What is it?


Curcumin is a plant chemical found in turmeric (Curcuma longa), (2) a root often used to make curries, teas, and other drinks, mustard sauces, cheese, butter, and chips. It is also used as a colorant and as a preservative. (9)

Main uses

Anti-oxidant applications
Cardiometabolic conditions
Inflammatory conditions


2 g produced no change to bioavailability in humans (19)
Longvida®️ (solid lipid particle structure with improved solubility)
↑ 100x bioavailability compared with unformulated curcumin (10)
Meriva®️ (phospholipid micelle formulation)
↑ 29x bioavailability compared with unformulated curcumin (4)
Theracurmin®️ (highly dispersible, water-soluble & low aggregability)
↑ 27x bioavailability compared with unformulated curcumin (17)
Curcumin-Bioperine®️ (combined with piperine)
↑ 21x bioavailability compared with unformulated curcumin (19)
BCM-95®️ (micronized curcumin in turmeric essential oils)
↑ 7x bioavailability compared with unformulated curcumin (2)
C3 Complex®️ (95% concentration combination of three curcuminoids)
No bioavailability data currently available

Dosing & administration

Adverse effects

Curcumin is considered safe and non-toxic with good tolerability. (6) Diarrhea, headaches, nausea, rash, or yellow stool may occur. However, the prevalence of these adverse effects was not dose-dependent between doses of 1,000 to 12,000 mg. (7)(11)



  • Limited bioavailability (13)
  • Low absorption caused by retention and rapid conjugation of curcumin in the intestinal mucosa, and possible efflux from enterocytes back into the intestinal lumen (8)


  • Low uptake provides limited distribution but to a wide variety of tissues (13)
  • Curcumin and its metabolites may be found in the intestinal mucosa, blood, urine, bile, liver, spleen, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, muscle, and fat. (8)


  • Phase I hepatic metabolism rapidly reduces the compound’s double bonds via enterocyte oxidoreductases with involvement of CYP3A4 or alcohol dehydrogenase in liver microsomes. (8)(13)
  • Phase II metabolism rapidly conjugated via sulfotransferases (SULTs), glucuronosyltransferases, and glutathione S-transferases (GST). (8)(13)


  • Low absorption contributes to high amounts of curcumin found in feces. (8)
  • Curcumin may be excreted unchanged or as conjugates in urine. (13)
  1. Amin, F., Islam, N., Anila, N., & Gilani, A. (2015). Clinical efficacy of the co-administration of turmeric and black seeds (Kalongi) in metabolic syndrome – A double blind randomized controlled trial – TAK-MetS trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 23(2), 165-174. ()
  2. Antony, B., Merina, B., Iyer, V., Judy, N., Lennertz, K., & Joyal, S. (2008). A pilot cross-over study to evaluate human oral bioavailability of BCM-95®CG (BiocurcumaxTM), a novel bioenhanced preparation of curcumin. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 70(4), 445-449. ()
  3. Chandran, B., & Goel, A. (2012). A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytotherapy Research, 26(11), 1719-1725. ()
  4. Cuomo, J., Appendino, G., Dern, A. S., Schneider, E., Mckinnon, T. P., Brown, M. J., … Dixon, B. M. (2011). Comparative absorption of a standardized curcuminoid mixture and its lecithin formulation. Journal of Natural Products, 74(4), 664-669. ()
  5. Daily, J. W., 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), 717-729. ()
  6. Gupta, S. C., Patchva, S., & Aggarwal, B. B. (2012). Therapeutic roles of curcumin: Lessons learned from clinical trials. The AAPS Journal, 15(1), 195-218. ()
  7. Haroyan, A., Mukuchyan, V., Mkrtchyan, N., Minasyan, N., Gasparyan, S., Sargsyan, A., … Hovhannisyan, A. (2018). Efficacy and safety of curcumin and its combination with boswellic acid in osteoarthritis: A comparative, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 18(1), 7. ()
  8. Heger, M., van Golen, R. F., Broekgaarden, M., & Michel, M. C. (2014). The molecular basis for the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of curcumin and its metabolites in relation to cancer. Pharmacological Reviews, 66(1), 222-307. ()
  9. Hewlings, S., & Kalman, D. (2017). Curcumin: A review of its’ effects on human health. Foods, 6(10), 1-11. ()
  10. Jamwal, R. (2018). Bioavailable curcumin formulations: A review of pharmacokinetic studies in healthy volunteers. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 16(6), 367-374. ()
  11. Lao, C. D., Ruffin, M. T., Normolle, D., Heath, D. D., Murray, S. I., Bailey, J. M., … Brenner, D. E. (2006). Dose escalation of a curcuminoid formulation. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 6(1). ()
  12. Nakagawa, Y., Mukai, S., Yamada, S., Matsuoka, M., Tarumi, E., Hashimoto, T., … Nakamura, T. (2014). Short-term effects of highly-bioavailable curcumin for treating knee osteoarthritis: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled prospective study. Journal of Orthopaedic Science, 19(6), 933-939. ()
  13. Nelson, K. M., Dahlin, J., Bisson, J., Graham, J., Pauli, G., & Walters, M. (2017). The essential medicinal chemistry of curcumin: Miniperspective. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 60(5), 1620-1637. ()
  14. Prucksunand, C., Indrasukhsri, B., Leethochawalit, M., & Hungspreugs, K. (2001). Phase II clinical trial on effect of the long turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn) on healing of peptic ulcer. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health, 32(1), 208-215. ()
  15. Rahimi, H., Mohammadpour, A., Dastani, M., Jaafari, M., Abnous, K., Mobarhan, M., & Oskuee, R. (2016). The effect of nano-curcumin on HbA1c, fasting blood glucose, and lipid profile in diabetic subjects: A randomized clinical trial. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, 6(5), 567-577. ()
  16. Rahmani, S., Asgary, S., Askari, G., Keshvari, M., Hatamipour, M., Feizi, A., & Sahebkar, A. (2016). Treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease with curcumin: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. Phytotherapy Research, 30(9), 1540-1548. ()
  17. Sasaki, H., Sunagawa, Y., Takahashi, K., Imaizumi, A., Fukuda, H., Hashimoto, … Morimoto, T. (2011). Innovative preparation of curcumin for improved oral bioavailability. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 34(5), 660-665. ()
  18. Selvi, N. M., Sridhar, M. G., Swaminathan, R. P., & Sripradha, R. (2014). Efficacy of turmeric as adjuvant therapy in type 2 diabetic patients. Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, 30(2), 180-186. ()
  19. Shoba, G., Joy, D., Joseph, T., Majeed, M., Rajendran, R., & Srinivas, P. (1998). Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Medica, 64(04), 353-356. ()
  20. Usharani, P., Mateen, A. A., Naidu, M. U., Raju, Y. S., & Chandra, N. (2008). Effect of NCB-02, atorvastatin and placebo on endothelial function, oxidative stress and inflammatory markers in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Drugs in R&D, 9(4), 243-250. ()
  21. Yang, Y., Su, Y., Yang, H., Lee, Y., Chou, J. I., & Ueng, K. (2014). Lipid-lowering effects of curcumin in patients with metabolic syndrome: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Phytotherapy Research, 28(12), 1770-1777. ()

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