The past three decades have witnessed a large number of clinical studies, including a multitude of randomized controlled clinical trials, investigating the therapeutic benefits of various turmeric and curcumin preparations, with varying degrees of clinical benefit.
All sources of orally consumed nutrients must pass through the gut before moving along to the rest of the body. The pharmaceutical approach of concentrated single entities, however, may have been heading in the wrong direction for leveraging the therapeutic potential of turmeric.
Bioavailability is not simply absorption of higher amounts of the nutrient into the blood but defined as delivery of a biologically active compound to a target tissue. Recent studies now show evidence that the gut microbiome is influential in every aspect of human metabolism, making it an important mediator of phytonutrients. Therefore, the gut and its microbiota are the primary targets of medicinal compounds like turmeric. The large increases in the absorption of curcumin, using “bioavailability-enhanced” curcumin compounds, (including dozens of synthetic analogs of curcumin), however, result in only small increases in free curcumin, subsequently resulting in limited increases in bioactivity. And a growing number of studies show curcumin, specifically in combination with those derivatives, may be detrimental to the regulating effects in the gut microbiota.
A study in Phytotherapy Research (2017) shows components of the whole turmeric root, a Complete Turmeric Matrix, (CTM), have proven that the therapeutic effect of turmeric extends beyond curcuminoids alone. The evidence shows that some of curcumin’s bioactivities may be achieved in smaller amounts but in a CTM form make the difference and that curcumin’s interaction with the human gut microbiome may be a key mechanism driving its bioactivity.
Turmeric and its phytonutrients, like curcumin, have been shown to also support normal balance of the expression of various inflammatory agents in the gut. Turiva by OrthoMolecular is a Complete Tumeric Matrix that helps maintain normal inflammatory balance, promotes microbiome diversity, supports normal intestinal barrier function and helps balance immune function.