Turmeric for Weight Loss - Does It Work?

Discover if using turmeric for weight loss really works.

Turmeric is a very popular spice used by the Asians and the Indians.

It is traditionally used to reduce inflammation and pain and to help with wound healing.

The main active ingredient responsible for these benefits is curcumin.

Recently, several animal studies suggested that it might help with weight loss through the regulation of blood sugar levels and its influence on body fat composition.

Of course, studies completed in clinical trials would provide the answers but there just aren't any available.

Until then, read on to find out what experts currently know about how it might work to reduce body weight...

Research Studies in Using Turmeric for Weight Loss

To start off, keep in mind that there are no human studies to show that taking turmeric actually works to help you lose weight. These discussions focus exclusively on the promising results revealed through animal studies. Discussed below are three theories as to how turmeric may help with weight loss.

Theory #1 on How Turmeric Might Work

The first theory suggests that including turmeric in the diet causes the gallbladder to release more bile. Bile is a fluid used by the digestive system to break down fats inside your intestine. This in turn may be responsible for promoting weight loss, as some experts believe. This theory is supported by the observation that, in India, there are less cases of gallstone disease.

As well, the German Commission E approves using turmeric for its ability to stimulate bile production. However, it is not reasonable to conclude that stimulating your gallbladder to release more bile would help reduce your weight. There is no casual link between bile production and the weight of an individual. Obviously, if you suffer from gallstone disease, you should not take turmeric without consulting a health care provider first. In our mind, this theory on how turmeric helps reduce weight doesn't hold water.

Theory #2 on How Turmeric Might Work

Studies done at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center showed that rats given a diet high in turmeric have a lower risk of developing diabetes. As well, these rats experienced a small but significant weight loss compared to the group not given turmeric in their diet. It would appear that turmeric might be able to influence body fat composition.

Dr. Tortoriello came to the conclusion that turmeric's anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits may be, in part, responsible for its ability to control blood sugar levels and to reduce obesity that commonly leads to type 2 diabetes.

Theory #3 on How Turmeric Might Work

Researcher Bradford published a paper in the journal Biofactors that best summarizes what experts currently believe how turmeric might work in controlling weight. First, here's the reference to the paper:

research paper on turmeric for weight loss image #1

Research evidence suggests that obesity is associated with the presence of low-grade inflammation in fat tissues.

Curcumin, the active substance found in turmeric, has been shown to reduce inflammation in various parts of the body, including in fat tissues.

It also appears to reduce the entry of the body's white blood cells (the immune cells found circulating in blood) into fat tissues.

And excessive amounts of white blood cells trigger inflammation. As well, curcumin appears to directly reduce the body's production of several significant pro-inflammatory chemicals that causes inflammation. Through these mechanisms, and possibly other yet to be determined pathways, Bradford suggests that curcumin may help to reduce obesity and all the health problems associated with obesity.

We are more willing to accept this theory of how turmeric might work in managing weight versus the first two theories. With positive data coming out of animal studies coupled with a growing understanding of how curcumin works at the cellular level, it is natural for us to believe that this beneficial effect would be seen in humans as well.

But do keep in mind that the weight loss a person might experience from consuming large quantities of turmeric has yet to be determined in clinical studies.

There might be some or there might be just a little. If you track your weight, it may be possible for you to see a modest drop in weight. Even if it is eventually shown clearly that curcumin does suppress all the inflammation occurring in fat tissues, this will not by itself cause weight loss beyond a certain point. And we believe this point of maximum weight loss may be just a small amount less than your current weight.

In the end, without definitive studies done in humans carried out in a properly designed experiment, it is anyone's guess. Many other factors, such as reducing calories consumed and a regular physical activity program will also be needed to achieve and maintain a lower weight.

Recommended Turmeric Dose to Use

Only by giving varying doses to humans and seeing its effect could we correctly determine the proper dose. Such studies are not currently available. Until then, here is what experts have suggested for people to use. Start with 500 mg three or four times daily.

This would be the dose that we would recommend you to start with initially. We don't expect that you'll get a more rapid or greater weight loss with higher doses. Your body doesn't work that way but again, this is something you could easily track on a daily basis.

There is probably an "optimal" dose although, at this moment, no one truly knows what it is. Having said that, higher doses have been safely used in the treatment of cancer with turmeric. But do expect that the side effects you might experience are dependent on the dose you take.

Bottom Line

Would taking turmeric really help with weight loss? Not likely. The currently limited and weak research data are just not convincing that it would make a big difference. So don't count on significant weight loss if you decide to take turmeric supplements.

But again, losing weight loss from taking turmeric can be tracked easily. Just keep track of your weight over several months and see if really brings it down (assuming all other factos are kept the same.)

To accelerate your weight loss goals, use other natural remedies that are out there. Do not forget to create a plan to reduce the amount of food you eat and an exercise program that you are inclined to follow. This will ensure that you can reach your target body weight in a timely fashion.