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What’s the difference between Turmeric and Curcumin?

What’s the difference between Turmeric and Curcumin? | Mr Vitamins
Turmeric is a well-regarded traditional herb used extensively in Ayurvedic, Chinese and Western herbal medicine systems. Curcumin on the other hand, is the active compound found in small quantities in Turmeric. Curcumin continues to steal the limelight from Turmeric as more exciting scientific evidence emerges confirming its therapeutic value. This is the point where tradition meets science.

Turmeric and Curcumin: Whats the difference?

Here are some simple explanations.

What is Turmeric?

The rhizomes, or underground stems are used medicinally, in cooking as a spice, and for dyeing fabrics. Turmeric is typically indicated for:
  • Dyspepsia/indigestion - including upper abdominal fullness, heartburn, nausea, belching or upper abdominal pain
  • Peptic/stomach ulceration
  • Pain and inflammation associated with arthritic conditions
  • Liver dysfunction
  • High cholesterol
  • Improving gallbladder function and production/flow of bile

What is Curcumin?

Curcumin gives Turmeric its deep golden-yellow colour and is the active compound responsible for its powerful anti-inflammatory activity; Turmeric only contains around 3-5% of curcumin. Curcumin has been extensively studied and acknowledged as the ‘master switch’ of inflammation due to its ability to interrupt many pro-inflammatory pathways in the body. Unfortunately, curcumin is notoriously poorly absorbed in the intestines as it’s only slightly soluble in water and rapidly degraded by around 50% in 10 minutes. This has led the way to find new, novel ways to improve curcumin’s bioavailability and absorption for a therapeutic effect.

Regular Curcumin vs novel Curcumin delivery systems

Regular curcumin refers to curcumin that has not been complexed with a special delivery system to improve bioavailability and absorption. Poor solubility in water and rapid degradation of curcumin has sparked a surge of research and development within the scientific community to develop novel delivery systems to increase both the bioavailability and absorption of curcumin to reach new therapeutic levels. Several manufacturers have come up with various novel delivery systems to do this, and Meriva® curcumin is one of them.

Meriva® Curcumin

Meriva® curcumin provides a unique patented delivery system, where the curcumin is embedded within a phospholipid, or fat complex. This protects the curcumin from degrading too quickly allowing you to get a good therapeutic dose. Your digestive tract lining is also made up of phospholipids, so when the Meriva® curcumin phospholipid complex encounters the digestive tract phospholipids, the curcumin is rapidly shuttled between the phospholipids, increasing curcumin levels in the cells. This allows Meriva® curcumin to be more beneficial at much lower doses than regular curcumin. Meriva® curcumin has been clinically trialled in humans to:
  • Improve both bioavailability and absorption of curcumin
    • 90mg Meriva® curcumin (in a 500mg phospholipid matrix) taken twice daily, has shown to be more bioavailable than regular curcumin
  • Reduce joint pain and inflammation
    • Increased joint mobility, reduced joint swelling, pain and inflammation associated with arthritis and osteoarthritis

Meriva® Curcumin vs Black Pepper

Black pepper contains a compound known as piperine, which is often used to enhance bioavailability of other compounds, including curcumin. Piperine, when used at 20mg with 2000mg curcumin appears to increase the bioavailability of curcumin. Piperine at doses higher than 20mg tends to interact with many medications, so may not be suitable for everyone. Meriva® curcumin relies on the clinically trialled phospholipid complex for improved bioavailability and absorption, and has very few interactions between medications. Meriva® curcumin does not need the addition of Black pepper to be effective.

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