Work In Progress: How To Enhance Curcumin Bioavailability

A blog reader (thank you!) recently posted a comment, with an attached abstract, on this topic, which for obvious reasons is of utmost importance and interest to me and to anybody else who takes curcumin. The abstract ( reports that the bioavailability of curcumin is enhanced with HEAT. Key sentence: We report here that the water solubility of curcumin could be increased from 0.6 μg/ml to 7.4 μg/ml (12-fold increase) by the use of heat. A 12-fold increase in water solubility? That’s nothing to sneeze at. These researchers also found [ ] no significant heat-mediated disintegration of curcumin. Well we certainly do NOT want curcumin to disintegrate, do we? Now, I already knew that curcumin dissolves in fats (I have seen that happen with my own eyes) and I have read that it dissolves in alcohol (bring on the vodka, hic!), but heat? And then, boom!, it hit me. When I first started taking curcumin, I mixed the powder with very warm, but not boiling, coconut milk. At that time I hadn’t even heard of bioperine nor was I taking any oil capsules. I had simply read that it was best to take curcumin powder mixed with a fat. I drank this concoction for months. And by the way, after the first eight weeks my IgG count went down almost 20 %.

Consideration. As I have said before, curcumin is not water-soluble. However, recently another blog reader commented that she mixes her curcumin with heated organic whole milk. She wrote that one day she ran out of milk but managed, eventually, to dissolve her curcumin in hot water. Well, so this heating curcumin business may make sense after all. Another consideration: back in May I wrote a post on a study ( that examined the degradation of curcumin when heated up. I reread it yesterday and found that curcumin was affected after being boiled in water for ten and twenty minutes. Well, no worries, then. I don’t plan to BOIL my curcumin as I do pasta, not even for a few seconds, but just heat it up enough to make it more bioavailable. And that leads to the obvious question: how much is “enough”? Ok, NOW I’m in trouble!

While looking for material on this topic, I came across an interesting Dutch website called Food Info Net, which is (and I quote): an independent joint project, initiated and run by Wageningen University (the Netherlands) in co-operation with several other partner universities in Europe. The site is non-commercial and all responsibility on content and lay-out is with the university partners. Hmmm, interesting. I will go back at some point and have a look at the various sections on food allergies etc. At any rate, Food Info has info on curcumin (, as follows: Curcumin is light sensitive but stable at temperatures used in food processing. So, that is reassuring. It would appear that heating it up for a few seconds wouldn’t alter its properties. Or would it? My final question is: should we try taking curcumin mixed in, or simply accompanied by, a cup of hot milk?

I knew I should have been a Science major. Drat. Well, the search continues. And any suggestions or other studies would be welcome. My work has just begun.


  1. Margaret,
    I’ve been mixing my turmeric (same consistency as curcumin, I would think) in buttermilk. Mixes quite well and not a bad taste. I tried heating the buttermilk at lunch…still mixes quite easily but it will definetely be an acquired taste. But hey, we do what we have to do!

  2. Hmmm. I’m hoping for a study that shows curcumin dissolves well in beer.

    Meantime I hope that someone figures out how to quantify the necessary heat. I suspect that it would not be enough to take the curcumin at the same time as the morning coffee or tea; it would probably have to be mixed with the hot coffee or tea first, while the liquid was still hot. No fun drinking that!

    As Donna says, we do what we have to do, but there must be a way to enjoy hot curcumin. Yellow oatmeal? I’ll see if it’s edible.

  3. A naturopath who uses curcumin in her practice with an oncology group in Seattle told me to mix curcumin with warm (not hot) coconut milk and to add chopped fresh ginger to the mix if bioperine were a problem for me. I have to admit that the ginger was not a culinary delight! I used this mixture for about 8 weeks, but to no avail since my IGG was too high at the time. My understanding is that curcumin is most effective at lower IGG values. Correct, Margaret?

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