Curcumin is a wonderful thing, but did you know that it can also help you lose fat and it “kills” fat cells.
The benefits of this amazing turmeric polyphenol are well-documented: from reducing inflammation, improving immune function, reducing estrogen levels in men, boosting testosterone, improve cardiovascular health, reduce pain, to improving insulin sensitivity,
It now boasts another amazing benefit: fat loss.
That’s right, the spice for all seasons, curcumin, can help you lose fat.
Of course, your long term fat loss success will be informed by diet and exercise, but nevertheless this revelation isn’t something to be overlooked.
Curcumin Could Help You Lose Fat
In mice, Curcumin has been shown to combat type I diabetes, adding to the list of many positives it can bring in supplement form [R].
According to a 2009 study [R]:
[Researcher Mohsen] Meydani and colleagues studied mice fed high fat diets for 12 weeks. The high fat diet of one group was supplemented with 500 mg of curcumin/ kg diet; the other group consumed no curcumin. Both groups ate the same amount of food, indicating curcumin did not affect appetite, but mice fed the curcumin supplemented diet did not gain as much weight as mice that were not fed curcumin.
“Curcumin appeared to be responsible for total lower body fat in the group that received supplementation,” said Meydani, who is also a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts. “In those mice, we observed a suppression of microvessel density in fat tissue, a sign of less blood vessel growth and thus less expansion of fat. We also found lower blood cholesterol levels and fat in the liver of those mice. In general, angiogenesis and an accumulation of lipids in fat cells contribute to fat tissue growth.”
“Weight gain is the result of the growth and expansion of fat tissue, which cannot happen unless new blood vessels form, a process known as angiogenesis.” said senior author Mohsen Meydani, DVM, PhD, director of the Vascular Biology Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA. “Based on our data, curcumin appears to suppress angiogenic activity in the fat tissue of mice fed high fat diets.”
Meydani continued, “It is important to note, we don’t know whether these results can be replicated in humans because, to our knowledge, no studies have been done.”
Curcumin “Kills” Fat Cells
New research seems to indicate that curcumin forces “baby” fat cells to self-destruct before they become “adult” fat cells, thus preventing the growth of fat tissue [R].
Taiwanese researchers found that the use of curcumin in a high-fat diet at a caloric surplus prevents pre-adipocytes from forming actual adipocytes in a process called apoptosis which essentially slow-cooks the cell, breaking it down.
Phagocytes are then released to clean up the broken down cells.
But this is where things get interesting.
A low dose of supplementation hindered the development of pre-adipocytes, while megadoses caused for the cells to self-terminate through apoptosis.
Although researchers weren’t entirely certain as to why this phenomen took place, they believed it may be due to curcumin’s modulating effects on the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway.
The researchers wrote: “The findings suggest that curcumin supplementation could be an effective strategy for treating or preventing the development of obesity by a curcumin-induced reduction in the number of pre-adipocytes and the fat mass of adipocytes.“
While the research appears to be promising at this stage, we still urge readers to take a tried and tested conventional route when it comes to fat loss through diet and exercise.
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