Curcumin Corner: The Big Issue with Curcumin's Absorption

By Kendra Muur


Happy Wednesday everyone! Here we are again in our Curcumin Corner with this month’s topic discussing the importance of bioavailability and what that means for our dear phytonutrient curcumin. First of all, let’s unpack what bioavailable means. Bioavailability describes how well a substance can enter into the body’s circulatory system, i.e. how well it’s absorbed by the blood to have a biological, functional effect. This is important in the phytonutrient world to understand not only the benefits of certain phytonutrients but more significantly how to optimize these benefits so that they are actually taking effect throughout the body. 

So, what does bioavailability have to do with curcumin? Well, by nature curcumin has very low bioavailability—less than 1% of it actually gets absorbed into the blood. In the past two Curcumin Corner blogs, we talked about how curcumin can alleviate pain specifically in our joints and pelvic region by actively suppressing NF-kB, the most prominent proinflammatory signaling pathway.

Taken orally, most curcumin is unable to enter the bloodstream and “travel” outside of the gut, which makes the above-mentioned regions unreachable by curcumin. This means that biologically effective curcumin must either be intravenous (IV) or produced in a way that allows curcumin to be bioavailable as a supplement, which has posed a challenge for many nutraceuticals. Here’s a paper reviewing several curcumin supplements and their bioavailability. While the curcumin products in this article products are “highly bioavailable,” most still do not provide enough bioavailability to make a biological difference to your body outside of your gut.   

That said, the benefit felt by these curcumin products is largely due to reduced gut inflammation, which is very significant given the size of the gut lining.

Our pre-clinical trial on urine samples has shown CurcElite to be about 30-times more bioavailable than the next best curcumin product.  We hope to have results from a blood plasma study comparing the leading brands of curcumin with Curcelite by next month. 

Click here to take advantage of our CurcElite sale going on now.

Here is additional information you can check out this past podcast with Dr. Martin Katz and Dr. John Gildea discussing the relationship and differences between bioavailability and functionality of a supplement. You can also learn the story of how David Roberts and Mara Labs originally became interested in curcumin in this blog post.

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