We constantly hear and read the term bioavailability thrown around in pharmacological and nutritional sciences. But what does it mean when a product has high or low bioavailability? Why is it important, and what factors contribute to this? Definition of bioavailability While there are slight differences in the usage of the term between pharmacology and nutritional sciences, bioavailability is essentially a measure of the extent and rate at which a product enters systemic circulation. Simply put, bioavailability is the amount of an ingredient that gets absorbed in the body. When products are administered intravenously, they are fully available in the blood
Three new studies provide further evidence of the effectiveness of the unique molecule-curcumagalactomannoside complex (CGC) which is one of the key ingredients used in AOR’s Curcumin Ultra softgels.
Building on the already impressive body of work, the first study compared once a day 400 mg of CGC containing 130 mg of curcumin against the standard combination of 500 mg of glucosamine and 415 mg of chondroitin sulphate taken twice daily dose (total daily dose of 1000 mg glucosamine and 830 mg chondroitin sulphate) in terms of effectiveness in patients with osteoarthritis. This was a six-week, 72 patient study. In the CGC group, there was between 30-36% improvement in pain, stiffness, functionality (mobility) and WOMAC score, a standard measure of osteoarthritic improvement. The key finding was that a once a day low dose of 400 mg CGC was superior to a much higher dose of glucosamine/chondroitin combination.
The second study looked at the same dose of 400 mg CGC (containing 130 mg curcumin) plus glucosamine sulphate 500 mg and compared this with a combination of glucosamine (500 mg) and chondroitin sulphate (415 mg) for 84 days in 80 patients. Again CGC+ GLS outperformed CS+GLS in all the parameters like mobility, pain relief, anti-inflammatory effect and WOMAC scores. This study suggests that CGC can be combined with glucosamine conveniently and is better than glucosamine plus chondroitin sulphate which is widely used.
Finally, a third study looked at a combination of curcumin/Boswellia (as 3-Acetyl-11-ketobeta-boswellic acid ((AKBA)) and turmeric oil (as turmerones) in the CGC complex and found this combination to be better absorbed than curcumin (by 29 X), Boswellia (by 7 X) and turmerone oil when used individually achieving high levels of free-form curcumin in the plasma. Moreover, there was synergy between the ingredients in terms of absorption. This is a new finding.
High dose curcumin formulations have previously been shown to be effective in osteoarthritis. However, the advantage of CGC delivery system is that this natural food grade matrix achieves a very high level of free curcumin in the plasma, and at the site of action using a very low dose. Getting free-curcumin in high concentrations is the key to achieving therapeutic activity at a low dose not only for osteoarthritis but in other health conditions where curcumin has been shown to be effective e.g.: liver and gall bladder health, cataracts, cognitive health, anti-aging, heart health, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, various skin conditions and, for gut health to name a few. The reason is that free form of curcumin is the most active form of curcumin.
When we take curcumin in any formulation, the body quickly metabolizes these into conjugated forms which have considerably less activity than the free form. Unfortunately, achieving free form is not easy because one must overcome body’s default position of metabolizing everything that enters the circulation and convert these into conjugated forms. CGC can achieve this more than any other form without the trickery which many studies use to convey their free-form levels in the body. Curcumin Ultra using CGC plus curcumin polysaccharides in the form of Turmacin is a unique formulation which achieves even higher levels of free form than any other formulation, but also levels that stay in the body for longer duration. This is important since the dose required is not only lower but also can be taken less often.
While 100 nM (36.8 ng/ml) of free curcuminoids in the circulation have been suggested as the minimum for achieving health benefits, 400mg of CGC as used in both studies achieved 300ng/ml or over 1000 nM. Moreover, CGC achieves concentrations of 25 ng after seven hours. This is unlike regular curcumin which is completely degraded after one hour.
CGC also has significant analgesic effect and acts to relieve pain as well as greatly reducing all the inflammatory markers. There is a strong correlation between improvement in various scores- mobility, quality of life, WOMAC etc. and reduction in such markers.
One of the key components of osteoarthritis is the degeneration of the cartilage with subsequent loss and wear/tear of the joints over time. CGC has been shown to protect chondrocytes the main cells for re-building the joints.
In conclusion, CGC as used in Curcumin Ultra is a safe and a natural delivery system and can be used in combination of glucosamine and chondroitin but also achieves high levels of free form of curcuminoids in the plasma.
Akbar, M et-al, “Critical review on curcumin as a therapeutic agent: From traditional herbal medicine to an ideal therapeutic agent” Critical Reviews in Eukaryotic Gene Expression, 2018; 28: 17-24
Thomas J V et-al, “Influence of a low-dose supplementation of curcumgalactomannoside complex in knee osteoarthritis: A randomised, open-labeled, active-controlled clinical trial” Phytotherapy Research, 2020; Sept 1-13
Khanna A et-al, “Curcumagalactomannoside/Glucosamine Combination Improved Joint Health Among Osteoarthritic Subjects as Compared to Chondroitin Sulfate/Glucosamine: Double-Blinded, Randomized Controlled Study”, The Journal of alternative and complementary medicine, 2020, 1-11
Abhilash MB et-al, “Enhanced absorption of curcuminoids and 3-Acetyl-11 beta Keto-boswellic acids from fenugreek glactomannan based hydrogel: A natural approach to co-delivery of lipophilic nutrients. Journal of Functional Foods Dec 2019 accepted for publication