A new comparative absorption study found Meriva®, a proprietary formulation of curcumin with soy lecithin, had a marked increase of absorption compared to plain curcumin (J Nat Prod. ePub 17 March 2011. DOI: 10.1021/np1007262). The study was conducted by researchers from USANA in collaboration with researchers from Milan, Italy-based Indena, the supplier of Meriva.
For the randomized, double blind, crossover study, plasma concentrations of 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. Overall curcuminoid absorption was approximately 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.
Giovanni Appendino, professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Eastern Piedmont and a scientific advisor to Indena, commented: “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."