The Bioavailability of Turmeric
Author: Shelley Bennetts Date Posted:13 May 2021
Why do we need to take turmeric or curcumin supplements that have been enhanced to make them bioavailable?
The regular use of turmeric can be of great benefit to us all….. as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, antigrowth, anti-arthritic, anti-atherosclerotic, antidepressant, anti-aging, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, for wound healing, and memory-enhancing activities.
The big problem for modern science in developing effective turmeric drugs is that curcumin (the major active ingredient) has a low absorption rate. Our bodies need assistance to get the amazing benefits that curcumin offers. Pharmaceutical researchers have developed multiple ways to help, including the use of ‘bioavailability enhanced’ curcumin compounds however, the perfect solution, for the perfect turmeric drug continues to allude them.
What is Bioavailability?
"Bioavailability" is about how easily any effective nutrients can make their way from your food into your body. The food must first be digested so that the nutrient can be freed from the food that contained it. Then the nutrient needs to be absorbed from the digestive tract into rest of the body. When a nutrient is highly "bioavailable," it can be digested and absorbed. When a nutrient is poorly bioavailable like curcumin, its digestion and absorption can be much more difficult and much less predictable.
Like Vitamin C, curcumin is not retained in your body for a long time and needs to be taken regularly to maintain the benefits.The search is on for a form of curcumin which can be used to treat a huge range of diseases and conditions, and importantly, which can be patented and exploited.
However, a formulation of ‘bioavailable’, stable and profitable curcumin continues to allude scientists the world over. In scientific lingo, it’s known as a PAINS (pan assay interference compound) meaning that test results are not reliable. It also falls into a scientific black hole of natural products that are considered unlikely to provide a ‘cure all’, known as an IMP or ‘improbable metabolic panacea’.
A variety of technologies have been designed to resolve the problem of curcumin’s low bioavailability and absorption.These ‘bioavailability enhanced’ technologies include the mixture of agents including piperine (from pepper) and a range of drug delivery systems such as nanoparticles, liposomes, micelles or phospholipid complexes. These technologies have resulted in increases in the absorption of curcumin, but only limited increases in bioavailability.
PFE Turmeric Plus
PFE Turmeric Plus has one foot in modern science and the other in traditional herbal practice and understanding. We have included a ‘bioavailability enhanced’ technology in the form of Curcumin C3 Complex but have also included a pure herbal extract of the whole turmeric root. With all 235 compounds working together, Turmeric Plus delivers on bioavailability.
So how much turmeric do you need to take to get the desired effect on you body? A lot… and here are some options you can consider…
You can make your own turmeric paste at home using ingredients to improve the curcumin uptake such as coconut oil and black pepper. There are a variety of recipes online that can help you do this. However, you need to ensure that you are using fresh turmeric and making regular batches as the turmeric does start to break down after a few weeks. While the bioavailability is increased in a paste, you still need to ingest a substantial amount daily to maintain the benefits.
Ground turmeric powder is a food product and does not provide your body with enough active curcuminoids to provide a therapeutic dose unless you eat it every day over your entire lifetime.
- Taking turmeric capsules or powders that have been ‘bioavailability enhanced’. These do provide a higher level of benefits as they increase the bioavailability and the level of curcumin available. Be aware that other ingredients may have been added such as fillers, anti-caking agents, etc. so it is important to understand what implications these might have to your long-term health.
Capsules and tablets need to enter your digestive system before they can be absorbed into your body.
What is ‘Bioavailability Enhanced’ Curcumin?
We are told constantly that taking turmeric or curcumin supplements is useless unless the product has been ‘enhanced’ to make it ‘bioavailable’.However, a formulation of ‘bioavailable’, stable, and profitable curcumin continues to allude scientists the world over. In scientific lingo, it is known as a PAINS or a ‘pan assay interference compound’ meaning that test results are not reliable. It also falls into a scientific black hole of natural products that are considered unlikely to provide a ‘cure all’, known as an IMP or ‘improbable metabolic panacea’.
A variety of technologies have been designed to resolve the problem of curcumin’s low bioavailability and absorption. These ‘bioavailability enhanced’ technologies include the mixture of agents including piperine (from pepper) and a range of drug delivery systems such as nanoparticles, liposomes, micelles or phospholipid complexes. These technologies have resulted in increases in the absorption of curcumin, but only limited increases in bioavailability.
- Taking PFE Turmeric Plus. This is a turmeric liquid herbal extract which provides you with all the benefits of high levels of curcuminoids from a ‘bioavailably enhanced curcumin’ and an extract of the whole turmeric root. Herbal extracts are absorbed into the body more quickly than other options as they enter your bloodstream before they even get into the digestive system. Turmeric Plus bypasses the digestive system and enters the bloodstream immediately, starting with the sensitive membranes in your mouth.
Modern herbal medicine, along with traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, rely on the action of all a plant’s compounds working together.