DOI: 10.3390/antiox13030331 ISSN: 2076-3921

Enhancing the Bioavailability and Bioactivity of Curcumin for Disease Prevention and Treatment

Caroline Bertoncini-Silva, Adelina Vlad, Roberta Ricciarelli, Priscila Giacomo Fassini, Vivian Marques Miguel Suen, Jean-Marc Zingg
  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology

Curcumin, a natural polyphenolic component from Curcuma longa roots, is the main bioactive component of turmeric spice and has gained increasing interest due to its proposed anti-cancer, anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and lipid-lowering effects, in addition to its thermogenic capacity. While intake from dietary sources such as curry may be sufficient to affect the intestinal microbiome and thus may act indirectly, intact curcumin in the body may be too low (<1 microM) and not sufficient to affect signaling and gene expression, as observed in vitro with cultured cells (10–20 microM). Several strategies can be envisioned to increase curcumin levels in the body, such as decreasing its metabolism or increasing absorption through the formation of nanoparticles. However, since high curcumin levels could also lead to undesired regulatory effects on cellular signaling and gene expression, such studies may need to be carefully monitored. Here, we review the bioavailability of curcumin and to what extent increasing curcumin levels using nanoformulations may increase the bioavailability and bioactivity of curcumin and its metabolites. This enhancement could potentially amplify the disease-preventing effects of curcumin, often by leveraging its robust antioxidant properties.

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