A blog reader recently wrote me a fascinating (private) message. With his permission, I am posting parts of it (it’s a long message, so I had to edit it a bit). This is a brilliant presentation of the bioavailability of curcumin with a few interesting suggestions on how to increase it:
Biocurcumax is giving us curcumin that is predissolved in 10-15% oil by weight. Isn’t that what I am doing by mixing curcumin with full fat yogurt: predissolving it before ingesting it? Could it be that those of us who predissolve in oil are already getting the benefit of the improved bioavailability that Biocurcumax wants to offer us? And why does the dissolution of curcumin in oil help the bioavailability? I believe it is because the way the body digests fat is that it the chunks go through the stomach and then it becomes emulsified when bile is added to the initial end of the small intestine. Then those small droplets of oil, containing molecules of dissolved curcumin, are small enough to pass through the vilii of the small intestine into the network of lymph ducts that parallel all the network of blood veins, into which other molecules enter through the vein pores in the walls of the vessels (but the fat droplets don’t). Fats are not digested much in the stomach or the small intestine, but enter the lymph system, along with the enzyme lipase, which breaks down the fat globules and converts the fats into glycerol and fatty acids, both of which are soluble in water. So when the lymph is dumped back into the blood vein system up near the thorax, the fat has been changed into water soluble components. Presumably, the curcumin that was dissolved in the fat globules (dissolved means that it then existed in molecular form, not crystalline form), now remains attached to the fatty acids molecules or exists as free curcumin molecules in the blood to be carried throughout the body to find their home on some ugly little cancer cell in the bone marrow, where it frightens that cancer cell into committing hara-kiri, or your favorite word APOPTOSIS. So my theory is the Biocurcumax improves bioavailability by dissolving part of the curcumin in the oil, making easier for part of it to get into the blood stream through the lymph system. But I want to dissolve ALL of the curcumin in oil so that All of it gets into the blood stream through the lymph system. Maybe we already are there and don’t know it because no one ever measured.Finally, I have two more brainstorm ideas to push on you. First, you must realize that curcumin will dissolve in alkaline aqueous solutions, but not acid solutions. The stomach is very acidic but the small intestine is very alkaline. First idea is to ferry the curcumin through the stomach, where a lot of it gets turned into curcumin glucorinide and curcumin sulfate, neither of which are bioactive, and into the small intestine by encapsulating the fine curcumin powder in an enteric coated capsule that can resist the stomach acids, but will dissolve in the alkaline environment of the small intestine, releasing its contents, which promptly dissolve in that environment and enter the vein system in molecular form. Some may still get lost through conjugation into glucorinide and sulfate, but more will at least get dissolved and able to enter the blood stream because it wasn’t conjugated while in the stomach.Second idea is to dissolve the curcumin into some kind of fat (how about cocoa butter?) that is hard at room temperature, like chocolate, and form it into a capsule form, which gets swallowed whole. As it makes it way through the stomach it slowly melts and the fat breaks into droplets with the curcumin still dissolved in them. These droplets are then emulsified in the small intestine and go on their way into the lymph system to be digested by the lipase, as in the above description. The main advantage of this approach is convenience. Just pop a few delicious chocolate-flavored lozenges into your mouth and swallow them WHOLE, and your curcumin is on its way to lymph heaven.
I would love to hear reader comments on this message. Publicly and/or privately. I particularly liked his second idea: chocolate, my favourite thing in the world, AND curcumin? I must do some experimenting. And why not mix curcumin with a ganache, i.e., warm cream with unsweetened dark chocolate? Ahhh, the possibilities are endless.
Yesterday morning I was suddenly struck by the thought that curcumin probably wouldn’t interfere with my antibiotics, but bioperine might. So today I am going to try the curcumin chocolate ganache idea, since I still have some C3 Complex curcumin powder, and I hate the idea of not taking curcumin for more than a few days. Unfortunately, since I have lost my sense of taste, I won’t be able to report on THAT part of the experiment (perhaps just as well!). 😉
Health update: I felt lousy yesterday, my fever returned and I had a nasty cough, but today I am feeling a bit better. My doctor is monitoring me, and will probably change my treatment today. Anyway, no worries!