Thursday, June 02, 2016

Curcumin; Bioavailability, Absorption and Efficacy - Full Article

Curcumin is one of the most heavily researched herbs due to its potential to impact the inflammatory process in several models. One key concern, in some studies, is bioavailability or absorption, which has likewise raised concerns as to its true efficacy in regards to health conditions. Are these concerns truly founded or is it all hype? Experience tells us that it is a little of both.

This bright orange, very expensive herb in pure form is something that I personally work with daily. It is used not only in clinical research, but also a staple in the middle Eastern diet, most often in the form of Turmeric. Curcumin is also used in the dye and cosmetic industry, taking advantage of its bright orange color and staining ability. It's power is strong, both medicinally and in its staining me on this. I have come to know curcumin on a personal and intimate level.

Curcumin is one of the most heavily researched herbs, impacting the inflammatory process on a more complete level compared to any medication on the open market. The mode of action is through inhibition or actually a downregulation of a transcription factor called NF-kB, which when stimulated or turned on, is responsible for the production of numerous pro-inflammatory proteins which impact pain, swelling, circulation, cell turnover, altered cellular function and cellular death or degeneration.

In 2005, I began my investigations with curcumin, being intrigued by research and seeing potential as a therapy option in my equine patients afflicted with joint disease, who were dependent on medications and injections to get them through the month. Looking over past human data, curcumin was noted to impact the inflammatory process on a much higher level than traditional medications, providing potentially higher benefits to the patient, not only in reduction of pain but also improving cellular function. This last benefit is huge, as dysfunction at a cellular level is tied in with most health conditions, pain is often just a byproduct and a symptom. The concern, as noted in human studies was that serum levels of curcumin were low, thus raising the question of bioavailability. In-vitro testing on cells proved encouraging, but this is different than using it in a real, living, breathing body. Would it work?...

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