Anecdotal and scientific evidence from Ohio State University suggests that most curcumin, which has been used for centuries as an Ayurvedic medicine treatment for such ailments as allergies, diabetes and ulcers, in food or supplements stays in the gastrointestinal tract, and any portion that's absorbed is metabolized quickly.
Many research groups are testing the compound's effects on disorders ranging from colon cancer to osteoarthritis, while others, like these scientists, are investigating whether enabling widespread availability of curcumin's biological effects to the entire body could make it useful both therapeutically and as a daily supplement to combat disease.
Lead author Nicholas Young said that there's a reason why this compound has been used for hundreds of years in Eastern medicine and this study suggests that they have identified a better and more effective way to deliver curcumin and know what diseases to use it for so that people can take advantage of its anti-inflammatory power.
Young added that they envision that this nutraceutical, which refers to foods or nutrients that provide medical or health benefits, could be used one day both as a daily supplement to help prevent certain diseases and as a therapeutic drug to help combat the bad inflammation observed in many diseases.
The researchers found that nano-emulsified curcumin halted the recruitment of immune cells called macrophages that "eat" invading pathogens but also contribute to inflammation by secreting pro-inflammatory chemicals and in cells isolated from human blood samples, macrophages were stopped in their tracks.
Young continued that this macrophage-specific effect of curcumin had not been described before and because of that finding, they propose nano-emulsified curcumin has the best potential against macrophage-associated inflammation.
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.