Turmeric is best known as a spice and is one of the main components of curry powder responsible for the yellow hue that is synonymize with curries. In India and other parts of Asia, turmeric is more than just a spice - turmeric has been used for centuries by Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine to prevent and treat numerous diseases and health conditions.
Curcumin, the most important active ingredient in turmeric has been associated with different health benefits such as the ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body and support joint health immunity and protect body from free radical damage.
Unfortunately, a major hurdle to the development of curcumin for use as a supplement is its poor bioavailability.
Turmeric is not soluble in water and it is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream, and once there, it is rapidly metabolised. This may be the reason why most people do not obtain all of curcuminoid's benefits when taken as a supplement that contains Turmeric alone.
Studies show that when a small amount of piperine, which is extracted from black pepper, is combined with Turmeric extract in a capsule, the absorption of curcuminoids into the bloodstream is increased.
Besides enhancing absorption of curcuminoids into the bloodstream, piperine also helps by inhibiting the enzymes that break down curcuminoids, which makes curcuminoids stay in the body longer in higher quantities for optimal benefits.
So remember, 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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- Prasad, Sahdeo, Amit K. Tyagi, and Bharat B. Aggarwal. 2014. "Recent Developments in Delivery, Bioavailability, Absorption and Metabolism of Curcumin: The Golden Pigment from Golden Spice." Cancer Research and Treatment : Official Journal of Korean Cancer Association 46.1: 2–18
- Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas PS. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med. 1998;64:353–356