Meta-study | Lose fat with curcumin
Curcumin inhibits muscle breakdown, improves memory, improves cholesterol levels and reduces pain. And if we believe the meta-study published by researchers at Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, curcumin is also a weight-loss aid.
Slimming with curcumin?
According to fundamental studies, the idea that curcumin may play a role in fat loss isn't that strange at all. Curcumin, for example, inhibits the enzyme 11-beta-HSD1 in fat cells. This enzyme is needed to activate cortisol. Cortisol plays a role in the growth of fat cells. [PLoS One. 2013;8(3):e49976.]
In addition, in fat cells curcumin inhibits the molecular 'fat sensor' PPAR-gamma, making it more difficult for these cells to absorb nutrients from the bloodstream. [J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Jan 14;57(1):305-10.]
Because they wanted to know if curcumin has slimming potential not only in theory, but also in the real world, the researchers tracked 11 previously published studies in the scientific literature in which subjects had received curcumin. A total of 876 subjects participated in these studies.
In most studies, the researchers used doses of 800-1500 milligrams of curcumin per day, but there were also a few in which the subjects had received 70-90 milligrams of curcumin per day. These concerned supplements witch increased bioavailability by the use of smart technology. You can read more about such a curcumin supplement here.
8 studies described the effect of curcumin on body weight. When the researchers aggregated and re-analyzed the results of those studies, they saw that curcumin supplementation caused 1.14 weight loss.
Click on the figure below for a larger version.
A factor in the effectiveness of curcumin as a weight loss supplement seems to be the duration of the supplement. The researchers discovered a trend that weight loss was greater the longer the subjects took their supplements.
"The current meta-analysis showed a significant effect of curcumin supplementation on body weight [...], as compared to control", the researchers conclude. "Further randomized controlled trials using different doses of curcumin and a long-term intervention period are required to shed light on this issue."
Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2020;60(1):171-80.
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