Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches, and other food into energy. There are nearly 1.2 million people in Malaysia who have diabetes.
The cause of diabetes is a mystery, although genetics and environment factors appear to play their roles. There are two types of diabetes:
- Insulin Dependent - TYPE I Diabetes usually occurs during childhood or adolescence. This is an autoimmune disease in which the body does not produce any insulin. People with TYPE I diabetes must take daily insulin injections to stay alive. The warning signs of this diabetes type are frequent urination, unusual thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss extreme fatigue, and irritability. There are an estimated 24,000 people with TYPE I diabetes in Malaysia today.
- Non-Insulin-Dependent - Often known as TYPE II Diabetes, this is the most common form that usually occurs after the age of 30. Ninety-eight percent of the 1.2 million Malaysian with diabetes are sufferers of TYPE II Diabetes. It is a metabolic disorder resulting from the body's inability to make enough or proper use of insulin. The warning signs includes any of the TYPE I symptoms plus frequent infections, blurred vision, cuts or bruises that are slow to heal, tingling or numbness in the hands or feet, recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections. Source: Malaysian Diabetes Association (PDM), 2012.
Natural Diabetes Treatment: The Potential of Curcumin Anti-Diabetic Activity
Curcumin has been subjected to various researches and studies for the past few years and it was found that its therapeutic properties might elevate it as a possible remedy for various diseases. As diabetes being one of the major modern day diseases, Curcumin has been studied if it might counteract hyperglycaemic disorder (an abnormally large amount of sugar in the blood) – thus serve as a natural diabetes treatment!
It was reported almost 40 years ago that curcumin anti-diabetic activity can modulate blood sugar levels in human subjects with diabetes. To date, many recent in vivo studies also proved the anti-diabetic effect of curcumin. It was found that Curcumin is more effective than turmeric in attenuating diabetes mellitus-related changes in rats. The ability of curcumin to modulate the lipid profile in rats with STZ-nicotinamide-induced diabetes was also reported and these studies also indicated that oral curcumin decreased the blood glucose and plasma glycoprotein levels in diabetic rats.
Curcumin may also ease thermal hyperalgesia, an increased sensation to painful stimuli that may follow injury to a peripheral nerve in a diabetic mouse model of neuropathic pain (pain result from injury to the nervous system) as diabetic neuropathic pain is an important microvascular complication in diabetes mellitus. Diabetic retinopathy (acute damage to the eye retina) is also a complication in both TYPE I and TYPE II Diabetes. In addition, Curcumin was also found to prevent cataracts in diabetic rats, a promising candidate for natural diabetes treatment indeed.
Natural Diabetes Treatment and Curcumin Anti-Diabetic Activity
Aggarwal and Harikumar concluded that curcumin plays an important role in attenuating diabetes and diabetes-associated symptoms. Although laboratory studies has confirmed the pharmacological properties of curcumin, clinical study on Curcumin Anti-Diabetic Activity can be further extended to use this active ingredient of turmeric in diabetes treatment, to its maximum potential. The discovery of curcumin proves that human can rely on nature in finding the right drug candidate for medication purpose i.e. natural diabetes treatment.