What is the best way to take curcumin for bioavailability?

What is the best way to take curcumin for bioavailability?

Curcumin is a popular dietary supplement because of its well-known and proven antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. It is extracted from the roots of the turmeric plant, and it usually comes in powder form.

Generally, the biggest issue with taking curcumin is its low bioavailability, which means fast metabolism and low absorption. However, there are many things to improve it and take the best possible out of your daily dosage of curcumin!

Keep reading and find out what is the best way to take curcumin supplements.

Curcumin - Bioavailability and Absorption

Curcumin is the dominant polyphenol in turmeric powder, responsible for giving it its characteristic bright yellow color.

However, the polyphenolic chemical structure is what prevents curcumin from being highly absorbed by the body. At the usual physiological pH, curcumin is not soluble in water at all. It is also sensitive to light and relatively chemically unstable. Once it passes through the stomach, it only partly gets absorbed in the small intestine and goes through extensive reduction in the liver and the gallbladder (1).

For all these reasons, curcumin supplements are specially formulated to keep it protected from light, low pH, and fast degradation. However, the right timing and way of ingesting curcumin is still key for increased bioavailability, and there are many ways in which it can be improved.

When and how should I take curcumin?

Because curcumin is very poorly soluble in water, it should be taken while eating something fatty, preferably oil or egg-based food. For example, it could be when you're eating a salad with some olive oil, or an omelette. Any other fat-based food would work, such as:

  • avocados,
  • soy,
  • fish oil supplements,
  • chicken thighs,
  • salmon,
  • cheese,
  • cream,
  • various sauces etc.

It also helps if you implement more turmeric into your meals.

Some specific ingredients can help with curcumin absorption as well. Namely, those are piperine, the active ingredient in pepper, and lecithin, which stands for a group of phospholipids, usually isolated from soy or eggs.

Some studies have shown that piperine increases the bioavailability of curcumin by up to 2000% when both are in isolated form (2). It can even help if you spice your food with some pepper, even though the concentrations of piperine would then be relatively low.

Lecithin is another reason why taking curcumin supplements with eggs or soy is a good idea. Lecithins are not just one molecule, but a whole group of specific lipids which build cellular membranes. As lipids, they are hydrophobic and fat, which helps with curcumin absorption. Lecithin is not as effective as piperine, but it increases its bioavailability in isolated form (3).

Interestingly, a study found that the encapsulation of curcumin together with whey protein also increases curcumin´s bioavailability (), so it´s an option to take it with your whey smoothie or drink as well.

Read our other articles on curcumin:


  1. Heger M., van Golen R.F., Broekgaarden M., Michel M.C. The Molecular Basis for the Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics of Curcumin and Its Metabolites in Relation to Cancer. Pharmacol. Rev. 2013 doi: 10.1124/pr.110.004044.
  2. Shoba G., Joy D., Joseph T., Majeed M., Rajendran R., Srinivas P.S. Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta Med. 1998;64:353–356. doi: 10.1055/s-2006-957450.
  3. Cuomo J, Appendino G, Dern AS, Schneider E, McKinnon TP, Brown MJ, Togni S, Dixon BM. Comparative absorption of a standardized curcuminoid mixture and its lecithin formulation. J Nat Prod. 2011 Apr 25;74(4):664-9. doi: 10.1021/np1007262
  4. Jayaprakasha GK, Chidambara Murthy KN, Patil BS. Enhanced colon cancer chemoprevention of curcumin by nanoencapsulation with whey protein. Eur J Pharmacol. 2016 Oct 15;789:291-300. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2016.07.017.



Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

Featured collection

Blog post

Give your customers a summary of your blog post