Therapeutic potential of curcumin in digestive diseases

Pietro Dulbecco, Vincenzo Savarino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Curcumin is a low-molecular-weight hydrophobic polyphenol that is extracted from turmeric, which possesses a wide range of biological properties including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-proliferative and anti-microbial activities. Despite its diverse targets and substantial safety, clinical applications of this molecule for digestive disorders have been largely limited to case series or small clinical trials. The poor bioavailability of curcumin is likely the major hurdle for its more widespread use in humans. However, complexation of curcumin into phytosomes has recently helped to bypass this problem, as it has been demonstrated that this new lecithin formulation enables increased absorption to a level 29-fold higher than that of traditional curcuminoid products. This allows us to achieve much greater tissue substance delivery using significantly lower doses of curcumin than have been used in past clinical studies. As curcumin has already been shown to provide good therapeutic results in some small studies of both inflammatory and neoplastic bowel disorders, it is reasonable to anticipate an even greater efficacy with the advent of this new technology, which remarkably improves its bioavailability. These features are very promising and may represent a novel and effective therapeutic approach to both functional and organic digestive diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9256-9270
Number of pages15
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number48
Publication statusPublished - Dec 28 2013


  • Curcumin
  • Curcumin bioavailability
  • Curcumin-phythosome
  • Digestive disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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