Turmeric and Diabetes – What Makes This Plant So Special?

Over 400,000 million people around the globe are suffering from diabetes. Most of whom have type 2 diabetes mellitus.

As stated in a global study, the complications from diabetes mellitus were the cause for a 22% increase in disability cases in the last 10 years. 

Recently, there have been some significant advances in the field of diabetes management. But, the risk of heart complications remains a serious issue. To amplify their efforts in managing this metabolic condition, scientists have studied turmeric. 

There are several clinical trials about the efficiency, potency, and effect of this well-known medicinal plant.

If you want to know more about turmeric and diabetes, you’ve come to the right place. This is a detailed analysis of this potent medicinal plant and its impact on metabolic diseases, including some of its other more practical benefits. 

Get Your FREE Diabetes Diet Plan

  • 15 foods to naturally lower blood sugar levels
  • 3 day sample meal plan
  • Designed exclusively by our nutritionist

By clicking “Download Now”, I agree to Ben's Natural Health Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Turmeric and Diabetes

Curcuma longa plant, commonly referred to as turmeric, is one of the most used plants on the market. Spices made from their roots are a staple in various cuisines. But, there is more to this plant than just spicing up a meal. 

Turmeric has been used for its medicinal compounds. Due to curcumin’s pharmacological and biological properties (the active molecule in the plant), turmeric is packed with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, cardio-protective properties. That’s why it is used for a range of health issues, such as rheumatoid arthritis, conjunctivitis, liver problems, wound healing, and more. 

When it comes to diabetes, an animal study showed that curcumin has a mechanism that resembles thiazolidinedione. This is a common oral drug used for diabetes. It helps patients with type 2 diabetes keep their condition under control. 

Therefore, curcumin could effectively regulate blood glucose and manage the presence of excess lipids in the blood. These are all key factors in handling type 2 diabetes mellitus. 

Turmeric extract might balance the blood sugar level and make the metabolic condition more manageable. The extract for sugar level control can easily be obtained from curcumin supplementation. 

Another review showed similar results. Research indicates that curcumin can reduce glucose levels and lessen similar diabetes-induced complications. Incorporating the compound into a daily diet may help people prevent diabetes. However, more research and human trials are necessary to study its full effect.  

What Makes Turmeric Special for Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes?

The reason for its effect lies in the curcumin’s unique chemical structure. According to experts, curcumin can have a massive number of molecular targets. It can inhibit reactive oxygen species, which is essential for regulating inflammatory diseases. 

In turmeric, several of its compounds coexist. Based on animal trials, curcumin has a low absorption rate and quick body elimination. In diabetic rats, curcumin oral administration showed low absorption, bio-distribution, rapid excretion, and quick metabolism. 

Pre-clinical trials show that curcumin can also alleviate insulin resistance and mitigate fasting glucose. In fact, it can decrease the glycemic response and insulin demand and help with glucose management. Oral administration of curcumin can drastically boost glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity

This compound can reduce fasting insulin. Its impact on insulin can be beneficial for both diabetes and prediabetes patients. Experts suggest that the curcumin creates a post-meal insulin response and preserves pancreatic cells (β-cell) function. This is the main function of the beta cells responsible for secreting and regulating insulin levels. 

Simply put, curcumin acts as a helping hand. It stimulates glucose absorption rate and enhances cell function in the pancreas, which can help the body stabilize insulin secretion. By lessening the curtail inflammation, the compound can also decrease insulin resistance. 

A different study indicated that this plant might not just be useful for insulin but also for lipid peroxidation. It successfully reduced hyperlipidemia and glycemia in diabetic rats. While its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds can provide a natural diabetes treatment and prevention method. 

All these unique features make curcumin seem like a viable treatment option for diabetes and diabetic complications. But also because it is a cheap and relatively safe drug to use. 

Other Turmeric Benefits

Countless studies have proved the efficiency of turmeric root as a potent medicinal supplement. It can have a profound impact on the body and central nervous system.

But to really understand all that it can offer, it’s important to take a look at what science has to say about its benefits, including how they may come in handy for diabetes patients. 

Curcumin Significantly Decreases Antioxidant Capacity

Oxidative stress is a serious issue for the human body. Oxidative stress is a key factor in the development of diabetic complications. These complications can result in coronary artery disease or other cardiovascular problems. 

Insulin resistance and a diabetic state play a fundamental role in producing oxidative stress. Because of this dysfunction, patients are experiencing an impaired glucose tolerance. The problem is, a poorly controlled metabolic condition can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys. This type of kidney damage can lead to diabetic nephropathy, also known as diabetic kidney disease

Curcumin has the potential and antioxidant properties to neutralize oxidative damage. Since oxidative stress involves free radicals, curcumin’s chemical structure can neutralize the free radicals and boost the body’s antioxidant enzymes. 

In other words, turmeric blocks free radicals and then helps the body activate its antioxidant defenses. 

Curcumin Enhances Brain Function and Lessens the Susceptibility to Brain Disease

Diabetes doesn’t have an obvious impact on the brain. But, if you can’t see the effects right away, it doesn’t mean they are not there. According to experts, constant blood sugar fluctuations can cause blood vessel damage over time. The tiny blood vessels in the brain can also be damaged. 

This type of damage influences the white matter of the brain, explains Joseph Masdeu, an expert at the Houston Methodist Neurological Institute. When these nerves suffer damage, patients can experience impaired thinking, vascular dementia, and cognitive impairment. These are all serious complications that can happen from constant high blood glucose.

When you pair blood sugar control with a healthy dose of curcumin, you may notice beneficial brain function changes. The neurons in the brain can generate new connections. In specific areas, they can multiply. 

One of the primary factors that drive the whole process is the BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). This is a growth hormone naturally present in the human brain. Conditions like Alzheimer’s and depression can reduce the levels of BDNF. 

The interesting thing is, curcumin can have the exact opposite effect of these conditions. Clinical research shows that curcumin may have the potential to boost BDNF brain levels. As a result, it may reverse or delay the onset of brain diseases or decreased brain function

With long-term use, it might boost memory. But, there is more. A 2015 study on diabetic rats investigated the impact of curcumin on cerebral ischemia. This condition restricts blood flow and results in brain tissue damage. 

Based on the results, curcumin lessened blood sugar and ameliorated brain energy metabolism. As a result, it enhanced their brain tissue resistance to the condition. Curcumin may prove useful for protecting brain tissue. 

Since it can fight numerous degenerative processes in the central nervous system, a curcumin supplement may prove useful for individuals with Mellitus and poor glucose control. 

But research on specific diabetes conditions is limited, such as the case with gestational diabetes. If you are experiencing gestational diabetes or diabetic neuropathy, it is best to consult with a doctor before using any supplement. 

Curcumin Could Lessen the Susceptibility to Heart Disease

People with diabetes are two times more likely to experience a stroke or heart disease compared to healthy individuals. The longer they have the metabolic syndrome, the bigger the risk for cardiovascular complications

Curcumin could reverse the process of heart issues. In a controlled trial, scientists evaluated 121 people who had coronary artery bypass surgery. The volunteers were divided into two groups. 

The first one received 4g of curcumin daily, while the other relied on placebo treatment just a couple of days after and before surgery. The group who received curcumin had a 65% lower risk of developing heart attack during treatment. 

Dietary curcumin improves endothelium function, which is the blood vessel lining. When the endothelium experiences a drastic dysfunction, it cannot control blood pressure, clotting, and other factors. 

Data indicates that curcumin extract enhances endothelial function and supports the cardiovascular system. Based on one trial, it proved just as efficient as the Atorvastatin medicine. When paired with its anti-inflammatory properties, it can have a major effect on the heart.  

Curcumin Has Potent Therapeutic Potential for Eye Health

Diabetes mellitus can result in vision loss. In fact, patients with Mellitus have a 60% bigger risk of experiencing cataracts and 36% glaucoma. The damage to the eyes begins when the blood glucose level is too high. 

Even when patients are changing their medicines or diabetes care plan, they can have blurry vision. That can happen because of their unstable insulin, blood glucose, and cholesterol level. That’s where curcumin can come in handy. 

Research demonstrates that this compound has positive effects on multiple ocular illnesses, such as diabetic retinopathy, chronic anterior uveitis, macular degeneration, dry eye syndrome, and glaucoma. 

But, because of its low bioavailability and solubility, it is difficult to exploit its full biomedical potential. Another animal study helped analyze the impact of curcumin against the onset of diabetic cataracts. 

Based on the statistics, this compound helped delay the maturation and progression of cataracts in rats with diabetes. Making it a beneficial dietary source for eye health. So, not only can it manage insulin, inflammation, and high blood sugar, but it can also boost ocular health. These are all key anti-diabetic properties people can use to their advantage.   

Curcumin Can Keep the Excess Weight in Check

Unhealthy weight gain is a typical adverse effect in patients taking insulin to manage their metabolic conditions. But, they need insulin to keep their glucose under control. 

While inflammation enhances and activates multiple proteins that hinder the insulin signaling pathways, making it even more difficult for the body to function properly. This ends up creating a vicious cycle. 

Multiple studies show that curcumin in supplements could prove useful. Curcumin has the potential to restrain certain inflammatory markers responsible for obesity. According to a 2019 study, curcumin intake in patients with metabolic syndrome and similar conditions noticed a drastic reduction in their weight, BMI, and leptin. 

Another research also proved similar results. The compound can decrease fat tissue growth, aid with weight loss, and reduce the possibility of regaining that excess weight. To top it all off, a 1-month study in 44 volunteers proved the effectiveness of curcumin in losing weight.

All of the volunteers were previously unable to shed the excess pounds. But, supplementing their body with 800mg of curcumin 2 times a day and 8mg of piperine drastically decreased their BMI, body weight, and hip and waist circumference. 

Additional findings prove that curcumin suppresses angiogenesis in adipose tissue and has a favorable impact on lipid metabolism. These effects could contribute to reduced body fat and may even prevent obesity. This is crucial for patients with Mellitus. It can help reduce their overall body weight and get their health back on track. 

How to Incorporate Turmeric for Diabetes

Even though curcumin can be taken in the form of a turmeric supplement, it’s not supposed to replace your current healthcare plan. A diabetic patient must keep taking their medication, especially if they need proper insulin control. 

No matter what you eat, if you have type 1 diabetes, the body won’t be able to create its own insulin. Therefore, using insulin medication should still remain a top priority. Anything else that’s beneficial for your health, like curcumin, can be incorporated to assist with diabetes management. 

People use turmeric in two ways. First, it is one of the main ingredients added in meals and beverages, like curry. It gives the food a great taste and supplies the system with nutrients. The second option is in the form of a supplement. 

This is the go-to choice when users want to benefit from its medical properties. Consult with a doctor or nutritionist before you make any drastic changes to your diet. If you want to try turmeric, here is how you can use it for diabetes. 

  • Check your tolerance. Everyone’s body is unique. Some organs may react differently to the product when you first try to add it to your diet. It’s not uncommon for individuals to find that turmeric is not agreeing with their stomach. To avoid such a reaction, start with a smaller dose. See how your body is taking the supplement, and you can slowly increase the dosage. 

  • Know the benefits. Turmeric spices and supplements don’t have the exact health benefits. Supplements have a higher medicinal value, while exposing the turmeric to heat will destroy some of its medicinal properties. 

  • Read the product label. One of the most typical mistakes people make is thinking that the more they take, the better the results. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Reading the label on your supplement is very important. Despite it being a natural compound, you still need to follow the instructions and use the proper dosages. If you are unsure of the ideal dose for your health state, consult with a doctor. 

  • Don’t buy in bulk. Just like any other spice, turmeric is best used fresh. The fresher the product, the bigger the chance of the body obtaining its glucose and blood sugar managing properties. 

  • Mixing turmeric with oil or fat may be healthier for the body. Combining these two ingredients could boost the curcumin absorption rate and supply the system with more health benefits. 

  • Patients with diabetes and anemia or kidney stones should use turmeric with extra caution. Curcumin could boost urinary oxalate levels in the system. Therefore, it may make your anemia worse. That’s why it’s best to use caution. 

Including Turmeric to Your Meal Plan

Plenty of meals and delicacies use turmeric. But, to make the most of it, you need to know the practical ways of adding it to your diet. Using turmeric on a day-to-day basis can have a profound impact on the human body. 

However, it’s important that you don’t go overboard. For example, a typical Indian diet features about 2,000mg to 2,500mg of turmeric a day. That’s about 60mg to 100mg of curcumin. Scientific studies are often using 500mg to 2,000mg a day in an extract.  

The best way to add turmeric to your meal plan is to use it as a mild spice. It can add some amazing flavor and supply the system with the necessary benefits. People use turmeric in a number of ways. They can:

  • Brew turmeric tea

  • Prepare turmeric milk

  • Use it to spice up scrambled eggs

  • Add it to a vegetable stew

  • Include it in smoothies

But, before you include any dietary changes for glucose management, you should consult with a doctor first. A metabolic condition may require more rigorous control. So, it’s best to ask for an expert opinion. That way, you can tailor the diet to your needs. 

Key Takeaway

Turmeric can have a substantial effect on patients with a metabolic condition. It can help with insulin, glucose control and avoid some serious complications. Even though most turmeric research is done in animal studies, it seems that it has plenty of perks to offer.

But, it’s still important that you use caution. Do have in mind that curcumin in turmeric is not a “cure-all.” It cannot replace insulin medication or other diabetes drugs. Therefore, you can’t use it as a substitute for conventional treatment. However, you can use it to complement your daily regimen. It provides numerous benefits that can prove beneficial for your health. 

Explore More

turmeric benefits

9 Amazing Health Benefits Of Turmeric.


  1. Francesca Pivari. (2019). Curcumin and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Prevention and Treatment. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6723242/
  2. Preetha Anand. (2007). Bioavailability of curcumin: problems and promises. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17999464/
  3. Dong-Wei Zhang. (2013). Curcumin and diabetes: a systematic review. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24348712/
  4. Traci Angel. (2018). Can Turmeric Help Manage or Prevent Diabetes?. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/turmeric-and-diabetes#takeaway
  5. Francesco Chiarelli. (2013). Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in Diabetic Nephropathy: New Insights on Its Inhibition as New Therapeutic Targets. Journal of Diabetes Research. Retrieved from: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jdr/2013/248563/
  6. Rakhi Agarwal. (2010). Detoxification and antioxidant effects of curcumin in rats experimentally exposed to mercury. Retrieved from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jat.1517
  7. Terri D’Arrigo. (2015). Diabetes and Your Brain. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/diabetes-brain
  8. Devin K. Binder. (2008). Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2504526/
  9. Eiji Shimizua. (2003). Alterations of serum levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in depressed patients with or without antidepressants. Biological Psychiatry. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006322303001811
  10. Ying Xu. (2006). Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB. Brain Research. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006899306027144
  11. Mingsan Miao. (2015). Effect of curcumin on diabetic rat model of cerebral ischemia. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25631517/
  12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Diabetes and Your Heart. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/diabetes-and-heart.html
  13. Nobuhiko Akazawa. (2012). Curcumin ingestion and exercise training improve vascular endothelial function in postmenopausal women. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23146777/
  14. P Usharani. (2008). Effect of NCB-02, atorvastatin and placebo on endothelial function, oxidative stress and inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, 8-week study. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18588355/
  15. Wanwarang Wongcharoen. (2012). Effects of curcuminoids on frequency of acute myocardial infarction after coronary artery bypass grafting. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22481014/
  16. Ying-Xi Zhao. (2017). Diabetes and risk of glaucoma: systematic review and a Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5596230/
  17. Diabetes Global Community. (2019). Cataracts and Diabetes. Retrieved from: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-complications/cataracts.html
  18. Nicola Pescosolido. (2014). Curcumin: therapeutical potential in ophthalmology. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24323538/
  19. Palla Suryanarayana. (2005). Curcumin and turmeric delay streptozotocin-induced diabetic cataract in rats. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15914628/
  20. Maryam Akbari. (2019). The Effects of Curcumin on Weight Loss Among Patients With Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6582779/
  21. Peter G Bradford. (2013). Curcumin and obesity. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23339049/
  22. F Di Pierro. (2015). Potential role of bioavailable curcumin in weight loss and omental adipose tissue decrease: preliminary data of a randomized, controlled trial in overweight people with metabolic syndrome. Preliminary study. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26592847/
  23. Asma Ejaz. (2009). Curcumin inhibits adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and angiogenesis and obesity in C57/BL mice. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from:  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19297423/

Top Products

Total Health


Glucose Control