Turmeric, a bright yellow colour curry spice with medicinal properties is becoming increasingly popular for its ability to prevent countless diseases and health conditions. More than just a spice, turmeric has been used for centuries by Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to treat a myriad of diseases and health conditions.
The active ingredients of turmeric are a group of compounds called curcuminoids, which include curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Of the three, curcumin plays the most active role.
Curcumin has been associated with many different health benefits such as the ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Besides, curcumin supports joint health and protects body from free radical damage.
Unfortunately, a major hurdle to the development of curcumin for use as a supplement is its low oral bioavailability. Curcumin is nearly insoluble in water and the efficacy of native (natural) curcumin extracts (powders) has only been demonstrated with very high dosages (8–12gm).
The low bioavailability of curcumin in the body is due to its poor solubility in the digestive tract and its rapid breakdown and excretion from the body. Hence it is important to understand the issues regarding curcumin’s bioavailability and its retention the body. The higher the absorption and the longer the retention ability- the better the quality of the curcumin supplement.
AQUANOVA AG, a German company specializing in liquid colloidal formulas has recently developed a soluble technique that encapsulates curcumin extract with microscopic, “water-loving” spheres called micelles. Study shows that micelles are the most absorptive form of curcumin for oral consumption, due to its microscopic structure that promotes solubility and allows curcumin to be readily passed into the bloodstream, which results in faster and higher absorption compared to native curcumin extract.
Hence, curcumin is not about how much you take or how high the extract ratio, rather curcumin is all about absorption. How much curcumin the body absorbs and retains is the true barometer in measuring the bioavailability of curcumin products.
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- Daily JW, Yang M, Park S. 2016. “Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials.” Journal of Medicinal Food 19(8):717-29.
- Schiborr C, Kocher A, Behnam D, Jandasek J, Toelstede S, Frank J. 2014. "The Oral Bioavailability of Curcumin from Micronized Powder and Liquid Micelles is Significantly Increased in Healthy Humans and Differs between Sexes." Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 58(3):516-27. DOI: 10.1002/mnfr.201300724.