Curry substance prevents diabetic complications

| | | Bookmark and Share

August 18, 2007  
Filed under Uncategorized

CM NEWS – If you’re diabetic, next time you scoop up that hot yellow curry, you might be taking in valuable antioxidant that protects your brain against potential vascular complications.

A study done at the Department of Biochemistry of Annamalai University in India shows that a compound derived from curcumins, a substance that makes curry yellow, may have both antioxidant and antidiabetic effects in type 2 diabetic rats.

In diabetic patients, increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and lipid peroxidation may contribute to vascular complications. In this study, the researchers investigated the effect of tetrahydrocurcumin (THC) on the occurrence of oxidative stress in the brain of rats during diabetes.

What is lipid peroxidation? Lipid peroxidation refers to the oxidative degradation of lipids. It is the process whereby free radicals (toxins) “steal” electrons from the lipids in cell membranes, resulting in cell damage. This process proceeds by a free radical chain reaction mechanism.

curcumaWhat is curcumin? Curcumin is extracted from the roots of Curcuma longa, commonly called turmeric root. Curcumin is a spice commonly used in curries and other south Asian cooking. It’s also known as the yellow ginger.

Curcumin is known for its antitumour, antioxidant, antiarthritic, anti-amyloid and anti-inflammatory properties.

In a study by researchers from the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, curcumin blocked a key biological pathway needed for development of melanoma and other cancers. Curcumin stopped laboratory strains of melanoma from proliferating and pushes the cancer cells to commit suicide.

Curcumin also acts as a free radical scavenger and antioxidant, inhibiting lipid peroxidation and oxidative DNA damage.

What is tetrahydrocurcumin? Tetrahydrocurcuminoids (THC) is a colourless hydrogenated product derived from the yellow curcuminoids, the biologically active principles from the rhizomes of Curcuma longa (Turmeric), which function as efficient antioxidant compounds.

Studies have shown that THC has better superoxide scavenging ability compared to Vitamin E, a commonly used antioxidant. THC is also more efficient inhibitors of fat oxidation than Vitamin E.

The superior antioxidant property of THC, combined with the lack of yellow colour, render this product useful in achromatic food and cosmetic applications that currently employ conventional synthetic antioxidants.

Tetrahydrocurcumin has been shown to have a greater inhibitory effect on lipid peroxidation of the erythrocyte membrane induced by tertbutylhydroperoxide. THC is believed to scavenge free radicals efficiently.

The Indian study found that oral administration of THC at 80 mg/kg of body weight to diabetic rats for 45 days resulted in a significant reduction in blood glucose and significant increase in plasma insulin levels.

In addition, THC caused significant increases in the activities of enzymes superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione S-transferase. These enzymes protect the organism from oxidative damage by reducing the production of hydrogen peroxide, and thus reducing lipid hydroperoxides.

THC also reduced glutathione, an antioxidant, in the brains of diabetic rats with significant decrease in lipid peroxidation. This suggests that THC is effective in protection against lipid peroxidation-induced membrane damage. In addition, the researchers also found that the effect of THC was greater than that of curcumin.

The researchers concluded that THC showed antioxidant effects in addition to its antidiabetic effect in type 2 diabetic rats.

[Journal of Medicinal Food. 2007, 10(2): 323-329]

Check out my previous posts on diabetes: how oyster mushroom helps cut blood glucose; what makes expensive-as-gold Chinese medicine cordyceps sinensis controls blood sugar and boost immunity. Other diabetes-fighting herbs also include berberine and cortex moutan.