However, he ended that post by noting that the clinical and laboratory research proving curcumin’s effectiveness in cells often ignores the obstacles between ingestion and delivery to those cells – like skipping straight to the finish line without doing the work to train, prepare, and then race.
In this post, Dr. Bucci explains the obstacles to delivering active (or free) curcumin to cells and shows how his own decade-plus research journey revealed a solution.
Editor’s note: As always when writing about HALO, we may use the words “curcumin” and “curcuminoids” interchangeably. The latter is more accurate (HALO’s curcumin content actually comprises three different curcuminoid compounds), but referring simply to “curcumin” is often, well, simpler.
Due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions, Curcumin has long promised stunningly powerful effects against all sorts of maladies; however, these promising effects were only achievable either in vitro or with animal subjects, not humans. Regardless of the lack of success in replicating these effects in humans, curcumin has gained popularity as a supplement.
Unfortunately, curcumin only achieves its benefits when it’s delivered in its natural, unchanged molecular form, which is known as “free” curcumin. When ingested by humans, free curcumin spontaneously breaks down in the body way before it gets where it needs to be to work. Your body naturally deactivates it, marking it for disposal.
Curcumin is also notoriously finicky at the cellular uptake stage, so even if it isn’t deactivated, it doesn’t get absorbed well in the human body’s cellular membranes, where it needs to be to do its work.
A DIRTY LITTLE SECRET
Most of the studies that prove curcumin’s effectiveness essentially control conditions to eliminate these two inconvenient complications in order to ensure that free curcumin is delivered and absorbed without being deactivated by the human body’s natural metabolizing processes or rejected by cells because of its incompatibility with absorbtion gatekeepers.
To clear the first obstacle, most curcumin supplements solubilize curcumin, dissolving it in water. Unfortunately, solubilizing curcumin only makes it easier for your body to convert active free curcuminoids into useless metabolites marked for disposal. In other words, it delivers deactivated curcumin past the digestive tract, but it doesn’t deliver useful quantities of active, free curcumin to cells – and even then, any water-soluble curcumin remaining still has a final hurdle to get into your cells. To get inside cell membranes, you have to get past the water-loving exterior before getting to the fat-loving interior.
We’ve long known of the effects that curcuminoids can have, but we’ve been unable to actually realize those effects in real human bodies. Getting active, free curcumin safely out of the gut and then into cell membranes required a completely new approach.
A NEW APPROACH
The technology that makes curcumin viable and effective in human bodies didn’t exist. So First Endurance developed it.
For over a decade, I’ve been researching and conducting studies on curcumin to reconcile the disconnect between very good lab results with animals, and in vitro studies and less effective replication of those results in actual humans.
The breadcrumbs of my research path include two human studies on curcumin’s bioavailability and three reviews of published research literature. Those breadcrumbs ultimately led to HALO, which involved developing a proprietary, patent-pending technology that both protects curcumin against the body’s tendency to deactivate it and also facilitates delivery and absorption where curcumin produces its beneficial results: cell membranes.
The key for making curcumin effective in humans is Superba2™, a krill oil that suspends curcumin in, well, a halo of phospholipid protection. Superba2™ wards off deactivation and disposal, keeping free curcumin free, and it’s also uniquely compatible with cell membranes, so it reduces the process for membrane uptake from around 20 steps to 3-4 steps.
To be clear, there are other products and supplements that use fish or algal oils to attempt this, but my research has repeatedly shown Superba2™ to be the best, most effective curcumin delivery mechanism. The proprietary phospholipid delivery system protects the curcuminoids and keeps them stable so they can be delivered the right way, get as much absorbed as possible, and actually produce those anti-inflammatory effects.
Superba2™ is also rich in omega-3s. (That’s not something we can say for endurance athletes, 95% of whom are omega-3 deficient.) Cell membranes convert omega-3s as needed into a plethora of eicosanoids, resolvins and other very potent signaling molecules that help musculoskeletal tissues repair and recover – a complement to the proven benefits of curcumin. Curcumin even serves as an antioxidant protector of omega-3s, protecting them and emphasizing the work of antistress eicosanoids. And Superba2™ contains astaxanthin, a potent fat-soluble antioxidant that protects curcumin.
CONCLUSION: THE ‘WHAT’ IS CLEAR; THE ‘HOW’ IS TRICKIER
We’ve long had the study results to tell us that curcumin could produce beneficial effects on recovery and repair for connective tissues; however, those same results were difficult (or even impossible) to replicate outside of the lab, in real human bodies. We just have an unfortunate tendency to deactivate free curcumin, rendering it mostly ineffectual, and our cell membranes aren’t well-suited for absorbing curcumin on its own, regardless of its state.
By combining select curcuminoids with the phospholipid formula of Superba2™, HALO clears both hurdles, keeping free curcumin active and potent and facilitating cellular absorption when it’s delivered. HALO bridges the divide between curcumin’s promising clinical results and its real-world application.
In the first blog on HALO, we reviewed the research proving curcumin’s effects. Here, we examined how HALO actually enables those effects. The third installment will dive into the effects that HALO has on endurance athletes, including what you can expect while using it.