Curcumin update: What about Theracurmin?


I’m going to try to make this a quick post… partly to see if I’m capable of doing a quick post. (I’ve had some trouble striking the right balance between frequency of posts and quality.) Of the 13 or so long posts that I’ve written, the one that got the most attention was the most recent one in “honor” of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. However, the one I’m asked about the most is certainly the post about Curcumin. There has been a lot of discussion about how to validly compare the absorption studies of the various brands, and this past week two people asked me about Theracurmin, a brand I had not previously discussed. The reason I had not discussed it is that, frankly, for whatever reason, I’d never heard of it. So, I went digging online to see what I could find. Like all the other brands discussed in the prior curcumin post, Theracurmin claims to have the best absorption. As I’ve mentioned, to achieve even halfway decent absorption with curcumin, you need to have some sort of “trick.” Longvida and Meriva use phospholipids to help it get across the intestinal wall. BCM-95 uses curcumin oils to accomplish the same thing. Theracurmin takes the approach of making the curcumin particles super-fine, and in some fashion is thus able to get them to dissolve in water. So does it work? As far as I can tell from the studies, it does in fact work– though the studies are a little misleading as far as how WELL it works. To their credit, they do have more than one human pharmacokinetic study. Here’s a graph from one of them:

Fig.3 Cancer Chemother Pharmacol (2012) 69:65–70

Fig.3 Cancer Chemother Pharmacol (2012) 69:65–70

As you can see from my arrow, the graph is very misleading. It took me a some cross-referencing to figure out that when they refer to 30mg of Theracurmin, what they are really saying is “an amount of Theracurmin that contains 30mg of actual curcumin.” Each Theracurmin capsule is 10% actual curcumin, and 90% “other stuff” that helps the curcumin absorb. Longvida and Meriva have to do the same thing: each of their capsules are 20% curcumin and 80% phospholipids– except as you can see here, they label their graphs more accurately:
Longvida pK study

Longvida pK study on 650mg Longvida

Note that the graph is labeled “650mg of SLCP” which stands for Solid Lipid Curcumin Particle– that’s what they call the “slurry” that is Longvida. Had they said “650mg curcumin”, that would mean you’d have to consume five times that much Longvida to get that effect, since Longvida is only 20% actual curcumin (via terry). So I mentally dock Theracurmin points for how their graph is labeled… and they did the same thing in their other pK study: (CLICK ON GRAPH TO ENLARGE)
Cancer Chemother Pharmacol (2012) 69:65–70

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol (2012) 69:65–70

Nevertheless, I did find this picture that I took from a YouTube video about Theracurmin, which seems to be labeled accurately: (CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE)
Comparison of pK studies. Brand names added by me.

Comparison of pK studies. Brand names added by me.

So here you see a comparison of 650mg Longvida with 1g of Meriva vs 2g BCM-95 (assuming you are comfortable with the BCM-95 study using dry weight and converting… see discussion below my first Longvida post) It would appear that even 300mg Theracurmin does a little better. Keep in mind that these are certainly not head-to-head studies– these graphs were extracted from each brand’s particular pK study and overlaid on top of one another; but this is the best we’ve got. What’s most interesting to me about this is that Theracurmin absorption does seem to increase progressively with increased dose. That is NOT true of Longvida. Here is a look at Longvida numbers at 2g and 4g ingestion: Longvida pK 2g v 4g bigger pic As you can see, even 4g of Longvida only yielded about 40ng/mL. So, it would seem that Theracurmin may be a real breakthrough in curcumin absoprtion…! If I were taking it for anti-cancer effects, I’d strongly consider 600mg-900mg/day Theracurmin. If taking it for anti-Alzheimer’s effect, I’m torn, since we have data clearly showing that Longvida crosses the blood-brain barrier and binds amyloid plaques. (See minutes 26-40 of the webinar video embedded in this blog post.) In any event, Theracurmin appears to be a worthy addition to your supplement shelf!


  • Jonathan says:

    Dr Trutt, did I understand that correctly? Taking 3,000 miligrams of Longvida leads to lower blood levels of Longvida than taking 2,000 milligrams? Can I say WTF, that makes NO sense. Especially when taking into consideration that taking 4,000 milligrams of Longvida seems to be dramatically better than taking 3,000?

  • Josh Trutt says:

    Take a closer look at the numbers: First of all, look at the “n” number for each dose. 4, 3, and 4. That “n” is the number of people who took each dose. We are talking about very few people. Each person will absorb it a little differently. Now notice that each dose has not just the ng/mL, but “ng/mL +/- some number”. So for the 2g dose it was 32.5ng/mL PLUS OR MINUS 3.88, meaning they got numbers that varied between about 28.7 and 36.4.
    For the 3g dose, they got numbers that ranged from about 25.5 to 37.3. And so on. So, some of the people who took 3g actually absorbed less than some of the people that took 2g. It just means that some people absorb it better than others. If the “n” for each group was more like 100 people, you’d probably have numbers that fairly consistently show that 3g absorbs more than 2g, because the individual variation would flatten out as the “n” got larger.
    All of that said, I have to add one other major caveat: I’ve learned more about Theracurmin since writing this post, and I’m probably going to have to retract the post. It looks like Theracurmin seriously misleads with the way they present their data. The short version is, they give you the impression that their awesome absorption is of free curcumin, when actually it is of curcumin metabolites– which are much easier to measure from any brand. Furthermore I have now seen a Theracurmin trial in pancreatic cancer which shows no activity despite the tremendous “absorption”– and in the (very) fine print it turns out that it’s not free curcumin at all… which is probably why there is no effect. So I’m now back to recommending Longvida instead… certainly for Alzheimer’s and probably for cancer prevention too.

  • Jonathan says:

    Hi Dr. Trutt, thanks for the clarification regarding the Longvida absorption. I guess there must be pretty big differences between people in how well they absorb curcumin. And I appreciate the warning regarding Theracurmin.

  • Santiago says:


    first of all, congratulations for your blog. Internet is full of medical info, however real/practical info is so scarce..

    All these curcumin supplements are so expensive… What’s your opinion of frying or dressing with olive/coconut/palm/butter oil and adding direclty turmeric?. This wouldn’t lead to real absorption of curcumin?. It’s something closer to the Indian use of the spice than taking a pill.

    Turmeric is cheap in the supermarket. So maybe a few grams of turmeric in a oil medium leads to greater absorption of curcumin than a longvida pill, many times more expensive.

    Best. Santiago

  • Hi. Nice comparison.
    One thing you ommitted, however, is that you’re not comparing apples with apples. You’re not differentiating between curcumin metabolites and free curcumin.
    The types of curcumin shown in the different studies is not labelled by the companies. They don’t break down by free Curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, or metabolites. Gescher got the Theracurmin authors to admit there was no free (parent) curcumin levels detectable in plasma:
    The same goes for Meriva – no detectable free curcumin in plasma. Both longvida and bcm95 seem to at least result in some free curcumin in plasma. And for cancer, we know that curcumin is much more biologically active than the metabolites measured in the Theracurmin study. So it wasn’t surprising that in the cancer study using theracurmin from 2013, that there were no significant effects from theracurmin treatment.

    Personally, i think it’s great that more curcumin formulations are becoming available. But if you micronize curcumin or turn it into nanoparticles, it’s gotta be easier for it to conjugate. That’s the whole point of lipids and curcumin essential oils as you point out – they are there to help prevent curcumin from conjugating before it’s absorbed, as well as to help with absorbtion.

  • Rian says:

    Hi Dr. Trutt,

    I am a native turmeric consumer and quite familiar with traditional Indian cuisine as well as the many applications of “haldi” in India/Ayurveda. I am also familiar with ways of emulsifying it so that it is made absorbable. Having said this, I think the technology behind Longvida is convincing.

    How many of mg of Longvida would be appropriate in a condition like oral cancer? I read elsewhere that 80 mg of Longvida curcumin is suggested – but that means consuming many capsules! Any thoughts on this? Thank you for your response.

    • Josh Trutt says:

      I don’t have any info to comment on different dosing for different cancers. What you are getting into is really the crux of the problem with all of the different curcumin brands: When you see a study mentioning “80mg Longvida” does it refer to “80mg of curcumin contained within Longvida which is 20% curcumin/80% phospholipids, therefore= 400mg Longvida product”? Or do they mean 80mg of “finished product” Longvida? Since each capsule is 400mg, I would say that 80mg = 1 capsule of 400mg Longvida, which is easy to take… In general I’d say 1-2/day. I don’t want to mislead people into thinking that we really know with any precision how much to take for different illnesses. They definitely have data showing some response at just 1 capsule/day. I think 2/day is reasonable. But I can’t ‘prove’ that it’s adequate for this or that cancer based on what I’ve seen so far…

  • Susan says:

    I have been a nurse for 30 years, with one leg in conventional nursing and the other in alternative/holistic nursing for 20 years.

    You deserve great praise for what I call “independent investigation of truth”; you are genuinely looking for truth and are clearly seeking fair evaluation through careful and hard work. You are offering some of the best quality [true] physician’s advice that I have seen.

    I will be directing patients to you.

    Everything you say on this site is of great value. From my own knowledge, intuition, and instincts (hard earned), I think you are spot on.

    I have been on Longvida RD for 2 years now, 1,500 mg qd, and have many positive things to say about it, too wordy for this comment.

    If you haven’t reviewed it already, I hope you go to BodyBio PC and tell us about that. I was on a “well respected, to the profession only” omega supplement for 10 years as my heart arrhythmia gravely increased. (Poor perfusion and related symptoms) The PC literally totally fixed the problem. See what the video, located on the PC product pages says about cancer. (Note the PK protocol.)

    My reasoning is that PC is critical to every cell, so it is a heavy hitter for health and longevity, just like Longvida.

    It would appear that PC might be powerful in cancer prevention and treatment as well.

    Please weigh in on this.

    What a difference a bioavailable supplement makes. How relieving to have you help us find them.

    You are like a needle in a haystack. Rare indeed. Profound thanks.

    (I receive no money or kickback on Longvida RD or PC and do not sell them.)

    • Josh Trutt says:

      Hi Susan,
      Thanks for the support! Regarding BodyBio, I have been trying to get to Patricia Kane’s seminar for two years now and life keeps having other plans (she has another seminar in November and I will be out of the country). So I contacted her office and they say that if I order her panel, she will do a phone consultation and walk me through her interpretation, which provides much of the insight that the seminar would. In speaking with other practitioners, I hear the most significant benefit to her product for neurology cases, but certainly you’re right that PC is needed for all cells so I wouldn’t rule out other benefits… in fact the main European competitor to the product she uses (she uses Lipostabil; the competitor is Plaquex) markets it for cardiovascular disease. So, I’m going to do her panel on myself and see what she says. The ongoing debate over “are we loaded with Omega 6s therefore Omega 3 supplementation makes sense” vs “We are overdoing it with Omega-3s and anyway they oxidize as soon as they hit body temp” is one I haven’t resolved for myself yet. Patricia Kane makes a good argument against Omega-3s as does Brian Peskin. Patricia Kane gets her RBC fatty acid assay done at Johns Hopkins, certainly a reliable lab (which is more than half the battle), so we will see what they say about my blood…!

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