Turmeric or Curcumin?Curcumin is the Active Component of Curcuma longa L (Turmeric). Turmeric health benefits rely on this yellow-orange coloured, lipophilic polyphenol substance, Curcumin. Curcumin is acquired from the rhizomes of the herb. Recent research in both clinical and preclinical studies has proved Curcumin to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Whilst also boasting neuroprotective and hepatoprotective properties!. Its all the hype today, turmeric lattes, turmeric this and that, in-fact people are even trying to sell it in powders mixed with a million other things (to try make it taste good) and flog it as nature's superfood. Don’t get me wrong, it is and can be a powerful superfood. I think however a lot of people don’t know it actually has extremely low oral bioavailability. Low bioavailability can therefore dampen the effects as a “therapeutic agent”. The reason for this is that Curcumin is poorly water-soluble but highly permeable, meaning it has limited intestinal uptake with rapid metabolism.
Bio-availability of Turmeric SupplementsThe good news is due to advancing technologies and modern science, curcumin has been heavily researched and valid information regarding specific agents to aid its absorption is readily available. Research has been developed to overcome limitations and enhance the bioavailability because of the known benefits to health states on so many different levels. Recent research studied the release of curcumin within a water solution, direct oral and in the form of a nanoemulsion. The bioavailability of nanoemulsion was found to be 10 fold higher than that of a direct oral delivery. Sounds crazy right? You think just straight Turmeric would be best for you in terms of all the claimed “health” benefits – however as the research presents, it’s not properly absorbed this way. Turmeric itself is not properly understood and this is why I decided to share this information with you. The active constituent curcumin yields all the amazing healing properties, and this, in high doses it what causes a therapeutic effect, but only when made bioavailable. Nanocurcumin has been developed so that curcumin can be transformed into nanoparticles that essentially become easily deliverable to the human body, therefore making curcumin more bioavailable. Particles become more targeted toward tissues, leading to faster delivery to the cells and longer half-lives (stays in the body longer). Thus, encapsulating curcumin into hydrogel nanoparticles yields a homogenous curcumin dispersion when orally administered. Nanoemulsions aren’t the only form of making curcumin more available, there is liposomal encapsulation, PLGA encapsulation, etc, however you get my point. Besides supplementation for certain conditions, we can however still enjoy Turmeric raw and absorb the goodness
How to enjoy raw Turmeric...Ever heard that pepper increases the absorption also, well this is scientifically, true, but who’s responsible? It’s the major component of black pepper, Piperine. Peperine is an inhibitor of hepatic and intestinal glucoronidation and is also shown to increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000% with co-administration. That’s right, adding pepper with curcumin enhances serum concentrations and extends the bioavailability! So get cracking! Curcumin is also fat soluble – meaning without fat, it cannot be easily absorbed. In order to make the most out of taking turmeric in any form – it therefore is more readily available to you with the presence of fat. That’s why its original form as a spice in curry is probably the best way to have it naturally, because of the fat content of perhaps meat or coconut based products and more than likely, pepper.
Ways to ensure Turmeric absorption
- In a curry!
- Mixed with some olive oil and put over veggies with cracked pepper
- Adding to a smoothie that has a fat in it – like avocado or coconut oil
- Sprinkle over avocado
- Add a teaspoon to whatever hot beverage you are drinking – if it has milk that will aid in the absorption.