Anti-hyperglycemic and insulin sensitizer effects of turmeric and its principle constituent curcumin

Int J Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Oct 1;12(4):e18081. doi: 10.5812/ijem.18081. eCollection 2014 Oct.


Context: Turmeric is obtained from the plant Curcuma longa L; its major constituent, curcumin, is a polyphenol with multiple effects which can modulate some signaling pathways.

Evidence acquisition: Insulin resistance is a major risk factor for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, atherosclerotic, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. In addition, Insulin resistance in peripheral tissue is one of the most important reasons of hyperglycemia which can cause global or systemic effects. The present study reviewed studies published in PubMed from 1998 to 2013, indicating the role of curcumin in attenuation of many pathophysiological processes involved in development and progression of hyperglycemia and insulin resistance.

Results: Curcumin can reduce blood glucose level by reducing the hepatic glucose production, suppression of hyperglycemia-induced inflammatory state, stimulation of glucose uptake by up-regulation of GLUT4, GLUT2 and GLUT3 genes expressions, activation of AMP kinase, promoting the PPAR ligand-binding activity, stimulation of insulin secretion from pancreatic tissues, improvement in pancreatic cell function, and reduction of insulin resistance.

Conclusions: Curcumin has antihyperglycemic and insulin sensitizer effects. Thereby, more studies evaluating the effects of curcumin on hyperglycemic state and insulin resistance in related disorders such as diabetes are recommended.

Keywords: Blood Glucose; Curcuma longa; Curcumin; Curcuminoids; Hyperglycemia; Hyperinsulinemia; Insulin Resistance; Turmeric.

Publication types

  • Review