New research validates improved function of zinc/turmeric complex, company maintains

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Adding zinc to curcumin boosts is biovailability and functionality, according to a Wisconsin-based ingredient developer and finished goods manufacturer. ©Getty Images - ollo
Adding zinc to curcumin boosts is biovailability and functionality, according to a Wisconsin-based ingredient developer and finished goods manufacturer. ©Getty Images - ollo

Related tags: Turmeric, Zinc, Antioxidant, Antioxidant capacity, Antioxidant activity, Inflammation

A Wisconsin-based supplement manufacturer has released new data showing the improved functionality of a proprietary zinc-turmeric complex that underpins a number of its products

ProbioticsSmart LLC, based in Menomonie, WI, operates the brand 24hr Supplements.  A number of experts at the company were listed as authors in a new review on metal-curcumin complexes that featured the company’s hero ingredient.  The new research was published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences​.

Curcumin, or diferuloylmethane, is the main active constituent of the spice turmeric and has been long renowned for its anti inflammatory  and other beneficial health properties. But it has also long been known that the ingredient suffers from being insoluble in water as well as exhibiting poor bioavailability, rapid metabolism and systemic elimination.

The new paper looks into the improvements in bioavailability and pharmacokinetics that can be achieved by combining curcumin with various metal ions. The researchers noted that one of moieties of the curcumin molecule is a strong chelating agent, and so reacts readily with metals. 

Metals improve function of curcumin molecule

The researchers said a number of curcumin/metal complexes have been synthesized. These range from boron, at the light end of atomic weight scale, all the way up to gold at the upper end.  The list of potential metallic partners includes copper, iron, manganese, nickel, silver and zinc.

The researchers said combining the curcumin molecule with various metals can have some important health benefits over the action of free curcumin.

“These complexes have the ability to enhance antioxidant activity; inhibit inflammation; exert antimicrobial, antiviral, and anticancer effects; and exhibit neuroprotective and gastroprotective activities,” ​the authors wrote.

The addition of a metal to the curcumin molecule improves the molecule’s already potent antioxidant potential, the authors wrote.  They maintain it does this by stabilizing the molecule when it interacts with an oxygen radical, preventing the deformation of the base curcumin molecule that results in the loss of further antioxidant potential.

“The metal seems to help stabilize this distortion of the overall structure, and this helps the curcumin–metal complex accepts the extra free radical electron even better than plain curcumin alone. This results in the occurrence of many redox cycles of curcumin and the exhibition of better antioxidant activity,” ​they wrote.

The additional of the metal component improve the pharmacological properties of curcumin when looking at other health endpoints as well, they maintained.  While the modes of action are slightly different depending on the metal and the endpoint that is being examined, the authors said a zinc/turmeric complex ticked the most boxes relevant to a dietary supplement application.

“The question of which metal complex will be the most effective for any particular health use remains to be answered. However, zinc–curcumin complexes, in particular, may prove to be useful in many health conditions related to oxidation and inflammation,”​ wrote Prafulla Kumar and his fellow co authors.

Focusing on zinc

Based on these ideas, the company developed its proprietary TurmiZn-OS ingredient.  Kumar said the use of the chelated zinc approach elegantly solves some of the curcumin molecule’s chief drawbacks with the addition of other ingredients or the excipients needed to achieve liposomal delivery forms.

“Bioavailability has always been the issue with curcumin,” ​Kumar, who is a technical sales director, told NutraIngredients-USA.  “Some companies use Bioperine (Sabinsa’s proprietary black pepper extract) to improve this.”

“We looked at which metal can give the best synergistic effect with curcumin and settled on zinc.  We manufacture our TurminZn-OS right here in Wisconsin,”​ he said.  The ingredient combines zinc, curcumin and tetrahydrocurcumin.

The ingredient features in a new joint health supplement offered by the online brand.  Other ingredients include undenatured type II collagen, MSM, glucosamine and chondroitin.  TurminZn-OS also is the main ingredient in a new multi-constituent immunity formula.

Source: International Journal of Molecular Sciences​.
DOI: 10.3390/ijms22137094
Metal-Curcumin Complexes in Therapeutics: An Approach to Enhance Pharmacological Effects of Curcumin
Authors: Prasad S, et al.

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