Posted on: February 15th, 2022

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease in the world. Adult NAFLD prevalence in the US is ~35%, with a pediatric prevalence of ~10%.

There are currently no medical or pharmacological treatments or therapies for NAFLD. In some cases, however, NAFLD can be resolved manually by weight loss through dieting and exercise. Bariatric surgery has been used in extreme cases as well, but it is not normally recommended.

Recent research has been studying non-pharmacological methods to treat NAFLD, specifically through curcumin supplementation. Several studies that concluded in 2021 focused solely on curcumin supplementation and the positive effects of fighting NAFLD.

Turmeric & Curcumin

Curcumin is a component found in turmeric. Curcumin has a long history in traditional medicine as well as a substantial body of science supporting it has potential for promoting positive metabolic processes in the body, thus promoting health.  

Certain properties of curcumin make it a potentially valuable research target for promoting health through effecting positive structure/function activities in the body. For example, curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, among others, largely without adverse effects. It has been explored in the course of many diseases including cardiovascular disease, asthma, cancer (lung, breast, colon, stomach, pancreas), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and diabetes.

Turmeric as a whole has been primarily used as a spice in Asian cuisine. Traditional medicinal uses of turmeric are related to helping calm an upset stomach. Both turmeric and curcumin have been researched for potential pharmacological uses.

Curcumin and NAFLD

Ongoing research is looking at the effects curcumin may have as a non-pharmacological component for people with NAFLD.

Data from recent studies has noted that curcumin has positive effects on vitamin absorption, glucose, and cholesterol management, and as an antioxidant. More research is being conducted to see if the positive effects of curcumin are consistently seen across a larger population.

Turmeric, however, has been identified as a poor candidate in regard to curcumin testing. Curcumin only makes up a small percentage of turmeric as a whole, meaning to get enough curcumin, a person would need to consume a large amount of turmeric.  Therefore, curcumin has been used as a supplement after concentration from turmeric.

Research at Biofortis

Biofortis is dedicated to protecting consumer health throughout the world by delivering a wide range of testing and consultancy services to the food, supplement, and nutrition industries. Biofortis supports this mission in two ways—through clinical trials and sensory and consumer insights testing. We specialize in clinical research targeting foods, ingredients, and dietary supplements that affect body structures, function, and overall health. Contact us with any clinical trial or scientific consulting needs.

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