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If I decide to take curcumin in capsule form, should I choose pure curcumin or a formulation?
There are many formulations on the market. If you decide to take curcumin for a disease peripheral to the brain such as arthritis, any formulation may suffice. (However, curcumin is not easily absorbed by the body. Raw curcumin would result in a very small amount of curcumin available to the body).* There are two essential criteria to consider, first, is there evidence that the formulation will lead to adequate curcumin levels in the target tissue?, and second is the formulation manufactured by a company with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). (A third would be that the product can be readily absorbed into the blood stream and allowed to pass through the blood-brain barrier of the brain).*
Since curcumin is a metal chelator it can chelate toxic metals like lead in the ground. Sometimes it is difficult to determine if the manufacturer is a GMP company, because your are purchasing the product from the distributor, not the manufacturer. Several manufacturers claim superior absorption, but it is important to view the data used to make these conclusions. Typically these data show detection of increased glucuronidated (tagged for removal by the kidneys are limited penetration to the brain) but do not assess untagged curcumin, which is permeable to the brain. In other words, data demonstrating superior absorption as measured by liver-tagged curcumin poorly predicts levels achieved in the brain.
In contrast, untagged or free curcumin readily penetrates the brain and free curcumin levels in the blood correlate positively with levels in the brain in animal studies. Dr. Frautschy received a National Institute of Health drug development grant U01AG028583, to develop a formulation of curcumin that can be taken orally and penetrate the brain.
This led to development of a solid lipid particle formulation of curcumin patented by UC Regents and Veteran's Affairs and licensed to Verdure Sciences as Longvida.
Each capsule is 500 mg (125 mg of curcumin). Verdure Sciences is certified for Good Manufacturing Practice, ensuring the absence of toxic metals and using organically grown turmeric. DiSilvestro et.al., at Ohio State University found that the Longvida curcumin formulation reduced plasma levels of beta-amyloid as well as cholesterol and markers of inflammation in plasma of 40-60 year old subjects.
* Notes added for clarification.
When noted above that a 500 mg capsule has 125 mg of curcumin, it should be noted that that amount is more often referred to as "curcuminoid" that has three elements. The most common, some 78 percent, is curcumin. The remaining 12 percent is plant substance.
So what is the other 375 mg in the capsule? Curcumin by itself would not be absorbed by the body.
CLICK HERE for Curcumin products from our partner. ProHealth only uses Longvida from Verdure Sciences.
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