RF Tayyem, DD Heath, WK Al-Delaimy and CL Rock,
Nutrition and cancer, 2006
Curcumin, derived from the rhizome curcuma longa, is one of the primary ingredients in turmeric and curry powders that are used as spices in Middle Eastern and Asian countries, especially on the Indian subcontinent. More recently, laboratory studies have demonstrated that dietary curcumin exhibits various biological activities and significantly inhibits colon tumorigenesis and tumor size in animals. Curcumin displays both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, giving it the potential to be considered in the development of cancer preventive strategies and applications in clinical research. Experimental studies have shown the biological activities of the compound, but much more information on pharmacokinetics, bioavailability, and food content are needed. Whether the amount of curcumin in turmeric and curry powders is sufficient to suggest effects on biological activities and cancer risk is unknown. To determine and compare the quantitative amounts of curcumin that are present in several brands of turmeric and curry powders, a high performance liquid chromatography technique was used to analyze 28 spice products described as turmeric or curry powders and two negative controls. Pure turmeric powder had the highest curcumin concentration, averaging 3.14% by weight. The curry powder samples, with one exception, had relatively small amounts of curcumin present, and the variability in content was great. The curcumin content of these seasoning products that are consumed as a component of the diet should be considered in evaluating baseline tissue concentration and response to curcumin supplementation, which is under study in chemoprevention trials.