Weight Loss

Turmeric weight loss supplements- money well spent or not?

By Kim Crawford, M.D. Last updated: April 20, 2020
turmeric weight loss

Turmeric weight loss supplements: Myth vs. Fact

Turmeric weight loss supplement makers often claim more than they should about the efficacy and mechanism of action of their supplements. In this article, I’ll give you all the facts and clear up any confusion you may have about turmeric weight loss or weight control supplementation. First of all, what are the important and “active” compounds in turmeric that are extracted to make effective supplements?

turmeric weight lossThe spice, turmeric, contains bisdemethooxy-curcumin, demothoxy-curcumin, and cyclo-curcumin. These compounds make up only approximately three-five percent of turmeric.

After the roots of the turmeric plant are harvested, they are cleaned, cured and dried.

When dry, ground turmeric root is used as a spice.

Alternatively, the curcumin is extracted for its health benefits.

A good curcumin supplement contains a mixture of 3 curcuminoids (ours has more + Cumetra) and something to increase absorption (such as lethicin derived from sunflower). First, let’s start out with debunking one of the “tales” I often read on manufacturers claims about turmeric weight loss supplements.

By the way, I’m using lingo you likely “google.” The supplements are actually not turmeric; they are curcumin (FYI).

Weight loss theory #1: Turmeric weight loss pills cause the gallbladder to release more bile.

Bile is a fluid that is formulated and then excreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Bile helps with digestion. It helps to break down fats which are then small enough particles the small intestines can absorb. Bile contains mostly cholesterol, bile acids (also called bile salts), and bilirubin (a breakdown product of red blood cells).

metabolism booster supplement tabs are processed in the liverEpidemiologically, observations claim there are fewer cases of gallstone disease in India compared to other countries. Of course, turmeric use is ubiquitous in Indian food.

There are also results showing turmeric stimulates bile production and is indeed approved by some countries medicinally for this purpose.

The more bile flows, the less likely one is to have gallstone formation. This is one theory which might be true, but let’s get back to the part about fats.

Yes, turmeric appears to stimulate the production of bile.

And that is likely to stimulate your gallbladder to release more bile.

However, causing your gallbladder to release more bile does not help you lose weight.

There is absolutely no correlation between bile production and weight loss. None. So, theory #1 is false.

Theory #2: How might Turmeric weight loss supplements work?

When you gain weight, fat tissue expands because new blood vessels form. A 2009 study performed at Tufts University is the basis for most of theory #2. This study reveals curcumin suppresses fat tissue growth in mice. Two groups of mice were studied and treated exactly the same. The only difference is one group was given curcumin. Both groups of mice were placed on high-fat diets.

metabolism booster supplements break down fat cells

The mice who were fed curcumin were unable to form new intra-fat blood vessels.

They, therefore, had less fat gain than mice who did not eat the curcumin.

Similar research has not been performed in humans.

Therefore, while it’s a possibility that turmeric weight loss or curcumin weight loss products may act the same, there isn’t actual proof.

Granted, this is a nice theory, so I’ll suggest it’s “plausible.”

Theory #3: Obesity is associated with the presence of low-grade inflammation in fat tissues.

In this last section, I’m going to give you more useful information than you bargained for. You came looking to see if turmeric weight loss products were for you. So, now I’m going to discuss the mechanism of action of these products, which is via control of inflammation. Additionally, I’ll remind you what inflammation is, what it does and how to reduce or eliminate it. As a result, this will definitely help you in your weight loss efforts. But first, a few words about “weight in America.”

acetyl l carnitine weight loss benefits at workAre you over your ideal body weight? Well, so is 2/3 of the population.

Regarding all the fat-shaming going on, I want to explain what I really think about this epidemic. I believe that if you’re overweight, it’s largely not your fault.


Because, unless someone trains you in “food and exercise” you are susceptible to your surroundings.

If you have some form of training, then that’s another story. Perhaps, you might need help with brain chemicals and other things I write about on this site. To resume, back to most of you. The food supply has more calories than ever. Portions are insanely large. We work at mainly sedentary jobs.

The skinny about diet plans

The best weight loss programs often include foods that you can purchase which the weight loss company itself manufactures. These “food” products are chock full of inflammatory ingredients designed to make you “re-bound” as soon as you leave their program.

This means you never leave as a customer if you can’t keep the weight off, right?  If you’ve been frustrated by your inability to lose weight or have gained back what you have lost, you are certainly not alone. In fact, this is sadly typical. Many people turn to organized diet plans which include the company’s frozen or packaged, overly-processed and, by definition, inflammatory foods.  This is one of the main reasons why it is indeed difficult to lose weight and keep it off. Here is how I feel about all of this.

“Large company” weight loss programs are designed for failure because of the contents of their pre-packaged foods. They all say ” eat your own foods,” but they have lots of easy-to-use and easy to calorie-track pre-prepared food. They know it’s easier for you to count points or whatever they have you count if you eat their products.

All have scientists working for them, so they know they are producing food that causes inflammation. I’ll be getting into this in a moment, but inflammatory food inhibits weight loss. They know that. They sure know what else they’re doing. For example, the most commonly used artificial sweetener, aspartame, is an appetite stimulant!


We know Inflammation adds to obesity which then increases inflammation via the inherent inflammatory nature of fat cells. We also know inflammation increases the risk of many diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and so on. Inflammation is primarily a result of being overweight and poor eating habits. Poor eating habits mean eating inflammatory foods.

Obesity or being overweight creates low-grade inflammation in the body. As a result, chronic internal inflammation puts you at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases.

Curcumin suppresses inflammatory messaging in many cells in our body. The cells include fat and muscle cells as well as the cells that make insulin in the pancreas.

Curcumin, which is the active substance in turmeric, also reduces inflammation in various parts of the body, including in fat tissues.

Other results show it also reduces the entrance of the body’s white blood cells into fatty tissues. Excessive amounts of white blood cell accumulation in fat cells can trigger inflammation.

In addition, curcumin appears to directly reduce the body’s production of some important pro-inflammatory chemicals which cause inflammation.  A 2011 issue of the European Journal of Nutrition smartly conveys curcumin’s inflammatory suppressing activity and how it helps fight metabolic diseases which result from obesity. These conditions include insulin resistance, high blood sugar and more.

Generally, it is scientifically accepted that when your body isn’t fighting as much inflammation, weight loss is much easier.

Eating to lower inflammation:

acetyl l carnitine weight loss benefits are more when you combine with good food

Just a word about what you should be eating to lower inflammation before I give you my concluding remarks about curcumin.

Your “plate” should be 2/3 veggies and complex carbs and 1/3 lean protein.

Further, there are definite foods to avoid: sugar, HFCS, fruit juice unless the entire fruit is “juiced”, refined carbohydrates (pasta, white bread, white rice), “low fat” labeled foods, high starch vegetables such as corn, white potatoes (white on inside),  and ( really bad!) processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, etc.), as well as all processed foods.

Note some processed foods with only 1-4 ingredients may be just fine. That is, make sure you understand the ingredients. If you want to know exactly what to eat, circle back to my anti-inflammatory diet.

Back to curcumin:

benefits of acetyl l carnitine are similar to those of curcumin

On the whole, there is much positive data from animal studies and a growing understanding of how curcumin works to decrease inflammation. As a result, many supplement manufacturers conclude the benefits of weight loss with curcumin or turmeric weight loss products would be seen in humans as well.

That being the case, please note the weight loss a person might experience from consuming turmeric or curcumin has not been studied in humans.

Without definitive studies done in humans carried out in a properly designed experiment, it is anyone’s guess as to how much real effect curcumin would have for weight loss.

We all know it’s great for health to reduce inflammation and improve your brain health in many ways.

Indeed, it might be great for weight loss; it’s just another great natural substance no one has the “will” to study.

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