Research: Cloves may inhibit fat deposition and lower insulin resistance

Research wordResearch word

Cloves may reduce both fat deposition and insulin resistance.

Fresh cloves

Fresh cloves

Clove is one of the many key spices used in Indian cuisine.  It is also found in many seasonal recipes in the United States.  I love adding a dash to my eggnog.  A little dab of ground clove goes a long way to maximizing the taste it adds to any recipe.  For years, it has also been recommended as a potential remedy for multiple ailments to include diabetes and obesity.  Beyond the great flavor, many of these health claims are poorly supported by research.  

So what does the research show:

  1. Clove appears to reduce insulin resistance and insulin levels. A study from 2018 on rabbits links clove and fermented ginger supplementation to anti-diabetic properties[1].  Subjects who consumer the clove and ginger supplement appears to reduce leptin levels in subjects with type 2 diabetes.  The supplement also resulted in lower blood glucose levels in the supplements treated groups compared to the control group.  A lower glucose and insulin sensitivity should assist with weight loss and reduced body fat.  Some of these results were confirmed in mice and humans[2],[3].  We would expect a similar response in humans so this is not a surprise.  
  2.  Clove is one of the spices that may help you lose weight.  A study from 2012 looked at high-calorie meals in mice with clove extract[2]. The researchers found that clove extract inhibits fat accumulation in mice that were fed a high-fat diet that should have resulted in ample fat deposition.   It appears that the clove results in suppression of transcription factors integral to adipogenesis and lipogenesis.  This link suggests clove has potential in preventing obesity.  The researchers also found that clove supplementation resulted in SAE supplementation had significantly decreased body weight, fat mass, blood glucose, insulin levels, and leptin levels.  These findings are consistent with improved weight loss success.  

One of the main reasons why people find it difficult to lose weight is because of the slow metabolic rate of their bodies. Plants and herbs, such as cloves, have long been used for medicinal purposes, including the treatment of diabetes.  This research backs up that claim because cloves appear to help reduce insulin resistance and improve glucose metabolism.  Some of the research points to the ability of cloves to speed up metabolism and help the body burn more calories.  Lower insulin resistance should result in less belly fat and lower risk of diabetes.  

The bottom line:  Cloves are more than a spice that delivers that fragrant flavor that we all love.  Cloves appear to be one of the few spices which can help you to lose weight.  These results are promising and should be repeated on a large scale in humans.  Cloves taste great so I recommend you add them to your cooking regimen.  


A. Abdulrazak, Y. Tanko, A. Mohammed, K. Mohammed, N. Sada, and A. Dikko, “Effects of Clove and Fermented Ginger on Blood Glucose, Leptin, Insulin and Insulin Receptor Levels in High Fat DietInduced Type 2 Diabetic Rabbits.,” Niger J Physiol Sci, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 89–93, Jun. 2018. [PubMed]
C. H. JUNG, J. AHN, T.-I. JEON, T. W. KIM, and T. Y. HA, “Syzygium aromaticum ethanol extract reduces high-fat diet-induced obesity in mice through downregulation of adipogenic and lipogenic gene expression,” Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 409–414, Jun. 2012 [Online]. Available: 10.3892/etm.2012.609″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>
R. C. Prasad, B. Herzog, B. Boone, L. Sims, and M. Waltner-Law, “An extract of Syzygium aromaticum represses genes encoding hepatic gluconeogenic enzymes,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 96, no. 1–2, pp. 295–301, Jan. 2005 [Online]. Available: 10.1016/j.jep.2004.09.024″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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