(NaturalNews) A diet high in turmeric may help reduce weight gain by suppressing the growth of new fat tissue, according to a study conducted by researchers from Tufts University and published in the Journal of Nutrition.
The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a grant from the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.
"Weight gain is the result of the growth and expansion of fat tissue, which cannot happen unless new blood vessels form, a process known as angiogenesis," senior author Mohsen Meydani said. "Based on our data, curcumin appears to suppress angiogenic activity in the fat tissue of mice fed high fat diets."
Curcumin is an antioxidant chemical in the polyphenol family that naturally occurs in turmeric. In contrast to some phytochemicals, it is easily absorbed by the body.
Researchers fed two groups of mice identical high-fat diets, supplementing the diets of the half the mice with 500 milligrams of curcumin per kilogram of body weight per day. They found that mice in the curcumin group had significantly lower blood cholesterol and significantly less microvessel density in fat tissue than the mice in the control group, implying less blood vessel growth and thus less overall growth of fat tissue. The livers of mice in the curcumin group also contained significantly less fat than those of the mice in the control group.
"In general, angiogenesis and an accumulation of lipids in fat cells contribute to fat tissue growth," Meydani said.
The researcher also noted that "curcumin appeared to be responsible for total lower body fat in the group that received supplementation."
In a similar study conducted on cells rather than animals, the researchers also found curcumin to suppress angiogenesis. The chemical also appeared to suppress the expression of two genes linked to angiogenesis in both the mouse and cell experiments.