Also known as madhumeh /मधुमेह is a chronic metabolic condition diagnosed by abnormal sugar levels in blood as the body is unable to regulate it.

Insulin, a hormone that plays an essential role in diabetes.
It is produced by the pancreas and it regulates the blood sugar or glucose, which acts as an energy for several cellular activities. Insulin helps in moving glucose from blood to muscles, fat and liver cells where it is kept or used as fuel.
In diabetes, usually low insulin or insulin resistance disturbs this transformation of glucose and in turn, tends to affect the body negatively.

  • Type 1 diabetes : It occurs because of lack of Insulin production.
  • Type 2 diabetes : It is caused due to the failure of cells to respond to insulin appropriately.
  • Gestational diabetes : This type of diabetes happens during pregnancy time due to high blood glucose levels.
  • Type 1 diabetes is not curable but treatable whereas Type 2 can be reversed by the use of medications with or without insulin and sometimes through making changes in lifestyle.

The basic mechanisms by which curcumin helps in treating diabetes through its medicinal properties.

  • Curcumin counteracts inflammation in Diabetes
  • Curcumin decreases oxidative stress in Diabetes
  • Curcumin lowers blood sugar levels.
  • Curcumin can repair and regenerate pancreas cells
  • Curcumin can reverse pre-diabetics
  • Curcumin has an Anti- diabetogenesis effect
  • Curcumin lowers cholesterol levels
  • Curcumin protects from heart risks
  • Curcumin helps in weight loss
  • Curcumin benefits in wound healings
  • Curcumin benefits Kidney health
  • Curcumin attenuates neuropathic pain and disorder

Curcumin counteracts inflammation in Diabetes

Type 1 – Insulitis : Type 1 Diabetes is an immune-mediated disease where selective pancreatic cells are destroyed. This happens when the Insulin producing cells of the pancreas are invaded by cells of the immune system and this condition is referred to as insulitis.

The infiltration or the attack of immune cells leads to secretion of Pro-inflammatory Cytokines Interleukine -1(IL-1) that facilitates the progress of inflammation and causing cell death.

Type- 2 Diabetes : Chronic low-level inflammation is associated with Obesity & Diabetes.

  • A proinflammatory Cytokine named (TNF-Alpha) tumor necrosis factor- (TNF-Alpha) is overproduced in adipose tissue of obese humans.
  • This overproduction is known to damage insulin function & further contribute to insulin resistance.
  • This function of macrophages (a type of immune cell & adipocytes (fat cells) is overlapping).
  • Therefore, it is commonly seen that the macrophages in adipose tissue, either alone or with the help of adipocytes, secrete proteins that promote inflammation and contribute to insulin resistance.
  • So the main pro-inflammatory agents involved in pathogenesis of type-2 diabetes to summarise.
  • ★ Interleukin-1 beta (IL-Ibeta).
    ★ TNF-Alpha (Tumor necrosis factor- Alpha).
    ★ IL-6 (Interleukin-6).
  • Curcumin behaves as powerful anti-inflammatory agent in diabetes (both type-1 & type 2) by regulating pathways & activities of many proteins.
  • ★ Suppression of nuclear factor-kappa B and hence down regulation of activity of COX-2
    ★ Prevention of production of inflammatory cytokines like TNF-alpha, IL-6 .IL-1beta
    ★ Reducing the activity of enzymes and proteins that mediate inflammation.
  • Hence, it is well proved that curcumin acts as a natural antioxidant compounds which helps in suppressing or reducing inflammation caused due to diabetes & preventing its proliferation.

Curcumin benefits Kidney health

  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD), an inflammatory disease, can lead to end stage renal disease resulting in dialysis and transplant. Furthermore, it is frequently associated with other inflammatory disease such as diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. Curcumin activates anti-inflammatory and antioxidant pathways in CKD.
  • It prevents diabetic nephropathy, Yang et.al have proved that oral intake of curcumin at a dose o 500mg /day for 15-30 days prevents progression of diabetic kidney disease. . It reduces inflammation oxidative stress and excretion of albumin in type 2 diabetes patients.

Curcumin decreases oxidative stress in Diabetes

Oxidative stress, defined as a disturbance in the balance between the productions of reactive oxygen species (ROS) also known as free radicals and antioxidant defences, oxidative stress has a possible role in the production of tissue damage in diabetes mellitus.

ROS “Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are chemically reactive molecules that contain oxygen and bring about phenomena vital to normal cells functioning.However, under adverse conditions, ROS levels escalate drastically and cause cell death and inflammation

As under hyperglycaemic (high blood sugar levels) conditions increased uptake of glucose leads to excess production of ROS which causes

  • Oxidative degradation of fats(lipid per oxidation)
  • Oxidative damage to cell.
  • Initiation of inflammatory pathways.

Thus Turmeric/Curcumin reduces oxidative stress by:

  • Scavenging ROS
  • Inhibiting lipid per oxidation
  • Increasing the levels of antioxidant enzymes.

Curcumin lowers blood sugar levels.

The review study by Ghorbani et.al demonstrates that curcumin lowers blood sugar in multiple ways few of them are mentioned below:

  • Stimulating insulin production
  • Improving the activity of pancreas cells
  • Improving sensitivity to insulin
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Reducing the production of glucose by the liver
  • Stimulating utilization of glucose by the body

Further, a study in humans shows: Curcuminoids exert anti diabetic effect by acting on Adipocyte-fatty acid binding proteins Reduction in this protein helps in regulating metabolic disorders. Further a recent study demonstrated that nano-curcumin supplementation in type 2 diabetes for 3 months

  • Reduces blood sugar levels
  • Reduces glycated haemoglobin
  • Reduces Triglyceride levels and even BMI

Curcumin can repair and regenerate pancreas cells

As per experimental studies

  • Curcumin provides benefit against auto immune diabetes by regulating the action of immune-cells that destroys beta cells of the pancreas.
  • An animal study published in Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome 2013 revealed that curcumin also helps to regenerate and repair damaged pancreatic cells.

Curcumin can reverse pre-diabetics

As per research

  • HOMA- IR represents insulin resistance
  • HOMA – beta indicates cell functioning
  • Improved HOMA-beta levels & reduced HOMA –IR levels in curcumin treated groups along with elevated levels of Adiponectin an anti inflammatory agent.

Curcumin has an Anti- diabetogenesis effect

As per experimental studies

It prevents diabetes in the first place by acting on what is called pancreatic adrenergic (Pancreatic adrenergic receptors) , these regulate the release of insulin.

As Diabetogenesis is caused by the death of pancreatic islet cells due to oxidative stress (imbalance between pro oxidant and antioxidant levels).

Curcumin lowers cholesterol levels

Diabetes is found to disturb cholesterol metabolism more than obesity. In animal study, it is found that curcumin can significantly reduce the abnormalities in lipid and cholesterol levels by regulating liver function.

Curcumin helps in improving:

  • Anti oxidant defences
  • Regulates fat metabolism
  • Affects intestinal absorption of cholesterol and acts in similar fashion as statins.

Curcumin protects from heart risks

  • Curcumin improves heart heath to a greater extent and protects from diabetes induced cardiovascular complications.
  • Endothelial dysfunction is a common complication in diabetes patients. It is an abnormality in the inner tissues lining of blood vessels, occurring due to high blood sugar levels.
  • Usharani et. al conducted a study in human where type-2 diabetes gets treated with 300 mg curcumin or with atorvastatin or with placebo for 8 weeks.

Curcumin helps in weight loss

  • Curcumin reduces inflammation – Obesity is known to be a pro-inflammatory condition and studies have been done that concluded, Curcumin directly interacts with cells to reduce inflammation and during this process, it helps in a reversal of insulin resistance and other symptoms that often accompany obesity.
  • Curcumin exerts anti – obesity action where it not only prevents fat deposition and growth of fat tissue but also reduces inflammation and oxidative stress and helps in diabesity and overcomes insulin resistance in obesity-induced diabetes.
  • Curcumin helps with liver detoxification – Liver plays an important role in fat metabolism which in turn is very important in weight loss. It helps detoxify the liver and reverse cellular damage or scarring of the liver. Better functioning of the liver helps in getting rid of excessive fats.

Curcumin benefits in wound healings

  • The anti-oxidant and anti inflammatory potential of curcumin naturally speeds up wound healing by regulating smooth blood circulation which is otherwise not good in case of high blood sugar level patients thereby benefits in diabetic foot ulcers.
  • By prevention of the MMP’s or Matrix metalloproteins (involved in the impairment of each step of the wound healing process) by curcumin. It promotes tissue granulation (contraction of the wound) & reepithelialisation (wound closure by the formation of skin).

Curcumin attenuates neuropathic pain and disorder

  • Research suggests that curcumin attenuates diabetes neuropathic pain by inhibiting the activity of a pro-inflammatory protein called TNFX (Tumor necrosis factor alpha). It also alleviates oxidative stress to reduce neuropathic pain in diabetes.
  • A study published in the European journal of pharmacology, 2014 suggests that perhaps curcumin acts via the endogenous opioid system to relieve neuropathic pain.
  • Curcumin demonstrates neuroprotective action in Alzheimer's disease, tardive dyskinesia, major depression, epilepsy, and other related neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders.
  • It acts majorly through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Also, it is a potent inhibitor of reactive astrocyte expression and thus prevents cell death. Curcumin also modulates various neurotransmitter levels in the brain.