We just can’t get enough curcumin. The studies are piling up attesting to the compound’s health-promoting powers, but helping our bodies actually absorb the stuff remains a challenge. Ohio State University scientists, however, have come up with a new delivery method they believe may change the game.
“There’s a reason why this compound has been used for hundreds of years in Eastern medicine,” Nicholas Young, a postdoctoral researcher in rheumatology and immunology at Ohio State and lead author of the study, said in a university release. “And this study suggests that we have identified a better and more effective way to deliver curcumin and know what diseases to use it for so that we can take advantage of its anti-inflammatory power.”
For their study, the scientists mixed curcumin powder with castor oil and polyethylene glycol in a process called nano-emulsion. The fluid that resulted teemed with teensy-tinsy fragments of curcumin, called microvesicles. In this form, the curcumin more easily dissolved and was absorbed by the guts of the mice studied to enter the bloodstream and tissue. The researchers found that the nano-emulsified curcumin was able to fight immune cells called microphages that cause inflammation. When they tried it in cells isolated from human blood samples, the nano-emulsified curcumin stopped the microphages in their tracks.
“We envision that this nutraceutical could be used one day both as a daily supplement to help prevent certain diseases and as a therapeutic drug to help combat the bad inflammation observed in many diseases,” Young said. “The distinction will then be in the amount given – perhaps a low dose for daily prevention and higher doses for disease suppression.”
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE and noted on sciencedaily.com.