Turmeric extract suppresses fat tissue growth in mice models

May 19th, 2009 - 6:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 19 (IANS) Curcumin, the major ingredient in turmeric, appears to curb weight gain in mice and suppress the growth of fat tissue in mice and cell models.
Researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA-HNRCA) at Tufts University studied mice fed high fat diets supplemented with curcumin and cell cultures incubated with curcumin.

“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 study co-author Mohsen Meydani, director of the Vascular Biology Lab 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 said: “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.”

Turmeric, considered auspicious in India, is used for adding flavour to curry. One of its components is curcumin, a type of phytochemical known as a polyphenol.

Research findings suggest that phytochemicals, which are the chemicals found in plants, appear to help prevent disease. As the bioactive component of turmeric, curcumin is readily absorbed for use by the body.

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, said an USDA-HNRCA release.

“Curcumin appeared to be responsible for total lower body fat in the group that received supplementation,” said Meydani, professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts.

This study was published in the Journal of Nutrition.

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