Scientists from Chung Shan Medical University report that a daily 1890 milligram dose of curcumin was also associated with increases in HDL cholesterol, but no changes in weight or blood sugar control were observed.
“Daily curcumin consumption may be an alternative choice to modify cholesterol-related parameters, especially in metabolic syndrome patients,” they wrote in Phytotherapy Research.
Curcumin/turmeric supplements finally tipped over into the mainstream last year. According to a report published in the American Botanical Council’s HerbalGram, sales of herbal dietary supplements with turmeric/curcumin as the primary ingredient grew by 26.2% in 2013 to take the top spot in the natural channel.
The science has continued to grow, too, with new studies supporting the potential brain, cardiovascular, joint, and muscle benefits of the ingredient.
For the new study, the Taiwanese scientists recruited 65 people with metabolic syndrome (MetS) to participate in their double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. MetS is a condition characterized by central obesity, hypertension, and disturbed glucose and insulin metabolism. The syndrome has been linked to increased risks of both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Participants were randomly assigned to receive either 630 mg of curcumin three times per day or placebo for 12 weeks. The study used a product from the NOW Health Group, but the company was not affiliated with the study in any way.
Results showed that curcumin was associated with significant increases in HDL cholesterol levels from 41 to 43 mg/dL, while LDL cholesterol levels significantly decreased from 121 to 107 mg/dL.
In addition, triglycerides were reduced by an average of 65 mg/dL.
Additional analysis showed that men experienced more of a cholesterol lowering effect, while women experienced an HDL increasing effect.
“Several bioactive constituents of curcumin, which have been studied in animals, are related with anti-lipid and other metabolic effects,” wrote the researchers. “These include tetrahydrocurcumin, ferulic acid, and vanillic acid, all of which are metabolites of curcumin and curminoids diarylheptanoid, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin, desmethoxycurcumin, and bis-desmethoxycurcumin.
“The possible mechanism of modulating anti-lipid effect and the bioactive components mainly responsible for the potential effect include the selective inhibition of 11beta-HSD1 [a key metabolic enzyme], decrease absorption of cholesterol, and increase in the activity of cholesterol-7alpha-hydroxylase [an enzyme that catalyzes the formation of bile acid from cholesterol].”
Source: Phytotherapy Research
Volume 28, Issue 12, pages 1770–1777, doi: 10.1002/ptr.5197
“Lipid-Lowering Effects of Curcumin in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial”
Authors: Y-S. Yang, Y-F. Su, H-W. Yang, et al.