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Turmeric, Hold the Black Pepper Please!

Curcuma longa (Turmeric) natural synergy with actives and oils

Turmeric is a popular culinary spice and has become a very popular nutraceutical supplement. As with any exciting commodity there is a race to steal market share between the big boys that are making and supplying the raw ingredients. No one can own turmeric so everyone wants to find a new innovative process that they can own, patent, trademark or secure exclusivity for to maximise profit.

But nature knows best. The best turmeric is fresh turmeric, straight out of the ground and onto your plate. Of course this isn’t possible for everyone and definitely isn’t possible to do in supplemental form. So the next best option is to understand why fresh is best and how can we harness that for supplements.

If you have ever had access to turmeric root fresh out of the ground, you would have noticed the intense colour and fragrance compared to the dry powder spice. It is also very oily and that oil stains everything a vivid golden colour including your fingers, kitchen benches, glass jars and of course the wife’s brand new blender!

Turmeric contains essential oils known as volatile oils. They are often lost in processing and no longer present in most herbal extracts. These volatile oils are the compounds responsible for carrying the turmeric active ingredients into your body. Without these natural volatile oils the active ingredients of turmeric are no longer active.

ATP Science has gone to great lengths to source high potency turmeric extract with the volatile oils intact and preserved and available to act as a vehicle to drive the active curcuminoids into the body.

Other strategies to improve turmeric absorption include the addition of black pepper. We purposely did not add black pepper extract into our product for a couple of reasons.

1. Black pepper increases absorption of certain nutrients by inhibiting certain detoxification pathways. It blocks phase 2 glucuronidation to slow down the ability of the liver to detoxify chemicals and hormones and thereby allowing things to slip through. Phase 2 glucuronidation pathways are very important to help detoxify such things as toxic metabolites of estrogen, xeno estrogens, plastics and other pollutanats, other forms of toxic exposure, that contribute to hormonal dysregulation. By adding a concentrated black pepper extract to aid the absorption of the curcuminoids it may reduce the efficacy of other products that are used in combination with it that are designed to support healthy estrogen detoxification. 

2. Black pepper’s effect on the ultrastructure of intestinal brush border; meaning it works on mucosa as an irritant to make the membrane more permeable. This is the reason why we added black pepper to the topical range (Block E3, Subcut and Prototype 8) to enhance penetration but have excluded it from oral supplements to prevent irritation to the gut wall.

There is some other new technology whereby active ingredients are chemically altered and added to a synthetic version of these same volatile oils to aid absorption but this technology is very new and although it shows good bioavailability there is yet to show any improvements to the way it works in the body and until the efficacy and safety of these new synthetic versions have adequate studies to establish the risk: benefit ratio than there is no need to tamper with nature; especially when nature has it already worked out just fine and the only reason why people are trying to be smarter than nature is to get exclusivity via patents.

In saying that we will continue to observe and follow the scientific innovations to make sure we are riding the crest of the wave of scientific innovation as long as the process follows the laws of nature and is not innovating purely for innovation sake.

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