Curcumin to Confront Obesity

August 4/Austin, Texas/Obesity, Fitness & Wellness Week -- Research findings, "Targeting Inflammation-induced Obesity and Metabolic Diseases by Curcumin and Other Nutraceuticals," are discussed in a new report. "Extensive research within the past two decades has revealed that obesity, a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, cancer and other chronic diseases, is a proinflammatory disease. Several spices have been shown to exhibit activity against obesity through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms," scientists writing in the journal Annual Review of Nutrition report.

"Among them, curcumin, a yellow pigment derived from the spice turmeric (an essential component of curry powder), has been investigated most extensively as a treatment for obesity and obesity-related metabolic diseases. Curcumin directly interacts with adipocytes, pancreatic cells, hepatic stellate cells, macrophages and muscle cells. There, it suppresses the proinflammatory transcription factors nuclear factor-kappa B, signal transducer and activators of transcription-3, and Wnt/beta-catenin, and it activates peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma and Nrf2 cell-signaling pathways, thus leading to the downregulation of adipokines, including tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-6, resistin, leptin and monocyte chemotactic protein-1, and the upregulation of adiponectin and other gene products. These curcumin-induced alterations reverse insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia and other symptoms linked to obesity," wrote B.B Aggarwal and colleagues, University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

The researchers concluded, "Other structurally homologous nutraceuticals, derived from red chili, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper and ginger, also exhibit effects against obesity and insulin resistance."

Aggarwal and colleagues published their study in Annual Review of Nutrition ("Targeting Inflammation-induced Obesity and Metabolic Diseases by Curcumin and Other Nutraceuticals." Annual Review of Nutrition, 2010;30():173-99).

Additional information can be obtained by contacting B.B. Aggarwal, The University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center, Dept. of Experimental Therapeutics, Houston, Texas 77030.

From the August 16, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition