Curcumin is the natural ingredient for providing distinctive color and also a flavor profile, having potential health benefits 1. The ingestion of curcumin is adequate due to its broader aspects of biological activities such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antidiabetic, antitumor, and anticancer activities. Curcumin has shown efficacy in treating various diseases due to its availability at a lower cost, possesses a good safety profile, and lacks side effects when consumed. Hence, its potential benefits have evolved in its use in commercial food and non-food products involving energy drinks, supplements, ointments, soaps, and cosmetics 2.
The pure form of curcumin is the orange-yellow in color crystalline material available in a powder form. In fact, it is a chemically labile and hydrophobic substance having low water solubility, poor chemical stability and low bioavailability. Curcumin is more prone to chemical degradation during storage, specifically when exposed to light, high temperatures and alkaline conditions 3. Under acidic conditions, curcumin shows stability to chemical degradation but has low water solubility while promoting crystallization and sedimentation in aqueous delivery systems 4. Hence, it is essential for developing practical approaches to mitigate the issues of these obstacles so that successful incorporation of curcumin is done into pharmaceuticals, supplements, and functional food products.
The most effective methods of protecting curcumin against any chemical degradation is done by increasing its water dispersibility and also by improving its bioavailability for using modern encapsulation technologies 5. These technologies help incorporate curcumin into edible nanoparticles or microparticles, which can be introduced eventually into food and supplement products. These colloidal particles are assembled from food-grade ingredients involving surfactants, phospholipids, lipids, proteins, polysaccharides, and minerals while using spontaneous or directed processes.
Hence, to increase the bioavailability of curcumin, more extended circulation, better permeability, and resistance to metabolic processes of curcumin, several formulations have been prepared, including nanoparticles, liposomes, micelles, and phospholipid complexes.
Efficacy of curcumin formulation with Bioperine
Experts have used several natural compounds for increasing the bioavailability of curcumin. One such natural compound is Piperine, which in other words is an essential component of black pepper, known as a hepatic and intestinal glucuronidation inhibitor, which tends to increase curcumin’s bioavailability. The efficacy of Piperine regarding the pharmacokinetics of curcumin is much more significant in humans. Not only is piperine is effective in cancer treatment, it also helps in reducing appetite for promoting weight loss. When used with curcumin, Piperine helps enhance the absorption of curcumin.
The bioavailability increases by 2,000% at 45 minutes after co-administering curcumin orally with Piperine. In fact, the study has depicted that Piperine enhances the serum concentration, extent of absorption and bioavailability of curcumin with no adverse effects in humans 6.
Another study has revealed that administration of Piperine with curcumin has tended to increase the bioavailability of the latter up to 20-fold. Another researcher also evidenced this high curcumin’s bioavailability when curcumin was administered orally concomitant with Piperine. Administration of curcumin with Piperine resulted in high intestinal absorption and as a result, lasted longer in the body tissues. These effective results have led to the development of curcumin-piperine (Cu-Pi) nanoparticles using various other methods.
Piperine can bind with several sites on the enzymes that increase the solubility of curcumin. In fact, it correlates with curcumin to form a hydrogen-bonded complex. Also, it has effectively stimulated gut amino acid transporters and shows inhibition to drug metabolism that delays its elimination from the cells. Hence, these mechanisms facilitate metabolic transport that eventually increases absorption and permeability, increasing curcumin absorption within the body 7.
Piperine is effective in increasing the absorption of several nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. BioPerine can increase the absorption of several beneficial plant compounds, including curcumin, beta carotene, and selenium. The trademarked version of Piperine listed on the best turmeric supplement fact panels is called BioPerine. It effectively increases curcumin’s absorption by 20 times using a 2,000 mg dose of curcumin with only 20 mg of BioPerine.
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- 4.Kharat M, Du Z, Zhang G, McClements DJ. Physical and Chemical Stability of Curcumin in Aqueous Solutions and Emulsions: Impact of pH, Temperature, and Molecular Environment. J Agric Food Chem. Published online February 16, 2017:1525-1532. doi:10.1021/acs.jafc.6b04815
- 5.McClements DJ, Decker EA, Park Y, Weiss J. Structural Design Principles for Delivery of Bioactive Components in Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. Published online June 16, 2009:577-606. doi:10.1080/10408390902841529
- 6.Shoba G, Joy D, Joseph T, Majeed M, Rajendran R, Srinivas P. Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human Volunteers. Planta Med. Published online May 1998:353-356. doi:10.1055/s-2006-957450
- 7.Han HK. The effects of black pepper on the intestinal absorption and hepatic metabolism of drugs. Expert Opinion on Drug Metabolism & Toxicology. Published online March 24, 2011:721-729. doi:10.1517/17425255.2011.570332