be beneficial for your situation.

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