The Benefits of Curcumin
Curcumin is one of the main bioactive molecules found in the root of the turmeric plant (Curcuma longa), a spice commonly used in South Asian cuisine. Traditionally it has been used for many different purposes, including supporting wound healing, improving digestion, enhancing skin health and relieving both acute and chronic pain.
Human studies have highlighted the health-promoting benefits of curcumin. A substantial amount of pre-clinical and clinical trials have confirmed that curcumin can enhance cardiovascular health by promoting balanced cholesterol levels, and support normal cell growth throughout the body. It has also been shown to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Most of curcumin's beneficial effects are attributed to its role as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
Limitations of Ordinary Curcumin
People living with arthritis or suffering from old injuries are susceptible to pain and inflammation. Curcumin can help the body fight foreign invaders such as bacteria, and also help repair the damage caused by inflammation which can lead to that acute or chronic pain. However, many available curcumin health products offer ineffective formulas that are unable to target tissues like the joints because they are rapidly metabolized by the liver, poorly absorbed, and quickly excreted.
Curcumin's potential has been limited by poor absorption and bioavailability, due to a number of factors. It is insoluble in water and gastrointestinal fluid, and once ingested, is rapidly metabolized and eliminated from the body. Once metabolized in the liver, free curcumin becomes 'conjugated' (the organic chemistry term for atoms, bonds, or molecules getting linked together), which prevents it from being absorbed effectively into the tissues or from being able to cross the blood-brain barrier. All these factors limit its use as a natural therapeutic agent.
On the other hand, if curcumin can remain in its free form, it is much more biologically active, and is free to move throughout the body, being absorbed from the blood into the organs and tissues where it is needed most. Free curcumin is also able to cross the blood-brain barrier, providing beneficial effects to the brain and nervous system.
CurQfen is a unique curcumin formulation that combines curcumin with galactomannan fibres from another popular Indian herb, fenugreek, which greatly enhances its absorption and bioavailability. These fenugreek fibres are bound with the curcumin to form a complex which adheres to the gut lining and allows free, unconjugated curcumin to be absorbed into the bloodstream intact, without being metabolized by the liver. The nature of these curcumin-galactomannan complexes also enables the curcumin to be absorbed in a slow-release manner, creating a long-lasting therapeutic effect.
Most curcumin products are only studied for their bioavailability, which is a measure of how much curcumin is absorbed into the bloodstream. However, CurQfen goes one step further, with studies actually showing its bioaccessibility -- meaning, its ability to be absorbed into various tissues and organs in the body from the bloodstream. This is the first report on tissue distribution kinetics of free curcumin, showing actual uptake of CurQfen by target tissues.
Turmacin is a unique new extract that provides water-soluble polysaccharides from turmeric root which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity, independent of curcumin. Preliminary clinical trials in osteoarthritic patients have shown promising results. In a randomized, single-blind, placebo controlled trial, the effects of Turmacin (1000 mg/day) on a variety of clinical parameters was compared to glucosamine (1500 mg/day), a combination of Turmacin and glucosamine (2500 mg/day), and placebo (800 mg/day) over a 42 day period. Osteoarthritis patients showed the greatest symptom improvement (measured by physical performance, questionnaires and clinician assessment) when given Turmacin over time. Turmacin was well-tolerated and no adverse reactions associated with treatment were reported.
These polysaccharides also have a synergistic effect with curcumin, enhancing its bioavailability. They achieve this by coating the curcumin particles to make them more water soluble. Combining turmeric polysaccharides with curcumin represents a more holistic, "whole-herb" approach, by providing multiple beneficial compounds from turmeric, similar to how it would have been consumed traditionally.
Related Reading: See The Truth About Curcumin (PDF ~ 3MB)