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How does Turmeric Help with Inflammation

Since the 1980’s, healthcare practitioners have been looking for ways to get the biologically active component of Turmeric into the blood stream in order to utilize its many health benefits.

Up until now, the best way we’ve been able to utilize turmeric is through good quality preparations that are standardized to 95% curcuminoids (the active ingredient in turmeric) with fatty acids and black pepper. However, these preparations still yield poor absorption rates of less than 29%. This means low circulating levels of curcuminoids in the plasma, due to the curcuminoids being in their conjugated forms, not their free forms, which are more bio-available. Note: A popular health website currently offers a fermented curcumin, but the fermentation does not increase its bioavailability via free forms of curcuminoids, ;-(

Recently, MediHerb scientists in Australia discovered a way to make turmeric preparations more bio-available, and not just by a little bit, but by A LOT! Several promising studies, beginning in 2015, led to this breakthrough.

By combining turmeric with a fenugreek seed combination to create a soluble fiber delivery, the active curcuminoids pass into the intestines and anchor to the cell walls, where they are protected from enzymatic degradation. This allows proteins in the blood stream to deliver the curcuminoids throughout the body. FYI: this turmeric preparation is called Curcuma-Galactomannosides (CGM).

What is turmeric’s significance to our health? 

Historically, turmeric has been used to treat aches and pains, swelling, masses in the abdomen, and female cycle irregularities. It has also been used as a blood purifier, specifically for skin diseases, as well as digestive disorders of liver origin.

How do the curcuminoids in turmeric exert their beneficial effects?

  • Through molecules that regulate cell transcription, i.e Nrf2 and NF-kbeta
  • Through 17 different enzymes, including COX 2, 5-LOX, iNOS, and ATPase
  • Through 11 different inflammatory immune cells (cytokines), i.e. TNF, IL-1, IL-6, IL-2, IL-8, IL-12, and IL-5
  • Through apoptotic regulators, which regulate cell life and death
  • Through 9 different growth factors
  • Through adhesion molecules and kinases

Turmeric acts on over 486 proteins in the body! This means that it can help our bodies achieve a better level of homeostasis (balance of bodily functions).

What does this mean therapeutically?

If we can get these active curcuminoids into the body, we can target multiple systems in the body in order to regulate and enhance our health.

This can have multiple effects such as anti-aging, anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, wound healing, cardioprotective, immuno-modulatory, neuroprotective, anti-metastatic (stops malignant growths), anti-angiogenic (stops the growth of new blood vessels), and apoptotic/anti-poptotic (cell life/death regulation).

What does the research say?

A 2016 study published in The Journal of Functional Foods compared MediHerb’s bio-available turmeric formula with straight curcuminoids derived from dietary sources of turmeric. This was a rat study that showed improved curcuminoid delivery to the rats’ brains, as well as a 45.6 times bioavailability increase compared to the straight curcuminoids from dietary sources. It also demonstrated a 74% increase in free curcuminoids to the blood plasma. The active curcuminoids remained bio-available for greater than 3 hours, compared to straight curcuminoids, which were only bio-available for 1 hour.

Another rat study in the same journal published in 2015 showed that MediHerb’s bio-available formula results in an increased distribution of curcuminoids to the heart, liver, kidney, spleen, and in particular, the brain. The level delivered to the brain was 245 times higher than the unenhanced curcumin – WOW! What’s more, the curcuminoids were still detected in the brain 8 hours after ingestion! After 2 hours, the unenhanced turmeric was detected at less than 5%.

What about human clinical trials with bio-available turmeric?

A 2016 double-blind pilot study was performed on 60 people who took one of the following: MediHerb’s bio-available turmeric tablets, an unenhanced turmeric formula, or a placebo (no turmeric) for 30 days.

For those who took the bio-available turmeric, there was a significant reduction in overall stress, fatigue, and anxiety compared to those who took the unenhanced turmeric. Both turmeric formulas increased antioxidant enzymes; however, those who took the bio-available turmeric experienced 39.1 times more bioavailability of curcuminoids after 30 days versus than those who took the unenhanced turmeric.

Another 2017 pilot-study showed a significant reduction in pulse pressure (an indicator of arterial stiffness) in young, obese men who took 2 bio-available turmeric tablets per day.

Other clinical trials performed on the bio-available turmeric formula demonstrated the following:

  • Significant increase in anti-inflammatory immune proteins
  • Dramatic reductions in pain and stiffness, with decreased drug use and reduction of inflammatory markers (IL-6 beta and IL-6)
  • Improved retinal blood flow, less swelling, and improved visual acuity in diabetic retinopathy
  • Improved foot tissue perfusion and decreased swelling in diabetic microangiopathy
  • Improvements in symptoms of enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia)
  • Reduction of acute pain, similar to the effects of acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Reduced levels of uric acid and lipids (fats), as well as improved liver enzymes and liver ultrasounds with non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NFALD)

Clinical trials performed on unenhanced turmeric formulas demonstrated the following:

  • Significant reduction in depression symptoms compared to a placebo, as well as a decrease in anxiety
  • Lower levels of insulin resistance compared to a placebo
  • Decreased CRP levels (C-Reactive Protein, a marker of vascular inflammation)
  • Decreased inflammation, measured by immune protein enzymes (IL-6 and TNF-alpha)
  • Improved circulation in type 2 diabetics
  • Improved kidney function, as measured by urinary excretion of micro-albumin, in type 2 diabetics
  • Decreased triglycerides in obese patients
  • Decreased heart attack incidence by more than 50% in patients undergoing coronary bypass surgery
  • Significant reduction in serum lipoprotein (a) and in increase in HDL cholesterol (good fats) in type 2 diabetics [there were no changes in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, or triglycerides]
  • Pain inhibition post gallbladder surgery
  • Relief of nasal symptoms in patients with seasonal allergies
  • Relief of heartburn/indigestion… 2 grams/day of turmeric (equivalent of 3-4 bio-available turmeric tablets) was successful as a replacement for proton pump inhibitors and H2 agonist drugs in 11 of 14 patients with acid reflux (these patients became asymptomatic – amazing!)


Wow! Turmeric is indeed the “spice of life”!

We now have access to a highly bio-available form of curcuminoids, thanks to the creation of a good quality standardized turmeric that is delivered through a new Curcuma-Galactomannosides (CGM) technique (fenugreek soluble fiber). We can use less amounts of this bio-available turmeric to achieve greater health benefits. Doses will be between 1 and 4 tablets per day for most patients.

As always, remember that this blog post is not a substitute for proper management by a experienced functional holistic doctor. Please discuss with me if you are a good candidate for MediHerb’s bio-available turmeric supplement, and where it may fit into your individualized clinically designed nutrition program.