Archive for September, 2014
By Jennifer Morganti, ND, NEEDS Director of Education
Curcumin, derived from the Indian spice turmeric, is undoubtedly on my top-five favorites list, because it covers the majority of health issues that most people are concerned about. It is so versatile, it could single-handedly replace several different supplements in your pill box. This herb has a low absorption rate, so manufacturers have created options that use different technology to improve effectiveness. Better absorption equates to lower doses.
It’s exciting to see all the new curcumin supplements on the market, but how do you know which one to use? Unfortunately, you can not simply use the culinary spice from the grocery store because the quality isn’t guaranteed. You could buy the fresh root (organic) and grind it up daily, but that takes some serious dedication; therefore, taking curcumin in supplement form is the easiest and most effective way to benefit from this superstar herb.
There are a lot of options when looking for a quality curcumin product. To help simplify the process, we broke down all the variations and gave a simple summary for each so that you can choose a product that fits your needs.
Standardization is a common way to extract herbs and make sure they meet minimum potency of certain natural chemicals. A standardized turmeric extract should offer 95% total curcuminoids. This indicates a quality herbal extract, but unfortunately it doesn’t guarantee 100% absorption due to the nature of this ingredient.
C3 offers 95% total cucuminoids and the extraction process ensures the presence of all three naturally-occurring curcuminoids: curcumin, demethoxy curcumin, and bisdemethoxy curcumin. There are no excipients or additives to the C3 extract. Over 70 research papers have been published on this particular ingredient.
Bioperine, known as piperine, a black pepper extract, has been shown to enhance curcumin absorption (as well as other nutrients). It may help with emulsification and nutrient transport.
Meriva uses non-GMO soy lecithin-derived Phosphatidylcholine to embed the curcumin molecule. This makes it more acceptable to phospholipid membranes (found on most cells), and therefore better absorbed into cell membranes.
Longvida uses a similar concept to Meriva, creating a “Solid Lipid Curcumin Particle” in an optimized lipophilic matrix for better absorption through the cell membrane.
This ingredient extracts all three of the important curcuminoids plus naturally-occurring essential oils through steam distillation and ethanol, making it extremely safe. It is 100% turmeric with no additives or fillers.
This technology makes curcumin more water-soluble (and therefore more absorbable) by combining the powder with a vegetable gum-derived from the ghatti tree. This significantly improves the percentage of curcumin that gets absorbed through the intestines and into the blood.
MicroActive Curcumin – SR
This is a sustained release formulation that allows for slower, but more consistent absorption. The technology makes microparticles so it is water soluble and better absorbed through the use of carriers that assist in passing through the intestinal wall.
Choosing a curcumin product may not be a simple task, but with the assistance of a NEEDS wellness educator, you’ll be able to choose one that’s right for you!
Carol B. Blair, BS, DiHom, CNC
We’ve all heard the ads about high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) with the catch phrase “Sugar is sugar.” Not true! Because high-fructose corn syrup is derived from corn (genetically modified, at that), the corn industry tried to call it “corn sugar,” but the FDA denied their claim. As you know, I am not a fan of the FDA, but it appears they finally got something right!
High-fructose corn syrup is highly processed and that processing comes with a price.
First and foremost, according to research published in Environmental Health, most of it is contaminated with mercury, which is used in the processing. Mercury is a poison linked to brain disorders including tremors, Parkinson’s, memory loss, and even Alzheimer’s. Remember the “mad hatters?” That term was coined because mercury was used in the hat-making process, and the makers went “mad.”
Due to the fact that high-fructose corn syrup metabolizes to fat very quickly in the body, and because of its rapid absorption into the blood stream, it causes insulin spikes. Weight gain is the result because insulin is a fat-storing hormone. Also, Dr. Mark Hyman states that HFCS “goes right to the liver and triggers lipogenesis (the production of fats like triglycerides and cholesterol); this is why it is the major cause of liver damage in this country and causes a condition called ‘fatty liver,’ which affects 70 million people.” Other metabolic disturbances such as increased appetite, accelerated aging, and diabetes also occur.
So what are some of the major products that contain high-fructose corn syrup? Unless you are a label reader (I am!), you’ll probably be surprised. Here are some of the common ones: cereal, salad dressing, pudding mixes, many yogurts (you just think you’re eating something healthy with many brands), candy, chocolate bars, ketchup, juices, bread, and pizza sauce. However, soft drinks are the biggest culprit of all. Many people have a very bad habit of drinking soft drinks instead of water. Don’t make the mistake of drinking low calorie, artificially sweetened, soft drinks as a replacement. I haven’t decided yet which one is worse–the high-fructose corn syrup or the artificial sweeteners!
We all know sugar isn’t good for us but the catch phrase, “Sugar is sugar,” is not true. High-fructose corn syrup is used because it is cheap–plain and simple. Don’t sacrifice your health for it.