A pilot study conducted by Sharma et al. on patients with colorectal cancer. The patients were given Curcuma extract which contained 36–180 mg curcumin in proprietary capsule for 4 months. After 29 days of oral curcumin: Neither curcumin nor its metabolites were detected in the plasma, blood and urine. Although traces of curcumin and curcumin sulfate were found in feces.
In another study: Absorption and tissue distribution of curcumin in rats. Ravindranath et al found after orally administering 400 mg of curcumin to rats: “only traces of the unchanged molecule were found in the liver and kidney. At 30 min, 90% of the curcumin was found in the stomach and small intestine, but only 1% was present at 24 h. [hours].”
NOTE: Very few studies have been done on Curcumin and tissue distribution.
Metabolites are the intermediate and final products of the process known as metabolism, which is from the Greek word for “change.” Metabolism is a step-wise series of life-sustaining chemical transformations within the cells of living organisms. The term metabolites commonly refer to small molecules.
Primary metabolites are necessary for the normal growth and maintenance of life. Secondary metabolites support primary metabolite activity indirectly and serve other important ecological functions. Metabolites are a natural occurrence formed when as part of an inherent biological process that breaks down and eliminates various compounds.
Research indicates that metabolites of curcumin, instead of curcumin itself, are detected in plasma or serum following oral consumption.
The majority of studies have shown that these metabolites are actually less active or potent compared to curcumin itself.
Bottom Line: when curcumin is metabolized the potency of its metabolites are less potent than curcumin.
The intestine and liver, is where oral curcumin is conjugated (the formation of a water-soluble derivative of a chemical by its combination with another compound, such as glutathione, glucuronate, or sulfate.) into metabolites.
Based on various studies the metabolites produced are: curcumin glucuronides and curcumin sulfates or, alternately, reduced to hexahydrocurcumin(HHC) and Tetrahydrocurcumin (THC). Again most studies have shown that these metabolites are less biologically active compared to the parent compound curcumin.
Half-life is the time it takes for a drug or other ingested substance to lose half its strength. Medications with a short half-life must be taken several times a day, to maintain therapeutically effective concentrations of blood serum levels.
In contrast, medications with longer half lives maintain effective blood serum levels for much longer periods of time and can be taken less frequently.
The studies by Whalstrom and Blennow demonstrated curcumin’s rapid systemic excretion from the body or short half-life. As mentioned when 1g/kg curcumin was given orally to rats around 75% of the curcumin was excreted via the feces with only trace amounts found in the urine. A short half -life decreases Turmeric’s therapeutic effect in the body. More studies are needed in order to draw definitive conclusions about Turmeric’s half-life.
Three Easy Kitchen Table Strategies that can Skyrocket Turmeric’s Bioavailability
NOTE: Always use fresh organic, non-irradiated Turmeric powder or whole, organic turmeric root.
1) Add BLACK PEPPER to Your Turmeric
Black Pepper is a powerful medicine in its own right and a Potent Turmeric Adjuvant.
How does Black Pepper Enhance the Bioavailability of Turmeric?
“Piperine is a potent inhibitor of drug metabolism. One of the ways our liver gets rid of foreign substances is making them water soluble so they can be more easily excreted. But this black pepper molecule inhibits that process.” –Michael Greger, M.D. (Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues.)