A recently published double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study investigated a new aspect of curcumin with a trial on the impact of curcuminoids on the gut microbiome in humans.

Effects of Turmeric and Curcumin Dietary Supplementation on Human Gut Microbiota: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study by Christine T. Peterson PhD et al published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine (Volume 23: 1-8) examined the effects of placebo, Turmeric powder in combination with BioPerine®, and Curcumin C3 Complex® in combination with BioPerine as actives. Sabinsa supplied Curcumin C3 Complex and BioPerine material to the research team, which was affiliated with several universities in the USA.

The study found that while both turmeric and curcuminoids have similar qualitative effects on the intestinal bacterial population, curcuminoids had a far larger quantitative effect, indicating that curcuminoids in turmeric are the decisive components in influencing the bacterial population. Thus, curcuminoids have an unique role and effect on the gut microbiome in the sense that they are not only metabolized to useful products such as reductive metabolites like tetrahydrocurcumin (by E. coli) and to demethylated curcuminoids (by Blautia sp.) as demonstrated by previous researchers, but they also increase the population of several species of gut microbiome.

Unlike prebiotics, which are necessarily driven by catabolism of sugar components, the researchers attribute the “prebiotic-like” effects of curcuminoids to suitable alterations of host physiology congenial to the growth of beneficial microbiota. Among the subjects in the study were responders and non-responders. The researchers theorized that subjects with poor absorption of the actives are probably the best responders.

Curcuminoids provided by Curcumin C3 Complex had a positive influence on Bacteroidetes among others thus demonstrating for the first time in a human clinical study the beneficial effect of curcuminoids on gut microbiota population redistribution. The study used as much 6g/day of Curcumin C3 Complex, further reinforcing the existing safety data on the product.

“To my knowledge this is the first human study on curcuminoids on human microbiome,” said Dr. Majeed. “It constitutes a new direction in curcumin research, adding to the extensive body of science that has already been published on quite a few different benefits. It’s important to point out that Curcumin C3 Complex and BioPerine are both unique ingredients, so it should not be assumed that the same effects would be observed universally with all generic material.”