Countless studies have demonstrated the medicinal benefits of this amazing herb which you can view here. Once you see the irrefutable proof that turmeric has a plethora of important health benefits you will be eager to work it into your everyday diet. However, before you begin consuming this potent food medicine, you need to understand how to fully unlock its powerful healing potential.
Turmeric, is a rhizome (A type of horizontal, usually underground stem that sends out roots and shoots from its nodes; AKA as a rootstock.) It’s related to ginger root (also a rhizome) both are classified as members of the Zingiberacaea family; it has been a stellar staple in the pharmacopeia of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic medicine for eons; It’s been in continuous use for thousands of years as a medicine, spice (curry) and yellow dye.
Curcumin (diferuloylmethane) is the yellow pigment found in the spice turmeric (Curcuma longa). Curcumin is one of three known curcuminoids present in turmeric, the other two being desmethoxycurcumin and bis-desmethoxycurcumin.
Scientists have still not identified all the constituents in turmeric. Researchers continue to discover new curcuminoids. Current estimations are that turmeric contains well over a hundred chemical compounds which are primarily located in the essential oil of this complex medicinal spice.
A major problem with Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is curcumin’s (CUR) low bioavailability. Curcumin is the key active constituent of Turmeric. A preponderance of animal and clinical studies reveal that the concentrations of CUR in blood plasma, urine, and peripheral tissues, if detectable at all, are extremely low regardless of dosage size.
What is Bioavailability?
According to the Merck manual, “Bioavailability refers to the extent to and rate at which the active moiety (drug or metabolite) enters systemic circulation, thereby accessing the site of action.”
Essentially, bioavailability is about how much of an ingested substance is actually absorbed by our bodies. It follows that substances with poor bioavailability will not be effective for healing purposes.
Research Confirms Turmeric’s Low Bioavailability
Numerous curcumin studies confirm that very low blood serum levels are reached when curcumin is orally administered. The majority of orally ingested curcumin gets metabolized before it reaches the bloodstream. Increasing the dose does not result in greater absorption.
The route of administration and method of preparation are major factors affecting the bioavailability or serum levels of turmeric.
Turmeric’s bioavailabity can be enhanced with the addition of specific Adjuvants.
Low Serum Concentratiions
A study on the fate of curcumin in the rat (1978) by Whalstrom and Blennow showed oral curcumin was poorly absorbed in the gut. When 1g/kg of curcumin was orally administered to the rats only a negligible amount of curcumin was found in their blood plasma. About 75% of it was excreted via the feces.
A study in 1980 by Ravindranath et al found when rats were orally administered 400 mg of curcumin, no trace of curcumin was found in the heart blood while only a small trace was found in the portal blood within 15 min to 24 hours of administration.
Another recent study by Yang et al found that when 10 mg/kg of curcumin was orally administered only 0.36 µg/ml of curcumin was found in the blood serum.