Turmeric, Curcumin and your skin

Inflammation, aging, oxidative damage, cellulite

Curcumin, found in turmeric (curcuma longa), is one of the most widely researched natural actives known today, with potent anti-ageing, antioxidant, skin lightening, anti-inflammatory and lipolytic activity.


Curcumin cream

For all these reasons, curcumin is of great importance as an active ingredient in anti-ageing, anti-cellulite, leg wellness, contouring, skin whitening and under-eye creams [the Celluence® creams are the only cellulite creams in the world with high concentrations of 95%+ pure, high availability curcumin, plus 39x other natural anti-cellulite actives].


How much curcumin does a spoonful of turmeric contain?
Is there any point having turmeric smoothies or turmeric facials?

Turmeric facial beauty fad.jpg

Curcumin is one of the many curcuminoids, present in turmeric. Turmeric contains approximately 2% curcumin, so a teaspoon of turmeric, which weighs 2.5 grams, would contain about 50mg curcumin. In addition to curcumin, turmeric also contains smaller amounts of the curcuminoids, such as demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin. Given that most researchers recommend an average of 500-1000mg of curcumin/day, in order to gain the health benefits seen in studies, one has to consume 25-50g of turmeric powder, which is a quite large amount of turmeric to take every day - expect to be fed up of it in days and your teeth to become all yellow, forever...

Definitely it does not make any sense to make a "turmeric smoothie" and expect any health benefits any time soon, although daily use for months will confer some health benefits. Personally, I would prefer to add the contents of a capsule of 95% curcumin (see below) into the drink, which is 50x more concentrated than turmeric itself. In this way I do not have to add 5-50g of turmeric into my drink in order to get 100-1000mg of pure curcumin.

The same applies to home-made turmeric facial masks, one of the most ridiculous beauty fads: don't expect to get any anti-ageing results any time soon. And remember, the "jaundice look" is not very fashionable, neither your clothes look good in yellow stains.

Due to low concentration of curcumin in turmeric, supplementation with curcumin capsules is recommended. Luckily, supplements with 95% pure curcumin have been available for years now and are easy to find and very economical, so two 500mg or one 1000mg capsules of 95% curcumin are all that are needed to reap the health benefits of curcumin. Curcumin is probably the most biologically active curcuminoid in turmeric, but not the most easily absorbed, hence the need for liposomal curcumin, curcumin combined with piperine, the use of other methods of absorption, or the use of the other curcumin analogs, such as the ones mentioned above. For this reason, some products contain curcumin in liposomal or other enhanced absorption form, which are proven to increase bioavailability by a factor of 10x or higher. In this case lower amounts of curcumin are needed, and provided, in the capsules.

Certain curcumin derivatives are also used for local application in anti-ageing or anti-cellulite creams, for enhanced absorption and without the extreme yellowness.

Like all other supplements, more is not always better, so stick to the 1000mg upper maximum daily intake and consult a healthcare practitioner if you suffer from any medical conditions or if you are pregnant/breast-feeding.




26+ ways Curcumin...

...can fight oxidative damage, inflammation, poor blood circulation, skin ageing and cellulite



26/ Curcumin differs from tetrahydrocurcumin for molecular targets, signaling pathways and cellular responses

Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), a golden pigment from turmeric, has been linked with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral, antibacterial, and antidiabetic properties. Most of the these activities have been assigned to methoxy, hydroxyl, α,β-unsaturated carbonyl moiety or to diketone groups present in curcumin. One of the major metabolites of curcumin is tetrahydrocurcumin (THC), which lacks α,β-unsaturated carbonyl moiety and is white in color. Whether THC is superior to curcumin on a molecular level is unclear and thus is the focus of this review. Various studies suggest that curcumin is a more potent antioxidant than THC; curcumin (but not THC) can bind and inhibit numerous targets including DNA (cytosine-5)-methyltransferase-1, heme oxygenase-1, Nrf2, β-catenin, cyclooxygenase-2, NF-kappaB, inducible nitric oxide synthase, nitric oxide, amyloid plaques, reactive oxygen species, vascular endothelial growth factor, cyclin D1, glutathione, P300/CBP, 5-lipoxygenase, cytosolic phospholipase A2, prostaglandin E2, inhibitor of NF-kappaB kinase-1, -2, P38MAPK, p-Tau, tumor necrosis factor-α, forkhead box O3a, CRAC; curcumin can inhibit tumor cell growth and suppress cellular entry of viruses such as influenza A virus and hepatitis C virus much more effectively than THC; curcumin affects membrane mobility; and curcumin is also more effective than THC in suppressing phorbol-ester-induced tumor promotion. Other studies, however, suggest that THC is superior to curcumin for induction of GSH peroxidase, glutathione-S-transferase, NADPH: quinone reductase, and quenching of free radicals. Most studies have indicated that THC exhibits higher antioxidant activity, but curcumin exhibits both pro-oxidant and antioxidant properties.



25/ Uncoupling Protein 2: A Key Player and a Potential Therapeutic Target in Vascular Diseases

Abstract: Uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) is an inner mitochondrial membrane protein that belongs to the uncoupling protein family and plays an important role in lowering mitochondrial membrane potential and dissipating metabolic energy with prevention of oxidative stress accumulation. In the present article, we will review the evidence that UCP2, as a consequence of its roles within the mitochondria, represents a critical player in the predisposition to vascular disease development in both animal models and in humans, particularly in relation to obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. The deletion of the UCP2 gene contributes to atherosclerosis lesion development in the knockout mice, also showing significantly shorter lifespan. The UCP2 gene downregulation is a key determinant of higher predisposition to renal and cerebrovascular damage in an animal model of spontaneous hypertension and stroke. In contrast, UCP2 overexpression improves both hyperglycemia- and high-salt diet-induced endothelial dysfunction and ameliorates hypertensive target organ damage in SHRSP. Moreover, drugs (fenofibrate and sitagliptin) and several vegetable compounds (extracts from Brassicaceae, berberine, curcumin, and capsaicin) are able to induce UCP2 expression level and to exert beneficial effects on the occurrence of vascular damage. As a consequence, UCP2 becomes an interesting therapeutic target for the treatment of common human vascular diseases.



24/ Phytochemicals in regulating fatty acid β-oxidation: Potential underlying mechanisms and their involvement in obesity and weight loss.

Abstract: Excessive accumulation of fat as the result of more energy intake and less energy expenditure is known as obesity. Lipids are essential components in the human body and are vital for maintaining homeostasis and physiological as well as cellular metabolism. Fatty acid synthesis and catabolism (by fatty acid oxidation) are normal part of basic fuel metabolism in animals. Fatty acids are degraded in the mitochondria by a biochemical process called β-oxidation in which two-carbon fragments are produced in each cycle. The increase in fatty acid β-oxidation is negatively correlated with body mass index. Although healthy life style, avoiding Western diet, dieting and strenuous exercise are the commonly used methods to lose weight, they are not considered a permanent solution in addition to risk attenuation of basal metabolic rate (BMR). Pharmacotherapy offers benefits of weight loss by altering the satiety and lowering absorption of fat from the food; however, its side effects may outweigh the benefits of weight loss. Alternatively, dietary phytochemicals and natural health products offer great potential as an efficient weight loss strategy by modulating lipid metabolism and/or increasing BMR and thermogenesis. Specifically, polyphenols such as citrus flavonoids, green tea epigallocatechin gallate, resveratrol, capsaicin and curcumin, have been reported to increase lipolysis and induce fatty acid β-oxidation through modulation of hormone sensitive lipase, acetyl-coA carboxylase, carnitine acyl transferase and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1. In this review article, we discuss selected phytochemicals in relation to their integrated functionalities and specific mechanisms for weight loss.



23/ Novel curcumin - hyaluronic acid conjugate molecule improves curcumin's wound healing and antioxidant activity

Curcumin is a promising wound healing agent but its clinical application is limited due to being undiluted to water and lack of stability. However, curcumin conjugated to hyaluronic acid, has been found to be better than curcumin for fighting free radical damage and wound healing than plain curcumin.

[Source: Wound healing activity of curcumin conjugated to hyaluronic acid: in vitro and in vivo evaluation]



22/ Curcumin is a stronger and broader anti-inflammatory than the steroid drug prednisolone...

...allowing it to combat numerous inflammatory diseases via multiple pathways (TNF-α and IL-6 expression by macrophages, IL-8 expression by colon epithelial cells, ROS production in polymorphonuclear leukocytes and platelet activation in whole blood). Specifically, curcumin is as good inhibitor as prednisolone for TNF-alpha and IL-6 and better than prednisolone for ROS, IL-8 and fibrinogen binding.


[Source: Head-to-Head Comparison of Anti-Inflammatory Performance of Known Natural Products In Vitro]



21/ Curcumin significantly improves endothelial function...

...arterial compliance and arterial stiffness through its effects on inflammation, oxidative stress, nitric oxide bioavailability, and structural proteins of the artery

[Source: The Emerging Role of Curcumin for Improving Vascular Dysfunction: A Review]



20/ Curcumin helps burn fat by stimulating beige fat thermogenesis...

...by stimulating beta-3 adrenoreceptor gene expression and elevating the levels of plasma norepinephrine, albeit at quite high concentrations (50-100mg/kg of body weight). However, curcumin has been found in other studies to have a direct lipolytic and anti-adipogenic action, via additional mechanisms to thermogenesis. So the results of this experiment further add to the promise of curcumin as an anti-obesity and anti-cellulite natural chemical.

[Source: Curcumin promotes browning of white adipose tissue in a norepinephrine-dependent way]



19/ Curcumin protects fat cells from hypoxia-induced inflammation and insulin resistance...

...via reducing inflammatory adipokine NF-kB and boosting adiponectin secretion. The researchers noted that hypoxia effects huge increases in basal adipocyte glucose uptake (3.3x), leptin (3x), resisting (6.8x) and TLR-4 (8.8x) and reduces adiponectin by reduced adiponectin by 66%.

[Source: Development of insulin resistance through sprouting of inflammatory markers during hypoxia in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and amelioration with curcumin]



18/ Curcumin PREVENTS MITOCHONDRIAl-dysfunction RELATED disease by...

...protecting mitochondria from oxidation; helping regulate mitochondrial metabolism; modulating cell death due to mitochondrial dysfunction

[Source: Dietary Polyphenols and Mitochondrial Function: Role in Health and Disease]



17/ Curcumin blocks the growth of new fat cells [in-vivo study]

This new study shows that curcumin represses the differentiation of adipocytes by inhibiting the protein miR-17-5p and by stimulating the Wnt signalling pathway, which is known to inhibit adipocyte growth. This is in addition to multiple other studies which show the anti-adipogenic and/or lipolytic potential of curcumin

[Source: Curcumin represses mouse 3T3-L1 cell adipogenic differentiation via inhibiting miR-17-5p and stimulating the Wnt signalling pathway effector Tcf7l2]


Curcumin reduces inflammation by inhibiting the inflammatory protein IL-6

Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is one of the most important pro-inflammatory protein the body. Curcumin, the active ingredient in the Indian spice turmeric, is a well-known anti-inflammatory natural molecule. A new paper published this month examined the anti-inflammatory action of curcumin and concluded that there are numerous studies demonstrating that the anti-inflammatory action of curcumin is due to blocking the action of IL-6. 

Source: Curcumin: An effective inhibitor of interleukin-6.

Abstract: Curcumin is apolyphenolic compound found in the dietary spice turmeric. Anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric have been known for centuries and extensive studies over the last two to three decades revealed that curcumin is a key component in the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric. Chronic inflammation is involved in the various pathologic states and curcumin demonstrated therapeutic effects in different inflammation-related diseases in various in vivo, in vitro and human based studies through regulation of different signaling molecules including transcription factors, chemokines, cytokines, tumor suppressor genes, adhesion molecules and microRNAs. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) plays important roles in various events during inflammation including regulation of antibody (and autoantibody) production, activation of T cells, differentiation of B cells, increased production of acute-phase proteins, hematopoiesis and angiogenesis, vascular permeability, and osteoclast differentiation. IL-6 is also involved in pathogenesis of different inflammatory diseases. There are numerous studies demonstrating association of down-regulation of IL-6 and/or inhibition of IL-6 signaling with therapeutic effects of curcumin suggesting a role for modulation of IL-6 in anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin. Moreover, curcumin can be considered as potential therapy against IL-6 involved pathologic stats. In this narrative review, the in vitro, experimental and clinical studies that report association of IL-6 inhibition and therapeutic effects of curcumin are discussed.


Direct regulation of IL-2 by curcumin.

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a crucial growth factor for both regulatory and effector T cells. Thus, IL-2 plays a critical role in the stimulation and suppression of immune responses. Recently, anti-IL-2 antibodies (Abs) have been shown to possess strong IL-2 modulatory activities by affecting the interaction between IL-2 and IL-2 receptors. In this study, we screened an herbal library to identify a compound that regulates IL-2, which resulted in the identification of curcumin as a direct binder and inhibitor of IL-2. Curcumin is a phytochemical with well-known anti-cancer properties. In this study, curcumin mimicked or altered the binding pattern of anti-IL-2 Abs against IL-2 and remarkably inhibited the interaction of recombinant IL-2 with the IL-2 receptor α, CD25. Interestingly, curcumin neutralized the biological activities of IL-2 both in vitro and in vivo. In this report, we elucidated the unsolved mechanism of the anti-cancer effect of curcumin by identifying IL-2 as a direct molecular target. Curcumin, as a small molecule IL-2 modulator, has the potential to be used to treat IL-2 related pathologic conditions.



The turmeric extract curcumin reduces oxidative and inflammatory damage in people with metabolic syndrome

In a new study published today it was shown that curcuminoids, curcumin and it's analogs contained in the turmeric plant, combined with piperine, a pepper extract, reduce inflammatory markers in the blood in people who suffer from metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes).

Specifically, the curcuminoid/piperine combination reduced levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker of fat oxidation; increased the activity of the body's own natural antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD); and significantly reduced levels of the inflammatory protein C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a very important risk marker and risk factor of cardiovascular disease (people with metabolic syndrome have a very high risk of cardiovascular heart disease).

This randomised, placebo controlled clinical trial on humans shows that even "short-term supplementation with a curcuminoid-piperine combination significantly improves oxidative and inflammatory status in patients with metabolic syndrome" and that "curcuminoids could be regarded as natural, safe and effective CRP-lowering agents."

Curcumin is already widely researched, and widely used, for it's antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer action, so the results of this study are hardly surprising and confirm what was shown in other studies, but in a clinical, randomised, placebo-controlled setup. It is important to note here that curcuminoids are the sole active agents that accomplish the beneficial effects in inflammation/oxidation status, with the piperine acting as an absorption enhancer.

However, piperine is not absolutely necessary, as it enhances absorption only by a small factor, in contract to curcumin in liposome form, which is much more bioavailable, so our suggestion would be to use liposomal curcumin for maximum results. The same antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action of curcumin that helps with prevention of cardiovascular disease is also beneficial in anti-ageing and cellulite creams, if curcumin is included in a high-purity, high-concentration form.

Source: Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of curcuminoid-piperine combination in subjects with metabolic syndrome: A randomised controlled trial and an updated meta-analysis.

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Oxidative stress and inflammation have been proposed as emerging components of metabolic syndrome (MetS). Curcuminoids are natural polyphenols with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. OBJECTIVE: To study the effectiveness of supplementation with a bioavailable curcuminoid preparation on measures of oxidative stress and inflammation in patients with MetS. Our secondary aim was to perform a meta-analysis of data from all randomized controlled trials in order to estimate the effect size of curcuminoids on plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations. METHODS: In this randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial, 117 subjects with MetS (according to the NCEP-ATPIII diagnostic criteria) were randomly assigned to curcuminoids (n = 59; drop-outs = 9) or placebo (n = 58; drop-outs = 8) for eight weeks. Curcuminoids were administered at a daily dose of 1 g, and were co-supplemented with piperine (10 mg/day) in order to boost oral bioavailability. Serum activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and concentrations of malondialdehyde (MDA) and CRP were measured at baseline and at study end. Regarding the importance of CRP as a risk marker and risk factor of cardiovascular disease, a random-effects meta-analysis of clinical trials was performed to estimate the overall impact of curcuminoid therapy on circulating concentrations of CRP. The robustness of estimated effect size was evaluated using leave-one-out sensitivity analysis. RESULTS: Supplementation with curcuminoid-piperine combination significantly improved serum SOD activities (p < 0.001) and reduced MDA (p < 0.001) and CRP (p < 0.001) concentrations compared with placebo. Quantitative data synthesis revealed a significant effect of curcuminoids vs. placebo in reducing circulating CRP concentrations (weighed mean difference: -2.20 mg/L; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -3.96, -0.44; p = 0.01). This effect was robust in sensitivity analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Short-term supplementation with curcuminoid-piperine combination significantly improves oxidative and inflammatory status in patients with MetS. Curcuminoids could be regarded as natural, safe and effective CRP-lowering agents.



Curcumin protects against damage from the sun's UV-B rays, by activating the cells' Nrf2 antioxidant system

Comment: The turmeric active curcumin stimulates skin cells' antioxidant, detoxification and DNA repair systems to protect against UV-B skin damage

Source: Protective Effect of Curcumin Against Acute Ultraviolet B Irradiation Induced Photo-damage.

Abstract: Ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation is one of the most dangerous insults for skin, and causes sunburn, erythema, photoaging and photocarcinogenesis. Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), a yellow spice derived from dried rhizomes of Curcuma longa, has been shown to possess significant anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, anticoagulant and anti-infective effects. However, the protective effects of curcumin against acute photo-damage are poorly understood. In this study, we investigated the photo-protective effects of curcumin against UVB induced acute photo-damage in hairless mice and immortalized human keratinocytes (HaCaT). Topical application of curcumin significantly inhibited acute UVB (540 mJ/cm(2) , for 3 successive days)-induced inflammatory cells, collagen accrementition derangement and lipid peroxidation, and effectively induced NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) nuclear accumulation in Uncovered (Uncv) hairless mice skin. Treatment of HaCaT cells with curcumin significantly attenuated acute UVB (300 mJ/cm(2) )-induced lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and DNA damage, activated the expression of the phase II detoxifying enzymes and promoted DNA repair activity. The photoprotective effect provided by curcumin was potential associated with modulation of Nrf2-dependent antioxidant response. Our study suggested that curcumin is a potential agent for preventing and/or treating UV radiation induced acute inflammation and photoaging. 



Turmeric reduces fat accumulation, body weight and leptin in high fat diets

In a study published today it was found that the turmeric extract curcumin reduces fat pad weights, including deep abdominal fat. Leptin, a hormone whose increased secretion leads to a host of metabolic problems, was decreased with curcumin, while fat cell hormones involved in  lipolysis (fat release from fat cells) ATGL and HSL were increased. This paper adds to the already extensive body of evidence about curcumin's anti-obesity and metabolic regulating benefits.

Source: Korean Curcuma longa L. induces lipolysis and regulates leptin in adipocyte cells and rats.

Abstract: BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) has been reported to have many biological functions including anti-obesity. Leptin, peptide hormone produced by adipocytes and its concentration is increased in proportion to the amount of the adipocytes. In the present study, we examined the effects of Korean turmeric on the regulation of adiposity and leptin levels in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and rats fed a high-fat and high-cholesterol diet. MATERIALS/METHODS: Leptin secretion, free fatty acid and glycerol contents in 3T3-L1 adipocytes were measured after incubation of cells with turmeric for 24 hours. Rats were divided into four experimental groups: a normal diet group (N), a high-fat and high-cholesterol diet group (HF), a high-fat and high-cholesterol diet group supplemented with 2.5% turmeric extracts (TPA group) and a high-fat and high-cholesterol diet group supplemented with 5% turmeric extracts (TPB group). Serum samples were used for the measurement of leptin concentration. RESULTS: Contents of free fatty acid and glycerol showed concentration dependent increase in response to turmeric extracts. Effects of turmeric extracts on reduction of lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 cells were examined by Oil Red O staining. Treatment with turmeric extracts resulted in increased expression levels of adipose triglyceride lipase and hormone-sensitive lipase mRNA. The concentration of leptin from 3T3-L1 adipocytes was significantly decreased by turmeric. Proportional abdominal and epididymal fats weights of the turmeric 5% supplemented group, TPB has significantly decreased compared to the HF group. The serum levels of leptin in the TPA and TPB groups were significantly lower than those of the HF group. CONCLUSIONS: Based on these results, we suggested that Korean turmeric may contribute to the decreasing of body fat and regulating leptin secretion.



The turmeric extract curcumin aids wound healing via growth factor stimulation and it's antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial action

Source: Wound Healing Effect of Curcumin: A Review.

Abstract: Wound healing is a complex process that consists of several phases that range from coagulation, inflammation, accumulation of radical substances, to proliferation, formation of fibrous tissues and collagen, contraction of wound with formation of granulation tissue and scar. Since antiquity, vegetable substances have been used as phytotherapeutic agents for wound healing, and more recently natural substances of vegetable origin have been studied with the attempt to show their beneficial effect on wound treatment. Curcumin, the most active component of rhizome of Curcuma longa L. (common name: turmeric), has been studied for many years due to its bio-functional properties, especially antioxidant, radical scavenger, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities, which play a crucial role in the wound healing process. Moreover, curcumin stimulated the production of the growth factors involved in the wound healing process, and so curcumin also accelerated the management of wound restoration. The aim of the present review is collecting and evaluating the literature data regarding curcumin properties potentially relevant for wound healing. Moreover, the investigations on the wound healing effects of curcumin are reported. In order to produce a more complete picture, the chemistry and sources of curcumin are also discussed.



Tetrahydrocurcumin, but not curcumin, accumulates in fat tissue and protects it from inflammation

Curcuma longa extract associated with white pepper lessens high fat diet-induced inflammation in subcutaneous adipose tissue.

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Supra-nutritional doses of curcumin, derived from the spice Curcuma longa, have been proposed as a potential treatment of inflammation and metabolic disorders related to obesity. The aim of the present study was to test whether Curcuma longa extract rich in curcumin and associated with white pepper (Curcuma-P®), at doses compatible with human use, could modulate systemic inflammation in diet-induced obese mice. We questioned the potential relevance of changes in adiposity and gut microbiota in the effect of Curcuma-P® in obesity. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Mice were fed either a control diet (CT), a high fat (HF) diet or a HF diet containing Curcuma longa extract (0.1 % of curcumin in the HF diet) associated with white pepper (0.01 %) for four weeks. Curcumin has been usually combined with white pepper, which contain piperine, in order to improve its bioavailability. This combination did not significantly modify body weight gain, glycemia, insulinemia, serum lipids and intestinal inflammatory markers. Tetrahydrocurcumin, but not curcumin accumulated in the subcutaneous adipose tissue. Importantly, the co-supplementation in curcuma extract and white pepper decreased HF-induced pro-inflammatory cytokines expression in the subcutaneous adipose tissue, an effect independent of adiposity, immune cells recruitment, angiogenesis, or modulation of gut bacteria controlling inflammation. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings support that nutritional doses of Curcuma longa, associated with white pepper, is able to decrease inflammatory cytokines expression in the adipose tissue and this effect could be rather linked to a direct effect of bioactive metabolites reaching the adipose tissue, than from changes in the gut microbiota composition.



How curcumin helps reduce blood sugar levels and fat accumulation

Curcumin, the anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing and anti-cancer compound from turmeric, is well-known for it's anti-adipogenic / slimming activity and thereby it's usefulness in anti-cellulite creams. Turmeric acts via various pathways to inhibit growth of fat cells and in a recent study yet one more fat accumulation inhibiting pathway has been discovered: turmeric inhibits glucose absorption by intestinal cells, by blocking the protein GLUT1. This leads to blood sugar reduction and fat reduction and is in addition to turmeric's inhibiting effect on GLUT4, which blocks glucose absorption by fat cells. The researchers state that due to the blockage of GLIT1 turmeric may also compromise cancer cells that depend on GLUT1 for glucose absorption

Source: Curcumin directly inhibits the transport activity of GLUT1.

Abstract: Curcumin, a major ingredient in turmeric, has a long history of medicinal applications in a wide array of maladies including treatment for diabetes and cancer. Seemingly counterintuitive to the documented hypoglycemic effects of curcumin, however, a recent report indicates that curcumin directly inhibits glucose uptake in adipocytes. The major glucose transporter in adipocytes is GLUT4. Therefore, this study investigates the effects of curcumin in cell lines where the major transporter is GLUT1. We report that curcumin has an immediate inhibitory effect on basal glucose uptake in L929 fibroblast cells with a maximum inhibition of 80% achieved at 75 μM curcumin. Curcumin also blocks activation of glucose uptake by azide, glucose deprivation, hydroxylamine, or phenylarsine oxide. Inhibition does not increase with exposure time and the inhibitory effects reverse within an hour. Inhibition does not appear to involve a reaction between curcumin and the thiol side chain of a cysteine residue since neither prior treatment of cells with iodoacetamide nor curcumin with cysteine alters curcumin's inhibitory effects. Curcumin is a mixed inhibitor reducing the Vmax of 2DG transport by about half with little effect on the Km. The inhibitory effects of curcumin are not additive to the effects of cytochalasin B and 75 μM curcumin actually reduces specific cytochalasin B binding by 80%. Taken together, the data suggest that curcumin binds directly to GLUT1 at a site that overlaps with the cytochalasin B binding site and thereby inhibits glucose transport. A direct inhibition of GLUT proteins in intestinal epithelial cells would likely reduce absorption of dietary glucose and contribute to a hypoglycemic effect of curcumin. Also, inhibition of GLUT1 activity might compromise cancer cells that overexpress GLUT1 and be another possible mechanism for the documented anticancer effects of curcumin.



Curcumin protects from inflammation, irrespectively of it's antioxidant action

Source: Curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, tetrahydrocurcumin and turmerones differentially regulate anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative responses through a ROS-independent mechanism.

Abstract: Curcumin, a component of turmeric (Curcuma longa), has been shown to exhibit chemopreventive activity. Whether analogs of curcumin (Cur), such as demethoxycurcumin (DMC), bisdemethoxycurcumin (BDMC), tetrahydrocurcumin (THC) and turmerones, modulate inflammatory signaling and cell proliferation signaling to same extent as curcumin was investigated. The results indicate that the relative potency for suppression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-induced nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activation was Cur > DMC > BDMC; thus suggesting the critical role of methoxy groups on the phenyl ring. THC, which lacks the conjugated bonds in the central seven-carbon chain, was completely inactive for suppression of the transcription factor. Turmerones also failed to inhibit TNF-induced NF-kappaB activation. The suppression of NF-kappaB activity correlated with inhibition of NF-kappaB reporter activity and with down-regulation of cyclooxygenase-2, cyclin D1 and vascular endothelial growth factor, all regulated by NF-kappaB. In contrast to NF-kappaB activity, the suppression of proliferation of various tumor cell lines by Cur, DMC and BDMC was found to be comparable; indicating the methoxy groups play minimum role in the growth-modulatory effects of curcumin. THC and turmerones were also found to be active in suppression of cell growth but to a much lesser extent than curcumin, DMC and BDMC. Whether suppression of NF-kappaB or cell proliferation, no relationship of any of the curcuminoid was found with reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Overall, our results demonstrated that different analogs of curcumin present in turmeric exhibit variable anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activities, which do not correlate with their ability to modulate the ROS status.



The curcumin metabolite tetrahydrocurcumin (THC) and green tea polyphenols may both have a life prolonging / anti-ageing effect

Source: The effects of tetrahydrocurcumin and green tea polyphenol on the survival of male C57BL/6 mice.

Abstract: The effect of feeding of two different antioxidants, tetrahydrocurcumin (TC) and green tea polyphenols (PPs) on the survival of male C57BL/6 mice was examined. Mice that started to receive diets containing TC (0.2%) at the age of 13 months had significantly longer average life spans (days, mean +/- SD) than control mice (797.6 +/- 151.2 vs.882 +/- 154.6, both n = 50, controls vs. TC treated, plus 11.7%, P < 0.01). The 10% longest survival was also significantly greater in TC-treated mice (plus 6.5%, P < 0.01). In contrast, in mice that started to receive TC in their 19th month of life, no significant difference from the control mice was found for either the average life span or the 10% longest survival. In mice that received water containing PPs (80 mg/l), the average life span was also significantly longer than in the control mice (801 +/- 121.5 vs. 852.7 +/- 88.2, plus 6.4%, P < 0.05), although the 10% longest survival was not significantly different from that in the control mice (P > 0.05). The body weights of the TC (but not PP) fed mice, were slightly (2-4%) but significantly (P < 0.05) lower than the values for the corresponding ages in the control mice in the first six months of treatment. Thereafter, the difference in average body weight between the control and the TC-fed animals was totally lost. Although an additional contribution of an unintended slight decrease in food intake due to TC feeding (suspected due to the difference in body weight) is not excluded, we suggest that the feeding of nutritional antioxidants such as TC and PPs may have the potential to beneficially modify the life spans of animals.



Curcumin against advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and AGEs-induced detrimental agents

Abstract: OBJECTIVES:  This study was aimed to review and collate effects of curcumin on generation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and AGEs induced detrimental agents. METHODS: Pubmed, Googlescholar, ScienceDirect, and Scopus databases were searched. Searching was not limited to specific publication period. Only English language original articles (in vitro, experimental and human) which had examined the effect of curcumin on AGEs formation and AGEs induced apoptosis, oxidative stress or inflammatory responses were included. To review effect of curcumin on AGEs formation, search terms were as following: ''curcumin" (title) and AGEs or pentosidine or methylglyoxal or carboxymethyllysine or glucosylation (title/abstract). Totally 104 articles were searched which 19 were selected for review. To review effect of curcumin on AGEs induced harmful agents, key words were as following: "curcumin" (title) and AGEs (title/abstract) and apoptosis or oxidative stress or DNA damage or cell injury or inflammatory or cell death or cell proliferation (title/abstract). Totally 126 articles were searched which 18 were found appropriate for review. RESULTS:  Regarding curcumin and AGEs formation, ten eligible articles (1 human trial, 5 animal models and 4 in vitro) and with regarding curcumin and AGEs-induced complications, 17 articles (5 on apoptosis, 9 on oxidative stress, and 3 on inflammatory responses) were selected. Except one, all studies indicated that curcumin is able to prevent AGEs formation and AGEs-induced disturbances with different potential mechanisms. CONCLUSION:  Curcumin can inhibit AGEs formation and AGEs-induced disturbances. More RCT researches are suggested to evaluate beneficial effect of curcumin regarding AGEs in different age-related chronic diseases, with specific attention to AGEs memberships.


Effects of curcumin and curcumin analogues on TRP channels

A series of 33 curcumin analogues was synthesized and tested on TRPA1, TRPM8, and TRPV1 channels. Twenty of them acted as good modulators of TRPA1 channels. None was able to significantly activate TRPM8 channels, while curcumin itself and six curcuminoids belonging to the 1,3-dicarbonyl and acyclic series behaved as 'true' antagonists with IC50 values<5μM. Only few curcuminoids were able to modulate TRPV1 channels with EC50 and IC50 values ranging from 3.4 and 6.0μM.



Immune Modulation by Curcumin: The Role of Interleukin-10.

Abstract: Cytokines are small secreted proteins released by different types of cells with specific effects on cellular signaling and communication via binding to their receptors on the cell surface. IL-10 is known to be a pleiotropic and potent anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive cytokine that is produced by both innate and adaptive immunity cells including dendritic cells, macrophages, mast cells, natural killer cells, eosinophils, neutrophils, B cells, CD8(+) T cells, and TH1, TH2, and TH17 and regulatory T cells. Both direct and indirect activation of the stress axis promotes IL-10 secretion. IL-10 deregulation plays a role in the development of a large number of inflammatory diseases such as neuropathic pain, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, systemic lupus erythematosus, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and allergy. Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory compound able to induce the expression and production of IL-10 and enhancing its action on a large number of tissues. In vitro and in pre-clinical models curcumin is able to modulate the disease pathophysiology of conditions such as pain and neurodegenerative diseases, bowel inflammation, and allergy, but also of infections and cancer through its effect on IL-10 secretion. In humans, at least one part of the positive effects of curcumin on health could be related to its ability to enhance IL-10 -mediated effects.



1000mg/day of the turmeric extract curcumin as good as pain medication, study finds

  • Comment: A new meta-analysis study has found that turmeric is as effective as medication in reduction of pain score in arthritis
  • The meta analysis authors stated that the quality of the studies was generally good but more studies of larger sample sizes needs to be conducted for clearer evidence
  • In the meantime, sufferers can take 1000mg/day of curcumin, a safe, and economical anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antioxidant supplement, while waiting for a few of decades for new studies too emerge...
  • (Here it is important to note that turmeric has been used for millennia as a relief for inflammation and curcumin has been investigated for it's anti-inflammatory role in almost all human organs and tissues, from skin to bowel to brain)
  • Source: Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials.
  • Abstract: Although turmeric and its curcumin-enriched extracts have been used for treating arthritis, no systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) have been conducted to evaluate the strength of the research. We systemically evaluated all RCTs of turmeric extracts and curcumin for treating arthritis symptoms to elucidate the efficacy of curcuma for alleviating the symptoms of arthritis. Literature searches were conducted using 12 electronic databases, including PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Korean databases, Chinese medical databases, and Indian scientific database. Search terms used were "turmeric," "curcuma," "curcumin," "arthritis," and "osteoarthritis." A pain visual analogue score (PVAS) and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) were used for the major outcomes of arthritis. Initial searches yielded 29 articles, of which 8 met specific selection criteria. Three among the included RCTs reported reduction of PVAS (mean difference: -2.04 [-2.85, -1.24]) with turmeric/curcumin in comparison with placebo (P < .00001), whereas meta-analysis of four studies showed a decrease of WOMAC with turmeric/curcumin treatment (mean difference: -15.36 [-26.9, -3.77]; P = .009). Furthermore, there was no significant mean difference in PVAS between turmeric/curcumin and pain medicine in meta-analysis of five studies. Eight RCTs included in the review exhibited low to moderate risk of bias. There was no publication bias in the meta-analysis. In conclusion, these RCTs provide scientific evidence that supports the efficacy of turmeric extract (about 1000 mg/day of curcumin) in the treatment of arthritis. However, the total number of RCTs included in the analysis, the total sample size, and the methodological quality of the primary studies were not sufficient to draw definitive conclusions. Thus, more rigorous and larger studies are needed to confirm the therapeutic efficacy of turmeric for arthritis.



curcumin protects fat cells from inflammation, helps fight cellulite

  • Dietary phytochemicals called polyphenols are known potent antioxidants that protect body tissues from free radical damage and consequent inflammation.
  • Inflammation and oxidative damage are key components of cellulite, as well as diabetes and several other so-called civilisation diseases, such as heart disease and arthritis.
  • Recent research has now looked into 28 polyphenols (such as hesperidin, resveratrol, epigallocatechin gallate and curcumin) and concluded that those polyphenols protect fat cells from both oxidative damage and inflammation, by reducing inflammatory hormones, such as IL-6.
  • This practically means that orally taken polyphenols (either as foods or as supplements) can be used in the fight against fat tissue inflammation for the prevention of diabetes and cellulite.
  • Polyphenols may also be used with local application in the fight against cellulite as active ingredients in an anti-cellulite cream. Naturally, the more of those polyphenols are present in the cream the better results are to be expected, due to a synergistic effect of using multiple ingredients.
  • Source: Evaluation of antioxidant properties of major dietary polyphenols and their protective effect on 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and red blood cells exposed to oxidative stress
  • Abstract: "Obesity has been associated with a marked risk of metabolic diseases and requires therapeutic strategies. Changes in redox status with increased oxidative stress in adipose tissue have been linked with obesity-related disorders. Thus, the biological effect of antioxidants such as polyphenols is of high interest. We aimed to measure antioxidant capacities of 28 polyphenols representative of main dietary phenolic acids, flavonoids, stilbenes and curcuminoids. Then, 14 molecules were selected for the evaluation of their effect on 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and human red blood cells exposed to oxidative stress. Analysis of reducing and free radical-scavenging capacities of compounds revealed antioxidant properties related to their structure, with higher activities for flavonoids such as quercetin and epicatechin. Their effects on preadipocytes' viability also depended on their structure, dose and time of exposure. Interestingly, most of the compounds exhibited a protective effect on preadipocytes exposed to oxidative stress, by reversing H₂O₂-induced anti-proliferative action and reactive oxygen species production. Polyphenols also exerted an anti-inflammatory effect on preadipocytes exposed to H₂O₂ by reducing IL-6 secretion. Importantly, such antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects were observed in co-exposition (polyphenol and prooxidant during 24 h) or pretreatment (polyphenol during 24 h, then prooxidant for 24 h) conditions. Moreover, compounds protected erythrocytes from AAPH radical-induced lysis. Finally, these results led to demonstrate that antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of polyphenols may depend on structure, dose, time of exposure and cell conditioning with oxidative stress. Such findings should be considered for a better understanding of polyphenols' benefits in strategies aiming to prevent obesity-related diseases."



How the turmeric extract curcumin fights inflammation in arthritis

  • Osteoarthritis is an inflammatory disease which leads to cartilage destruction and consequent pain and reduced joint range of movement and mobility
  • For this reason natural chemicals with anti-inflammatory properties are of great interest
  • Curcumin is the most well-researched "anti-inflammatory" phytochemical (plant chemical)
  • Multiple studies have shown it's beneficial effect in different inflammatory conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, inflammatory skin conditions and overall ageing.
  • A review paper published this week reported that "patients with osteoarthritis showed improvement in pain, physical function, and quality of life after taking curcumin" and that they reported reduced need for pain medication and reduced side effects during treatment
  • Curcumin works by:
    • preventing cartilage cell death (chondrocyte apoptosis)
    • blocking the same proteins anti-inflammatory medications block, namely COX2 and PGE2
    • inhibiting the release of inflammatory cytokines in cartilage tissue
    • inhibiting a group of enzymes called metalloproteinases (MMPs) which break down cartilage tissue
  • Curcumin is a safe, multifunctional natural chemical with already well described anti-inflammatory action and more and more laboratory and clinical studies are performed on the effect of curcumin and it's derivatives on inflammation, cancer, fibrosis, oxidative damage and other areas of interest
  • Source: The spice for joint inflammation: anti-inflammatory role of curcumin in treating osteoarthritis.
  • Abstract: Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joint affecting aging populations worldwide. It has an underlying inflammatory cause, which contributes to the loss of chondrocytes, leading to diminished cartilage layer at the affected joints. Compounds with anti-inflammatory properties are potential treatment agents for osteoarthritis. Curcumin derived from Curcuma species is an anti-inflammatory compound as such. This review aims to summarize the antiosteoarthritic effects of curcumin derived from clinical and preclinical studies. Many clinical trials have been conducted to determine the effectiveness of curcumin in osteoarthritic patients. Extracts of Curcuma species, curcuminoids and enhanced curcumin, were used in these studies. Patients with osteoarthritis showed improvement in pain, physical function, and quality of life after taking curcumin. They also reported reduced concomitant usage of analgesics and side effects during treatment. In vitro studies demonstrated that curcumin could prevent the apoptosis of chondrocytes, suppress the release of proteoglycans and metal metalloproteases and expression of cyclooxygenase, prostaglandin E-2, and inflammatory cytokines in chondrocytes. These were achieved by blocking the activation of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) system in the chondrocytes, by preventing the activation of nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B-cells inhibitor, alpha, phosphorylation, and translocation of the p65 subunit of NF-κB complexes into the nucleus. In conclusion, curcumin is a potential candidate for the treatment of osteoarthritis. More well-planned randomized control trials and enhanced curcumin formulation are required to justify the use of curcumin in treating osteoarthritis.