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Interventions and public health nutrition

A pilot study of the effect of phospholipid curcumin on serum metabolomic profile in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2019) | Download Citation



Curcumin, a natural polyphenol compound in the spice turmeric, has been found to have potent anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory activity. Curcumin may treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) through its beneficial effects on biomarkers of oxidative stress (OS) and inflammation, which are considered as two feature of this disease. However, the effects of curcumin on NAFLD have been remained poorly understood. This investigation evaluated the effects of administrating curcumin on metabolic status in NAFLD patients.


Fifty-eight NAFLD patients participated in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel design of study. The subjects were allocated randomly into two groups, which either received 250 mg phospholipid curcumin or placebo, one capsule per day for a period of 8 weeks. Fasting blood samples were taken from each subject at the start and end of the study period. Subsequently, metabolomics analysis was performed for serum samples using NMR.


Compared with the placebo, supplementing phospholipid curcumin resulted in significant decreases in serum including 3- methyl-2-oxovaleric acid, 3-hydroxyisobutyrate, kynurenine, succinate, citrate, α-ketoglutarate, methylamine, trimethylamine, hippurate, indoxyl sulfate, chenodeoxycholic acid, taurocholic acid, and lithocholic acid. This profile of metabolic biomarkers could distinguish effectively NAFLD subjects who were treated with curcumin and placebo groups, achieving value of 0.99 for an area under receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC).


Characterizing the serum metabolic profile of the patients with NAFLD at the end of the intervention using NMR-based metabolomics method indicated that the targets of curcumin treatment included some amino acids, TCA cycle, bile acids, and gut microbiota.

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  1. Department of Chemistry, Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

    • Saeed Chashmniam
  2. Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neyshabur University of Medical Sciences, Neyshabur, Iran

    • Seyed Reza Mirhafez
    • , Mitra Hariri
    • , Mohsen Azimi Nezhad
    •  & B. Fatemeh Nobakht M. Gh
  3. Non-communicable Disease Research Center, Neyshabur University of Medical Sciences, Neyshabur, Iran

    • Seyed Reza Mirhafez
    • , Mitra Hariri
    • , Mohsen Azimi Nezhad
    •  & B. Fatemeh Nobakht M. Gh
  4. Department of Biology, Payamnoor University, Mashhad, Iran

    • Maryam Dehabeh
  5. Department of Medical Genetics, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

    • Mohsen Azimi Nezhad


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This work was supported financially by the grant, which has been taken from Neyshabur University of Medical Science (NUMS) and Sharif University of Technology.

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Correspondence to B. Fatemeh Nobakht M. Gh.

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