Turmeric and Diabetes

Turmeric and Diabetes
Glycemic index:


Calories per 100 g:

337 kcal

Tumeric is a well-known staple of many food dishes across Asia and the Middle East not only for its taste but also for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as its antioxidant enzymes.

Through a systematic review of numerous clinical trials, research suggests that turmeric can have beneficial effects on the body's immune system. In addition, it may help with several other conditions such as:

  • Helping to lower blood sugar

  • Reverse fatty liver disease

  • Reduce the symptoms of cardiovascular diseases

  • Lower blood pressure

  • Helping to treat other liver disorders

  • Balancing total cholesterol levels

Above everything else, the systematic review of preclinical and clinical studies has shown that Turmeric may help prevent Type 2 diabetes mellitus and that it may help manage diabetes.

Tumeric may help by reducing insulin resistance, helping to stabilize blood sugar levels, and reducing diabetes associated complications in diabetes patients.

Nutritional value

  • Protein 9.7 g
  • Carbohydrate 67 g
  • Fat 3.3 g
  • Fiber 23 g
  • Sugar 3.2 g
  • Cholesterol 0 g

Turmeric and diabetes - connection

Research suggests that as a medicinal food, turmeric may be essential in managing diabetes, treating diabetes, and diabetes prevention.

Several clinical trials have shown that turmeric and diabetes medication work exceptionally well together in treating high blood sugar, lowering fasting blood glucose levels, and reducing diabetes related complications in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Streptozotocin induced diabetic rats and the effect of curcumin supplementation and turmeric powder

In one study of streptozotocin induced diabetic rats, the diabetic rats were also given turmeric powder and curcumin supplementation to determine the potential effectiveness of the two supplements in reducing the progress of Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Although the turmeric powder and curcumin supplementation was unable to completely stop the progression of Type 2 diabetes mellitus in the streptozotocin induced diabetic rats, the clinical trials suggested that the supplements may be effective in diabetes management.

The study showed that the turmeric powder and curcumin extract were able to counteract some oxidative damage caused to the immune systems of the stz diabetic rats.

Additionally, in a separate study, there was evidence that curcumin supplemented yogurt was able to improve physiological and biochemical markers in the diabetic rats that it was given to.

Diabetic rats, Dietary curcumin extract, and Turmeric powder

A separate study showed that in diabetic rats, turmeric and curcumin doses were able to reduce oxidative stress, insulin sensitivity, insulin resistance, and fasting blood glucose levels while also enhancing glucose metabolism.

The health benefits of turmeric, curcumin, and diabetes medication

In two separate human based clinical trials, researchers were able to show improvement in diabetes management by providing regular turmeric or curcumin dose in addition to the Type 2 diabetes mellitus patient's metformin medication.

Turmeric and Metformin

The first study involving turmeric and diabetes medication showed that when combined, the turmeric was able to help lower blood sugar levels, attenuate oxidative stress, lower levels of adipose tissue, and decreased instances of high blood sugar levels across the board.

The study showed that turmeric was extremely beneficial in helping patients manage diabetes through its antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties.

In addition to the above benefits, turmeric's unique properties are also beneficial in helping the wound healing process and in boosting the immune system of patients with diabetes.

Curcumin Treatment and Randomized Clinical Trial

The second study consisted of a randomized controlled trial in which a curcumin treatment of 250mg was given daily to participants that currently had prediabetes.

Over the course of nine months, researchers studied 240 people, half of which received the curcumin dose and the other half didn't.

By the end of the study, 16.4% of the group that did not receive the curcumin treatment developed Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The other group, which had received the curcumin treatment, did not have a single participant develop Type 2 diabetes. Instead, they showed signs of lower insulin resistance, more balanced blood glucose levels, lower blood sugar, less oxidative stress, and inhibited glucose uptake.

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Health Benefits

Turmeric and diabetes have a long history of positive interactions. Turmeric has been used for over 4,000 years as a medicinal food since it was originally discovered in India. Today, turmeric and diabetes management have been intrinsically linked.

In conjunction with a healthy diet and proper medication, turmeric has been proven to help:

  • Lower blood sugar

  • Lower total cholesterol

  • Reduce insulin resistance

  • Regulate blood glucose levels

  • Maintain glucose homeostasis

  • Open blood vessels and improve circulation

  • Heal the pancreas by improving beta cells function which helps improve insulin secretion

  • Lower chances of developing fatty liver disease

  • Reduces markers of inflammation and oxidative stress

  • Prevent complications of diabetic nephropathy

In addition to the above, turmeric's ability to lower oxidative stress has proven to be effective in reducing thiobarbituric acid reactive substances in diabetic rats.

There is also some evidence that turmeric may be able to help prevent tumor necrosis factor as well as blocking tumor growth by inhibiting reactive oxygen species.

Although more research needs to be done, turmeric may become a potential therapeutic tool in the regulation of reactive oxygen species to help control tumor growth.

Insulin Resistance

Turmeric is a unique medicinal food because it is beneficial to multiple organs and bodily functions and it helps prevent or reduce the damage from several health conditions.

Turmeric is not only extremely effective in helping the pancreas produce and repair beta cells, but it also reduces insulin resistance, helps the body lower blood sugar, and provides antioxidant properties which help prevent infections in patients with diabetes.

Blood Sugar

Several animal and test-tube studies have shown that turmeric has the ability to increase glutathione peroxidase levels in the body which helps prevent lipid peroxidation.

Tumeric's ability to help repair cellular growth of beta cells in the pancreas also allows the body to focus more efficiently on regulating blood sugar which contributes to better management of diabetes.

The appropriate regulation of blood sugar through proper beta cells production is essential for patients with diabetes mellitus.

These beta cells are destroyed in Type 1 diabetes by the body's overzealous immune system which leads to unstable blood sugar levels. This is the main contributing factor for the significant difference in the ability to regulate blood sugar between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetic patients.

Potential Complications of Type 2 diabetes mellitus

When diabetes occurs, there are often diabetes related complications that occur as a result of Type 2 diabetes mellitus. In addition to the various complications surrounding blood sugar levels, there are several severe diabetic complications that can occur including:

  • Diabetes induced erectile dysfunction

  • Diabetic nephropathy

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Complications with wound healing

  • Lowered immune system

  • Acute coronary syndrome

  • Liver fat accumulation

  • Endothelial dysfunction

  • Lipid peroxidation

  • Inhibits the production of inducible nitric oxide synthase

Diabetic Vascular Disease

Curcumin has been shown to not only be beneficial in managing diabetes, but it also may help reduce the complications caused by diabetic vascular disease.

In a randomized clinical trial, the antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties of curcumin were shown to help reduce lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress levels in participants which correlated with a reduction in symptoms from acute coronary syndrome.

In addition, there is evidence that curcumin is capable of eliminating the effects of advanced glycation end products which in turn may stop the progression of diseases such as diabetes and many other degenerative diseases.

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