Colloidal submicron-particle curcumin exhibits high absorption efficiency-a double-blind, 3-way crossover study

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2015;61(1):37-44. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.61.37.


Curcumin is a major constituent of the spice turmeric and has various biological activities, including anticancer, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as alcohol detoxification. However, because of its poor absorption efficiency, it is difficult for orally administered curcumin to reach blood levels sufficient to exert its bioactivities. To overcome this problem, several curcumin preparations with a drug-delivery system (DDS) have been developed to increase the bioavailability of curcumin after oral administration, and tested as functional foods and potential medical agents in humans. We have also produced capsules containing Theracurmin, curcumin dispersed with colloidal submicron-particles. To evaluate the absorption efficiency of three types of DDS curcumin, we performed a double-blind, 3-way crossover study. We compared plasma curcumin levels after the administration of Theracurmin and 2 other capsule types of curcumin with DDS, BCM-95 (micronized curcumin with turmeric essential oils) and Meriva (curcumin-phospholipid). Nine healthy subjects (male/female=5/4, age: 24-32 y old) were administered these 3 preparations of DDS curcumin, at commonly used dosages. Six capsules of Theracurmin, 1 capsule of BCM-95, and 2 capsules of Meriva contain 182.4 ± 1.0, 279.3 ± 10.7, and 152.5 ± 20.3 mg of curcumin, respectively. The maximal plasma curcumin concentration (0-24 h) of Theracurmin was 10.7 to 5.6 times higher than those of BCM-95 and Meriva, respectively. Moreover, the area under the blood concentration-time curve at 0-24 h was found to be 11.0- and 4.6-fold higher with Theracurmin than BCM-95 and Meriva, respectively. These data indicate that Theracurmin exhibits a much higher absorption efficiency than other curcumin DDS preparations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Biological Availability
  • Capsules
  • Colloids
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Curcuma / chemistry*
  • Curcumin / administration & dosage*
  • Curcumin / pharmacokinetics
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption*
  • Male
  • Particle Size*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Extracts / blood
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacokinetics
  • Young Adult


  • Capsules
  • Colloids
  • Plant Extracts
  • Curcumin