New Delhi: Health supplements containing a compound, curcumin, found in curry spice, turmeric, may help prevent type 2 diabetes in people at high risk claims a new study.
Curcumin is the principal curcuminoid of the popular Indian spice turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family. The curcuminoids are natural phenols responsible for the yellow colour of turmeric.
For thousands of years throughout Asia, turmeric has been used to spice up food. This relative of ginger not only adds flavour to food, curcumin contains anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, antioxidant, and even anti-cancer properties that makes it a powerful, disease-fighting medicine.
Previously, a lab research had suggested that curcumin can fight inflammation and oxidative damage to body cells which feed a range of diseases, including type 2 diabetes.
According to researchers, a daily dose of curcumin seemed to prevent new cases of diabetes among people with so-called prediabetes - abnormally high blood sugar levels that may progress to full-blown type 2 diabetes.
The Thai study included 240 adults with prediabetes who were randomly assigned to take either curcumin capsules or a placebo. The ones taking curcumin took six supplement capsules a day, each of which contained 250 milligrams of curcuminoids.
After nine months, 19 of the 116 placebo patients had developed type 2 diabetes. That compared with none of the 119 patients taking curcumin.
However, the researchers found that the supplement seemed to improve the function of beta-cells. Beta-cells are present in the pancreases that release the blood sugar-regulating hormone insulin. Thus, curcumin help protect these cells from damage.
The study has been published in the journal Diabetes Care