In my video Turmeric Curcumin for Prediabetes, I talk about “Curcumin extract for prevention of type 2 diabetes,” an extraordinary study published in the journal of the American Diabetes Association. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of folks diagnosed with prediabetes, half of the subjects got supplements of curcumin, the yellow pigment in the spice turmeric and curry powder, while the other half got identical-looking placebos, and the researchers just followed them for nine months to see who ended up with diabetes.
After nine months of treatment, 16 percent of subjects in the placebo group went on to get full-blown diabetes. How many in the curcumin group? None. The curcumin group saw a significant improvement in fasting blood sugars, glucose tolerance, hemoglobin A1C, insulin sensitivity and pancreatic insulin-producing beta cell function (measured two different ways.)
What if you already have diabetes? Another study found the same beneficial effects—and at a fraction of the dose. The prediabetes study mentioned above used the equivalent of a quarter cup of turmeric a day, whereas this other study used only about a teaspoon’s worth, which is doable through diet rather than supplements.
What’s particularly interesting here is the purported mechanism: Fat in the bloodstream plays “an important role in the development of insulin resistance and ultimately type 2 diabetes.” Fat builds up inside your muscle cells and gums up the works, and all the inflammation this causes interferes with insulin signaling. However, curcumin decreases fat levels in the blood, making this the first study to show that these turmeric spice compounds may have an anti-diabetic effect.
So, if you are pre-diabetic, it might be a good idea to add turmeric to your diet, but it’s important to recognize that prediabetes is a disease in itself, increasing the risk of death, cancer, heart disease, and vision loss. So, it’s not enough to just prevent progression to full-blown diabetes when prediabetes may be cured completely with a healthy plant-based diet.
As was the case in the smoker pee study I covered in Carcinogen-Blocking Effects of Turmeric, those who abuse their bodies with unhealthy diets can lower their risk by eating powerful plants. Of course, it’s better to cut the crap out altogether. Indeed, if just one plant can have that effect, what about a whole diet composed of plants? Watch Plant-Based Diets and Diabetes and How May Plants Protect Against Diabetes? to get the inside scoop.
Interested in learning more about how fat is involved in the development of diabetes? See:
- What Causes Insulin Resistance?
- The Spillover Effect Links Obesity to Diabetes
- Lipotoxicity: How Saturated Fat Raises Blood Sugar
- Diabetes as a Disease of Fat Toxicity
- What Causes Diabetes?
For more on treating prediabetes and preventing it in the first place, check out:
- Lifestyle Medicine Is the Standard of Care for Prediabetes
- Preventing Prediabetes by Eating More
- How to Prevent Prediabetes from Turning into Diabetes
- How to Prevent Prediabetes in Children
Diabetes is not the only reason I encourage everyone to consume a quarter teaspoon of turmeric every day. Learn more with these videos:
- Turmeric Curcumin and Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Turmeric Curcumin and Osteoarthritis
- Fighting Lupus with Turmeric: Good as Gold
- Preventing Alzheimer’s with Turmeric
- Treating Alzheimer’s with Turmeric
- Back to Our Roots: Curry and Cancer
- Turmeric Curcumin and Pancreatic Cancer
- Turmeric Curcumin, MGUS, and Multiple Myeloma
- Benefits of Turmeric Curcumin for Inflammatory Orbital Pseudotumor
- Turmeric Curcumin vs. Exercise for Artery Function
- Heart of Gold: Turmeric vs. Exercise
- Who Shouldn’t Consume Curcumin or Turmeric?
- Turmeric or Curcumin: Plants vs. Pills
Michael Greger, M.D.
PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:
- 2012: Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death
- 2013: More Than an Apple a Day
- 2014: From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food
- 2015: Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet
- 2016: How Not To Die: The Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, and Reversing Our Top 15 Killers