North America holds the largest market for curcumin, according to Mordor Intelligence, and Gencor expects the demand for this turmeric extract to keep rising, given the current pandemic. Curcumin has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine and has become popular due to its perceived potential health benefits. As consumers become more health-conscious and leery of pharmaceutical drugs, they are creating a greater demand for proven natural products that are sourced sustainably and ethically.
In addition to the health-conscious consumer, the science behind curcumin is what continues to make it popular, particularly in the arena of joint health, inflammation, immune health, aches and pain (HerbalGram. 2018;119:62-71), as well as metabolic syndrome (Foods. 2017;6:92). The use of curcumin stretches beyond dietary supplements; it is also popular in functional foods and beverages, pharmaceuticals and the cosmetics industry, notes Research and Markets.
Overcoming the golden pitfalls
As botanical ingredients gain popularity, they are more subject to contamination and adulteration—as evidenced with some suppliers of curcumin. It is critical to verify the supply chain from sourcing to finished product. Brand manufacturers must audit their ingredient suppliers and pay particular attention to how an ingredient is sourced, collected, tested, transported and stored.
In addition to adulteration issues, many curcumin studies begin with the forewarning that one of the key drawbacks of its use is curcumin’s poor bioavailability. Curcumin is a fat-soluble ingredient and has limited solubility in watery gastrointestinal (GI) environments, such as the human GI tract, providing challenges from a formulation and bioavailability perspective.
Although many consumers are taking curcumin, they may not be gaining the potential benefits due to adulteration or bioavailability concerns. It’s up to suppliers and distributors to pay close attention and educate the end consumer about the potential issues that come along with turmeric and curcumin. Additionally, it’s on industry to discover and implement the advances and technologies available to help maximize curcumin’s potential.
To read this article in its entirety, check out the Rooting for curcumin – digital magazine.
Chase Shryoc has been in the pharmaceutical and nutritional industry since 2008. His in-depth knowledge, marketing and sales experience allow him to build lasting relationships with international ingredient suppliers, manufacturers and brand owners. Shryoc has held several positions during his tenure at Gencor, from senior manager to his current role as vice president of sales and business development, where he is responsible for all North American sales.