When you take curcumin or spice your food with turmeric, do the gastrointestinal juices in your gut destroy any antioxidants of value before they reach your bloodstream? What are researchers doing to solve this problem?
Scientists have finally deveoped a nano-size capsule that boosts the body’s uptake of curcumin, according to the article, “Spicing Up The Effectiveness Of A Potential Disease-Fighter,” published in the Nov. 5, 2009 issue of Medical News Today. The source for the article is Michael Bernstein, American Chemical Society. To read the study, see, “Evaluation of an Oral Carrier System in Rats: Bioavailability and Antioxidant Properties of Liposome-Encapsulated Curcumin,” Makoto Takahashi, Shuntoku Uechi, Kensaku Takara, Yonathan Asikin and Koji Wada, J. Agric. Food Chem., 2009, 57 (19), pp 9141–9146. Publication Date (Web): September 16, 2009 (Article). DOI: 10.1021/jf9013923.
What’s curcumin? It’s found in turmeric. Curcumin is an ingredient in yellow curry now being evaluated in clinical trials for treatment of several diseases. The present study appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.
You can buy curcumin in capsule form from numerous health food stores or online at companies such as Life Extension. Cucurmin is a powerful antioxidant found in the spice, turmeric. See the article, “Novel Turmeric Compound Delivers Much More Curcumin to the Blood,” published in Life Extension magazine, Oct. 2007.
Online, you can read about various clinical trials with turmeric and with the ingredient in turmeric, curcumin. The studies are checking its safety and effectiveness for colon cancer, psoriasis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
So how do you get the antioxidant effects of cucurmin if the digestive juice from your gut destroys curcumin before it reaches your bloodstream? the answer is to put the curcumin in capsules. In this case, nano-capsules so tiny that you don’t know it’s there.
According to the article, “Spicing Up The Effectiveness Of A Potential Disease-Fighter,” you’ll note that insulin is encapsulated before it’s given orally to patients with type 2 diabetes. Scientists encapsulate insulin and certain other drugs into structures called liposomes. The liposomes are able to boost absorption. So if the idea of nano-capsules to deliver an ingredient to the bloodstream orally works with some diseases, why not with other health issues? After all, you can’t inject cucurmin. You have to take it orally.
To solve the problem, you need to figure out how to keep the antioxidants working as they go through the normal digestive system. You need to solve the problem of surviving the digestive acids in the stomach.
In the recent study, researchers took prepared liposomes and encapsulated the curcumin in them. Then scientists fed the nano-capsules to laboratory rats. According to the study, “encapsulating more than quadrupled absorption of curcumin, and also boosted antioxidant levels in the blood.”
The encapsulating process could be an answer to the problem of increasing curcumin’s absorption in the digestive environment of the gastrointestinal tract, the study suggests. For further information, see, “Evaluation of an Oral Carrier System in Rats: Bioavailability and Antioxidant Properties of Liposome-Encapsulated Curcumin”
(Source: Michael Bernstein, American Chemical Society.)