Natural Products Insider

MAR-APR 2019

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8 INSIDER March/April 2019 8 INSIDER March/April 2019 8 INSIDER March/April 2019 Curcumin's rise to supplement stardom was rapid—and it's not over. The popularity of this powerful compound from turmeric (Curcuma longa) continues to climb as research expands the breadth of its health benefi ts and innovation drives the market. "Curcumin is one of the most extensively studied ingredients for dietary supplements and functional foods," said Nena Dockery, technical services manager, Stratum Nutrition, "and this research continues to grow and expand into a variety of areas of health benefi ts." Curcumin supports health in myriad ways, attributed mostly to its antioxidant and anti-infl ammatory actions. These actions, said Krishnakumar IM, Ph.D., chief research offi cer, Akay, are "suffi cient to modulate the biochemical pathways leading to many oxidative stress and proinfl ammatory diseases," including cancer, 1 neurodegenerative diseases, 2 arthritis, 3 cardiovascular risk states and liver damage. 4 In support of curcumin's anti-infl ammatory effects, David Garner, CEO, Molecular Health Technologies, cited research showing curcumin's ability to block activation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB by several infl ammatory stimuli. 5 NF-kB is said to be the most potent activator of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), a major mediator of infl ammation in most diseases. One such disease is osteoarthritis (OA), a joint condition characterized by degradation of joint cartilage. According to the Arthritis Foundation, an estimated 31 million Americans are affected by osteoarthritis. That number is expected to exceed 78 million by 2040. A 2013 review of studies evaluating curcumin's effects on OA suggested curcumin represents a "new paradigm" as a treatment for OA, though authors called for "well-designed clinical studies" to determine and document the effi cacy of curcumin alone and in combination products in OA patients. 6 "While measuring the treatment of infl ammation in the body is somewhat tricky, some studies measure the decrease in C-reactive protein (CRP) levels or the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) has been established as scales to measure treatment," Garner said. "Regardless of the mechanism by which curcumin elicits its effects, it does appear to be benefi cial to several aspects of OA, as suggested by a recent systematic review and meta-analysis." 7 The meta-analysis concluded: "This systematic review and meta-analysis provided scientifi c evidence that 8 to 12 weeks of standardized turmeric extracts (typically 1,000 mg/d of curcumin) treatment can reduce arthritis symptoms (mainly pain and infl ammation-related symptoms) and result in similar improvements in the symptoms as ibuprofen and diclofenac sodium. Therefore, turmeric extracts and curcumin can be recommended for alleviating the symptoms of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis." On the horizon for curcumin, Garner said, could be potential to benefi t those with metabolic syndrome. "Cytokines from infl ammation are thought to be at the core associated with metabolic syndrome," 8 he said. "Therefore, again it circles back to how well curcuminoid supplementation modulates serum concentrations of pro-infl ammatory cytokines." And research evaluating curcumin's benefi ts to metabolic syndrome is already unfolding. New research published in 2018 found obese mice that underwent a caloric restriction (CR) regimen and received curcumin with piperine (as Curcumin C3 Complex ® and BioPerine ® , from Sabinsa) lost more fat and had signifi cantly lower pro-infl ammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β and KC/GRO, compared to mice who ate a high-fat diet and underwent CR either with piperine, with only curcumin, or without curcumin or piperine. "It is plausible that supplementing the high-fat diet of CR mice with [curcumin] + [piperine] may increase loss of body fat and suppresses HFD-induced infl ammation," the authors concluded. "Combination of [curcumin] and [piperine] has potential to enhance CR effects for the prevention of metabolic syndrome." In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial published in 2018, 100 type 2 diabetics were treated with 500 mg curcumin and 5 mg piperine (as Curcumin C3 Complex) daily or placebo for three months. 9 Researchers found C3 Complex/BioPerine improved glycemic parameters such as glucose concentration and Hb1Ac (glucose level marker) in the blood. Subjects receiving the supplement also experienced increased levels of C-peptide, an indicator of the amount of insulin produced. Other improvements for those who received the supplement included hepatic health, function of the beta cells of the pancreas and avalues of anti-infl ammatory adiponectin, an adipokine connected with Curcumin's myriad health benefits hinge on its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Recent research explores curcumin's benefits to athletes, metabolic syndrome and cognition. A key area of innovation focuses on improving absorption of curcumin, a pitfall of the compound. New Research, Product Innovation Expand Curcumin's Reach by Rachel Adams INSIDER's Take Supplements: Curcumin

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