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Turmeric Component Reduces Weight Gain in Obesity Model

Last Updated: May 22, 2009.

A component of the spice turmeric blocks the growth and development of fat cells and reduces weight gain in a mouse model of obesity, according to a study in the May issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

FRIDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- A component of the spice turmeric blocks the growth and development of fat cells and reduces weight gain in a mouse model of obesity, according to a study in the May issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

Asma Ejaz and colleagues from Tufts University in Boston examined the effect of curcumin, the major polyphenol in turmeric spice, on angiogenesis and adipogenesis in preadipocytes and on adiposity and body weight gain in mice fed a high-fat diet.

The researchers found that curcumin inhibited the differentiation of preadipocytes to mature adipocytes, inhibited adipokine-induced angiogenesis, and caused programmed cell death. In mice fed a high-fat diet, curcumin reduced weight gain, adiposity, and microvessel density in adipose tissue without affecting food intake. These effects of curcumin were accompanied by changes in the expression of enzymes involved in fatty acid oxidation and esterification, adipogenesis, and lipogenesis. Curcumin also significantly lowered serum cholesterol, according to the study.

"In addition to several reported pharmacological activities, our results clearly demonstrate that curcumin at cellular and whole organism levels displays remarkable potential health benefits for prevention of obesity and associated metabolic disorders by suppressing angiogenesis in adipose tissue, upregulating adipocyte energy metabolism and apoptosis, and downregulating preadipocyte differentiation," Ejaz and colleagues conclude.

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