Although interfacing with clinical data can even make our heads spin at times, it’s important to have an understanding of what actually makes a good, viable study. Measurements: Unfortunately, many publications report the bioavailability of curcuminin without actually distinguishing between free form curcumin, curcumin metabolites, and total curcuminoids (curcumin, DMC, BDMC). This will inevitably skew what was actually measured in sample blood, versus what is reported in the corresponding publication. Don’t forget about our little friend Beta-glucuronidase either, seeing the use of this enzyme further skews results generating false values for Free Form Curcumin. For the sake of accuracy, simple
Turmeric possesses a rich, deep, bright orange/golden color due to its high content of pigments known as curcuminoids. These beautiful pigments are known as fluorochromes, meaning they are fluorescent! This explains why turmeric has been used as dye, a coloring agent in paint, and why it stains so easily. These pigments are truly unique and very special, seeing they are mostly responsible for turmeric’s therapeutic activity.
There are three active curcuminoids present in turmeric: curcumin, demethoxycurcumin (DMC), and bis-demethoxycurcumin (BDMC), with curcumin being the most concentrated. It comprises approximately two thirds of total curcuminoids, while the other two comprise the remaining third (Nardo et al., 2011).
In Sanskrit, turmeric root has many names associated with it such as, “auspicious or lucky,” “to give a fair complexion” and “killer of poison” denoting how revered this substance is.
Turmeric root, aka Curcuma longa L. is a Rhizome that belongs to the Zingiberaceae/Ginger Family. It has a long history dating back to 250 BCE and is used primarily as a spice in most South/Pan Asian cuisine.
It has been used in Ayurveda—India’s traditional medical system for 4000 years and like its gorgeous color, is literally worth its weight in gold!
Traditionally, turmeric is used for both prevention and treatment of disease. Its traditional uses include: treating inflammation, managing pain, treatment of skin ailments like acne and skin cancer; digestive issues, such as colic; distention, and liver/gallbladder complaints. In Ayurveda, it is used to strengthen overall Prana or Life Force, regulate menstruation, purify blood, treat respiratory conditions and rheumatism; and dissolve gallstones.
Both Ayurveda and TCM consider turmeric as a highly supportive digestive bitter.
Turmeric is the most clinically studied natural substance in the world. With over 4000 publications to date, its proven therapeutic benefits are vast. Studies have confirmed that curcumin has potent
antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor properties (Ireson et al., 2001; Sandhur et al., 2007)
“IN SANSKRIT, TURMERIC ROOT HAS MANY NAMES ASSOCIATED WITH IT SUCH AS, “AUSPICIOUS OR LUCKY,” “TO GIVE A FAIR COMPLEXION” AND “KILLER OF POISON.”
Furthermore, studies suggest that curcumin acts on multiple tissues in many diseases, including: cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis (Gupta et al., 2012).
Curcumin’s issues of absorbability and bioavailability have led to an array of products with varying technologies that address these two factors. Unfortunately, while their aim is good, they still miss the mark. Although bioavailability and absorbability are important factors in evaluating the effectiveness of curcumin, the key lies in its ability to remain free.
When curcumin is formulated to not only solve issues of bioavailability and absorbability, but address rapid breakdown within the body, the result is free form curcumin. When curcumin retains its free “unbroken” form, it is taken up directly through the bloodstream where it is stable, concentrated and able to cross the blood brain barrier.