Are you considering including curcumin in your diet? Derived from turmeric root, the potential benefits of curcumin for promoting various health functions are well-established. However, because the unpleasant taste of curcumin is a major barrier to its therapeutic use, the issue is determining the best way to take curcumin. In this article, we answer the most common queries regarding the dietary intake of curcumin and how to maximize its absorption in your body to achieve its health benefits.
Because the gastrointestinal tract is a rather watery environment, it doesn’t naturally provide the right environment for the absorption of the fat-soluble curcumin molecule. As a result, curcumin is rapidly metabolized and eliminated from the body. Thus, the low absorption of curcumin in the small intestine and its extensive metabolism in the liver significantly decrease or limit its bioavailability. The degradation reactions in the liver, in turn, change curcumin’s chemical structure and properties, leading to its rapid elimination through the gallbladder. Although curcumin is safe and effective, its poor bioavailability in the body, even when ingested in a high amount, has led to the development of various supplement formulation strategies.
There are several ways to include curcumin in your diet. Because curcumin is soluble in fats, consuming it with a fatty meal enhances its absorption. This is why conventional dietary practices involve taking curcumin with digestible lipids, such as milk or heating turmeric in oil and then mixing it with food in a meal.
Bioavailability-enhancers also help optimize the therapeutic benefits of curcumin supplements. The early supplement formulation strategies included the addition of lipids, such as turmeric oil, turmeric oleoresin, and piperine to make curcumin more bioavailable. Combining curcumin with enhancing agents such as piperine — a major active component of black pepper, has been found1 to increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 2,000%. However, intake of piperine in higher amounts may result in an upset stomach and increase the risk of gastric bleeding in affected individuals.
The majority of commercially available curcumin supplements for oral intake are available as powder nanoparticles, tablets, capsules, emulsions, and liposomal encapsulations.
Free curcumin molecules have been found to aggregate with one another through hydrophobic interactions and form further clusters by hydrogen bonding. The aggregative, large cluster of curcumin molecules hinders cellular absorption. In contrast, curcumin formulations containing powder nanoparticles have been found to display higher cellular uptake.
In tablets and capsules, curcumin molecules are encapsulated in an efficient carrier system to avoid the molecules’ rapid metabolization during their transit through the intestinal tract. Curcumin-loaded emulsions and liposomal encapsulations trap curcumin molecules in edible microparticles and nanoparticles to enhance their bioavailability. Curcumin-loaded emulsions have been found2 to display higher bioaccessibility than non-encapsulated curcumin.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration categorizes curcumin as ‘Generally Recognized As Safe’ for use as an ingredient in various food categories. Various clinical trials have shown good tolerability and safety profiles for curcuminoids — curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, and demethoxycurcumin — even at high doses of 4,000-8,000 milligrams daily. However, it is always recommended that you consult with your healthcare provider before taking a curcumin supplement with prescription medication.
When selecting a curcumin supplement to include in your diet, you should look at the active ingredients in the formula. The efficacy of a curcumin supplement depends on its bioavailability. Although pure curcumin has immense therapeutic potential, it is chemically unstable under physiological conditions.
Tetrahydrocurcumin, an active metabolite of curcumin, displays more stability than curcumin and is more water-soluble than curcumin, which leads to its enhanced oral bioavailability and absorption in the body. As a superior antioxidant with enhanced bioavailability, tetrahydrocurcumin makes a curcumin supplement more effective.
TetraCumin®, a patented curcumin supplement formula developed by Tesseract Medical Research, contains the bioactive tetrahydrocurcumin to support a healthy inflammatory response and to promote joint and muscle health. Tesseract’s revolutionary CyLoc® - DexKey® nutrient delivery system further enhances tetrahydrocurcumin’s absorption, encasing each molecule to protect it from degradation before it reaches the desired point in the intestinal tract. With the targeted delivery of individual nutrient molecules resulting in unprecedented absorption, this smart delivery system enables micro-dosing — achieving faster physiological responses with lower amounts of the active ingredients. The result is a safe and effective curcumin supplement with more positive, therapeutic outcomes to support your health.
The power of Tesseract supplements lies in the proprietary science of proven nutrients and unrivaled smart delivery, making them the most effective for supporting musculoskeletal health.*
1Shoba, G et al. “Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers.” Planta medica vol. 64,4 (1998): 353-6. doi:10.1055/s-2006-957450
2Nelson, Kathryn M et al. “The Essential Medicinal Chemistry of Curcumin.” Journal of medicinal chemistry vol. 60,5 (2017): 1620-1637. doi:10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00975