Nanoparticle encapsulation improves oral bioavailability of curcumin by at least 9-fold when compared to curcumin administered with piperine as absorption enhancer

Eur J Pharm Sci. 2009 Jun 28;37(3-4):223-30. doi: 10.1016/j.ejps.2009.02.019. Epub 2009 Mar 10.


Curcumin, a derived product from common spice turmeric that is safe and beneficial in several aliments was formulated into biodegradable nanoparticles with a view to improve its oral bioavailability. The curcumin encapsulated nanoparticles prepared by emulsion technique were spherical in shape with particle size of 264nm (polydispersity index 0.31) and 76.9% entrapment at 15% loading. The curcumin encapsulated nanoparticles were able to withstand the International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH) accelerated stability test conditions for refrigerated products for the studied duration of 3 months. X-ray diffraction analysis revealed the amorphous nature of the encapsulated curcumin. The in vitro release was predominantly by diffusion phenomenon and followed Higuchi's release pattern. The in vivo pharmacokinetics revealed that curcumin entrapped nanoparticles demonstrate at least 9-fold increase in oral bioavailability when compared to curcumin administered with piperine as absorption enhancer. Together the results clearly indicate the promise of nanoparticles for oral delivery of poorly bioavailable molecules like curcumin.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacokinetics*
  • Benzodioxoles / pharmacology*
  • Biological Availability
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage*
  • Curcumin / pharmacokinetics*
  • Drug Compounding
  • Electrochemistry
  • Excipients
  • Freeze Drying
  • Intestinal Absorption / drug effects*
  • Lactic Acid
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Nanoparticles
  • Particle Size
  • Piperidines / pharmacology*
  • Polyglycolic Acid
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Solubility
  • Tissue Distribution
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Alkaloids
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Benzodioxoles
  • Excipients
  • Piperidines
  • Polyunsaturated Alkamides
  • Polylactic Acid-Polyglycolic Acid Copolymer
  • Polyglycolic Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • Curcumin
  • piperine