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Nano-Curcumin Improves Biomarkers in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

5/28/2019 11:03:00 AM
nano curcuminNonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) includes hepatic steatosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and cirrhosis. Affecting approximately 30% of the overall adult population, NAFLD is present in 65% to 85% of obese patients. Insulin resistance plays a key role in the pathogenesis of NAFLD, and the degree of insulin resistance directly correlates with hepatic fat. Contributing factors to both insulin resistance and NAFLD include upregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, oxidative stress, and adipokine secretion.

Using nano-curcumin can increase bioavailability

Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, interacts with numerous biochemical pathways to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. For example, curcumin has been shown to raise peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPAR-gamma) activity and suppress nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappa B) activity. Curcumin has low bioavailability, but nanoparticles of curcumin (nano-curcumin) can increase its bioavailability by as much as 22-fold.

Nano-curcumin studied for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, researchers evaluated the effects of nano-curcumin in overweight and obese patients with NAFLD. The study included 84 subjects (aged 25-50) with body mass indexes (BMIs) between 25 and 35 kg/m2 and ultrasound-confirmed NAFLD. The participants were randomized to take nano-curcumin (40 mg twice a day after meals) or a placebo, and biomarkers were assessed at baseline and after 3 months.

Nano-curcumin lowers liver enzymes, cholesterol and more

In comparison with placebo, nano-curcumin significantly decreased waist circumference, liver enzymes (ALT and AST), total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting blood sugar, fasting blood insulin, hemoglobin A1c, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-6 (IL-6), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), and Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR). Also in comparison with placebo, nano-curcumin significantly increased the quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI), HDL-cholesterol, and nesfatin.
The authors of this study proposed that the significant increase in nesfatin might be an essential mechanism to explain the other results. Nesfatin is a neuropeptide released by the hypothalamus to regulate appetite and fat storage. Previous studies have shown that nesfatin decreases appetite, lowers waist circumference and BMI, and is significantly lower in overweight or obese individuals with NAFLD than in healthy individuals. It has also been previously shown that nesfatin gene expression is activated by PPAR-gamma receptors (which are upregulated by curcumin). 
This is the first human clinical trial to show that nano-curcumin improves markers of glucose metabolism, lipid metabolism, and inflammation in patients with NAFLD. The study also suggests that these improvements might be attributed to increased nesfatin levels as a result of nano-curcumin supplementation.
Jazayeri-Tehrani SA, Rezayat SM, Mansouri S et al. Nano-curcumin improves glucose indices, lipids, inflammation, and Nesfatin in overweight and obese patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2019; 16: 8.

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