June 2/Pharma Marketletter -- Curcumin, the major polyphenol found in turmeric, appears to reduce weight gain in mice and suppress the growth of fat tissue in mice and cell models, according to findings from a U.S. investigation.
Lead study author Mohsen Meydani noted that "weight gain is the result of the growth and expansion of fat tissue, which cannot happen unless new blood vessels form. Based on our data, curcumin appears to suppress angiogenic activity in the fat tissue of mice fed high-fat diets."
Turmeric is known for providing flavor to curry. One of its components is curcumin, a type of phytochemical known as a polyphenol. As the bioactive component of turmeric, curcumin is readily absorbed for use by the body. Meydani stressed that studies have not been done to confirm this effect in humans.
Meydani and colleagues studied mice fed high-fat diets for 12 weeks. The high-fat diet of one group was supplemented with 500mg of curcumin/kg diet; the other group consumed no curcumin. The appetites of both groups were the same, but mice on curcumin had less microvessel density in fat tissue, a sign of less blood vessel growth and fat expansion.
From the June 8, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition