The incidence of obesity is increasing worldwide and is hence considered a major public health concern. Obesity underlies the development of several metabolic complications including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and inflammation. Research on ways to slow the development of obesity have traditionally focused on dietary and lifestyle modifications such as restricting caloric intake and increasing physical activity. An area that has recently aroused considerable research interest is investigating the potential role of spices, particularly the Asian spice turmeric, for combating obesity. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. Evidence suggests curcumin may regulate lipid metabolism, which plays a central role in the development of obesity and its complications. The present review addresses the evidence and mechanisms by which curcumin may play a role in downregulating obesity and reducing the impact of associated problems.
© 2010 International Life Sciences Institute.