Turmeric is probably at the top of the list of the most popular spices for improving overall health and immunity. You’ll see turmeric lattes competing for space with old-fashioned cappuccinos on café menus and turmeric pills on pharmacy shelves promising to help boost immunity. This golden powder is an ancient spice used as an anti-inflammatory in curries and Ayurvedic treatments. But is turmeric good for weight loss? Research reports suggest that it might be.
In this article, we’ll find out how effective turmeric is for weight loss, and what the recommended daily dose is.
Turmeric and weight loss
In recent years, turmeric has gained attention in Western cultures for its anti-inflammatory properties and weight loss effects.
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties
There is a clear link between obesity and chronic inflammation. There is evidence that inflammation is both a cause and a consequence of obesity. Studies have shown that there is a positive feedback loop between local inflammation in adipose tissue and altered immune responses in obese patients.
Curcumin, a compound in turmeric, has known anti-inflammatory properties. In vitro (test tube) studies have suggested a mechanism for how turmeric may promote weight loss through its anti-inflammatory effects.
Animal studies have also shown that curcumin is effective in reducing inflammation caused by body fat and high fat diets.
In addition, a recent meta-analysis of turmeric has shown that it has anti-inflammatory effects in humans.
Preventing weight regain
Weight regain and insulin resistance usually occur shortly after you stop a diet or exercise programme. This is why it is so easy to gain weight back after losing it.
A study in rodents looked at whether curcumin supplements could prevent weight gain in subjects. The researchers found that curcumin helped prevent weight regain and that it supported continued metabolic control after a period of successful weight loss through diet and exercise.
Effects on obesity
Several studies have assessed the effects of curcumin on obesity in humans. One study randomly assigned 44 participants to take either curcumin or a placebo.
Those taking curcumin showed significant reductions in body weight, body fat, waist and hip circumference and BMI compared to those taking a placebo.
The researchers concluded that curcumin was well-tolerated and could promote weight management in overweight people. Although these findings are promising, further research is needed.
How much turmeric should I take each day in order to lose weight?
There are no official recommendations on how much turmeric can be taken per day, especially for weight loss. Turmeric may have adverse effects on some people such as nausea and skin irritation. Curcumin is available in capsule form and is considered safe by the US Department of Agriculture. According to the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA), an intake of 1.4 mg of curcumin per pound of body weight per day is safe.
It is advisable to consult your doctor before adding supplements to your daily diet. Most capsules will have detailed instructions on how to take them and it is best to take note of this. Curcumin is fat soluble and can be better absorbed when taken with fat. You can mix it with coconut oil, olive oil, or even any other fat that suits you.
Side effects of turmeric
If you are interested in taking a curcumin supplement, it is important to know how safe it is and if there are any side effects.
Curcumin is generally considered safe and well tolerated by the body when taken in doses of up to 8 grams over a short period of time. Doses of 1,500 mg per day can also be safely tolerated for up to six months. More studies are needed to determine the safety of long-term use of curcumin.
There are some known side effects of consuming turmeric, including nausea, dizziness and diarrhoea. Less common side effects include abnormal bruising or bleeding and increased blood glucose levels.
Some people may have an allergic reaction to turmeric, usually in the form of hives, swelling of the lips, face and eyes, or difficulty breathing. An allergic reaction is usually considered a medical emergency, so you should seek immediate medical attention.
Curcumin is usually well tolerated and a dose of 1,500 mg per day can be safely used for up to six months. As curcumin is poorly absorbed, it is more effective when taken as a supplement than as a spice to see weight loss results.