Absorption of Curcuminoids Increased 29-fold with Meriva®

A comparative human pharmacokinetic study showed a 29-fold increase in absorption of curcuminoids when administered as a Phytosome® formulation as opposed to their ordinary form.

Apr 06, 2011, 08:17 ET from Indena

MILAN, April 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In a new comparative absorption study[1] published in the Journal of Natural Products Meriva®, an Indena proprietary formulation of curcumin with soy lecithin, has shown a marked increase of absorption in comparison to plain curcumin.

In this randomized, double-blind, crossover study, a collaboration between USANA and Indena scientists, the plasma concentration of the three curcuminoids present in commercial curcumin (curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin) was measured in nine volunteers after supplementation with two dosages of Meriva® and one dosage of a corresponding curcuminoid mixture. Subjects consumed five (low-dose) or nine (high-dose) capsules of Meriva®, corresponding to 209 and 376 mg total curcuminoids, or, alternatively, five capsules of the corresponding non-formulated curcuminoid mixture containing 1799 mg of total curcuminoids.

The results showed that the overall curcuminoid absorption was about 29-fold higher for Meriva® compared to the unformulated curcuminoid mixture, while a 50 to 60-fold higher absorption was observed for demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. The improved absorption, and possibly also a better plasma curcuminoid profile, might underlie the clinical efficacy of Meriva® at doses significantly lower than unformulated curcuminoid mixtures. [2-4]

Commenting on the results of the study Giovanni Appendino, Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Eastern Piedmont and Indena Scientific Advisor, said: "this Meriva® study represents one of the more significant advances in turmeric research. For the first time, a dramatic formulation-dependent increase in the bioavailability of curcuminoids in humans has been demonstrated, highlighting that curcuminoids have different absorption properties, and that the presence of lipids, as in Meriva® and in the traditional culinary use of turmeric, critically magnifies them. These results will open up new areas of clinical research on curcumin, rationalizing the clinical efficacy of Meriva® at dosages much lower than those of curcumin, and successfully addressing the issue of megadoses that has plagued the clinical research on curcumin."

About curcumin

Curcumin is the yellow pigment of turmeric (Curcuma longa L.), the most important spice of the Indian cuisine, and a major ingredient of curry powders. In Asian Medicine, turmeric is used for the treatment of inflammation and joint pain. In Western countries, it is mainly employed as a food additive to color dairy products (cheese and yogurts), margarine and canned food. With over 100 molecular targets identified and almost 3,000 pre-clinical investigations, curcumin is one of the best investigated natural products of the whole biomedical literature; these studies have demonstrated its action as a master switch of inflammation. Nevertheless, just like most dietary phenolics, curcumin shows a very poor oral absorption. These problems have now been largely overcome by the patented formulation of curcumin with soy phospholipids that is capitalizing the basic tenets of the Phytosome® strategy to improve the bioavailability by offering a higher stability and oral absorption in comparison with unformulated curcumin.

About Meriva®

Meriva® is a patented formulation of curcumin, a dietary phenolic, with soy phospholipids. The two ingredients are combined in a 1:2 weight ratio, and two parts of microcrystalline cellulose are then added to improve the flowability, with an overall content of curcumin of 20%. Meriva® is already included as an ingredient in food supplements marketed in USA, Canada and EU.

Meriva® has been elected "Best New Product" of the year by the judging panel of the European Outsourcing Awards.

USANA Health Sciences, Inc. develops and manufactures high-quality nutritionals, personal care, energy and weight management products that are sold directly to Preferred Customers and Associates throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Mexico, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Learn more at our website (www.usana.com), read our blog (www.whatsupusana.com), like us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/usanahealthsciences), or follow us on Twitter (@usanainc) Indena is the leading company dedicated to the identification, development and production of active principles derived from plants, for use in the pharmaceutical, health food and cosmetics industries. Backed up by 90 years of botanical experience, the key to Indena's success is its intense research activity. The company has more than 150 primary patents and has published more than 700 scientific studies. Indena employs more than 700 staff, including 10% dedicated to full-time research activities carried out at Settala Research Center, near Milan. Indena also co-operates with the world's most prestigious universities and private research institutions. Headquartered in Milan, Indena has 5 production sites and 4 international branches throughout the world and manages distribution operations in more than 40 countries. The Company's experts communicate and interact constantly with the major international regulatory authorities such as WHO, EMEA, and ESCOP, and cooperate on the update of all the main pharmacopoeias.

Further Information on Indena: www.indena.com

Further information on Indena Phytosome®: www.phytosomes.info


  1. Cuomo, J., et al., Comparative Absorption of a Standardized Curcuminoid Mixture and Its Lecithin Formulation. J Nat Prod, 2011. Full study available at: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/np1007262
  2. Belcaro, G., et al., Product-evaluation registry of Meriva(R), a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, for the complementary management of osteoarthritis. Panminerva Med, 2010. 52(2 Suppl 1): p. 55-62. Full study available at: http://www.minervamedica.it/it/riviste/panminerva-medica/articolo.php?cod=R41Y2010N05A0055
  3. Belcaro, G., et al., Efficacy and safety of Meriva(R), a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, during extended administration in osteoarthritis patients. Altern Med Rev, 2010. 15(4): p. 337-44. Full study available at: http://altmedrev.com/sobi2.html?sobi2Task=dd_download&fid=489
  4. Allegri, P., A. Mastromarino, and P. Neri, Management of chronic anterior uveitis relapses: efficacy of oral phospholipidic curcumin treatment. Long-term follow-up. Clin Ophthalmol, 2010. 4: p. 1201-6. Full study available at: http://www.dovepress.com/management-of-chronic-anterior-uveitis-relapses-efficacy-of-oral-phosp-peer-reviewed-article-OPTH