Clinical Evidence

Investigation of the effects of Curcumin on serum cytokines in obese individuals: A randomized controlled trial
Sci World J. 2014. DOI: 10.1155/2014/898361
Obesity is a global health problem and its predisposing effects are atherosclerosis, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and dyslipidemia. Obesity is associated with a strong inflammatory response and accompanied by increased level of pro-inflammatory cytokines and impaired antioxidant status.

Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory activity is due to its effect on activity of cyclooxygenase -2 (COX-2), lipoxygenase, inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) enzymes and inhibition of inflammatory cytokine (such as TNF-α, MCP-1, interleukins 1, 2, 6, 8 and 12) production.

To investigate the efficacy of Curcumin on serum levels of a panel of cytokines and mediators in obese individuals.

Study Design:

A randomized, double blind, crossover trial with 30 obese individuals was planned. Each patient received daily dose of 1 g Curcumin or matched placebo for 4 weeks. Following a 2-week wash-out period, each group was assigned to the alternate treatment regimen for another 4 weeks. Serum samples were collected at the start and end of each study period. Serum levels of IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, VEGF, IFN-γ, EGF, MCP-1, and TNF-α were measured using a multiplex Biochip Array Technology based method.

  • Dietary supplementation with Curcuminoids (1 g/day) significantly declined the serum levels of IL-1β (p=0.042), IL-4 (p=0.008) and VEGF (p=0.03)
  • Curcumin supplementation did not alter serum concentrations of IL-1α, IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IFN-γ, EGF, MCP-1 and TNF-α
  • In previous investigations, Curcumin and its structural analogues have been shown to down regulate the expression, secretion and biological activities of VEGF and its receptor. The result of present study also shows decrease in VEGF serum level
  • The findings on the modulatory effects of Curcuminoids on serum levels of IL-1β and IL-4 are consistent with previously reported in vitro and in vivo studies
  • The strength of the study includes its crossover design, full cytokine profile and low drop-out rate

The findings of the present trial suggested that Curcumin may exert immunomodulatory effects via altering the circulating concentrations of IL-1β, IL-4, and VEGF.