If you follow trends in the area of dietary supplements, you probably are aware that curcumin has been a rapidly growing segment of the market. Curcumin longa is a member of the ginger family, which is the common spice turmeric. The spice adds color and flavor to sauces, and has been used traditionally in many cultures to address a wide variety of ailments. Curcumin has shown antioxidant, anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory effects to name just a few.
One of the challenges with its use, however, is its relatively poor bioavailability and its extensive metabolism once it has entered the body. Different technologies have been developed in an attempt to overcome this limited absorption. Once curcumin is absorbed, it is also subject to rapid and extensive metabolism and tends to exhibit a short half-life. A major question that has yet to be fully answered is: Are these conjugated forms biologically active and able to exert the beneficial activity that is observed in the in vitro studies?
Curcumin is a key regulator of several steps in the oxidative stress and inflammatory cascade that are correlated with healthy aging, but no studies have actually measured whether curcumin can impact these markers in healthy people. Dr. Robert DiSilvestro, PhD, selected Longvida for a landmark study on aging-related biomarkers in healthy, middle-aged adults due to its low dose, high bioavailability. Results from this four-week study showed significant improvements in levels of several biomarkers key for healthy brain aging versus placebo, including an 11% reduction in plasma amyloid-beta. After 30 days, a significant 14% reduction in plasma triglycerides was observed. After 30 days of Longvida, a significant 14% reduction in vascular marker sICAM-1.
The results were ground breaking, and the study was one of the first trials to show a nutritional supplement can improve both acute and chronic cognitive function and mood in healthy older adults. Supplementation with Longvida led to significant improvements in measures of working memory and attention, and improved measures of mental energy, alertness, calmness and contentedness. Excellent safety and tolerability were also reported.
Research continues to emerge on the health benefits of curcumin. Science is revealing other areas in which it can have a positive impact, especially brain health. The chiropractic physician should find significant benefits for patients from supplementation with bioavailable curcumin at clinically relevant doses.