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Tapping Into Curry's Health Benefits

Curcumin capsules might boost body's ability to absorb potent antioxidant

FRIDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Tiny capsules could increase the body's absorption of the yellow curry ingredient curcumin, which is being tested in clinical trials for the treatment of colon cancer, psoriasis and Alzheimer's disease.

Curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, is a potent antioxidant. However, digestive juices in the gastrointestinal tract quickly destroy curcumin, which means little of it actually makes it into the blood.

It's known that encapsulating insulin and some other types of drugs into structures called liposomes can increase their absorption by the body.

In this new study, researchers prepared liposomes encapsulating curcumin and fed them to rats and found that this method quadrupled absorption of curcumin and also increased antioxidant levels in the blood.

This encapsulating process could solve the problem of poor absorption of curcumin in humans, the scientists said.

The study is published in the current issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

More information

The U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has more about turmeric.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Chemical Society, news release, Nov. 4, 2009

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