Researchers have discovered that mice given curcumin experience a reduction in the formation of fat tissue and the blood vessels that feed it. Curcumin is the major polyphenol in the spice turmeric..
The growth and expansion of fat tissues requires new blood vessels, a process known as angiogenesis. In fat tissue, this process is mediated by the secretion of adipokines, such as leptin, adiponectin, resistin, interleukin-6 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The researchers first investigated the effect of curcumin in cultured human cells to which adipokines had been added to stimulate angiogenesis. They found the ability of curcumin to inhibit angiogenesis was partly due to the reduced expression of VEGF.
They then fed mice a high-fat diet supplemented with 500 milligrams curcumin per kilogram diet for 12 weeks. Weight gain was reduced in mice that received curcumin. The researchers attributed this reduction to a decrease in total body fat in the curcumin-fed animals. Mice that received curcumin also had lower liver weights, and experienced a reduction in VEGF, indicating reduced angiogenesis.
Furthermore, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and free fatty acids were lower in mice that received curcumin compared with groups of unsupplemented animals.
Life Extension Magazine April 21, 2009
Journal of Nutrition May 2009;139(5):919-25