Choosing The Right Curcumin Supplement...
Most people know curcumin as the compound that gives turmeric its characteristic bright yellow colour. Turmeric has a long history of use in India both as a culinary spice and for its health promoting properties too. Yet it is only fairly recently that the Western world has started to take notice of these potential health benefits. A large number of studies now demonstrate curcumin’s benefits for body, brain, and joint health in particular. However, curcumin is well known to be poorly absorbed, so most of these studies involve very high doses, which is highly impractical for everyday life.
Most curcumin supplements are poorly absorbed and ineffective
Supplementation is an incredibly useful way to experience the benefits of curcumin without adding heaps of turmeric to everything that you eat and drink. However, since curcumin is known to be poorly absorbed, the major challenge for supplement manufacturers has been to produce a form that is well absorbed, yet without needing to take huge doses. Many products boast high levels of ‘active’ ingredients in a bid to persuade you that this will deliver maximum health benefits. Yet the true measure of how effective a curcumin supplement is, actually has very little to do with the amount of active ingredients it contains, because if these cannot be absorbed they will have virtually no effect anyway.
So what should I be looking for, if it’s not just high levels of active ingredients?
The most important measure of a curcumin supplement’s effectiveness is how well it is absorbed, and it must be able to demonstrate this, backed by clinical research. Better absorption = higher bioavailability and this means that a large amount of active ingredient reaches the desired site of action. This is absolutely key for a product to be effective. A curcumin supplement that can demonstrate high absorption is the true barometer of its effectiveness. If you combine high absorption with optimal levels of active ingredients then you have a winning formula.
Why is curcumin absorption so difficult?
Supplements are taken orally and pass directly into the acidic environment in the stomach. From here they are broken down, absorbed through the gut wall and distributed to the areas where they can exert their beneficial effects. For many nutrient and herbal ingredients, this process works pretty seamlessly, yet not for curcumin. Once ingested, fat-soluble curcumin becomes unstable in the acidic aqueous environment of the stomach and this makes it difficult for curcumin to be absorbed.
So what's the answer
'Choose a curcumin supplement with a considered, innovative delivery method?'
When you are choosing a curcumin supplement, look for one where these absorption challenges have clearly been considered and addressed. This means finding a supplement which can demonstrate innovation in delivery methods. One innovative way to improve the absorption of curcumin is to embed it within natural substances called fenugreek galactomannans. Fenugreek galactomannans have ‘muco-adhesive’ properties which means they stick to the gut wall, travel more slowly through the GI tract and gradually release curcumin over time, allowing more to be absorbed and thus improving bioavailability.
Combine Curcumin & Boswellia for additional joint health benefits
If you’re looking to curcumin to support healthy joints, boswellia may be a useful companion to consider too. It combines well with curcumin and may provide additional benefits when delivered in this innovative way. With both boswellia and curcumin, it is important to choose a product where these herbal extracts are provided as ‘standardised’. In addition to innovative delivery methods, choosing standardised herbal extracts means you know you’re getting a sufficient amount of the beneficial compound as determined by scientific evidence.
Curcumin supplementation simplified
Choosing the right supplement can feel like a minefield sometimes. Hopefully we’ve made it a little easier for you to choose the right curcumin supplement so you can experience the benefits you deserve.
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