A component of turmeric — curcumin — reduces the incidence of type 2 diabetes and improves beta-cell function in adults with prediabetes, according to a study published online in Diabetes Care.

Somlak Chuengsamarn, MD, of Srinakharinwirot University in Nakornnayok, Thailand, and colleagues randomly assigned 240 adults with prediabetes to receive oral curcumin or placebo twice a day for nine months. Type 2 diabetes progression was assessed following treatment.

After nine months the researchers found that 16.4% of the placebo group and none of the curcumin group were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Curcumin treatment was associated with significantly improved beta-cell function, with higher homeostasis model assessment-beta and lower C-peptide levels. Compared with the placebo group, curcumin treatment was also associated with lower homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance and higher adiponectin.

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“A nine-month curcumin intervention of a prediabetes population significantly lowered the number of prediabetic individuals who eventually developed type 2 diabetes mellitus,” Dr. Chuengsamarn and colleagues concluded.

The Thai Government Pharmaceutical Organization provided the curcumin extract and placebo for the study.