Curcumin Curcumin Curcumin!

My MMA list friend left for Sorrento this morning. From there, she will visit Naples, the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. She will be back in Florence on Tuesday. She planned this short trip, I think, in order to leave Stefano and yours truly alone for the long weekend. Very thoughtful of her! We don’t have anything romantic planned YET, but we will definitely do SOMETHING! After all, it is not too hard to be romantic in Tuscany…!

Back to my post title. I finally had the time to read, carefully, the comments on my October 28th post. WOW! Thank you, everyone. The comments were so out of the ordinary that I decided to write an entire post about them. Proceeding in order, more or less:

Eileen. Interesting abstract on the transfollicular delivery system, thank you. Well, well. Food for thought. Yes, the problem is how to avoid looking like a circus clown. Some time ago, I tried dabbing curcumin on my rosacea, which made me look as though someone had thrown bright orange paint in my face (the Sabinsa curcumin has an orange hue). This effect lasted for a few days, no matter how much I scrubbed my face. So I gave up on that plan, even though my rosacea did improve somewhat.

A perhaps (perhaps not!) related matter is that I have noticed that my tongue turns bright orange after I drink my curcumin powder mixture. I feel certain that my tongue delivers at least some curcumin to my malignant cells (even if that is not the case, I will continue to believe it until someone tells me otherwise). Not that I am an expert of Ayurveda or Chinese traditional medicine, but I do know that the tongue is very important and, after all, many conventional and alternative remedies have to be dissolved on or under the tongue. Ok, that’s beyond the point, here.

JHope’s comment: I have no idea! Anyone else?

Snezhi’s suggestion that we could make our own nasal sprays is also very interesting. I confess I do not have the know-how, but I would have no problem spraying curcumin up my nose, and I say this seriously, even though it might sound facetious. And hey, how about the nose hair follicles (see Eileen’s comment)? There you go, more food for thought…

Don: thirty-four GRAMS of curcumin??? At times I have gone up to almost 10 grams. Never beyond that. I cannot imagine taking more than 12, which is the most that, as far as I know, has been tested in Phase I clinical trials on healthy subjects. Perhaps there is more recent info on that, though. One word of caution: we do not know the long-term effects of such high doses (as the lab rats in Eileen’s household are taking). If I were on such a high dose, I would have all sorts of tests run every couple of months, perhaps even once a month, if possible. Speaking of taking massive amounts of curcumin, please read Wally’s brilliant comment carefully. If we can manage to make curcumin more bioavailable, we don’t have to take huge doses. Makes a lot of sense to me.

The matter of doses brings me to my friend Ana’s comment. She has just begun taking curcumin (e vai!!! :-) ), and has decided to take it in one large dose instead of two or three. Well, until quite recently, that’s precisely how I took it, whether it was powder mixed with a fat or curcumin with bioperine capsules. My counts remained stable and even decreased. So I say, whatever works for you, your markers and your daily routine…go for it!

Speaking of Ana, she and I have already discussed the idea of offering ourselves as lab rats to a doctor here in Tuscany who is doing a lot of research on curcumin, which he is using (successfully) with his prostate cancer patients. I haven’t talked about it here because I don’t know if it’s even feasible. But it’s well worth a try, perhaps two. I am going to get in touch with this doctor soon, perhaps even this weekend, to ask if he has access to a laboratory, and, if so, if he would be willing to set up a tiny trial testing Ana and me as well as our willing husbands (two healthy subjects). I may be able to get another Florentine friend with MGUS involved, too. I can provide the necessary curcumin powder or capsules, since I have plenty of both. My idea is that we could ingest different amounts of curcumin in different ways and at different times of the day, and then have our blood tested, obviously at different intervals etc. I will also approach my haematologist in Florence about this. Fingers crossed.

Wally is so right: we need this data. Soon. Now.

15 thoughts on “Curcumin Curcumin Curcumin!

  1. Wally McGahan

    I think you are onto something with the idea that your tongue may be absorbing curcumin directly into the blood stream. However, I would suggest that the sublingual route be considered instead. Anyone with a heart problem is familiar with the little nitroglycerin pills that are popped under the tongue at the first sign of heart pain. They dissolve under the tongue next to the veins close to the surface and the nitro goes directly into the blood steam for very quick response to dilate the arteries and stop the pain by getting more blood to the heart.

    Reply
  2. Dora

    Hi Margaret, I wonder if you could possibly ask any of your UK bloggers about the availability of ‘super’ or ‘bio’ curcumin in this country. I take Natures Best curcumin and have tried searching for something that maybe more ‘bio-available’ – but my UK web searches have failed to find anything.
    Thanks, Dora

    Reply
  3. Wally McGahan

    Sorry, I hit the wrong button and sent the above comment before finishing it. So I am starting over again:
    I think you are onto something with the idea that your tongue may be absorbing curcumin directly into the blood stream. However, I would suggest that the sublingual route be considered instead. Anyone with a heart problem is familiar with the little nitroglycerin pills that are popped under the tongue at the first sign of heart pain. They dissolve under the tongue next to the veins close to the surface and the nitro goes directly into the blood steam for very quick response to dilate the arteries and stop the pain by getting more blood to the heart.
    So how about making your own sublingual curcumin delivery tablet by dissolving the curcumin in melted chocolate (preferably one that melts around 95 degr F so it will melt slowly) and just hold that chocumin tablet there and let the curcumin go directly into the blood stream, bypassing the stomach and the damage done to curcumin there thru sulfation and glucorinidation, and also bypassing the first pass metabolism thru the liver after absorption into the hepatic portal vein.
    The saliva environment should be conducive to allowing the already chocolate dissolved curcumin molecules to stay in molecular form because the pH of the saliva is about 7.4 for the normal healthy person. In that slightly alkaline environment curcumin should stay dissolved.
    Unsweetened chocolate should be used because it is very bad for the teeth to have something sweet in the mouth all the time–tooth decay.
    Maybe chocolate isn’t the best fat to use. Some experiments need to be performed to see what type of melt- in-the-mouth fat will hold the most curcumin before becoming saturated, so that the maximum rate of delivery of curcumin to the serum can be reached by having the maximum curcumin concentration in the chocolate.
    Only part of the curcumin will be absorbed into the vein under the tongue, but the rest of it will remain in the chocolate and go on through the stomach, hopefully, and into the small intestine to be there absorbed into the lymphatic system, as I described in the reply to your last post.
    Whether this sublingual delivery system will really work as we need it to will depend on getting many things right. A remaining impediment will still be our lack of specific data on what is going on in the body using this delivery method. Your idea to offer yourself and others up as “lab rats”, i.e. test subjects for your local doctor to use for collecting the kind of data we need is a WONDERFUL idea and I hope you can bring it off. Data on the actual in vivo result of any of the delivery schemes we have heard about and used is critically important, and I want to comment further on that issue in my following next reply.

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  4. Snezhi

    Hi Margaret,

    First, about the spray. Please, be very careful, I do not want anyone suffocating with curcumin! I mentioned that because I am looking for a way to deliver curcumin directly to the lungs because my grandfather has lung cancer.

    My expereinces with curcumin/turmeric are the following: my grandfather had a horrible cough before he went to the hospital. None of the doctors treated the cough in any way. He took plain turmeric (not curcumin because it is not commercially available in Bulgaria) in hot milk. The cough subsided overnight. He continoued drinking hot milk with turmeric in mornings and evenings and said he felt much better although he would cough from time to time.

    He stopped taking that because he claimed that his urine turned bright yellow by the turmeric and did not want that to interfere with his urine samples. I have already ordered LEF curcumin with bioperine for him and will make him drink it. (I am a bit concerned about the dosage. The label on the bottle says – no more than 15 mg of bioperine a day.)

    Since then I have been reading day and night about curcumin. My boyfriend is a doctor and I consult with him about everything. He suggested that nasal sprays are used instead intravenous injections for delivering some medications. Please, be careful if you decide to go for home-made nasal drops!!! I only READ about a traditional Indian recipe – they boil turmeric and salt and put one drop of that in each nostril for unblocking the nose.

    What I have tried is a turmeric inhalation (no use wasting precious curcumin for the test, I guessed the spice would do). The interesting thing is that turmeric dissolves completely in boiling water and emits VERY strong fumes. I felt completely OK when I tried that (just to see how it feels) but after the inhalation I started spitting out mucous which must have been lying hidden in my lungs somewhere…

    And yesterday I won another person for the curcumin cause. My boyfriend had a strong diarrhea and I made him eat yogurt with turmeric. He reported feeling great today. It is not rocket science but he is very much impressed.

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  5. Val Prather

    Hi Margaret,
    I would be interested in what dose the doc in Tuscany (the one who is successfully treating prostate cancer) is using and how he is suggesting it be taken. Maybe his patients are taking it in a different way.
    Val

    Reply
  6. L.P. Cells

    I just read an interesting article in Cancer Chemotherapy & Pharmacology. 60(2):171-7, 2007 Jul. “Comparison of systemic availability of curcumin with that of curcumin formulated with phosphatidylcholine” CONCLUSION: The results suggest that curcumin formulated with phosphatidylcholine furnishes higher systemic levels of parent agent than unformulated curcumin.

    Phosphatidylcholine is such a major component of lecithin, that, in some contexts, the terms are sometime used as synonyms. However, lecithin extract consists of a mixture of phosphatidylcholine and other compounds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phosphatidylcholine

    Lecithin provided a 5 fold increase in bioavailability as indicated in the plasma and tissue tests they performed. This is on par with other formulations like, C3, bioprine and fat. This is not a human study and therefore may not translate into a 5 fold human bioavailability but is at least worth keeping in mind.

    Have you tried mixing curcumin and egg yolk (a source of lecithin).

    For those dose escalators, like Don who can’t seem to get enough, check out the article “Dose escalation of a curcuminoid formulation”
    Lao CD et al BMC Complement Altern Med. 2006 Mar 17;6:10.
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1472-6882-6-10.pdf It looks like you can keep escalating (C3 Complex „¢, Sabinsa Corporation) until you get diarrhea or a headache (12 g). Unfortunately it doesn’t show up in the blood until you hit about 10 g. Boo hoo hoo.

    So keep on cooken, mixen and eaten, drinken and sprayen.

    Reply
  7. Art

    I wonder if topical application of curcumin could be effectively achieved by using a patch similar to a nicotine patch?
    I imagine there would be skin staining below the patch, but a small stain might be acceptable to some folks if the desired result was achieved.
    Seems like a slow steady delivery like a patch might be a good way to get curcumin into the body at a high enough concentration to be useful and efficacious………assuming of cours that curcumin is a small enough molecule…………….possibly in conjunction with oral dosing………………………just thinking out loud.

    Art

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  8. Art

    I did an experiment last night by mixing curcumin, dmso, scutellaria baicalensis and ginkgo biloba as might be used for anti-inflammatory use. The mix had a mild, but noticeable scent to it. I didn’t pay attention when I was mixing it, but I think the ginkgo may have been the cause of the scent or odor.

    I mixed the curcumin with the dmso first and the mix came out to a transparent color similar to yellow food coloring that comes in the little bottles for baking.

    When I added the scullcap, the color became more of an amber to brown color. The addition of the ginkgo, made the mix darker, but still transparent with no sediment at the bottom, leading me to the conclusion that the ingredients had completely dissolved.

    I applied this mix to my left arm and left leg using a pointed toothpick to apply five small drops to each for a total of 10 small drops.

    I noticed when I got up this morning to use the restroom, my urine smelled much like the mix I applied last night, so I take that to mean that the mix did get into my body………….not very scientific I know, but somewhat surprising that ten small drops applied to the skin would have that effect……….I guess a little dmso goes a long way! It would have been intereting to know just how much of this mix entered my body and where it went during the night.

    My skin did stain yellow/orange, as expected, where I applied the drops, so I used coconut oil and a wet wipe to try to clean it off this morning. While the oil did remove a large part of the stain, it definitely did not remove it all, so I guess I’m going to be “stained” for a couple of days.

    I think I would have been better off applying the ten drops to just one spot. I guess that would be more along the lines of how a patch would be.

    Art

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  9. Art

    To add to that curcumin experiment, I applied only 5 drops last night and this morning when I went to use the restroom, I noticed my urine did not smell as strong of the mix, as it did yesterday morning in relation to the ten drop application.

    Art

    Reply
  10. Curt Summerlin

    Hi Margaret – I came across your blog on curcumin a few months ago and take it myself for arthritis. I was just researching curcumin bioavailability and thought I would share some info I haven’t seen on the curcumin blogs. This I just found on bioavailability of new form of curcumin that might be useful out of UCLA. Not sure if anything else has reached bioavailability more than 1uM free curcumin in plasma yet even with piperine (which is not necessarily good for the body’s natural detox system), so this could be interesting…

    “However, in humans high oral dosing fails to achieve detectable plasma levels. The reported failure to achieve these modest target levels in humans with oral supplements predicts limited success in translating to the clinic. In our studies, increasing curcumin solubility with phosphatidyl choline, olive oil, or stearic acid increases plasma and brain levels compared with administering unformulated curcumin powder. For example, oral gavage of an optimized lipidated curcumin formulation (Verdure Sciences, Noblesville, Indiana) resulted in 11-fold higher levels of curcumin in plasma and 4-fold higher levels in brain compared to equal doses of curcumin powder or curcumin-piperine extracts. A 5 mg curcumin dose delivered by acute gavage in this lipid rich formulation (n=5) resulted in 2.15 ± 0.744 µM mouse brain curcumin levels after 3 hrs. After 2 weeks lipidated formulation at 500 ppm curcumin in chow (n=5) we observed 5.79 ± 1.22 µM mouse brain curcumin, well above the 1-2 µM range of EC50’s for the inhibition of iNOS, IL-1ß, PGE2 and isoprostanes. This suggests oral delivery can achieve our target tissue levels.”

    Source: JPET 326:196-208, 2008. Curcumin Structure-Function, Bioavailability, and Efficacy in Models of Neuroinflammation and Alzheimer’s Disease.

    Reply
  11. swan

    I can recommend a http://jivasupplements.org/html/curcumin_supplements.html“>curcumin supplement with bioperine and fermented soy. The same company also has a soy/curcumin nutraceutical which contains additional micronutrients such as daidzein, genistein, protease inhibitors, saponins, phytosterols, inositol hexaphosphatase, essential fatty acids, polysaccharide peptide and many of the essential amino acids.

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  12. swan

    I can recommend a curcumin supplement with bioperine and fermented soy. The same company also has a soy/curcumin nutraceutical which contains additional micronutrients such as daidzein, genistein, protease inhibitors, saponins, phytosterols, inositol hexaphosphatase, essential fatty acids, polysaccharide peptide and many of the essential amino acids.

    Reply
  13. Laurinia

    Hello!
    I just bought Curcumin C3 from Sabinsa. It is for my mother, she has adenocarcinoma bronchiale (lungs). The pharmacy told me that the dosage for her would be 3 gr (6 capsules of 500mg). Is this correct? Has anyone had experience with lung cancer and curcumin usage? Thank you in advance, Laurinia

    Reply

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