Turmeric extracts may help with weight loss, inflammatory profiles, & mental health: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

The new study found that turmeric extracts may help reduce BMI and markers of inflammation, while also improving mental health scores.   Image © microgen / Getty Images
The new study found that turmeric extracts may help reduce BMI and markers of inflammation, while also improving mental health scores. Image © microgen / Getty Images

Related tags Turmeric Curcumin Weight management Mental health Inflammation

Twelve weeks of supplementation with a turmeric extract led to significant reductions in body weight for overweight but healthy people. The extract was also associated with improvements in mental health scores.

The turmeric extracts also significantly reduced markers of inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), according to data from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Nutrition Journal​.

“These results suggest that intake of a mixture of a hot water extract and supercritical carbon dioxide extract of [turmeric] may have the potential to improve mental health and negative mood state by reducing chronic low-grade inflammation,” ​wrote researchers from House Wellness Foods Corp. The Japanese company funded the study.

$135+ million in sales

The data adds to the ever-growing body of science supporting the potential health benefits of turmeric (Curcuma longa​) and curcumin.

According to the 2020 Herb Market Report published by the American Botanical Council (HerbalGram​ 131), turmeric is the number three selling herb in the natural channel, with $41.5 million in sales. It is number four in the mass channel (MULO) with $97 million in sales in 2020.

Consumer awareness and understanding of the botanical’s potential benefits are now very high, with data from the ITC Insights 2020 Consumer Survey showing that 86% of supplement consumers are familiar with curcumin/turmeric.

The new study used a hot water and a supercritical carbon dioxide extract of C. longa​, stated the researchers.

Study details

The researchers recruited 90 healthy, overweight subjects aged between 50 and 69 and randomly assigned them to receive the turmeric extract (970 milligrams containing 400 micrograms of bisacurone, 100 micrograms of Turmeronol A, and 100 micrograms of Turmeronol B), or placebo for 12 weeks.

Results of the randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that the turmeric extract group experienced statistically significant reductions in body weight and body mass index after four, eight, and 12 weeks, compared to placebo.

“Animal studies also showed that dietary intake of ​C. longa extract [CLE] significantly inhibited body weight gain and visceral fat accumulation in high fat diet-induced obese rats,” ​wrote the researchers. “Therefore, CLE may inhibit the accumulation of visceral fat, resulting in improved BMI values.”

Significant decreases the markers of inflammation, CRP and complement component 3, were also reported in the turmeric group, compared to placebo.

“These results suggest that CLE may reduce the systemic low-grade inflammation associated with aging and obesity and thus may be able to decrease the risk of chronic inflammatory diseases in these populations,” ​stated the researchers.

Improvements in mental health scores were also reported for the turmeric group, as measured by the Medical Outcomes Study (MOS) 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) and the Profile of Mood States (POMS) scale.

“Mental health problems and mood disturbances are known to be associated with not only systemic inflammation but also neuroinflammation,” ​stated the researchers. “In the present study, dietary supplementation with CLE improved mental health and negative mood state, suggesting that these improvements could be related in part to inhibition of microglial activation in the central nervous system. Future studies need to investigate the effect of CLE on human microglial activation.”

Source: Nutrition Journal
2021, 20​, 91 doi: 10.1186/s12937-021-00748-8
“Curcuma longa extract improves serum inflammatory markers and mental health in healthy participants who are overweight: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial”
Authors: R. Uchio, et al.

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