Curcumin, a substance in turmeric, combined with an omega-3 fat may potentially delay or prevent the onset of type-2 diabetes, according to researchers.
Health scientists from the University of Newcastle’s Nutraceuticals Research Group, led by Professor Manohar Garg, are seeking 80 recruits for a new clinical study to find out whether the Indian spice combined with an omega-3 fat can delay the onset of type 2 diabetes or prevent it altogether.
According to researchers, the root cause of type 2 diabetes is systemic inflammation, which impacts insulin secretion and function which they want to nip in the bud. This study will use two bioactive compounds that is found in food – curcumin and omega-3 fat. Both are very important anti-inflammatory agents.
Curcumin, derived from turmeric, is part of the ginger family and commonly used for food colouration. Its healing properties are well known in India. Turmeric has been used for centuries to promote healing of bruises, sprains, wounds and inflammation.
“Nowadays in India the level of curcumin (turmeric) intake has dropped considerably as people switch to Westernised fast foods, and it parallels with a significant rise in type 2 diabetes cases. In fact the disease is now an epidemic in India and may soon be the number one health burden,” said Garg.
The anti-inflammatory mechanisms surrounding curcumin and omega-3 fats are different, so the researchers want to test if they complement each other and have treatment synergies beyond their individual effects. The team feels that the combination is safe, free of any side-effects and may prove to be as effective as drugs used for management of diabetes.