Recently, there has been a great deal of excitement about prescription drugs to promote weight loss. Drugs such as Wegovy and Ozempic are expensive, however, and they are not available everywhere. That is why scientists in Thailand conducted an umbrella review of 50 randomized controlled trials considered whether curcumin from turmeric can help people lose weight.
Could Curcumin from Turmeric Aid in Weight Management?
In Thailand, as elsewhere in South Asia, about 80 percent of the population uses medicinal herbs. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a common ingredient in curry, while curcumin from turmeric is a popular dietary supplement. Although turmeric contains a number of compounds, most scientists believe that curcumin is the most active one.
People in the Studies Took Different Supplements:
Among the studies in the analysis, there were three types of formulations: turmeric, curcumin extract or bioavailability-enhanced formulas (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 2023). Participants in the trials ended up with lower body mass indices (BMI) if they took curcumin. That was most notable among those who were overweight to begin with. People with BMI measuring below 25 at the start of the study did not decrease that measure. Heavier people taking the supplement also reduced their waist circumferences more than people taking placebo pills. Bioavailability-enhanced formulations were most effective, especially when combined with lifestyle changes.
The authors suggest many possible mechanisms, but none has been proven. In addition, they point out that obesity is a complex problem, and simply taking curcumin pills does not solve it.
Does Curcumin Have Side Effects?
The investigators note that curcumin is generally recognized as safe, but they advise that people with gallstones should not consume it. Some readers have reported allergic reactions to this herbal product. We recommend that anyone on anticoagulants, especially warfarin, avoid taking either turmeric or curcumin. Some patients have found that combining turmeric with warfarin can increase the risk of bleeding.