Written by Angeline A. De Leon, Staff Writer. Supplementation with 800 mg of curcumin with added piperine and phosphatidylserine significantly improved weight loss and reduced waist size and hip circumference in participating subjects compared to control.

weight lossThe high-fat, sugar-based diet characteristic of the modern Western lifestyle has fostered an alarming rise in the occurrence of metabolic syndrome 1. Referring to a cluster of risk factors that increase the chances of cancer, diabetes, and other cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome typically involves abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, low HDL-cholesterol, and/or high triglycerides 2,3. Failure to adequately control symptoms through diet and exercise alone has necessitated the use of supplements capable of counteracting insulin resistance and lowering visceral obesity 4,5. One such dietary adjunct may be the bioavailable form of curcumin, an herbal member of the ginger family which possesses anti-hyperglycemic effects and has been shown to reduce insulin resistance and promote loss of adipose tissue 6,7. To understand the impact of curcumin on weight loss, a 2015 study published by the European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences designed a preliminary trial examining the clinical efficacy of curcumin in obese individuals with metabolic syndrome.

In a single-center, randomized-controlled clinical trial, a total of 44 individuals (mean age = 39.1 years) who showed minimal response to a 30-day lifestyle intervention program were selected. In addition to continued participation in the lifestyle intervention program (involving nutritional education and reinforcement of physical activity), subjects were randomly assigned to ingest either 800 mg of Curcuma longa extract blended with piperine for enhanced absorption and complexed with phosphatidylserine (a phospholipid component of the cell membrane abundantly found in the brain) or 400 mg of pure phosphatidylserine twice daily for one month. Body composition and waist and hip circumference were measured at enrollment and after intervention.

Both treatments were shown to be well tolerated by patients. However, in comparison to phosphatidylserine, treatment with curcumin 1 increased weight loss from 1.88 to 4.91%; 2 increased body fat reduction from 0.70 to 8.43%; 3 increased waistline reduction from 2.36 to 4.14%; 4 increased hip circumference reduction from 0.74 to 2.51%; and 5 increased BMI reduction from 2.10 to 6.43% (p < 0.01 for all comparisons).

General findings demonstrate that dietary supplementation with a bioavailable form of curcumin is not only safe and tolerable, but also highly effective in improving the effects of diet and lifestyle interventions in the achievement of weight loss. The use of this herbal medicine may be considered a useful addition to conventional weight loss programs, especially for obese individuals and those suffering from metabolic syndrome. Additional studies using chemical parameters of weight loss such as cortisol and leptin levels are needed to validate preliminary findings. It would also be important for future work to look at the isolated effects of curcumin on weight loss and adipose tissue in the absence of any lifestyle interventions.

Source: Pierro FD, Bressan A, Ranaldi D, et al. Potential role of bioavailable curcumin in weight loss and omental adipose tissue decrease: preliminary data of a randomized, controlled trial in overweight people with metabolic syndrome. Preliminary study. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. 2015; 19: 4195-4202.

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Posted July 6, 2017.

Angeline A. De Leon, MA, graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010, completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a concentration in neuroscience. She received her master’s degree from The Ohio State University in 2013, where she studied clinical neuroscience within an integrative health program.


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