Curcumin, Adiponectin, and Fat: Fighting the Inflammatory Factor of Obesity

That curcumin is an anti-inflammatory compound from turmeric is well known. After all, that’s one of the main reasons it is so well known as a pain reliever.

But inflammation creates a loop of cause and effect in the body and mind that can surprise people. In the case of obesity, inflammation is one of the reasons that fat cells can grow and, ultimately, dominate the physique.

Curcumin may help shift that balance. A review and analysis of human clinical studies found that curcumin appears to improve the concentration of naturally-occurring protein hormone in the body called adiponectin. Adiponectin fights inflammation, helps regulate blood sugar, protects the heart, and – oddly, considering it is secreted by adipose tissue – keeps the body lean.

What’s interesting about adiponectin is that even though it is synthesized from fat cells, having more fat cells actually leads to less adiponectin. The protein hormone appears to be a self-regulating component of the body – keeping things in check and in balance.

Curcumin already does amazing things; it stops the damage of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, inhibits and prevents tumor growth, and reduces symptoms of depression, to name a few. If curcumin can also help the body stay lean and healthy, that’s just one more reason to add it to a daily regimen.

However, for enhanced absorption, bioavailability, and blood retention, it’s best to look for curcumin that is blended with turmeric essential oil. That makes the compound more effective and adds turmerones from the oil, especially ar-turmerone, which has its own disease-fighting abilities.


Clark CCT, Ghaedi E, Arab A, Pourmasoumi M, Hadi A. The effect of curcumin supplementation on circulating adiponectin: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2019 Jul 30;13(5):2819-2825.

OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis on randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the effect of curcumin on serum adiponectin concentration.

METHODS: We searched PubMed/Medline, Scopus, ISI Web of Science, Cochrane Library, and Google scholar databases up to April 2019. RCTs conducted among human adults studied the effects of curcumin on serum adiponectin concentrations as an outcome variable was included. The weighted mean differences (WMD) and standard deviations (SD) of change in serum adiponectin levels were calculated. The random effects model was used for deriving a summary of mean estimates with their corresponding SDs.

RESULTS: Out of 313 records, 6 trials that enrolled 652 subjects were included. The pooled results showed that curcumin supplementation significantly increased adiponectin concentrations in comparison with placebo (WMD: 0.82 Hedges' g; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.33 to 1.30, P˂0.001). Greater effects on adiponectin were observed in trials lasting ≤10 weeks (WMD: 1.05 Hedges' g; 95% CI: 0.64 to 1.45, P˂0.001).

CONCLUSION: Curcumin significantly improves adiponectin concentrations. However, due to some limitations in this study, further studies are needed to reach a definitive conclusion about the effect of curcumin on the levels of adiponectin.

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Terry is happy to provide his opinion on diet and nutrition, supplements and lifestyle choices. This information is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician and is not to be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Should you have any concerns please contact your physician directly.

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