Recent data from the Nutrition Business Journal put turmeric in the top 10 best-selling supplements in the US, and sales of curcumin- and turmeric-based supplements are expected to grow 21.5% from 2013-2016 to $235 million.
Curcumin is currently among the biggest-growing products in the botanical market. Because curcumin has limited solubility and absorption from the gut, leading suppliers have put a lot of attention into optimizing the delivering of curcumin and its metabolites for supplement and functional foods.
Curcumin exists naturally with two analogs demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxy curcumin, and together they are known as curcuminoids.
The new study, published in the Nutrition Journal, indicated that formulating curcumin with a combination of hydrophilic carrier, cellulosic derivatives and natural antioxidants (CurcuWin from OmniActive) increased serum curcuminoid levels 46 times over standard curcumin.
The study also compared the OnmiActive ingredient to other commercially available ‘enhanced’ curcumin formulations, and again the CurcuWin ingredient came out on top in the measures used.
First comparison in humans
Ralf Jäger, PhD, FISSN, President of Milwaukee-based consultancy Increnovo LLC and lead author on the new study, told NutraIngredients-USA: “Different strategies have been pursued to improve the absorption of curcumin including nanocrystals, emulsions, liposomes, self-assemblies and nanogels, giving marketers of improved bioavailable curcumin formulations different options. However, due to differences in subjects, analytical method, study design or administration of the product absolute values cannot be directly compared, even if the same standard unformulated curcumin was used to standardize the relative improvements.
“Using a randomized, double-blind, crossover design allowed us to determine the benefits of each formulation over standardized unformulated curcumin and to compare the relative improvements between the different formulations.
“The present study is the first human study which measured the constituent parts of the curcumin formulation derived from the extraction process, curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin and demethoxycurcumin, and the major metabolite of orally ingested curcumin, tetrahydrocurcumin, increasing our knowledge on how the individual curcuminoids are absorbed and metabolized.”
Jayant Deshpande, PhD, Chief Technical Officer, OmniActive, added: "Because this study was designed to have participants serve as their own control, a direct comparison could be made between the bioavailability of the curcumin ingredients tested.
"No other product has gone through this degree of testing in such a robust bioavailability model alongside multiple product forms. Now that we have established CurcuWin's superior bioavailability and conducted preclinical studies, we plan additional clinicals to support its efficacy."
CurcuWin, launched at Supply Side West 2013, November 13-15, uses the company’s UltraSOL technology.
UltraSOL is described as a molecular dispersion process that enhances the solubility and bioavailability of lipophilic compounds and poorly absorbed nutrients.
Dr Jäger and his co-workers from Increnovo and the University of Tampa recruited 12 healthy volunteers with an average age of 23 to participate in their single-dose, randomized, double-blind, cross-over human study. Participants consumed 6 hard gel capsules of the OmniActive product (a combination of curcumin with a hydrophilic carrier, cellulosic derivatives and natural antioxidants), or standard curcumin, or a combination of curcuminoids and volatile oils of turmeric rhizome, or curcumin in a lipophilic matrix.
Each dose yielded 376 mg of total curcuminoids except for the standard curcumin, which provided 1,800 mg of total curcuminoids.
Compared to standard curcumin, blood samples analyzed by HPLC-MS/MS showed that the appearance of total curcuminoids was 1.3-fold higher for the combination of curcuminoids and volatile oils of turmeric rhizome, and 7.9-fold higher for curcumin in a lipophilic matrix. Curcumin with the hydrophilic carrier increased the curcuminoids in the blood 46-fold, compared to standard curcumin, and by 6-fold and 35-fold compared to the curcumin in a lipophilic matrix and the combination of curcuminoids and volatile oils of turmeric rhizome, respectively.
Curcumin is known to metabolize into tetrahydrocurcumin after going through reductase enzyme system in the body, and blood levels of tetrahydrocurcumin were found to be lower than curcuminoid levels in all four formulations tested, but the OmniActive product again came out on top.
Other curcumin suppliers have submitted comments to NutraIngredients-USA in response to the study’s findings. Please click here to read our article with these responses.
Source: Nutrition Journal
2014, 13:11, doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-11
“Comparative absorption of curcumin formulations”
Authors: R. Jager, R.P. Lowery, A.V. Calvanese, J.M. Joy, M. Purpura, J.M. Wilson