Monthly Archives: March 2017

Curcumin May Help Prevent Diabetes Type 2


In recognition of American Diabetes Alert Day, today’s posts will be covering diabetes, and in particular focusing on prevention strategies. Diabetes mellitus Type II (DM2) is increasing not only in the U.S., but worldwide as well. It is estimated that in 2012, 29 million Americans had DM2, and as many of 8 million of these were undiagnosed. 

Pre-diabetes is defined as a fasting plasma glucose of 100-125 mg/dl, or a two-hour oral glucose tolerance test with a reading of 140-199 mg/dl. It was estimated in 2012 that as many as 86 million Americans fell into the pre-diabetes category.

There is much research activity focusing on identifying those at risk for developing DM2 (such as those with pre-diabetes) and for ways to help prevent or forestall it’s progression. A recent study examined the use of curcumin extracted from turmeric as a way to prevent development of DM2 in those already diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

Curcumin is an active ingredient of the Asian spice turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family. Turmeric is a widely used spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking and is grown in India, Nepal, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and elsewhere. Turmeric is also used in Ayurvedic Medicine, and is currently being studied in Western Medicine for possible uses. Curcumin has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

In this study conducted in Thailand. 240 individuals who were diagnosed with pre-diabetes were enrolled. These included both men and women, with an average age of 57. Enrollees were randomly assigned to either the placebo group, or the curcumin treated group. Those in the curcumin group took capsules containing curcumin powder twice a day.

Data was collected for both groups at baseline (prior to initiation of treatment), and at 3, 6, and 9 months. The primary outcome measure was development of DM2. Other measures included changes in beta-cell function, c-peptide (an inflammatory marker), insulin resistance, adiponectin (an anti-inflammatory cytokine), and obesity.

At nine months, 0% of the curcumin group developed DM2, whereas 16.4% in the placebo group developed DM2. This was statistically significant.

In addition, in the curcumin group beta-cell function improved, c-peptide dropped, insulin resistance decreased, and adiponectin increased, all of which represent potential beneficial improvement. Also important, no significant adverse effects of curcumin treatment were noted.

Given the results of this study, curcumin would seem to be a possible way to help prevent diabetes in those at risk.


(Source- Diabetes Care 2012 Nov; 35 (1); 2121-2127)

This blog is a review of medical and scientific literature, and should only be used to informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.


Diet, Exercise and Metformin Help Prevent Diabetes

 Today is American Diabetes Association Alert Day, and in recognition today’s posts will be covering topics in diabetes.

Diabetes Mellitus Type II (DM2) is common in the U.S. and worldwide and it’s incidence and prevalence are increasing. The implications of DM2 are serious and widespread, including kidney and eye disease, heart and blood vessel disease, and neuropathies.

Because of the large numbers of people with DM2, there has been much research looking at ways to prevent or forestall its development. A landmark study in this area was published in 2002, and was conducted at George Washington University and 27 affiliated centers.

Over three thousand participants with elevated fasting and post-load plasma glucose concentrations were included in the study. Subjects were randomly assigned to a lifestyle modification plus metformin group (850 mg twice a day), a lifestyle modification plus placebo group, or a program of intense lifestyle modifications. The goals for the intensive lifestyle modification group were to maintain a 7% weight reduction and engage in moderate physical activity for at least 150 minutes each week. The average follow-up period was 2.8 years.

The primary outcome measure of this preventative study was the development of diabetes. The incidence of diabetes was 58% lower in the intensive lifestyle intervention group compared to the placebo group, while the incidence of diabetes in the metformin group was 31% lower than the placebo group.

Comparing the intensive lifestyle-modification group to the metformin group shows the incidence of diabetes was 39% lower in the intensive lifestyle modification group.

One of the important features of the study design were that substantial numbers of female subjects were enrolled (68% female, 32% male), and that a large percentage of African-American, Hispanic, Indian American and Asian-American individuals were enrolled, which supports the generalizeability of these results to a broad heterogeneous population such as seen in the U.S.

This study demonstrates that substantial lifestyle modifications including weight loss and increased exercise may have a profound impact in preventing or delaying the development of DM2 in those at risk. Given the serious health implications of DM2 perhaps those who are in the pre-diabetic stage may want to consider incorporating improved diet, exercise and weight loss in to their daily regimen.


(Source- New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 346, No. 6)

This blog is a review of medical and scientific literature, and should only be used for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical or health advice, nor does it create a physician-patient relationship with anyone. Discuss any health concerns with your personal physician.