Curcumin supplements offers gut protection and heat relief from exercise exertions

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags: Nutrition

Curcumin-based supplementation may be helpful in protecting the gut during bouts of endurance-based exercise as researchers also observe a reduction in core temperature and heart rate.

The results, achieved using Indena’s Meriva curcumin supplements, also found an improved ability to maintain body temperature at a prescribed level in spite of heat stress bought on by treadmill exercise.

Several scientific studies reveal that exercise-heat stress increases gastrointestinal damage and risk of exertional heatstroke,” ​said Antonella Riva, product research manager at Indena. 

“This happens because during prolonged endurance exercise blood flow is mainly diverted towards skeletal muscle and skin​. These new positive human data confirm and expand our current findings on Meriva in sport nutrition.

Curcumin-based supplementation is an area of research that has received much attention of late, particularly in the sports nutrition space, where its anti-inflammatory and joint health benefits have received notable attention.

Heated curcumin goings-on

Botanical firm Indena has made available its curcumin-based supplement Meriva since 2011, and while there are currently no claims for curcumin authorised in Europe a strong case could be made as the firm continue to build a comprehensive library of supporting evidence.

The ingredient’s potential in the sports nutrition space is tempered only by curcumin’s poor absorption issues.

It is a sticking point that has opened up the possibilities of combining the plant with more traditional sports nutrition ingredients like protein as curcumin’s mechanism of action appears to be complimentary.

US-based OmniActive Health Technologies, have taken a different route with its UltraSOL line of curcumin ingredients that include CurcuWIN, which claims to be 46 times more bioavailable than standard curcumin.

This is achieved using the firm’s proprietary UltraSOL delivery system, is a technology that converts lipophilic compounds and poorly absorbed nutrients to water dispersible ingredients to bioavailability.

German chemical company, Wacker produce Cavacurcumin, it’s curcumin powder that is claimed to be 40 times higher in bioavailability when compared​ to standard 95% curcumin extract and two commercial products.

The powder is combined with the food-approved Cavamax W8 gamma-cyclodextrin, an oligosaccharide structure made up of eight glucose units. Its high water solubility is useful for solubilising, stabilising or delivering larger molecules.

Study details

Curcumin’s benefits were put to the test by a team of US researchers, based at the High Point University in North Carolina.

Participants ingested 5 tablets (500 milligrams (mg) each) of curcumin or placebo for three days prior to a period of treadmill exercise performed in a Darwin chamber (37°C/25%RH) for one hour.

The team found dietary curcumin supplementation reduced the rise in core temperature, mean body temperature, Heart Rate and Physiological Strain Index during exertional heat stress.

Second, changes were noted in gastrointestinal GI barrier integrity and associated cytokine immune responses.

Lower circulating concentrations of Intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP) post-exercise were found in subjects supplemented with curcumin (58% vs 87% in the placebo group).

“These data suggest 3d curcumin supplementation may improve GI function, associated cytokines, and systems-level physiology responses during exertional heat stress (EHS),”​ the study concluded.  

“This could help reduce EHS risk in non-heat acclimated individuals.”

Cosimo Palumbo, Indena’s marketing director added, “We are pleased that our curcumin formulation, already supported for its efficacy and safety by several clinical studies, continues to stimulate researchers’ interest from all over the world.”

“This is a matter of pride for Indena after years of dedication to seek excellence and innovation for consumers and business partners.”

Source: Journal of Applied Physiology

Published online ahead of print: DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00515.2017

“Short term dietary curcumin supplementation reduces gastrointestinal barrier damage and physiological strain responses during exertional heat stress.”

Authors: Mandy Szymanski, Trevor Gillum, Lacey Gould, David Morin, Matthew Kuennen

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