Curcumin is derived from the plant source Curcuma longa, which, in fact, is traditionally used in Asian countries in the form of a medicinal herb as it consists of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties 1. It is a polyphenol tending to target multiple signaling molecules while demonstrating cellular activity which has helped to support its numerous health benefits. Curcumin has shown effectiveness during inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, pain, and support in managing inflammatory and degenerative eye conditions 2. It has also shown beneficial effects on kidney-related issues 3.
Hence, curcumin has demonstrated numerous therapeutic benefits as its supplementation in treating several diseases. The essential usefulness of curcumin involves its antioxidant and also its anti-inflammatory effects. Experts have observed more advantages of curcumin when combined with other compounds such as piperine, which shows efficacy in increasing its bioavailability. Curcumin intake as a supplement has shown beneficial effects in managing exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, thus enhancing recovery and subsequent performance of inactive people. In fact, even its low dose consumption has provided positive health benefits for individuals who do not have diagnosed health conditions.
Curcumin effects as food supplements in the diet
The use of curcumin as a potential therapeutic agent and also as a nutraceutical has increased in recent years. In fact, different numbers of curcumin formulations are present to date. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has explicitly approved the acceptable daily intake (ADI) of curcumin as 3 mg/kg body weight (BW) and day. However, the production of functional foods in the form of curcuminoids has faced challenges that need to be mitigated for providing adequate curcumin products to consumers. Bioaccessibility and processing conditions are essential factors for using curcumin-based food products in the diet.
CurcuWin® is the commercial curcumin production with bioaccessibility of three emulsification methods: commercial turmeric extracts 4. For example, CurcuWin® (OmniActive), LongVida® (Ingennus), NovaSol® (CleanFoods), and Theracurmin® (Natural Factors) are other commercial products available in the market with improved bioaccessibility 5. This improved product shows better solubility of curcuminoids in water absorbed in the intestinal tract, eventually showing beneficial health effects. Hence, the production of emulsified systems enables the dispersion of curcuminoids in an aqueous medium, bringing essential benefits to exploring the biological activity of curcuminoids.
Another efficacy of curcumin is depicted when combined with phytosterols in bread in the plasma lipid profile and subjected to examine the clinical effectiveness for hypercholesterolemia. Also, the other curcumin-based food supplements incorporate turmeric extract in beverages, bread, biscuits, snacks, pasta, milk, cheese, fresh sausage, and patties 6,7 . Hence, it is revealed that the natural and functional ingredients can balance the physic-chemical properties of the compositions and further improve the antioxidant capacity, delaying microbial growth that in turn influences the color and sensory properties.
Curcumin-based food supplements in cancer
Curcumin has explicitly demonstrated several mechanisms against different cancer types as per the clinical trials conducted for analyzing its efficacy. Experts have determined the anticancer activities of curcumin have to show symptomatic relief as evidenced by reductions in smell, itching, lesion size, and also in pain. Either alone or combined with other agencies, curcumin has demonstrated effective results against colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, multiple myeloma, lung cancer, oral cancer, and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
A clinical trial with a recommended dose of 3.6 g of curcumin has been suggested for phase II evaluation in preventing or treating cancers outside the gastrointestinal tract8. In fact, curcumin capsules have been recommended for malignant colorectal cancer showing efficacy in pharmacological aspects. The intake of oral curcumin is well-tolerated and, despite limited absorption, has biological activity in some patients with pancreatic cancer 9. However, the maximal tolerable dose of the combination of dose-escalating curcumin and the standard amount of docetaxel chemotherapy is considered effective in advanced and metastatic breast cancer 10. Additionally, in combination with Bioperine, Curcumin shows efficacy against multiple myeloma. The consumption of dietary turmeric shows efficacy as an anti-mutagen among smokers while reducing the risk of lung cancer 11.
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- 2.Gupta SC, Patchva S, Aggarwal BB. Therapeutic Roles of Curcumin: Lessons Learned from Clinical Trials. AAPS J. Published online November 10, 2012:195-218. doi:10.1208/s12248-012-9432-8
- 3.Trujillo J, Chirino YI, Molina-Jijón E, Andérica-Romero AC, Tapia E, Pedraza-Chaverrí J. Renoprotective effect of the antioxidant curcumin: Recent findings. Redox Biology. Published online 2013:448-456. doi:10.1016/j.redox.2013.09.003
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- 7.de Carvalho FAL, Munekata PES, Lopes de Oliveira A, et al. Turmeric (Curcuma longa L.) extract on oxidative stability, physicochemical and sensory properties of fresh lamb sausage with fat replacement by tiger nut (Cyperus esculentus L.) oil. Food Research International. Published online October 2020:109487. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2020.109487
- 8.Sharma RA, Euden SA, Platton SL, et al. Phase I Clinical Trial of Oral Curcumin. Clin Cancer Res. Published online October 15, 2004:6847-6854. doi:10.1158/1078-0432.ccr-04-0744
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