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Curcumin supplements prevent type 2 diabetes

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By David Liu, PHD

Saturday Aug 4, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Eating curry or taking curcumin supplements helps reduce risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, according to a new study published in the journal Diabetes Care. Curcumin is an ingredient found in turmeric which is used in curry, a food commonly used in India.

The study showed one of pre-diabetics who took curcumin supplements every day for nine months developed type 2 diabetes mellitus while 16 percent of pre-diabetics who took a dummy pill for the same period developed the disease.

For the study, researchers of Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok Somlak Chuengsamarn, MD and colleagues recruited 240 people with pre-diabetes who were randomized into two groups with 120 each. One group were given six capsules of curcumin per day and the other  a placebo for nine months.

At the end of the study, 16 percent of placebo users developed type 2 diabetes  mellitus whereas none of the curcumin users developed the disease.  Subjects in the study group but not those in the control group were also found to have lost weight.

The Thai researchers believe turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that help protect insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas from damage and improve their efficiency.  

About 24 million people live with type 2 diabetes mellitus in the United States alone.  Another 20 million Americans suffer pre-diabetes, a condition in which a person has a problem with controling blood sugar, but not as severely as in the case of type 2 diabetes.

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