Author(s): Akira Asai, Teruo Miyazawa
Curcumin and its structurally related compounds (curcuminoids), the phenolic yellowish pigments of turmeric, display antioxidative, anticarcinogenic and hypocholesterolemic activities. In this study, we investigated the effects of dietary supplemented curcuminoids [commercial grade curcumin: a mixture of curcumin (73.4%), demethoxycurcumin (16.1%) and bisdemethoxycurcumin (10.5%)] on lipid metabolism in rats. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned to three diet groups (n = 6) and fed a moderately high-fat diet (15 g soybean oil/100 g diet) for 2 wk. One diet group did not receive supplements (CONT), while the others were supplemented with 0.2 g curcuminoids/100 g diet (CUR0.2) or 1.0 g curcuminoids/100 g diet (CUR1.0). Liver triacylglycerol and cholesterol concentrations were significantly lower in CUR1.0 rats than in CONT rats. Plasma triacylglycerols in the VLDL fraction were also lower in CUR1.0 rats than in CONT rats (P < 0.05). Hepatic acyl-CoA oxidase activity of both the CUR0.2 and CUR1.0 rats was significantly higher than that of CONT rats. Furthermore, epididymal adipose tissue weight was significantly reduced with curcuminoid intake in a dose-dependent manner. These results indicate that dietary curcuminoids have lipid-lowering potency in vivo, probably due to alterations in fatty acid metabolism.