New study supports enhanced bioavailabilty for gammadextrin-curcumin complex

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

 © iStock/areeya_ann
© iStock/areeya_ann

Related tags functional beverage beverage

Complexing curcumin with gamma-dextrin can increase the bioavailability of curcumin by a factor of 40, according to a new human trial with Wacker’s Cavacurmin ingredient.

Data published in the European Journal of Nutrition​ indicated that a single dose of the gamma-cyclodextrin curcumin formulation after an overnight fast led to the highest plasma concentrations of curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and total curcuminoids, compared to unformulated curcumin extract and two other commercially available formulations.

“This present study is one of the few studies in which four different curcumin preparations were compared in the same cohort of subjects, and where the different curcuminoids in the curcumin formulation (curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, and demethoxycurcumin) were analysed and compared, aided by the use of an internal standard,”​ wrote the authors, led by Dr Martin Purpura from Milwaukee-based Increnovo LLC.


Consumer interest in turmeric/curcumin has never been higher, with numerous scientific reports supporting the potential health benefits of turmeric and the curcuminoids it contains, which include support for brain, cardiovascular, joint, and muscle health.

As a result, sales of turmeric/curcumin products have soared, and held top spot for sales in the natural channel, with total sales of $37,334,821 (up 32% over the previous year’s sales) in 2015. In the mass channel, turmeric sales grew 118% to $15.8 million for 2015.

The bioavailability of curcumin in its standard form is notoriously low. In the Indian diet turmeric is ubiquitous, so even at low absorption rates consumers of curries and getting a fair amount, and are consuming the ingredient in the presence of dietary fats. For supplements, suppliers have successfully developed technologies to enhance the bioavailability of the ingredient.

Wacker gamma-cyclodextrin
Schematic model of a gammadextrin with eight glucose units. The molecule is hydrophilic on the outside with a lipophilic interior, which allows it to accommodate other hydrophobic substances. Such an inclusion compound can improve the bioavailability of poorly soluble active ingredients.Image © Wacker. Used with permission

Wacker, which funded the new study, uses cyclodextrin, which is donut-shaped and able to “host” a hydrophobic or lipophilic molecule in the central cavity (see figure 1). The company previously showed that gamma-cyclodextrin could significantly enhance the bioavailability of coenzyme Q10 (Nutrition Research​, 2006, Vol. 26, No. 10, pp. 503–508).

Study details

Dr Purpura and his co-workers recruited 12 people to participate in their US-based double-blind crossover clinical study. The total curcuminoid dose from the three commercially available curcumin preparations designed to increase bioavailability was 376 mg, and these were compared to a 1,800 mg dose from a standard curcumin extract.

Results indicated that Cavacurmin formulation significantly increased relative bioavailability of total curcuminoids 39.1-fold compared to the standard extract. Compared to the other commercially available curcumin preparations, bioavailability was at least 4.6 times better, wrote the researchers.

Dr Helmut Reuscher, sales and technology director for nutrition at Wacker Biosolutions, welcomed the new study’s findings: “We are very pleased with the positive results of the clinical study on the enhanced bioavailability of curcumin by gammadextrin,”​ he said.

“According to our customers, high bioavailability is getting more and more important in food supplements. We are very proud that our innovative cyclodextrin platform is finding more widespread use and allows our customers to make a contribution to the development of enhanced food supplements.”


The gammadextrin-curcumin formulation is a free-flowing, dispersible powder that can be easily processed in food supplements, such as tablets, capsules and energy bars or functional beverages, explained the company in a release.

Cyclodextrins are also cholesterol-free, non-allergenic, and plant-based (produced enzymatically from starch), added Wacker.

Having established the increased bioavailability, Dr Reuscher told us that clinical trials using the ingredient for different health endpoints are in their late phase, with results expected soon.

Source: European Journal of Nutrition
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1007/s00394-016-1376-9
“Analysis of different innovative formulations of curcumin for improved relative oral bioavailability in human subjects”
Authors: M. Purpura et al. 

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