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Ingredient review

Curcumin

Description

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)

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Main uses

Anti-oxidant applications
Cardiometabolic conditions
Inflammatory conditions

Formulations

Form
Bioavailability
Unformulated
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)

Pharmacokinetics

Absorption

  • 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)

Distribution

  • 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)

Metabolism

  • 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)

Excretion

  • Low absorption contributes to high amounts of curcumin found in feces. (8)
  • Curcumin may be excreted unchanged or as conjugates in urine. (13)

References