Curcumin is derived from the plant source Curcuma longa, which 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 (Lestari & Indrayanto, 2014; Vera‐Ramirez et al., 2013). It is a polyphenol tending to target multiple signalling 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 (Gupta et al., 2013). It has also shown beneficial effects on kidney-related issues (Trujillo et al., 2013). Hence, curcumin has demonstrated numerous therapeutic benefits as its supplementation in treating several diseases. The essential usefulness of curcumin involves its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. More advantages of curcumin have been observed 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. 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 nutraceutical has increased in recent years. Different numbers of curcumin formulations are present to date. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has approved the acceptable daily intake (ADI) of curcumin as 3 mg/kg body weight (BW) and day. 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 (Zheng et al., 2018). CurcuWin® (OmniActive), LongVida® (Ingennus), NovaSol® (CleanFoods), and Theracurmin® (Natural Factors) are other commercial products available in the market with improved bioaccessibility (Jamwal, 2018). 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 (Adegoke et al., 2017; Al-Obaidi, 2019; de Carvalho et al., 2020). 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 colour and sensory properties.
Figure: Curcumin-based food supplements
Curcumin-based food supplements in cancer
Curcumin has demonstrated several mechanisms against different cancer types as per the clinical trials conducted for analysing its efficacy. The anticancer activities of curcumin have been determined to show symptomatic relief as evidenced by reductions in smell, itching, lesion size, and 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 tract (Sharma et al., 2004). Curcumin capsules have been recommended for malignant colorectal cancer showing efficacy in pharmacological aspects (Garcea et al., 2005). The intake of oral curcumin is well-tolerated and, despite limited absorption, has biological activity in some patients with pancreatic cancer (Dhillon et al., 2008). 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 (Bayet-Robert et al., 2010). In combination with Bioperine, Curcumin shows efficacy against multiple myeloma (Vadhan-Raj et al., 2007). The consumption of dietary turmeric shows efficacy as an anti-mutagen among smokers while reducing the risk of lung cancer (Polasa et al., 1992).
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