The growing evidence about the clinical application of naturally occurring phytochemicals has revealed multiple phytochemicals’ detoxifying properties. Curcumin, commonly known as turmeric, has previously reported anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancerous, and chemo-therapeutic properties. Also, curcumin supplementation has proven to be effective in conditions like diabetes, neuropathies, cardiovascular disease, and liver disease. Nevertheless, it is commonly used as a spice that provides a yellow coloration to many dishes.
Commonly known as turmeric, curcumin is a rhizome that comes from Curcuma longa. It could be easily found in markets as a powder or as a bark; it is very similar to ginger bark. Turmeric has three major curcuminoids that confer different functions.
Curcumin has low chemical stability and poor bioavailability. That is why the function of curcumin’s metabolites es more studied. There are three primary forms in which curcumin could be found in the mammalian body, free, conjugated, and reduced. For example, oral administration of curcumin translates to a conjugated state. However, if curcumin is administered intravenously, it would be reduced to dihydro curcumin. Regardless of the administration, free curcumin has been found in the plasma and liver tissues of rats.
In the intestine, curcuminoids metabolites have a moderate absorption than curcumin, desmethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. Besides this, the relationship between host-microbiota plays a significant role in curcumin’s metabolism. The primary metabolic process in human microbiota includes demethoxylation, reduction, hydroxylation, methylation, and acetylation, resulting in stable curcuminoids’ metabolites.
Curcumin’s Antioxidant effect
The prevention of chronic diseases had become a principal role of phytochemicals usage. Curcumin’s ability to scavenge free radicals is related to its potential to donate electron groups. Therefore, resulting in free radical removal and prevention of reactive oxygen species prevention.
Curcumin inhibits the ROS production on cells with influenza A virus (IAV)- induced oxidant stress and downregulated the activation of toll-like receptors (TLR), suppressing the IVA infection.
Prevents hyperglycemia-induced oxidative stress on diabetic mice by inhibiting ROS, improving the functions of DNA methyltransferase (DNMT).
Prevents the depletion of antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase and glutathione.
Administration of curcumin results in amelioration of aflatoxin B1-induced effects via increases in the level of GSH, gene expression, and activities of antioxidant enzymes, such as catalase (CAT), SOD, glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), and glutathione-S-transferase (GST).
Curcumin and detoxification
Oxidative stress induction is a potent promoter of different components that could potentially promote mutation. Nevertheless, curcumin supplantation has been shown to work against these mutation promoters. Curcuminoids have been shown to modulate phase 1 enzymes resulting in a reduction of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), a potent mycotoxin linked to carcinogenesis.
The phase-1 enzyme cytochrome p450 can metabolize AFB1 into its harmful metabolites. Recent studies have elucidated that multiple CYP enzymes can allow the biotransformation of AFB1 to aflatoxin-8,9-epoxide (AFBO) and AFM1 AFP1, AFQ1, considered toxic metabolites. However, AFBO is the most potent metabolite, and it can react with DNA resulting in mutations, ultimately leading to weakened protein biosynthesis.
In recent studies, the use of curcumin has effectively reduced the AFB1-induced oxidative stress. Besides, when hepatic tissue is treated with AFB1 morphological changes appear. Recent studies report that supplementation of curcumin reverses this condition and repairs serum biochemical changes.
The enzymes involved in AFB1 biotransformation are CYP1A1, CYP1A2, CYP2A6, and CYP3A4 (data from poultry species). However, CYP1A1, CYP1A2, CYP3A4, and CYP2A6 are up-regulated by AFB1, promoting its biotransformation, which means that the regulation of these phase-1 enzymes is providing a promising treatment. Curcumin supplementation is linked with reduced mRNA of these CYP enzymes. This shows the importance of modulatory action of curcuminoids on CYP modulation and downregulation of AFB1 and AFBO.
On the other hand, Nrf2, a potent detoxification phase II enzyme-inducer, is upregulated by curcumin. Nrf2 is a crucial chemopreventive compound. It has shown to be a promotor of GST enzymes responsible for detoxification of AFB1. Meanwhile, curcumin supplementation reversed the AFB1-induced decrease in Nrf2, GSTA3, and GSTM2 mRNA and protein expression levels. Furthermore, curcumin improved GST enzyme activity involved in the detoxification of AFB1.
Curcumin’s regulation of inflammatory cytokines
An uncontrolled inflammatory response is often the underlying cause of any chronic condition—the upregulation of proinflammatory cytokines such as TNF-a, IL-6, and interleukin-1B. Curcumin’s regulatory influence on pro-inflammatory cytokines is promoted by inhibiting the glycoprotein 120- induced upregulation of the cytokines mentioned above and interferon-y.
However, curcumin supplementation’s additional effect is the stimulation of anti-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-10 and transforming growth factor-beta. Also, curcumin is associated with the suppression and inactivation of nuclear factor KB and the downregulation of COX-2.
Inflammation and weight
While inflammation can play an essential role in the development of chronic diseases, weight is also an important factor, Despite the belief that detoxification can promote weight loss, this is mainly possible if the detox protocol involves fasting. Nevertheless, body composition assessment and detoxification protocols can be part of a nutritional assessment. Get more information below.
The different clinical applications and the influence of curcumin on different regulatory pathways make this bark-like spice an important nutraceutical. In addition to the mentioned benefits, its direct effect is related to the treatment of hepatotoxicity and drug detoxification. In fact, the supplementation of 500mg of curcumin in humans promotes antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties linked to the prevention of multiple chronic diseases. – Ana Paola R. Arciniega. Master in clinical nutrition
From the kitchen to your genes
I don’t know about you, but I was so cold today! Plus, I felt inspired after reading and learning all about curcumin. How do you think about a nice cup of golden milk?
· 1 tsp of curcumin
· ½ tsp cinnamon
· vanilla extract
· sweetener, I choose agave honey
· 1 cup of almond milk (or any kind: coconut, oat, soy, rice,1%)
· you can add ginger if you want to
Heat the milk in a pot at medium temperature, add the ingredients and mix for 3-5 min.
Muhammad, Ishfaq et al. “Dual Role of Dietary Curcumin Through Attenuating AFB1-Induced Oxidative Stress and Liver Injury via Modulating Liver Phase-I and Phase-II Enzymes Involved in AFB1 Bioactivation and Detoxification.” Frontiers in pharmacology vol. 9 554. 25 May. 2018,
Xu, Xiao-Yu et al. “Bioactivity, Health Benefits, and Related Molecular Mechanisms of Curcumin: Current Progress, Challenges, and Perspectives.” Nutrients vol. 10,10 1553. 19 Oct. 2018, doi:10.3390/nu10101553
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, CTG*
Licensed in Texas & New Mexico