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Turmeric For Weight Loss: What Does The Research Say?

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Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family that is native to Southeast Asia. It is a common spice you can find in just about any grocery store. It contains a chemical called Curcumin, which is thought to be responsible for its purported health benefits. These curcuminoids also give Turmeric its rich, yellow color.


Today, this ancient spice is used as a dietary supplement with the intention to reap its health-boosting properties. Many use the antioxidant packed Turmeric Curcumin to promote younger-looking skin, help boost energy levels, encourage healthier joints, and assist the immune system. Another potential benefit Turmeric is used for is weight loss.


This article will present human and animal studies that have been conducted to identify the relationship between Turmeric Curcumin its potential effect on weight loss.

 feet stepping onto body weight scale with yellow measuring tape on the floor

What Does The Research Say About Turmeric For Weight Loss?

Human Studies


In a meta-analysis on the effect of Curcumin supplementation on human body weight, 11 studies lasting ≥ 8 weeks, 876 subjects were analyzed. The review concluded Curcumin supplementation had a significant effect on body weight and BMI, but not waist circumference.


A 2015 randomized controlled trial analyzed 44 subjects that did not show significant weight loss after 30 days of diet and lifestyle intervention. The second consecutive 30 days were supplemented with bioavailable Curcumin. Results showed Curcumin increased weight loss from 1.88 to 4.91%. In addition, reduction of body fat percentage improved from 0.70 to 8.43%, waistline reduction increased from 2.36-4.14%, hip circumference reduction improved from 0.74 to 2.51% and enhanced reduction of BMI from 2.10 to 6.43% were also noted.


A systematic review of 8 randomized controlled trials examined the effects of Curcumin supplementation on body mass index, body weight, and waist circumference in 520 patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Supplementation dose and duration ranged from 70 to 3,000 mg/day and 8 to 12 weeks, respectively. Curcumin supplementation significantly reduced BMI and waist circumference, however, no significant effects on body weight were found.


Animal Studies


A rat study concluded that Curcumin limits weight gain, adipose tissue growth, and glucose intolerance following the cessation of exercise and caloric restriction in Sprague-Dawley rats. Results indicate that Curcumin has a protective effect against weight regain and impaired metabolic control following a successful period of weight loss through diet and exercise, perhaps via inhibition of glucocorticoid action and inflammation.


A 12 week long animal study in mice investigated the effect of Curcumin on angiogenesis (blood vessel formation), adipogenesis (fat formation), body weight gain and adiposity (morbid obesity) in mice fed a high-fat diet supplemented with 500 mg Curcumin/kg diet. Curcumin supplementation of the high-fat diet of mice did not affect food intake, but reduced body weight gain, adiposity, and micro vessel density in adipose tissue. Overall, findings suggest dietary Curcumin may have a potential benefit in lowering body fat and body weight gain, and prevent obesity.


So, Is Turmeric Good For Weight Loss?


These results show promise for Curcumin’s ability to help promote weight loss and prevent obesity in humans. But ultimately, turmeric should not be looked at as a “quick fix” solution. It is not an overnight weight loss miracle spice. It can, however, work as a supportive dietary supplement to aid in healthy weight loss by promoting and improving the body’s overall health.


Other studies concluded Curcumin can improve mood and reduce anxiety from chronic stress. This can potentially aid weight loss by putting the body in the best possible state to successfully let go of excess body weight. According to a 2019 study, weight gain is associated with increased inflammation in the body. Further research supports turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties. This, coupled with its antioxidant effects, suggest Turmeric may be an option for aiding in weight loss.


How To Use Turmeric For Weight Loss


While the research is hopeful, it remains inconclusive. Should you like to try adding Turmeric to your daily health regimen in hopes of supporting weight loss, there are several ways you can choose to do this. The most simple way is to purchase a Turmeric supplement and take it daily. These typically come in powder, capsule, or gummy form. It is important to note that the human body cannot effectively break down turmeric on its own. For the best results, you should choose a supplement that includes black pepper or “piperine”. These two spices combined together allow the body to better absorb the curcuminoids from the Turmeric.




Things are off to a great start! There are a good amount of human, animal and test-tube studies on Curcumin, the major polyphenol in turmeric spice. However, the data available on the effect of Turmeric for weight loss are inconsistent. More studies, including human trials, are needed to provide more information on the effective use of using this yellow spice to help prevent and manage obesity in humans.


Medical Disclaimer


Please speak with your doctor or other licensed healthcare professional before beginning any new supplement including Turmeric. None of the content on this site is or should be considered medical advice. The purpose of this article is simply to highlight relevant research for those curious about the potential benefits of consuming Turmeric.

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