Dis­cover the power of turmeric

BBC History Magazine - - Books / Interview -

Sci­en­tists have made a ma­jor step for­ward in har­ness­ing the unique power of cur­cumin, a ver­sa­tile com­po­nent of turmeric, that has been sub­ject to a wide range of re­search.

The dis­cov­ery of a method to stan­dard­ize the dose and boost the body’s ab­sorp­tion of the com­pound has brought new hope that cur­cumin will at last be able to be de­liv­ered in a re­li­able and con­sis­tent way with ev­ery tablet.

The prod­uct, avail­able to Bri­tish con­sumers, called Turmeric+ has ex­cited the in­ter­est of uni­ver­sity re­searchers try­ing to find a re­li­able and re­pro­ducible dose to demon­strate the prop­er­ties of cur­cumin, the ac­tive in­gre­di­ent in turmeric.

Cur­cumin is a mi­nor com­pound in the plant-root based In­dian spice turmeric. Thou­sands of pub­lished stud­ies have al­ready shown its ex­cit­ing ca­pac­ity and fur­ther re­search is be­ing con­ducted at lead­ing in­sti­tu­tions world­wide.

Although the re­search on cur­cumin is promis­ing, un­til now it has been dif­fi­cult to get the hu­man body to ab­sorb the large vol­umes re­quired.

It has been shown that you would need to con­sume 17 cur­ries per day to ob­tain the same amount of cur­cumin pro­vided in a sin­gle Turmeric+ tablet.

Not only that, stud­ies have shown that most peo­ple can­not ab­sorb enough cur­cumin in its nat­u­ral form, which means sim­ple cur­cumin tablets may not de­liver the lev­els re­quired.

Turmeric+ fol­lows more than a decade of re­search by in­ter­na­tional sci­en­tists work­ing in uni­ver­sity lab­o­ra­to­ries.

They were look­ing for a way of boost­ing cur­cumin ab­sorp­tion and suc­ceeded in com­bin­ing it with plant-based phos­pho­lipids from soy beans. Phos­pho­lipids are a class of fats that are a ma­jor com­po­nent of all cell mem­branes and pub­lished stud­ies have shown that com­bin­ing them with cur­cumin will pro­duce a 29-fold in­crease in cur­cumin up­take by the body.

Turmeric+ is mar­keted by Cam­bridge-based brand Fu­tureYou. The prod­uct is man­u­fac­tured to phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal grade and is now em­bark­ing on fur­ther stud­ies and talks are un­der­way with a num­ber of Bri­tish uni­ver­si­ties.

“We are very ex­cited by the level of in­ter­est from sci­en­tists in our prod­uct,” said Alf Lind­berg, a for­mer sec­re­tary to the com­mit­tee of the No­bel prize for medicine, who is a Chief Sci­en­tific Of­fi­cer to Cam­bridge Nu­traceu­ti­cals. “We think we at last have a way to de­liver a re­li­able reg­u­lar dose of this com­pound. We’re hop­ing the tri­als will give de­fin­i­tive proof of the ben­e­fits of Turmeric+.”

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