Therabiopharma’s bioavailability boost for curcumin leads to plans for immunity, cognition and osteoarthritis studies

By Guan Yu Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Japan-based Therabiopharma published the findings of its latest study, showing that its new curcumin formulation (curcuRouge) had higher bioavailability in human participants, compared to other highly bioavailable commercial curcumin formulas.   ©Getty Images
Japan-based Therabiopharma published the findings of its latest study, showing that its new curcumin formulation (curcuRouge) had higher bioavailability in human participants, compared to other highly bioavailable commercial curcumin formulas. ©Getty Images

Related tags Japan Curcumin Bioavailability

Japan-based Therabiopharma says new findings show its curcumin formulation curcuRouge has displayed impressive bioavailability and is now trialling its efficacy in immunity, cognition and osteoarthritis studies.

Therabiopharma is a biotechnology company developing functional ingredients and delivery systems for the nutraceutical and medical industries.

curcuRouge is a novel curcumin preparation with amorphous formulation and showed more than three-folds higher bioavailability than that of a comparison product.

In the rat study, the bioavailability of curcuRouge was 3.7-fold higher.

In the human study comprising 12 volunteers, the bioavailability of curcuRouge was 3.4-fold higher.

The study was funded by the Japan Science and Technology Agency and Therabiopharma Inc, and published in the Journal of Functional Foods​.

Higher bioavailability

Curcumin derived from Curcuma longa​ has beneficial pharmacological effects and can be used as a supplement to prevent lifestyle-related diseases and skin disorders. However, its low bioavailability and poor water solubility limits its widespread application.

curcuRouge was developed in early 2020 by Therabiopharma in collaboration with Professor Tatsuya Morimoto from the Division of Molecular Medicine, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, at the University of Shizuoka.

curcuRouge is an amorphous formulation containing the curcumin extract, modified starch and corn starch.

Morimoto explained to NutraIngredients-Asia​: “curcuRouge is the amorphous structured curcumin which has much better moving freedom as a molecule than the crystal structure. This is the fundamental difference of the technology and amorphous can be a better structure for bioavailability. Our clinical trial results have clearly indicated the superiority​.”

Theracurmin’s particles are small and uniform (0.19 µm) but curcuRouge’s particle size were more slightly below 10 µm and non-uniform.

Study design

For the human clinical study, healthy adults recruited were between 19 to 60 years old with a body mass index (BMI) of 18.0 to 30.0 kg/m2​ at screening.

Volunteers were tasked to consume curcuRouge (3 capsules, 90mg curcumin) and blood samples were collected at baseline, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, and 8 hours after consumption.

Bioavailability was calculated using the maximum plasma concentration (Cmax​) and time to reach maximum concentration (Tmax​).

curcuRouge exhibited significantly higher plasma curcumin concentrations at 0.5, 1, 2, and 4 hours than the comparison product.

The Cmax​ of curcuRouge (1337 ± 955 nmol/L, p​ < 0.002) was 5.4-fold higher (248 ± 141 nmol/L), indicating that it could achieve Tmax​ in a shorter time in humans.

Upcoming studies

There were no adverse effects observed in the human participants. Researchers commented, “This novel type of curcumin preparation may be safe and useful to enhance the physiological activities of curcumin at low doses​.”

According to Tadashi Hashimoto, CEO at Therabiopharma, curcuRouge is now being tested in other clinical trials, assessing its effect on immunity, mild cognitive impairment, and osteoarthritis.

He hopes to collaborate with companies in Japan as well as worldwide to incorporate curcuRouge in functional products.


Source: Journal of Functional Foods

“A novel amorphous preparation improved curcumin bioavailability in healthy volunteers: A single-dose, double-blind, two-way crossover study”

Authors: Tatsuya Morimoto, et al​.

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