A Chapter on Bioavailability and Metabolism of Curcuminoids by Wolfgang Quitschke, PhD Published by Springer Science

A chapter on Bioavailability and Metabolism of Curcuminoids by associate professor Wolfgang Quitschke, PhD was published in August 2012 by Springer Science in a book titled Natural Compounds as Inducers of Cell Death, Volume I.

Dr. Quitschke is a leading expert on curcuminoids — naturally occurring substances found in the spice turmeric which is used in curries and other Indian dishes. Medical researchers are interested in curcuminoids because they have been shown in laboratory studies to kill or inhibit the growth of cells implicated in cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, and to have other beneficial effects on health. To produce these effects in living animals, however, scientists need to understand the chemical properties and metabolic processes that determine the bioavailability of curcuminoids in living animals.

In his chapter, Dr. Quitschke describes the chemical properties of the curcuminoids, considering in detail how their relative insolubility hinders absorption into the bloodstream. After describing how ingested curcumin is distributed to tissues and excreted, Dr. Quitschke describes curcumin metabolism in detail. These analyses provide the basis for a section on strategies for increasing curcumin bioavailability. 

Dr. Quitschke concludes that despite the low levels of curcumin circulating in the blood stream, the detection of surprisingly high concentrations in cells and tissues suggests that curcumin may have a better therapeutic potential than expected, especially if its solubility can be enhanced and it can be rendered into an injectable form.

Dr. Quitschke is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University. Natural Compounds as Inducers of Cell Death, Volume I was edited by Marc Diederich and Karoline Noworyta.