Here’s one more reason to like curry: it may help prevent diabetes. Thai researchers found that a compound found in turmeric, curcumin, when taken daily for more than nine months may help people who are already prediabetic avoid developing full-blown type 2 diabetes. The study was published in the Diabetes Care journal.
Somlak Chuengsamarn of Thailand’s Srinakharinwirot University, the study’s leader, says, “Because of its benefits and safety, we propose that curcumin extract may be used for an intervention therapy for the prediabetes population.”
Previous studies have found that curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties and can fight oxidative cell damage; both inflammation and oxidative cell damage are factors in the development of type 2 diabetes and other diseases.
The study involved 240 prediabetic Thai adults; they were randomly given either curcumin capsules or a placebo daily. After taking six, 250mg-curcumin supplements a day for nine months, none of the 119 participants in the curcumin group developed type 2 diabetes while 19 of the 116 participants in the placebo group did.
Their findings revealed that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties may help protect beta-cells – cells in the pancreas that regulate the hormone insulin – from damage as well as improve their function.
While these results are promising, diabetes expert and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Constance Brown-Riggs, says “… there are still a lot of questions” and people should not start taking curcumin supplements as a preventive measure against type 2 diabetes just yet.
Other studies, which were larger and lasted longer, have already proven that lifestyle changes can effectively prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes in people who already have prediabetes.
Brown-Riggs also points out that not all supplements actually contain the ingredients and/or the amount of ingredients as they are listed on the product label. She would still rather recommend having a healthy lifestyle to a patient.