Best Curcumin Supplement?

November 5, 2012 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

In previous columns I’ve reported on the myriad of health benefits associated with turmeric extracts. Turmeric is probably best known as a component of curry, the traditional spice mix. However, among scientists, turmeric has been at the center of a love-hate relationship. In animal and in vitro studies, curcuminoids, antioxidant chemicals found in turmeric, have yielded very encouraging results in conditions ranging from autoimmune disease to dementia. Conversely, human trials have been far less consistent. Poor bioavailability is suspected as the primary culprit for the mixed findings in the human studies.

When recommending a curcumin supplement to clients, family and friends, I opt for an extract by the name of Meriva. The product is manufactured by Indena, an Italian phytopharmaceutical giant. Meriva is reasonably priced and well researched. What’s more, Indena has a long history of improving the absorption and activity of plant based ingredients by utilizing “phytosomes”. In essence, phytosomes chemically bind phospholipids (emulsifying components found in lecithin) with water soluble substances such as curcuminoids, green tea and resveratrol. The resulting combination increases the retention and uptake of otherwise poorly absorbed extracts.

To date, nine peer-reviewed studies have been published on Meriva. The results have been nothing short of impressive. First and foremost, Meriva has been shown to increase the systemic availability of curcuminoids “29-fold higher” when compared to uncomplexed curcumin. But, even more important, is the therapeutic effect Meriva supplementation has in human volunteers. A typical, daily dose of 1,000 mg of Meriva has been documented as improving various eye conditions (anterior uveitis, chronic chorioretinopathy and diabetic microangiopathy) and osteoarthritis. In addition, two well designed animal studies indicate that Meriva may present a powerful adjunct “medication” in the treatment of breast and colorectal cancer.

Supplementing with a curcumin phytosome supplement is beneficial on a number of fronts. It allows users to take a lower dosage, thereby reducing the risk of gastrointestinal upset – the most common side effect of high dose curcumin therapy. Also, there is an obvious advantage to only taking two capsules per day as opposed to several or more. The use of Meriva can likewise reduce expense. A one month supply costs approximately $15 when purchased online. This makes it more affordable (and safer) than many popular medications and supplements used for similar purposes. This is not to say that Meriva is the only effective curcumin extract on the market. Other supplements, such as BCM-95, may turn out to be as or more effective. However, for the time being, I find the research supporting Meriva to be at the head of the pack.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Supramolecular Phospholipids–Polyphenolics Interactions (link)

Study 2 – Comparative Absorption of a Standardized Curcuminoid Mixture (link)

Study 3 – Comparison of Systemic Availability of Curcumin w/ That of Curcumin(link)

Study 4 – Pilot Study of Oral Administration of a Curcumin-Phospholipid (link)

Study 5 – Potential Role of Curcumin Phytosome (Meriva) in Controlling (link)

Study 6 – Management of Chronic Anterior Uveitis Relapses: Efficacy of Oral (link)

Study 7 – Product-Evaluation Registry of Meriva®, a Curcumin- (link)

Study 8 – Efficacy and Safety of Meriva, a Curcumin-Phosphatidylcholine (link)

Study 9 – Effect of Curcumin and Meriva on the Lung Metastasis of Murine (link)

Study 10 – Curcumin Ameliorates Oxaliplatin-Induced Chemoresistance in HCT116 (link)

Meriva As An Adjuvant Cancer Therapy

Source: Int J Cancer. 2011 Jul 15;129(2):476-86. (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Nutritional Supplements

43 Comments & Updates to “Best Curcumin Supplement?”

  1. ben Says:

    I use to use Life Extension’s 800mg “Super Curcumin With Bioperine”, but it’s been discontinued but replaced with one without the black pepper.

    So now, I use wanson’s Curcumin Complex

  2. JP Says:

    Hi Ben,

    I think you’ve chosen a suitable alternative. *If* you’d like to try Meriva to see if it works better for you, you might try:

    The cost is lower. The results? I can’t say for sure. But, I think it’s worth a shot.

    Be well!


  3. rob Says:

    That looks good and probably one worth trying, right im using Organic India tunmeric which is supposed to be good. Thanks

  4. JP Says:

    Hi Rob,

    I like that the product you’re using contains organic ginger and turmeric.

    Be well!


  5. Clayton Hinkle Says:

    Why not Longvida which has been shown to increase absorption by 65 times?

  6. JP Says:

    Hi Clayton,

    Longvida also appears to be an excellent product. However, it’s considerably more expensive.

    Be well!


  7. Bill C Says:

    I have a question and a concern.

    I noticed that Meriva is listed in the title of many brands of curcumin. Do these various companies, in addition to Swansons, license the formula from Minerva? If so, is their a way to buy directly from the originator of the product?

    Second, I noticed that the ‘concentration’ of curcumin in each tablet is much less than many other curcumin products such as that sold by Vitacost & other more well known makers:

  8. JP Says:

    Hi Bill,

    Any (reputable) product that lists Meriva on it’s label is licensing the raw material from Indena – the maker of Meriva. I’m not sure if Indena sells direct to consumers. I doubt it, but I don’t know for certain.

    You’re correct about the difference in curcuminoid concentrations. However, I think what’s most important is the effect of any given turmeric extract in the human body. Ultimately, I think that’s more relevant i.e. “real world results”. I haven’t seen a lot of positive human data using the C3 complex. Also, the use of piperine may influence the absorption medications and other supplements. To the best of my knowledge, phospholipid-bound curcumin extracts don’t pose the same problem.

    Be well and happy new year!


  9. Sonia Says:

    The Meriva product you suggest has magnesium stearate/chalk. That is the #1 thing I try to avoid at all cost! That is the reason I’m looking for an alternate.

  10. JP Says:

    Hi, Sonia.

    IMO, the claims made about the potential health risks associated with magnesium stearate are highly exaggerated. I’ll post some impartial information about that below. Having said that, you can find some Meriva supplements which are free of magnesium stearate. One example is a product called CurcumaSorb manufactured by a company called Pure Encapsulations. I hope this helps!

    Be well!


  11. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    I now take Longvida in the evening and Theracurmin in the morning. I’ll probably discontinue the Longvida when I run out.

  12. JP Says:

    Hi, Iggy. IMO, they’re both good choices. I believe I’m pretty up-to-date with the latest research on all three supplements – Longvida, Meriva and Theracurumin. Why have you decided to switch over to Theracurmin? I’d be interested to know.

    Be well!


  13. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    I was basing it on Dr Trutt’s article. He admits that the comparison is flawed because it’s hard to compare results from separate studies. He says the final verdict won’t be in until there are head to head tests.

  14. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    BTW I’m having a little gastro disturbance from taking this much: 1200mg Longvida in the evening and 600 Theracurmin in the AM.

  15. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    If I could buy my own nano-curcumin, I would make my own liposome, probably at a good $aving.

  16. JP Says:

    Thank you, Iggy. I assume that you’re taking the curcumin extracts with food? If not, that could help with the GI upset. In addition, I wonder if you might be able to split up the dosage to minimize this side effect. Perhaps you can take 600 mg thrice-daily, instead of 600 mg and 1,200 mg in the morning and evening.

    Making your own nano-emulsion would certainly save money. But, I think achieving a consistent result would be difficult. Maybe not as difficult as producing a mineral chelate, but close.

    Be well!


  17. JP Says:


    Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2014 Dec;18(24):3959-3963.

    Meriva®+Glucosamine versus Condroitin+Glucosamine in patients with knee osteoarthritis: an observational study.


    Osteoarthritis (OA) is a major cause of physical disability and impaired quality of life. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the most used treatment for OA, but they are frequently associated to adverse events. Alternative therapies are under investigation for the treatment of OA. Meriva® is a lecithin delivery form of curcumin, a powerful promoter of anti-oxidant response studied in a number of conditions related to chronic inflammation and pain.


    This 4-month observational study, conducted in a ‘real-life’ scenario, compares the association of Meriva and glucosamine (n=63) with chondroitin sulphate+glucosamine (n=61) in 124 patients with grade 1-2 OA of the knee.


    Patients treated with Meriva+glucosamine had significantly higher Karnofsky Index and WOMAC score (both in the physical and emotional domains), compared to those in the chondroitin+glucosamine group. Noteworthy, the walking distance at the treadmill test after 1 month was also significantly higher in the meriva+glucosamine group; this advantage was sustained until the end of the study. Although the need for concomitant drugs and medical attention decreased in both groups, this reduction was more evident for patients treated with Meriva+glucosamine.


    Taken together, the results of this study shows that the 4-month administration of the association of Meriva and glucosamine can result in a faster onset of action and improved outcomes than the administration of an association of chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine in patients with OA.

    Be well!


  18. Jack Says:

    JP, do you have any info about curcumall, a liquid form of the supplement? Is it more bioavailable than Meriva?



  19. JP Says:

    Hi, Jack.

    To the best of my knowledge, there haven’t been any peer-reviewed, published studies that have evaluated the relative bioavailability of the Curcumall formulation. The one study I did find suggests a potential application for a condition known as oral mucositis.

    The primary ingredient in Curcumall is C3, a patented curcumin extract. It has been subjected to numerous studies. However, the main selling point of Curcumall is it’s (supposedly) enhanced bioavailability – over C3 alone or other curcumin supplements. Also, the makers claim it’s 100% safe – no side effects. This latter assertion probably wouldn’t hold up to controlled test results. This isn’t to say the product isn’t beneficial or healthful. I just don’t have any reason to conclude that it’s more effective or safer than Meriva or other curcumin-based supplements.

    Be well!


  20. JP Says:

    Update 05/13/15:

    Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2015 May-Jun; 19(3): 347–350.

    Turmeric use is associated with reduced goitrogenesis: Thyroid disorder prevalence in Pakistan (THYPAK) study

    Introduction: South Asian population has a particularly high prevalence of thyroid disorders mainly due to iodine deficiency and goitrogen use. There is no data available for prevalence of thyroid disorders in the general population living in nonmountainous regions of Pakistan.

    Materials and Methods: A total of 2335 residents of Pak Pattan, Punjab, Pakistan were interviewed about demographic, dietary, medical and environmental history as well as screened for goiter. Individuals of all ages and either gender were included.

    Results: Median age was 34 (10–88) years and 1164 (49.9%) were males. Median monthly income was 49 (3.9–137) USD. Six hundred and sixty-nine (28.7%) subjects had palpable goiter. 77.5% (n = 462) and 22.5% (n = 133) had World Health Organization Grade I and Grade II goiters respectively, further screened by measuring thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). In subjects with TSH <0.4 mg/dL, free T3 and free T4 levels were measured. In 185 goiter subjects when TSH was measured, 50% (n = 93) were euthyroid, 48% (n = 89) were hyperthyroid, and one subject each was hypothyroid and subclinically hyperthyroid. 29/89 hyperthyroid subjects underwent radionuclide scanning. Twelve subjects had heterogeneous uptake consistent with multinodular goiter, 12 subjects had diffuse uptake, two had cold nodules and two had hyperfunctioning single nodules. Goiter was significantly more common among females, unmarried individuals and individuals drinking tube well (subterranean) water. Goiter was less common among those who consumed daily milk, daily ghee (hydrogenated oil), spices, chilies, and turmeric.

    Discussion: In our study population, goiter was endemic with very high prevalence of hyperthyroidism. Turmeric use was association with reduced goitrogenesis. Further studies to assess iodine sufficiency, thiocyanate exposure and autoimmunity need to be conducted. Masses consuming high goitrogen diets should be educated to incorporate turmeric, spices and green chilies in their cooking recipes, to reduce the risk of goiter development. In addition, use of iodized salt in their daily diet cannot be overemphasized.

    Be well!


  21. JP Says:

    Update 06/30/15:

    Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:283634.

    Oral Curcumin (Meriva) Is Effective as an Adjuvant Treatment and Is Able to Reduce IL-22 Serum Levels in Patients with Psoriasis Vulgaris.

    Curcumin is a complementary therapy that may be helpful for the treatment of psoriasis due to its anti-inflammatory, antiangiogenic, antioxidant, and antiproliferative effects. In the present study we performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to assess the effectiveness of a bioavailable oral curcumin in the treatment of psoriasis. Sixty-three patients with mild-to-moderate psoriasis vulgaris (PASI < 10) were randomly divided into two groups treated with topical steroids and Meriva, a commercially available lecithin based delivery system of curcumin, at 2 g per day (arm 1), or with topical steroids alone (arm 2), both for 12 weeks. At the beginning (T0) and at the end of the therapy (T12), clinical assessment and immunoenzymatic analysis of the serum levels of IL-17 and IL-22 were performed. At T12, both groups achieved a significant reduction of PASI values that, however, was higher in patients treated with both topical steroids and oral curcumin than in patients treated only with topical steroids. Moreover, IL-22 serum levels were significantly reduced in patients treated with oral curcumin. In conclusion, curcumin was demonstrated to be effective as an adjuvant therapy for the treatment of psoriasis vulgaris and to significantly reduce serum levels of IL-22. Be well! JP

  22. JP Says:

    Update 06/30/15:

    Eur J Dermatol. 2015 Jun 12.

    Effects of Curcuma extract and visible light on adults with plaque psoriasis.

    INTRODUCTION: We conducted a phase IV randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, pilot clinical trial to investigate the safety and efficacy of oral curcumin together with local phototherapy in patients with plaque psoriasis.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients with moderate to severe psoriasis received Curcuma extract orally with real visible light phototherapy (VLRT) or simulated visible light phototherapy (VLST) in the experimental area, while the rest of the body surface was treated with ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation. The endpoints were the number of responders and the temporal course of the response. The secondary outcomes were related to safety and adverse events.

    RESULTS: Twenty-one patients were included in the study. In the intention-to-treat analysis, no patients included in the VLRT group showed “moderate” or “severe” plaques after the treatment, in contrast to the patients included in the VSLT group (p<0.01). Parallelisms in the evolution of PGA, BSA, and PASI scores were observed in the two groups following the treatment. At the end of the study period, 76% of all patients showed a response in the BSA exposed to UVA. Lesions on the experimental area showed a response in 81% of the patients in the VLRT group and 30% of the patients in the VLST group. There were no study-related adverse events that necessitated participant withdrawal.

    CONCLUSION: The results suggested that moderate to severe plaque psoriasis should show a therapeutic response to orally administered Curcuma if activated with visible light phototherapy, a new therapeutic method that would be safer for patients than existing treatments.

    Be well!


  23. JP Says:

    Updated 09/28/15:

    Complement Ther Med. 2014 Oct;22(5):851-7.

    Lipid-modifying effects of adjunctive therapy with curcuminoids-piperine combination in patients with metabolic syndrome: results of a randomized controlled trial.

    BACKGROUND: Dyslipidemia is an established feature of metabolic syndrome (MS) that is associated with an increased risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Curcuminoids are natural products with anti-atherosclerotic and lipid-modifying effects but their efficacy in patients with MS has not yet been tested.

    OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effects of bioavailability-enhanced curcuminoids, as adjunctive to standard of care, on serum lipid concentrations in patients with MS.

    METHODS: Patients diagnosed with MS according to the NCEP-ATPIII criteria who were receiving standard of care were assigned to either curcuminoids (C3 complex(®); 1000 mg/day; n=50) or placebo (n=50; matched with drug capsules in shape and color) for 8 weeks. In order to improve the oral bioavailability, curcuminoids were co-administered with piperine (bioperine(®)) in a ratio of 100:1. Serum concentrations of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), triglycerides, small dense LDL (sdLDL), lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)], and non-HDL-C were determined at baseline and at the end of 8-week treatment period.

    RESULTS: Curcuminoids were more effective than placebo in reducing serum LDL-C, non-HDL-C, total cholesterol, triglycerides and Lp(a), and elevating HDL-C concentrations. However, changes in serum sdLDL levels were found to be comparable between the study groups. The effects of curcuminoids on triglycerides, non-HDL-C, total cholesterol and Lp(a) remained significant after adjustment for baseline values of lipids and body mass index.

    CONCLUSION: Curcuminoids-piperine combination is an efficacious adjunctive therapy in patients with MS and can modify serum lipid concentrations beyond what is achieved with standard of care.

    Be well!


  24. JP Says:

    Updated 11/30/15:

    Phytother Res. 2015 Nov 27.

    The Role of Curcumin Administration in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder: Mini Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials.

    Major depression is a common, recurrent, and chronic disease that negatively affects the quality of life and increases the risk of mortality. Several studies have demonstrated that curcumin, the yellow-pigmented substance of the turmeric, possesses antidepressant properties. The aim of this review is to meta-analytically assess the antidepressant effect of curcumin in patients with major depressive disorders. We extensively searched the literature until August 2015. The random-effect model was used to calculate the pooled standardized difference of means (SMD). Subgroup analyses were also performed to examine the effect of different study characteristics on the overall model. Six clinical trials met the inclusion criteria. Overall, curcumin administration showed a significantly higher reduction in depression symptoms [SMD = -0.34; 95% confidence interval (CI) = -0.56, -0.13; p = 0.002]. Subgroup analyses showed that curcumin had the highest effect when given to middle-aged patients (SMD = -0.36; 95% CI = -0.59; -0.13; p = 0.002), for longer duration of administration (SMD = -0.40; 95% CI = -0.64, -0.16; p = 0.001), and at higher doses (SMD = -0.36; 95% CI = -0.59, -0.13; p = 0.002). The administration of new formulation of curcumin (BCM-95) had non-significantly higher effect on depression as compared with the conventional curcumin-piperine formula. We conclude that there is supporting evidence that curcumin administration reduces depressive symptoms in patients with major depression.

    Be well!


  25. Mitche LeighHunt Says:

    I need to diminish or get rid of a goiter-like growth in my neck. I need to know the best turmeric/curcumin oral treatment. Please notify me where I can buy it. Thank you.

  26. JP Says:

    Hi Mitche,

    I think Meriva is one of the best curcumin supplements available. Where do you live? Have you searched for it online?

    Be well!


  27. JP Says:

    Updated 04/05/16:

    J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2016 Apr 2.

    Safety, Tolerance, and Enhanced Efficacy of a Bioavailable Formulation of Curcumin With Fenugreek Dietary Fiber on Occupational Stress: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study.

    Drug delivery systems capable of delivering free (unconjugated) curcuminoids is of great therapeutic significance, since the absorption of bioactive and permeable form plays a key factor in mediating the efficacy of a substance which undergoes rapid biotransformation. Considering the recent understanding on the relatively high bioactivities and blood-brain-barrier permeability of free curcuminoids over their conjugated metabolites, the present human study investigated the safety, antioxidant efficacy, and bioavailability of CurQfen (curcumagalactomannoside [CGM]), a food-grade formulation of natural curcumin with fenugreek dietary fiber that has shown to possess improved blood-brain-barrier permeability and tissue distribution in rats. In this randomized double-blinded and placebo-controlled trial, 60 subjects experiencing occupational stress-related anxiety and fatigue were randomized to receive CGM, standard curcumin, and placebo for 30 days (500 mg twice daily). The study demonstrated the safety, tolerance, and enhanced efficacy of CGM in comparison with unformulated standard curcumin. A significant improvement in the quality of life (P < 0.05) with considerable reduction in stress (P < 0.001), anxiety (P < 0.001), and fatigue (P < 0.001) was observed among CGM-treated subjects as compared with the standard curcumin group, when monitored by SF-36, Perceived Stress Scale with 14 items, and Beck Anxiety Inventory scores. Improvement in the quality of life was further correlated with the significant enhancement in endogenous antioxidant markers (P < 0.01) and reduction in lipid peroxidation (P < 0.001). Further comparison of the free curcuminoids bioavailability after a single-dose (500 mg once per day) and repeated-dose (500 mg twice daily for 30 days) oral administration revealed enhanced absorption and improved pharmacokinetics of CGM upon both single- (30.7-fold) and repeated-dose (39.1-fold) administrations. Be well! JP

  28. JP Says:

    April 2016 – The FASEB Journal vol. 30 no. 1 Supplement lb340

    Novel Form of Curcumin Improves Endothelial Function in Young, Healthy Individuals

    It is known that endothelial dysfunction (ED) may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). ED can be measured as a decreased flow-mediated dilation (FMD) response, using occlusion and subsequent dilation response of the brachial artery. Increased levels of inflammatory molecules contribute to ED, and increase CVD. Curcumin, a highly pleiotropic molecule, interacts with multiple inflammatory pathways primarily by inhibiting the IκB Kinase (IKK) signaling complex thereby preventing the activation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB). However, poor solubility and rapid metabolism may limit benefits. CurcuWIN®, a novel curcumin formulation containing 20% curcuminoids (CUR), resulted in 45.9 fold greater absorption over standard curcumin. This current study sought to examine the effect of differing doses of a novel form of curcumin on FMD. Fifty-nine moderately trained men (n=30; 21±2 years; 173.8±20.0 cm; 79.4±11.0 kg) and women (n=29; 21±2 years; 164.9±6.5 cm; 60.1±8.0 kg) were randomly assigned to ingest 50 mg CUR (in the form of 250 mg CurcuWIN®), 200 mg CUR (in the form of 1000 mg CurcuWIN®), or placebo (PLA) for eight weeks in a double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled parallel design. ANOVA and paired t-tests were used to examine differences followed by magnitude based inference. Subsequently, a subset analyses was performed on subjects with a baseline FMD ≤7%. An improvement of magnitude (Effect size [ES] = 0.67) of FMD was observed in those receiving 200mg CUR (Pre, 7.6±3.2%; Post, ↑10.4±3.5%; p=0.011). FMD improvement (↑2.8±3.3%) was beneficial compared to PLA (↓−0.8±5.4%; p=0.020). No change was observed in those receiving 50MG CUR (Pre, 8.2±3.3%; Post, ↑9.1±2.7%; p=0.405). Twenty-five (PLA, n=8; 50MG, n=7; 200MG, n=10) had baseline FMD <7%. Supplementation resulted in improvement of very large magnitude (ES > 2.0) in those receiving 50MG (Pre, 4.9±1.4%; Post, 8.1±1.6%; p=0.029) and 200MG (Pre, 5.2±1.1%; Post, ↑8.9±3.5%; p=0.005). These data demonstrate 200mg CUR improves FMD (endothelial function) in healthy young subjects. Further, in those with baseline FMD ≤7% FMD (at risk) 50mg CUR and 200mg CUR improves endothelial function. Given every 1% increase in FMD reduces cardiovascular disease risk by 9–17%; further research in clinical populations is recommended to clarify the true nature of the effect and potential mechanism(s).

    Be well!


  29. JP Says:

    Updated 05/24/16:

    Phytother Res. 2016 May 23.

    Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence.

    Turmeric (Curcuma longa), a commonly used spice throughout the world, has been shown to exhibit antiinflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-neoplastic properties. Growing evidence shows that an active component of turmeric, curcumin, may be used medically to treat a variety of dermatologic diseases. This systematic review was conducted to examine the evidence for the use of both topical and ingested turmeric/curcumin to modulate skin health and function. The PubMed and Embase databases were systematically searched for clinical studies involving humans that examined the relationship between products containing turmeric, curcumin, and skin health. A total of 234 articles were uncovered, and a total of 18 studies met inclusion criteria. Nine studies evaluated the effects of ingestion, eight studies evaluated the effects of topical, and one study evaluated the effects of both ingested and topical application of turmeric/curcumin. Skin conditions examined include acne, alopecia, atopic dermatitis, facial photoaging, oral lichen planus, pruritus, psoriasis, radiodermatitis, and vitiligo. Ten studies noted statistically significant improvement in skin disease severity in the turmeric/curcumin treatment groups compared with control groups. Overall, there is early evidence that turmeric/curcumin products and supplements, both oral and topical, may provide therapeutic benefits for skin health. However, currently published studies are limited and further studies will be essential to better evaluate efficacy and the mechanisms involved.

    Be well!


  30. JP Says:

    Updated 06/11/16:

    Phytother Res. 2016 Jun 8.

    Treatment of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease with Curcumin: A Randomized Placebo-controlled Trial.

    Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a global health problem. Although many aspects of NAFLD pathogenesis have been understood, there is a paucity of effective treatments to be used as the second line when lifestyle modification is insufficient. Curcumin, a natural polyphenol from turmeric, has been shown to be effective against development of hepatic steatosis and its progression to steatohepatitis, yet these beneficial effects have not been explored in clinical practice. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of curcumin on hepatic fat content as well as biochemical and anthropometric features of patients with NAFLD. In this randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial, patients with ultrasonographic evidence of NAFLD were randomly assigned to receive an amorphous dispersion curcumin formulation (500 mg/day equivalent to 70-mg curcumin) or matched placebo for a period of 8 weeks. Liver fat content (assessed through ultrasonography), glycemic and lipid profile, transaminase levels, and anthropometric indices were evaluated at baseline and at the end of follow-up period. The clinical trial protocol was registered under the Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials ID: IRCT2014110511763N18. Compared with placebo, curcumin was associated with a significant reduction in liver fat content (78.9% improvement in the curcumin vs 27.5% improvement in the placebo group). There were also significant reductions in body mass index and serum levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, glucose, and glycated hemoglobin compared with the placebo group. Curcumin was safe and well tolerated during the course of trial. Findings of the present proof-of-concept trial suggested improvement of different features of NAFLD after a short-term supplementation with curcumin.

    Be well!


  31. JP Says:

    Updated 06/29/16:

    Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2016 Feb;20(4):762-6.

    A novel phospholipid delivery system of curcumin (Meriva®) preserves muscular mass in healthy aging subjects.

    OBJECTIVE: Curcumin is known to interrupt pro-inflammatory signalling and increases anti-oxidant protection, thus inhibiting the expression of inflammatory cytokines and the expression and function of inducible inflammatory enzymes. Together, these effects contribute to limit the onset and the progression of sarcopenia, due to the major role played by inflammation in the pathophysiology of this disease. This registry study evaluates the effects of Meriva® supplementation in otherwise healthy elderly subjects.

    PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a registry, supplement study, conducted in healthy subjects > 65 years with apparent loss of strength and tiredness who freely decided to start one of the following interventions: (1) standard management (exercise, balanced diet including proteins) (n = 33); (2) standard management + Meriva® one tablet/day (n = 31); (3) standard management + Meriva® one tablet/day + other supplementation (n = 22). A number of functional and biochemical parameters were evaluated at baseline and after three months (hand grip, weight lifting, time/distance before feeling tired after cycling, walking and climbing stairs; general fitness, proteinuria, oxidative stress, Karnofsky scale; left ventricular ejection fraction).

    RESULTS: Significant improvements in all parameters, with respect to baseline values, were observed in the two supplementation groups (p < 0.05 for all comparisons). On the other hand, no improvement was observed in the standard management-only group. At three months, inter-group comparison revealed a statistical advantage in all parameters for both supplementation groups compared with the standard management-only group (p < 0.05 for all comparisons). CONCLUSIONS: Our registry study shows that the addition of Meriva® - either or not combined with other nutritional supplements - to standardized diet and exercise plan contributes to improve strenght and physical performance in elderly subjects, potentially preventing the onset of sarcopenia. Be well! JP

  32. JP Says:

    Updated 09/19/16:

    J Nutr Metab. 2016;2016:1089653.

    Novel Form of Curcumin Improves Endothelial Function in Young, Healthy Individuals: A Double-Blind Placebo Controlled Study.

    Curcumin, a turmeric extract, may protect against cardiovascular diseases by enhancing endothelial function. In this randomized controlled double-blind parallel prospective study, fifty-nine healthy adults were assigned to placebo, 50 mg (50 mg), or 200 mg (200 mg) curcumin, for 8 weeks. The higher curcumin (200 mg) supplementation produced a dose-mediated improvement in endothelial function measured by flow-mediated dilation (FMD). The outcome was a clinically substantial 3.0% increase (90% CI 0.7 to 5.3%, p = 0.032; benefit : harm odds ratio 546 : 1) with the 200 mg dose, relative to placebo. The 50 mg dose also increased FMD relative to placebo by 1.7% (-0.6 to 4.0%, p = 0.23; 25 : 1), but the outcome was not clinically decisive. In apparently healthy adults, 8 weeks of 200 mg oral curcumin supplementation resulted in a clinically meaningful improvement in endothelial function as measured by FMD. Oral curcumin supplementation may present a simple lifestyle strategy for decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

    Be well!


  33. JP Says:

    Updated 09/20/16:

    Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis. 2016 Aug 26;11:2029-34.

    Highly absorptive curcumin reduces serum atherosclerotic low-density lipoprotein levels in patients with mild COPD.

    PURPOSE: COPD is mainly caused by tobacco smoking and is associated with a high frequency of coronary artery disease. There is growing recognition that the inflammation in COPD is not only confined to the lungs but also involves the systemic circulation and can impact nonpulmonary organs, including blood vessels. α1-antitrypsin-low-density lipoprotein (AT-LDL) complex is an oxidatively modified LDL that accelerates atherosclerosis. Curcumin, one of the best-investigated natural products, is a powerful antioxidant. However, the effects of curcumin on AT-LDL remain unknown. We hypothesized that Theracurmin(®), a highly absorptive curcumin with improved bioavailability using a drug delivery system, ameliorates the inflammatory status in subjects with mild COPD.

    PATIENTS AND METHODS: This is a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study. Subjects with stages I-II COPD according to the Japanese Respiratory Society criteria were randomly assigned to receive 90 mg Theracurmin(®) or placebo twice a day for 24 weeks, and changes in inflammatory parameters were evaluated.

    RESULTS: There were no differences between the Theracurmin(®) and placebo groups in terms of age, male/female ratio, or body mass index in 39 evaluable subjects. The percent changes in blood pressure and hemoglobin A1c and LDL-cholesterol, triglyceride, or high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels after treatment were similar for the two groups. However, the percent change in the AT-LDL level was significantly (P=0.020) lower in the Theracurmin(®) group compared with the placebo group.

    CONCLUSION: Theracurmin(®) reduced levels of atherosclerotic AT-LDL, which may lead to the prevention of future cardiovascular events in mild COPD subjects.

    Be well!


  34. JP Says:

    Updated 12/12/16:

    Inflammopharmacology. 2016 Dec 7.

    Antioxidant effects of curcuminoids in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a randomized controlled trial.

    BACKGROUND: Oxidative stress has a key role in the pathogenesis of type II diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and its vascular complications. Antioxidant therapy has been suggested as a potential approach to blunt T2DM development and progression. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of supplementation with curcuminoids, which are natural polyphenolics from turmeric, on oxidative indices in diabetic individuals.

    METHODS: In this randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial, 118 subjects with T2DM were randomized to curcuminoids (1000 mg/day co-administered with piperine 10 mg/day) or matching placebo for a period of 8 weeks. Serum total antioxidant capacity, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities and malondialdehyde (MDA) concentrations were measured at baseline and after the supplementation period.

    RESULTS: Curcuminoids supplementation caused a significant elevation in serum total antioxidant capacity (TAC) (p < 0.001) and SOD activities (p < 0.001), while serum MDA levels were significantly reduced compared with the placebo group (p < 0.001). These results remained statistically significant after adjustment for potential confounders (baseline differences in body mass index and fasting serum insulin). CONCLUSION: The present results support an antioxidant effect of curcuminoids supplementation in patients with T2DM, and call for future studies to assess the impact of these antioxidant effects on the occurrence of diabetic complications and cardiovascular endpoints. Be well! JP

  35. JP Says:

    Updated 01/21/17:

    Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 Jan;85:102-112.

    Phytosomal curcumin: A review of pharmacokinetic, experimental and clinical studies.

    Curcumin, a hydrophobic polyphenol, is the principal constituent extracted from dried rhizomes of Curcuma longa L. (turmeric). Curcumin is known as a strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that has different pharmacological effects. In addition, several studies have demonstrated that curcumin is safe even at dosages as high as 8g per day; however, instability at physiological pH, low solubility in water and rapid metabolism results in a low oral bioavailability of curcumin. The phytosomal formulation of curcumin (a complex of curcumin with phosphatidylcholine) has been shown to improve curcumin bioavailability. Existence of phospholipids in phytosomes leads to specific physicochemical properties such as amphiphilic nature that allows dispersion in both hydrophilic and lipophilic media. The efficacy and safety of curcumin phytosomes have been shown against several human diseases including cancer, osteoarthritis, diabetic microangiopathy and retinopathy, and inflammatory diseases. This review focuses on the pharmacokinetics as well as pharmacological and clinical effects of phytosomal curcumin.

    Be well!


  36. JP Says:

    Updated 02/09/17:

    Drug Res (Stuttg). 2017 Feb 3.

    Efficacy and Safety of Phytosomal Curcumin in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

    Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common liver disease characterized by excess lipid deposition in the hepatic tissue and subsequent oxidative and inflammatory damage. Curcumin is a dietary polyphenol with lipid-modifying, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of supplementation with phytosomal curcumin in subjects with NAFLD.Patients diagnosed with NAFLD (grades 1-3 according to liver ultrasonography) were randomly assigned to the curcumin (phytosomal form; 1 000 mg/day in 2 divided doses) (n=50) or placebo group (n=52) for a period of 8 weeks. All patients received dietary and lifestyle advises before the start of trial. Anthropometric measurements, hepatic enzymes, and liver ultrasonography were assessed at baseline and after 8 weeks of follow-up.87 subjects (n=44 and 43 in the curcumin and control group, respectively) completed the trial. Supplementation with curcumin was associated with a reduction in body mass index (-0.99±1.25 vs.  - 0.15±1.31 in the curcumin and placebo groups, respectively; p=0.003) and waist circumference (-1.74±2.58 vs. -0.23±3.49 in the curcumin and placebo groups, respectively; p=0.024). Ultrasonographic findings were improved in 75.0% of subjects in the curcumin group, while the rate of improvement in the control group was 4.7% (p<0.001). Serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase were reduced by the end of trial in the curcumin group (p<0.001) but elevated in the control group (p<0.001). Curcumin was safe and well tolerated during the course of trial.Short-term supplementation with curcumin improves liver fat and transaminase levels in patients with NAFLD.

    Be well!


  37. JP Says:

    Updated 04/23/17:

    Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2017 Apr;21(7):1684-1689.

    Effects of a curcumin-based supplementation in asymptomatic subjects with low bone density: a preliminary 24-week supplement study.

    OBJECTIVE: Osteopenia is a chronic bone condition characterized by decreased calcification, density, or bone mass that, if untreated, can lead to osteoporosis and bone fractures. Although its increasing prevalence, nowadays osteopenia is not adequately prevented and managed. In this study, we evaluated the efficacy, in term of changes in bone density, and safety of an oral formulation based on turmeric phytosome (Meriva®), in subjects suffering from low bone density.

    PATIENTS AND METHODS: 57 otherwise healthy subjects with low bone density were enrolled in this pilot, supplement study. Informed participants freely decided to follow either a standard management (SM) to control low bone density (control group=28) or SM associated with a curcumin-based oral supplementation (supplement group=29). The bone densities of heel, small finger and upper jaw were evaluated at inclusion and at different time points during the observational period (4, 12 and 24 weeks), in all subjects.

    RESULTS: The bone density of the heel measured by the Sahara densitometer remarkably improved in the Meriva®-supplemented group, with a significant decrease of ultrasounds transmission values at week 12 (-18.4%) and at week 24 (-21.0%), compared with baseline values. The bone densities of small finger and upper jaw also significantly increased during the study in supplemented subjects, reaching +7.1% and +4.8%, respectively, at week 24, with respect to values at inclusion. Noteworthy, no significant changes of heel, small finger and upper jaw densities were observed in the control group. Last, no safety and tolerability issues were reported during the observational period.

    CONCLUSIONS: This preliminary study suggests that a curcumin-based supplementation in combination with an appropriate lifestyle could be beneficial in the prevention and management of osteopenia.

    Be well!


  38. JP Says:

    Updated 05/29/17:

    Arq Gastroenterol. 2017 May 8:0.


    BACKGROUND: Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) gastric infection is a main cause of inflammatory changes and gastric cancers.

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was finding the effects of curcumin on oxidative stress and histological changes in chronic gastritis associated with H. pylori.

    METHODS: In a randomized clinical trial, patients were divided into two groups: a standard triple therapy group and triple therapy with curcumin group. Endoscopic and histological examinations were measured for all patients before and after 8 weeks.

    RESULTS: Triple therapy with curcumin treatment group significantly decreased malondialdehyde markers, glutathione peroxides and increased total antioxidant capacity of the gastric mucosa at the end of study compared to baseline and triple regimen groups. In addition, the oxidative damage to DNA was significantly decreased in triple therapy with curcumin group at the end of study compared to baseline and compared to triple therapy (P<0.05 for both). Triple therapy group in combination with Curcumin significantly decreased all active, chronic and endoscopic inflammation scores of patients compared to the baseline and triple therapy group (P<0.05 for both). The eradication rate by triple therapy + curcumin was significantly increased compared to triple therapy alone (P<0.05).

    CONCLUSION: Curcumin can be a useful supplement to improve chronic inflammation and prevention of carcinogenic changes in patients with chronic gastritis associated by H. pylori.

    Be well!


  39. Mark Says:

    Hi JP,
    I enjoyed your article- thanks for the great work.
    In your “Comments & Updates” you recommended “Swanson” as a good place to get Turmeric with Meriva however the ingredient has soy in it. Thus it’s a GMO deal = not good. Do you have another recommendation?

  40. JP Says:

    Thank you, Mark.

    There is now a version of Meriva which contains sunflower lecithin instead of soy lecithin. It’s manufactured by the same company (Indena). One source that my clients are using can be found here:

    However, please note that even the soy lecithin Meriva is non-GMO.

    Be well!


  41. JP Says:

    Updated 09/11/17:

    Phytother Res. 2017 Sep 7.

    Curcuminoids Lower Plasma Leptin Concentrations: A Meta-analysis.

    Curcumin is a naturally occurring polyphenol that has been suggested to improve several metabolic diseases. Leptin is an adipokine involved in metabolic status and appetite, with marked crosstalk with other systems. Available data suggest that curcumin may affect leptin levels; therefore, this meta-analysis was performed to evaluate this. A systematic review and meta-analysis were undertaken on all randomized controlled trials of curcumin studies that included the measurement of leptin. The search included PubMed-Medline, Scopus, ISI Web of Knowledge, and Google Scholar databases. Quantitative data synthesis was performed by using a random-effects model, with standardized mean difference and 95% confidence interval as summary statistics. A funnel plot, Begg’s rank correlation, and Egger’s weighted regression tests assessed the presence of publication bias. Four eligible articles comprising five treatment arms were selected for the meta-analysis. Meta-analysis showed a significant decrease in plasma leptin concentrations following curcumin treatment (standardized mean difference: -0.69, 95% confidence interval: -1.16, -0.23, p = 0.003; I2 = 76.53%). There was no evidence of publication bias. This meta-analysis showed that curcumin supplementation is associated with a decrease in leptin levels that may be regarded as a potential mechanism for the metabolic effects of curcumin.

    Be well!


  42. JP Says:

    Updated 11/27/17:

    Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2017 Nov;21(21):4935-4940.

    A naturally-inspired, curcumin-based lecithin formulation (Meriva® formulated as the finished product Algocur®) alleviates the osteo-muscular pain conditions in rugby players.

    OBJECTIVE: Curcumin is one of the most investigated phytochemical products because of its low toxicity and its broad spectrum of bioactivity, including anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. A new delivery form of curcumin, resorting to phosphatidylcholine (Meriva®, formulated as the finished product Algocur®) has been developed to increase its bioavailability. In this study, we tested the efficacy and safety of a Meriva®-based product in rugby players suffering by different osteo-muscular pain conditions

    PATIENTS AND METHODS: In this pilot study, 50 male rugby players with osteo-muscular pain due to traumatic injuries, physical overload or acute episode of chronic pain were recruited and treated with conventional analgesic drugs (n = 25) or Meriva®-based product (n = 25) for a maximum of 10 days. The pain perception and the functio laesa were evaluated at baseline and after 1, 3, 6, 10 and 20 days from the initiation of the treatment protocol. Treatment tolerability, compliance, and adverse events were also reported.

    RESULTS: During the study, the analgesic effect decreased in both treated group compared to baseline, starting from the third day of treatment. Similarly, the impaired physical function evaluated after 3, 6, 10 and 20 days improved in Meriva®-based product treated group and in subjects treated with conventional analgesic drugs, compared to the baseline condition. The percentage of excellent adherence to treatment or tolerability was higher in the Meriva®-based product treated group. Only 1 (4%) subject treated with Meriva®-based product experienced adverse events whereas 4 (16%) subjects treated with conventional analgesic drugs reported gastric pain as an adverse event.

    CONCLUSIONS: Despite the small sample size and the group heterogeneity, this study suggests that the naturally-derived, curcumin-based delivery form, Meriva® (formulated as the finished product Algocur®), could represent a promising safe, analgesic remedy in painful osteo-muscular conditions associated with intense, high impact, physical activities.

    Be well!


  43. JP Says:

    Updated 02/24/19:

    Eur J Nutr. 2019 Feb 22.

    Effects of phytosomal curcumin on anthropometric parameters, insulin resistance, cortisolemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease indices: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

    PURPOSE: Curcumin has shown to exert a positive impact on human glucose metabolism, even if its bioavailability is usually very low. The present study aimed to explore the effect of phosphatidylserine- and piperine-containing curcumin phytosomes on a large number of metabolic parameters related to insulin resistance, in the context of a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial involving 80 overweight subjects with suboptimal fasting plasma glucose.

    METHODS: Subjects were randomized to be treated with indistinguishable tablets (2 per day, to be taken after dinner) containing 800 mg phytosomal curcumin (Curserin®: 200 mg curcumin, 120 mg phosphatidylserine, 480 mg phosphatidylcholine and 8 mg piperine from Piper nigrum L. dry extract) for 8 weeks.

    RESULTS: After 56-day treatment, the curcumin-treated group experienced a significant improvement in fasting plasma insulin (FPI), HOMA index, waist circumference, blood pressure, triglycerides (TG), HDL-C, liver transaminases, gamma-GT, index of liver steatosis and serum cortisol compared to the baseline. FPI, TG, liver transaminases, fatty liver index and serum cortisol level also significantly improved compared with the placebo-treated group. Compared to the baseline, at the end of the study placebo group experienced an improvement only in FPG and TG.

    CONCLUSION: In conclusion, the present trial shows that supplementation with a phytosomal preparation of curcumin containing phosphatidylserine and piperine could improve glycemic factors, hepatic function and serum cortisol levels in subjects with overweight and impaired fasting glucose.

    Be well!


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