Curcumin and Diabetes


Type 2 diabetes is the disease of the Western lifestyle. This disease, once known as adult-onset diabetes, was considered the province of the over 50 crowd. You know the ones with potbellies, vegging out in front of the TV, munching on Doritos chased with a half gallon of Rocky Road.

Now it is  the disease of teens raised on Big Macs and gallons of Coke, 20-somethings with high cholesterol, 30-something with erectile dysfunction and 40 something with coronary bypasses.

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and is characterized by a malfunctioning pancreas that does not produce sufficient quantities of the body’s own insulin to properly utilize the natural sugars in food.

Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, is a life style disease. Scientifically, it is characterized by the body’s inability to respond to the insulin produce by the pancreas. This  is called insulin resistance.

The American Diabetes Association reports that 25.8 million Americans suffer from the disease, 7 million of them undiagnosed are considered “prediabetic,” meaning they have some blood sugar malfunction.

It’s important to note that the vast majority of people with type 2 diabetes  are obese. Alarmingly, the number of people with diabetes in the U.S. has increased by 76% in the last 20 years in pace with the increase in obesity.

Just having to live with blood glucose testing,  dietary restrictions and diabetes meds with a wide variety of side effects is only the tip of diabetes iceberg.




The complications of diabetes are daunting:

Heart disease is reported as a cause of death in 68% of people with diabetes aged 65 and over.

People with diabetes have a 2 to 4 times greater chance of dying of heart disease or stroke than those without the disease.

High blood pressure is reported in 76% of those with diabetes.

Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in people   aged 29 to 75.

Kidney failure attributed to diabetes accounts for 44% of all new cases, In 2008, the latest year for which statistics are available more than 202,000. people with end-stage kidney disease due to diabetes were living on dialysis or with a kidney transplant.

Nerve damage is experienced by 60 70% of people with diabetes, often causing erectile dysfunction in men.

Diabetes causes circulatory problems that led to that led to 65,700. lower limb amputation in diabetes in 2008. Diabetes is listed as a contributing cause of death in more than 231,000. deaths Science now generally accepts that diabetes is an inflammatory condition,  a is obesity. As you might well imagine, this is where curcumin comes into the picture.


  Remember the role of free radical oxygen molecules as underlying causes of most disease processes.

Curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are especially applicable to diabetes and its complications.


Here’s what the studies show curcumin can do:

Reduce glucose production in the liver: A Japanese study shows that curcumin has the ability to reduce the liver’s natural production of glucose, which in healthy people is balanced by the pancrea’s production of insulin to keep glucose levels steady.

Keep glucose out of red blood cells: Scientists treated red blood cells to mimic diabetes, then exposed them to curcumin for just just 24 hours. The results: Curcumin normalized the cells in terms in terms of sugar processing and prevented the formation of the fatty globules that clog arteries.

Prevent the development of diabetes: A Columbia University study showed that mice with a predisposition toward diabetes and obesity given daily dose of curcumin were less likely to develop impaired blood sugar, insulin resistance and full-blown diabetes than those that did not receive curcumin.

Lower blood sugar, increase insulin:  Indian researchers found that curcumin contains a particularly powerful antioxidant,tetrahydro-curcumin, which lowers blood sugars, increases insulin in the bloodstream (meaning existing insulin is being properly used) and protects againts fatty deposits in the arteries indicative of heart disease that is very common in people with diabetes. Through its anti-inflammatory action, several studies show that curcumin can result in better blood sugar control and, therefore, a small, but significant decrease in body weight and fat, potentially reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Promote wound healing: Curcumin also helps in the process of wound healing, something that is especially important to people with diabetes since  their wound-healing capabilities are often impaired, leading to infection and amputations. Curcumin should be used at the time when the skin is beginning to re-form around the wound and new skin is being laid down.

Protects kidneys: Curcumin has also been found to protect the kidneys, which we know are vulnerable in people with diabetes, and to help people with diabetes, and to help prevent glaucoma and cataracts, common complications among people with diabetes.

Reduce liver inflammation: Animal studies show that BCM-95 Curcumin actually reduced liver inflammation, making the livers of the treated obese animals ( cats in this case) behave like the livers of non-obese animals. Yes, these are “only”animals studies, but experts like Dr. Ajay Goel of Baylor think that it is logical that BCM-95 will have similar effects on humans, reducing fatty liver and obesity, among the greatest risks for diabetes.

Reverse diabetes: Probably the most exciting study came from Egypt in 2008, when researchers discovered curcumin and a bone marrow transplant reversed diabetes in mice with the disease. Researchers theorized that the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin enhanced the ability of the bone marrow transplant to regenerate insulin-producing cells.

CONCLUSION: The evidence is abundantly clear: Curcumin has profound effects against one of the most deadly disease of our time. Its pathway of action are widely varied, and it is effective against a number of the complications of diabetes as well. While doctors are not yet ready to tell every person with diabetes to take curcumin, they are probably behind the research curve. If you had diabetes, wild horses couldn’t keep me away from curcumin. I don’t have diabetes, but curcumin is still a staple of my supplement regimen. This was written by Jan McBarron, MD., N.D.






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