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Can turmeric help manage diabetes? What the evidence says

Posted: 5:33 PM, Jun 02, 2017
Updated: 2017-06-02 21:33:21Z

Turmeric is the bright yellow-orange spice often used in Asian dishes and curries. 

I am a huge fan of turmeric and use it often in our family meals. But it’s medicinal uses date back 4,000 years, so it’s not surprising it may help with managing diabetes.

Research focuses on the main component of turmeric called curcumin.

A review of 13 years of research suggest curcumin may help in different ways. Adding it to your diet may reduce your chance of developing diabetes as curcumin appears to improve the cells that create insulin in the pancreas.  

Taking curcumin orally may reduce blood sugar levels, however more research is needed in humans.  

Other studies have shown those with prediabetes may not develop full diabetes when taking curcumin in capsule form.

Diabetes can affect your liver and research showed those who took curcumin over a long period of time had fewer symptoms of liver disorders. 

Taking curcumin may also help to prevent diabetic-related nerve damage, prevent diabetic cataracts and kidney disease.

Turmeric is a great to add to your regular regimen, but there are other ways to manage or prevent diabetes:

  • Eat a healthy diet. Focus on natural unprocessed meals that include vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
  • Choose high fiber foods like beans and nuts. They slow the rate of sugar absorption and improve blood sugar control.
  • Exercise regularly. It lowers your blood sugar and helps to keep it within a normal range.
  • If you use turmeric or curcumin as a supplement, start with a low dose and build from there.

Turmeric and curcumin are considered safe but can have side effects if taken in large doses. 

You might experience indigestion, diarrhea or nausea. 

Please avoid if you have anemia, gallbladder disease, or kidney stones.  

If you’re on blood sugar medications, discuss this spice with your doctor as it could increase the effects and lead to low blood sugar.