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Delayed reporting of concussions may lead to prolonged post-concussion symptoms

According to a study published in this month’s Journal of Athletic Training, athletes who wait to report a concussion may experience prolonged recovery times. Researchers determined that athletes who delay post-concussion treatment missed close to one more week of activity than those who received immediate treatment. Athletes who do not receive immediate treatment are at risk for further damage to the brain and will most likely take much longer to recover. Previous research has also supported...Read more

DHA helps improve kidney cancer therapy according to new study

According to a new study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, researchers demonstrate that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) helps reduce renal cell carcinoma invasiveness, growth rate, and blood vessel growth when combined with the anti-cancer therapy regorafenib.  Regorafenib is one of a new generation of anti-cancer therapies that attack tyrosine kinases. Unfortunately, kidney cancers mutate to resist these therapies. However, DHA metabolites called...Read more

Study demonstrates nutritional supplements improve efficacy of antidepressants

According to an evidence review published earlier this week in the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers confirmed that certain nutritional supplements can increase the efficacy of antidepressants for individuals with clinical depression. Researchers at Harvard and the University of Melbourne examined 40 clinical trials along with a systematic review of the evidence for nutrient supplements that are used as adjuncts to help with clinical depression. As a result, fish oil, SAMe,...Read more

New study finds vitamin D improves heart function

According to a new study published Monday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, researchers demonstrated that vitamin D improves heart function in patients with chronic heart failure. Heart failure affects more than 23 million people worldwide. This statistic emphasizes the significance of this new study because it presents the first evidence that vitamin D supplementation can improve heart function of people with heart failure. The findings could make a meaningful difference in...Read more

New study shows higher doses of omega 3 fatty acids, specifically EPA, are beneficial for depression

Depression is a major cause of disease burden worldwide, affecting approximately 350 million people. For quite some time now, fish oil supplementation has been a recommended adjunct for helping with major depressive disorder (MDD). According to a new meta-analysis published two weeks ago in Translational Psychiatry, researchers have further confirmed the link between intake of omega-3 fatty acids and the reduction in major depressive disorder. This meta-analysis consisted of 13...Read more

New study reveals individuals with metabolic syndrome may require more vitamin E

New research published just two days ago in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that approximately one-third of Americans who have metabolic syndrome do not absorb dietary vitamin E as effectively as healthy individuals. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant that is essential to overall health. It is estimated that 35% of Americans have metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by having at least three of the following traits: excess abdominal fat, elevated blood pressure, low...Read more

Chemical exposure may be linked to rising rates in diabetes and obesity

According to a statement issued three days ago by the Endocrine Society, their summary links endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure to two of our biggest public health risks, diabetes and obesity. This news builds upon the Endocrine Society’s 2009 report, which examined the scientific evidence on endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and the health risks associated with them. Since 2009, additional research has demonstrated that exposure to EDCs is associated with an increased risk of diabetes...Read more

Low vitamin D associated with age-related cognitive decline and dementia

In a new study published earlier this month in JAMA Neurology, researchers demonstrated a significant association between vitamin D insufficiency and cognitive decline that is specifically seen in Alzheimer's disease and dementia. The results reinforce the importance of identifying vitamin D insufficiency among the elderly. Here, low vitamin D levels were associated with significantly faster rates of decline in memory and executive function performance. This study included approximately...Read more

Resveratrol helps to stabilize Alzheimer's disease biomarker

A new study published last week in the journal Neurology demonstrated that long-term, high-dose resveratrol stabilized amyloid-beta40 (Abeta40) in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease. This biomarker declines when the disease progresses. Even though this is a single, small study, it is the largest and longest nationwide human clinical trial of high-dose resveratrol to date. The clinical trial was a randomized, phase II, placebo-controlled, double blind study in patients with mild...Read more

New study finds high prevalence of pre-diabetes and diabetes in the U.S.

According to a new study published in JAMA just three days ago, the increasing prevalence of diabetes may be leveling off. That being said, in 2011 through 2012, the estimated prevalence of diabetes among U.S. adults was 14% and the prevalence of pre-diabetes was 38%, which means about half of the U.S. adult population has either diabetes or pre-diabetes. Diabetes is a major cause of illness and death and is still a significant problem in the U.S. The healthcare costs associated with diabetes...Read more

Vitamin D and its role in macular degeneration

Vitamin D has been extensively researched for its benefits in bone health, cancer, inflammation, and the immune system. A new study published in JAMA Ophthalmology last week found that vitamin D may be a critical player in eye health in the prevention of age-related macular degeneration, specifically among women who are genetically susceptible. This may have to do with its role in inflammation, which is believed to be involved in the development of macular degeneration. Macular...Read more

Are you allergic to the fruits and vegetables you eat? You may actually be reacting to the antibiotic residues in the food.

A recent article published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology discusses a case of a 10 year-old girl who had an anaphylactic reaction after eating blueberry pie. She had a history of asthma and seasonal allergies, and known allergies to penicillin and cow's milk, but she was not aware of being allergic to any of the ingredients in the pie. After much testing, it was discovered that the reaction was caused by streptomycin-contaminated blueberry. Streptomycin is a well-known antibiotic,...Read more

Green tea polyphenols protect spinal cord neurons against oxidative stress

Green tea polyphenols are a potential new aid for the recovery and regeneration of neurons after spinal cord injury. Several factors contribute to pathological changes secondary to spinal cord injury, with oxidative stress having a very important role. The formation of reaction oxygen species is the basic response to disease and trauma that contributes significantly to the injury. As a result, oxidative stress and inflammation cause the death of neurons and are the main processes leading to...Read more

Can probiotics help prevent obesity?

In a recent study, researchers at Vanderbilt tested a bacteria that can produce a “therapeutic compound” in the gut. The results showed that it stopped weight gain, insulin resistance and other health complications.  Past research has demonstrated that gut bacteria plays a role in the development of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.  According to Sean Davis, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology at Vanderbilt, “The types of bacteria you have in your gut influence your...Read more

Is niacin safe?

There has been some recent negative news about niacin based on the HPS2-THRIVE study, and now we see it again, this time in the New England Journal of Medicine.  Let’s take a closer look at all of this.  First, in the recent HPS2-THRIVE study, which examined an investigational drug from Merck, the researchers state that niacin does not provide any benefits. The drug they looked at is a combination of extended-release niacin and laropiprant, a drug which partially blocks the flushing...Read more

Examining immune-related disorders and microbial balance

It has become increasingly clear that many diseases are triggered or influenced by changes in bacterial populations in the gut. The general view up until now has been that bacteria stimulate the immune system, which leads to inflammation or autoimmune diseases. In a recent study published in Immunity, researchers have painted a more complex picture. The immune system of the gastrointestinal tract not only prevents the invasion of pathogens, but it is more actively involved in the balance...Read more

The human gut has only a limited ability to convert folic acid to 5-MTHF.

There has been a lot of press on the link between MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) gene mutations and chronic disease. This has resulted in a great deal of concern with the particular form of folate that doctors are giving to their patients. As Director of Clinical and Product Support here at Designs for Health, I personally speak to approximately five doctors a day about this very topic. According to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the human gut appears...Read more

Tetrahydrocurcumin: The ultimate metabolite of the curcuminoids

Posted on Fri, Dec 18, 2015 @ 09:29 AM

Screen_Shot_2015-12-16_at_11.33.28_AM.pngThere are only a few natural products that have demonstrated the wide range of protective properties as curcumin. Some of the challenges with curcumin are its poor solubility, low intestinal absorption, rapid metabolism, and rapid systemic elimination.1 Many different supplement manufacturers have tried numerous methods to enhance absorption and bioavailability with piperine, nanoparticles or emulsions. 

Turmeric’s three main bioactive components are curcumin, desmethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. These curcuminoids have many biological effects, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. However, the poor circulating bioavailability of the curcuminoids limits their biological effects in vivo.2 Recently, there has been significant attention on tetrahydrocurcumun, which is the most powerful metabolite of the curcuminoids.3 

Tetrahydrocurcumin is not typically found in turmeric extract powders containing 95% curcuminoids used in dietary supplement products, but it appears in the plasma following ingestion of curcuminoids.4 Tetrahydrocurcumin plays an important role in the antioxidant mechanism of curcumin and has been shown to be the most potent antioxidant of the curcuminoids.5 In a January 2014 study in the Nutrition Journal, several trademarked curcumin formulas were analyzed for their bioavailability. Although all of these formulations did enhance absorption of the curcuminoids, none of them significantly produced tetrahydrocurcumin in vivo.4

The free radical scavenging ability was compared in a series of studies of various curcuminoids including curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, and tetrahydrocurcumin.6 As a result, tetrahydrocurcumin was demonstrated as being the most effective, followed by curcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin.

Screen_Shot_2015-12-16_at_11.33.18_AM.pngCurcumin and tetrahydrocurcumin have distinct benefits over one another and it would make sense to have both and not just one. It would be best to consume a bioavailable curcumin product that produces significant levels of this metabolite in vivo. Most studies have indicated that tetrahydrocurcumin exhibits a higher antioxidant activity, while curcumin exhibits both pro-oxidant and antioxidant properties.7

Several independent studies reported the significant antioxidant effects of tetrahydrocurcumin.5,8,9 One study evaluated the antioxidant activity of the curcuminoids and tetrahydrocurcumin and found that tetrahydrocurcumin had the strongest antioxidant activity among all curcuminoids and, therefore, must play an important role in the antioxidant mechanism of curcumin in vivo.4

A highly absorbed curcumin formula would be the best choice to reduce peripheral inflammation directly. This may include neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, osteoarthritis, various cancers, benign prostatic hypertrophy, diabetic microangiopathy and retinopathy, anterior uveitis, maculopathy, and glaucoma. 

Tetrahydrocurcumin has been shown to have specific neuroprotective properties. One study demonstrated a protective effect of tetrahydrocurcumin against oligomeric amyloid-β-induced toxicity.10 This antioxidant activity may have a neuroprotective effect in Alzheimer’s disease.

Oxidative stress has been associated with many diseases, including diabetes. A separate study demonstrated that tetrahydrocurcumin increased the total number of insulin binding sites, resulting in a significant increase in plasma insulin. Note that this effect was superior to that of curcumin.11

Tetrahydrocurcumin also demonstrates powerful cardioprotective properties. In a study in Hypertension Research, tetrahydrocurcumin alleviated hypertension and reversed the effects of aortic wall thickness and stiffness, and oxidative stress.12 Therefore, tetrahydrocurcumin may be considered as a protective agent against cardiovascular alterations under nitric oxide-deficient conditions.

Curcumin is metabolized to tetrahydrocurcumin and both of these compounds have distinct protective properties. Curcumin binds and modulates a wide array of targets, whereas, tetrahydrocurcumin is a superior antioxidant but lacks some of the anti-inflammatory and pro-oxidant activities of curcumin.

Curcum-Evail™ is the only curcumin formula that produces the potent metabolite, tetrahydrocurcumin in vivo. It remains to be seen whether taking tetrahydrocurcumin is better than a formula that naturally produces significant levels of plasma tetrahydrocurcumin in vivo from the parent compounds. 

Research demonstrates tetrahydrocurcumin has potent antioxidant properties but if taken by itself, what does this metabolite get metabolized into? Will it appear as unconjugated tetrahydrocurcumin or some other metabolite? Will it have the same effect as what is being produced in vivo from the parent compounds? 

Curcum-Evail is a patent pending bioavailable curcuminoid formulation in a softgel from Designs for Health. It is manufactured via a new, proprietary emulsification process that uses all-natural ingredients, including vitamin E, medium chain triglycerides (MCT) and lecithin, without the use of potentially harmful surfactants.


By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN


Related DFH Product- Curcum-Evail™

Click Here to learn more about Curcum-Evail™ Featuring the New Designs For Health Evail™ Process



  1. Wahlström B, Blennow G: A study on the fate of curcumin in the rat. Acta Pharmacol Toxicol (Copenh) 1978, 43:86–92.
  2. Huang MT et al. (1997) Inhibitory effects of curcumin on tumorigenesis in mice. J Cell Biochem Suppl, 27:26-34.
  3. Pan, M.H. et al. (1999) Biotransformation of curcumin through reduction and glucuronidation in mice. Drug Metab. Dispos. 27(4):486-94.
  4. Jäger R, Lowery RP, Calvanese AV, Joy JM, Purpura M, Wilson JM. Comparative absorption of curcumin formulations.Nutrition Journal. 2014;13:11. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-11.
  5. Osawa, T. et al. (1995) Antioxidative activity of the Tetrahydrocurcuminoids. Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem. 59(9): 1609-12.
  6. Research Report No. 786, Sabinsa Corporation, U.S.A. (1995)
  7. B. Aggarwal, L. Deb, S. Prasad. Curcumin Differs from Tetrahydrocurcumin for Molecular Targets, Signaling Pathways and Cellular Responses. Molecules 2015, 201(1), 185-205
  8. Sugiyama, Y. (1996) Involvement of the beta-diketone moiety in the antioxidative mechanism of Tetrahydrocurcumin. Biochem Pharmacol, 52(4):519-25 Aug 23
  9. Nakamura, Y. et al. (1998) Inhibitory effects of curcumin and Tetrahydrocurcuminoids on the tumor- promoter-induced reactive oxygen species generation in leukocytes, in vitro and in vivo. Jpn J Cancer Res, 89(4):361-70
  10. Mishra S, Mishra M, Seth P, Sharma SK. Tetrahydrocurcumin confers protection against amyloid β-induced toxicity. Neuroreport 2011 Jan 5;22(1):23-7.
  11. Murugan P, Pari L, Rao CA. Effects of tetrahydrocurcumin on insulin receptor status in type 2 diabetic rats: studies on insulin binding to erythrocytes.
  12. Nakmareong S, Kukingviriyapan U, Pakdeechote P, Kukingviriyapan V, Kongyingyoes B, Donpunha W, Prachaney P, Phisalaphong C. Tetrahydrocurcum alleviates hypertension, aortic stiffness and oxidative stress in rats with nitric oxide deficiency. Hypertension Research. 2012 Apr;35(4):418-25.

Tags: curcumin, Antioxidant, Inflammation

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