Curcumin: New Technology and Research Broadens Potential

Botanical products have been used in natural medicine for thousands of years. Recently, scientific studies into the health benefits of phyto-chemicals have helped demonstrate their health benefits, increasing their popularity.

Curcumin has been the most popular botanical extract for several years, as a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. Interest has been both at a consumer level, and from science, with almost 2000 published studies reported on PubMed each year in recent years. Curcumin and turmeric are widely used by many consumers.

Curcumin is a wonderful ingredient, however the growth has led to some confusion in the market. Firstly, many consumers are confused about the differences between turmeric and the active constituent curcumin. The consequences for this are that some companies market cheaper, inferior products only using the rhizome. Long term this tactic can only hurt the industry, as it’s misleading, and won’t keep consumers purchasing due to a lack of efficacy.

Curcumin can provide many tremendous benefits, However, as it is hydrophobic (hates water), it is difficult to deliver a therapeutic dose orally. As a lipophilic active, curcumin has challenges from an absorption perspective. This also limits its efficacy, but more worrying is the “arms race” of bioavailability claims, sometimes based on questionable studies.

This article is available in full in the February-March 2021 issue of Nutraceuticals Now

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