Curclear for Diabetes

 

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Diabetes is a chronic metabolic condition wherein blood sugar levels in the body remain high as the body fails to regulate it. Insulin is the hormone that plays a vital role in this disease.It is produced by the pancreas and it controls the blood sugar. Blood sugar or glucose acts as a fuel for various cellular activities. Insulin moves glucose from blood to muscles, fat and liver cells where it is stored or used as fuel.

In diabetes, either little insulin or insulin resistance hampers this transformation of glucose and in turn tends to affect the body negatively. There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes: It is caused due to lack of insulin production.
  • Type 2 diabetes: It is caused due to the failure of cells to respond to insulin appropriately.
  • Gestational diabetes:  It occurs during pregnancy due to high blood glucose levels.

Type 1 diabetes is not treatable while Type 2 can be cured by the use of medications with or without insulin and lifestyle changes. Numerous research studies have proven the use of Curcumin (Turmeric Extract) in treating diabetes.

Mechanisms by Which Curcumin Employs Its Medicinal Properties in Treating Diabetes

1.Curcumin counteracts inflammation in Diabetes

The mechanisms involved in inflammation leading to pathogenesis of diabetes are complex. Type 1 diabetes is an immune-mediated disease where selective pancreatic cells are destroyed.

This occurs when the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are invaded by cells of the immune system and this condition is referred to as insulinitis.  The infiltration of immune cells leads to secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines like IL-1 , thus facilitating progress of inflammation and causing cell death.

Chronic low level inflammation is associated with obesity and diabetes.  A pro-inflammatory cytokine named tumor necrosis factor-α is overproduced in adipose tissue of obese humans.

This overproduction is known to impair insulin function and contribute to insulin resistance. The functions of macrophages (a type of immune cell) and adipocytes (fat cells) are overlapping.

Hence it is seen that macrophages in adipose tissue, either alone or with the help of adipocytes, secrete proteins that accelerate inflammation and contribute to insulin resistance. Biochemical pathways also contribute to inflammation involved in diabetes.   IL-1beta, TNF-α, and IL-6 are the main pro-inflammatory agents involved in pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes.

Curcumin demonstrates anti-inflammatory property by modulating various pathways and activity of many proteins. Few of the mechanisms involved are:

Suppression of nuclear factor- kappa B and hence downregulation of activity of COX-2

Inhibition of production of inflammatory cytokines like TNF- α, IL-6, IL-1beta

Reducing activity of enzymes and proteins that mediate inflammation

These mechanisms find their use in suppressing inflammation caused due to diabetes and preventing its proliferation.

A study published in Biomedical and Environmental Sciences, 2014 demonstrated that supplementation with curcuminoids led to reduction in enzymes and proteins involved in inflammation in diabetic patients.

What does this mean?

Curcumin is natural anti-inflammatory agents that help reduce inflammation in diabetes.

 

2. Curcumin reduces oxidative stress in Diabetes

Oxidative stress plays a major role in pathogenesis of diabetes. Oxidative stress is the loss of balance between body’s natural antioxidant defenses and production of reactive oxygen species.

Reactive oxygen species  (ROS) are chemically reactive molecules that contain oxygen and bring about phenomena vital to normal cell functioning. However, under adverse conditions, ROS levels increase drastically and cause cell death and inflammation.

In diabetes there is increased glucose uptake by endothelial cells (inner lining of blood vessels) in adipose tissue (body fat).

Under hyperglycemic (high blood sugar levels) conditions increased uptake of glucose leads to excess production of ROS which causes oxidative degradation of fats (lipid peroxidation), oxidative damage to cell and initiation of inflammatory pathways.

Curcumin, a known antioxidant, scavenges ROS, inhibits lipid peroxidation and increases the levels of antioxidant enzymes . This property of curcumin can help reduce oxidative stress observed in diabetes.

Study in humans shows that curcumin works an antioxidant and reduces oxidative stress and heart risk in diabetes. Curcuminoid supplementation is found to raise the level of antioxidant enzymes in diabetes.

What does this mean?

Curcumin is natural antioxidant that helps improve antioxidant defense in diabetes.

 

3. It lowers blood sugar levels

Curcumin functions as an anti-hyperglycemic agent- it lowers elevated blood sugar in diabetes.

A review study by Ghorbani et.al demonstrates that curcumin lowers blood sugar in multiple ways few of them being:

  • Stimulating insulin production
  • Improving activity of pancreas cells
  • Improving sensitivity to insulin
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Reducing production of glucose by liver
  • Stimulating utilization of glucose by the body

A study in humans shows that curcuminoids exerts its anti-diabetic effect by acting on Adipocyte-fatty acid binding protein. Reduction in this protein helps regulate metabolic disorders.

A recent study demonstrated that nano-curcumin supplementation in type 2 diabetes for 3 months helps in reducing blood sugar levels, glycated hemoglobin, triglyceride levels and even BMI.

What does this mean?

Curcumin is a natural anti-hyperglycemic agent- they help lower high blood sugar levels and balance blood glucose and insulin levels in diabetes.

 

4. It protects from heart risks

Endothelial dysfunction is a common complication experienced by diabetic patients . It is an abnormality in inner tissue lining of blood vessels occurring due to high blood sugar levels.

A study in humans where type 2 diabetes patients were treated with 300mg curcumin or with atorvastatin (a cholesterol lowering drug) or with placebo for 8 weeks.

Curcumin was found to be as good as atorvastatin in improving endothelial dysfunction and reduced inflammation and oxidative stress.

What does this mean?
Curcumin improves heart health and protects from diabetes induced cardiovascular complications.

 

5. It lowers cholesterol levels

Cholesterol metabolism is affected in type 1 as well as type 2 diabetes. In fact diabetes is found to disturb cholesterol metabolism more than obesity alone.

Various studies in animal models of diabetes have found that curcumin can reduce the abnormalities in lipid and cholesterol levels by regulating liver function.

Curcumin, helps lower cholesterol in type 2 diabetes patient.

Curcumin improves antioxidant defences, regulates fat metabolism, affects intestinal absorption of cholesterol and acts in a similar fashion as statins (conventional cholesterol lowering drugs).

What does this mean?
Curcumin has cholesterol lowering properties that benefit metabolic health in type 2 diabetes.

 

FIG: Mechanism of action of Curcumin in Diabetes

 

Conclusion

Curcumin is a proven anti-diabetic agent. This article covers only a few selected studies from the numerous studies that explore the effect of curcumin on various aspects of diabetes. It is clear that Curcumin can play a part in prevention of diabetes and also help people who are diabetic.

 

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