What’s the Best Curcumin for Maximum Absorption?
WHAT IS CURCUMIN?
Curcumin is the primary active compound in turmeric, which you might recognize if you like to eat yellow curry since turmeric gives it the signature mustard color! It’s been used for thousands of years to ease joint inflammation and boost overall health and wellness. Now, modern science has recognized curcumin’s ability to treat numerous conditions and improve immunity. For these reasons, it has become one of the most popular supplements on the market today.
Turmeric also contains two other active compounds: demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Both are structurally similar to curcumin but are found at much lower levels.1 Although turmeric curcumin supplements have been used for many years, it is sometimes hard to tell how well they work because of their low bioavailability and how badly they are absorbed in our gut.2 Bioavailability, or how well a supplement can enter our blood, is important since it helps us understand the amount of curcumin we have available. More generally, if curcumin has a low bioavailability, that would mean that after eating a lot of yellow curry, you wouldn’t be able to find any curcumin in your blood! How does this make sense?
DIFFERENT FORMS OF CURCUMIN AND HOW THEY IMPACT ABSORPTION
Well, curcumin supplements come in many different forms, each of which has a unique impact on how the body absorbs it. The traditional form of curcumin is raw turmeric powder, which contains less than 4% of the active compound.4 On the other hand, some are covered in phospholipids, or fats, which help absorb 12.7X more curcumin than standard curcumin powder.1 Curcumin and turmeric oil have also been used, but this only increases absorption by 2.6X so curcuminoid phospholipid complexes work better.1 The seemingly most effective form is called hydrophilic carrier dispersed curcuminoids, or HCDC, which has antioxidants and is water-soluble. This form of curcumin might absorb 136.3X better than the standard in our bodies since we are actually 60% water!1,3 Additionally, most supplement manufacturers use black pepper extract to increase absorption by as much as 2000%. Depending on what your goal is with curcumin supplements, you may need to consider different forms when choosing one. In general, curcumin absorption can be increased and improved by pairing the compound with antioxidants, hydrophilic carriers, or anything else that can help it travel through our digestive system and be absorbed.
BENEFITS OF CURCUMIN
When taken correctly and with the right ingredients, curcumin supplements have many benefits. In one study, curcumin supplements were shown to increase blood vessel diameter (a process called vasodilation) and increase training effectiveness than exercise alone.2 In another study on twelve healthy individuals, curcumin taken in a water-soluble carrier was 45.9X better at absorbing than standard curcumin, which meant that it was more available to provide antioxidants and reduce inflammation.2 This supplement also helps stimulate the immune system and protect the neurons in our brain, which are two reasons why curcumin supplements can even be taken if you’re healthy!2 In fact, traditional Indian and Chinese medicines and diets have used it to help people of all ages with cardiovascular health, brain health, and joint pain.
So, if you are looking for a supplement that helps keep you healthy or protects you from a wide variety of health issues, try taking a turmeric curcumin supplement today! For best results, we recommend taking one that is in a hydrophilic carrier, like Superfood Science’s Vitality Rescue. What’s great about this supplement is that it also includes omega-3 tuna fish oil and black pepper extract to further increase the bioavailability of curcumin.
- Brad J. Douglass & Dallas L. Clouatre (2015): Beyond Yellow Curry: Assessing Commercial Curcumin Absorption Technologies, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2014.950392
- Jäger et al.: Comparative absorption of curcumin formulations. Nutrition Journal 2014 13:11
- Tayyem, Reema F et al. “Curcumin content of turmeric and curry powders.” Nutrition and cancer vol. 55,2 (2006): 126-31. doi:10.1207/s15327914nc5502_2