Research Highlight

Turmeric for obesity

doi:10.1038/nindia.2012.66 Published online 2 May 2012

Turmeric, the wonder spice of Indian kitchens, has now been found effective in fighting obesity, diabetes and bad cholesterol levels. Combined with two other kitchen essentials — pepper and onion — curcumin, the key compound of turmeric, has been shown to control these metabolic parameters in laboratory animals.

The researchers combined curcumin, piperine (from black pepper) and quercetin (from onion skin). They fed the CPQ combination at a dose of 100 mg per kilogram of body weight to obese, diabetic rats for 28 days. This resulted in marked decrease in plasma glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL. The researchers contend that the high level of flavonoids in the combination could be responsible for the significant decrease in glucose transport in the rat bodies. This could have brought down the uptake of glucose in the blood, they say.

The researchers found significant rise in plasma glucose level in rats fed with high-fat diet for 8 weeks combined with low-dose streptozotocin. The rats exhibited the characteristic features of obesity and glucose intolerance through increase in body weight, hypertriglyceridemia, hypercholesterolemia, and impaired glucose tolerance. The rats also showed significant rise in plasma glucose and intolerance to glucose administered externally.

"There are multiple mechanisms involved in the development of insulin resistance and glucose intolerance...the nature of dietary fatty acid might be involved in altering the cell membrane composition, thereby impeding the binding of insulin to its receptor," they report. This might lead to significant increase in plasma glucose levels in these rats, the researchers say.


  1. Kaur, G. et al. Amelioration of Obesity, Glucose Intolerance, and Oxidative Stress in High-Fat Diet and Low-Dose Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Rats by Combination Consisting of “Curcumin with Piperine and Quercetin”. ISRN Pharmacol. doi: 10.5402/2012/957283 (2012)