CAVACURMIN®: A Highly Bioavailable Form of Curcumin


Curcumin is one of the four curcuminoids found in the plant tumeric (Curcuma longa).  There are four curcuminoids contained in tumeric:

  • curcumin (diferuloylmethane)
  • demethoxycurcumin
  • bisdemethoxycurcumin
  • cyclocurcumin

Curcuminoid molecules

Diferuloylmethane is the main curcuminoid and is usually about 80% of the curcuminoids in tumeric.

There is a large number of studies and research on the health benefits of curcumin on PubMed and as of June 2015 there were 116 clinical trials registered with the U.S. National Institutes of Health.  1  These clinical trials are evaluating the possible anti-disease effect of curcumin in humans in the areas of:

  • Cancer
  • Cognitive disorders
  • Gastrointestinal diseases
  • Psychiatric conditions

The challenge with consuming tumeric root, tumeric powder or dietary curcumin powder is that it is proven to have poor bioavailability in the blood plasma.  2 

Curcumin is insoluble in water which is the major contributor to its poor bioavailbaliltiy.  The three major reasons contributing to the low plasma and tissue levels of curcumin have been found to be due to:  3

  • poor absorption
  • rapid metabolism, and
  • rapid systemic elimination

CAVACURMIN® is a Superior Solution to Curcumin’s Poor Bioavailability

CAVACURMIN® is manufactured and produced by Wacker Chemical Corporation based in Adrian Michigan.  WACKER developed a solution for increasing the bioavailibilty of curcumin with its product CAVACURMIN®.  

By complexation with the food-approved CAVAMAX® W8 gamma-cyclodextrin, the hydrophobic curcumin becomes highly bioavailable to the blood plasma. 

CAVACURMIN® clinically demonstrated a bioavailability that was more than 40 times better than standard 95% turmeric (curcuma longa) extract and exhibited significantly higher relative absorption when compared to other leading bioavailable commercial curcumin products.  4

Wacker  Chemical Corporation states how this process is accomplished:

“The special feature of CAVAMAX® W8 gamma-cyclodextrin is its donut-shaped, three-dimensional structure: it creates an inner hydrophobic cavity which is able to accommodate a lipophilic molecule such as curcumin as a “guest.” The hydrophilic exterior, on the other hand, ensures compatibility in aqueous systems. In the presence of water, CAVAMAX® W8 gamma-cyclodextrin produces molecular dispersions, resulting in much enhanced bioavailability of the hydrophobic curcumin.”  5

Cyclodextrins are a family of compounds made up of sugar molecules bound together in a ring and are produced from starch by means of enzymatic conversion. 

The raw material CAVAMAX® W8 gamma-cyclodextrin is manufactured from starch (of purely vegetable origin) using an enzyme of microbial origin. 

Because cyclodextrins are hydrophobic inside and hydrophilic outside, they can form complexes with hydrophobic compounds, such as curcumin. Thus they can enhance the solubility and bioavailability of such compounds.


Molecular structure of gamma-cyclodextrin

The mechanism of how CAVACURMIN® is metabolised in the human body is as follows:  6

  • Taken as a dietary supplement, mostly in the form of a capsule, CAVACURMIN® is transported unchanged through the stomach into the upper intestinal tract.
  • There, only the curcumin molecules are absorbed into the body from the epithelial cell membrane.
  • The gamma-cyclodextrin is hydrolyzed by human pancreatic amylase, yielding mainly maltose, some maltotriose and smaller amounts of glucose.
  • Maltose and maltotriose are degraded to glucose, which is then being absorbed from the small intestine into the blood.
  • Around 40 times more curcumin is absorbed directly into the blood, compared to pure curcumin powder and some leading commercial curcumin supplement products, as shown in our human bioavailability study.

Source: Wacker Chemical Corporation

There have been 2 pre-clinical studies and 1 clinical study performed on CAVACURMIN®.  These 3 studies are listed in the Table below:

StagesClinical Study
Human Bioavailability
United States 2013
Pre-Clinical Study
Bioavailability study in a rodent model
Canada 2009
Pre-Clinical Study
Bioavailability in a (human) Caco-2 model
Germany 2011
Set UpThe relative absorption of CAVACURMIN® was compared to standard 95% curcumin extract and two leading commercial products claiming to have enhanced bioavailability in a clinical setting.

13 individuals (fasted overnight) were given three different bioavailable curcumin preparations and standard curcumin orally – with a one-week washout period in between the four formulations. After product intake, blood was drawn hourly for 12 hours and analyzed (spiked plasma samples). Blood concentration and the relative absorption of curcumin and its derivatives were determined.
Total concentrations of curcuminoids in the blood plasma (0-4 hours) of Sprague Dawley rats were recorded after one oral gavage (500 mg/kg body weight) of three curcumin preparations: standard curcumin extract, brand name curcumin (= CP) and CAVACURMIN®. Plasma was analyzed for free curcumin and curcumin metabolites (curcumin sulfates and curcumin glucuronides) by HPLC (0-4 hours). The dissolution profile of five curcumin preparations (standard curcumin extract, three leading brand name curcumin products = “CP” and CAVACURMIN®) in simulated intestinal fluid (SIF, 0.5% SDS) followed by the uptake of Caco-2 cells (human gut cell model) was investigated.
ResultCAVACURMIN® was around 40 times more efficiently absorbed compared to pure curcumin powder and some leading commercial curcumin supplement products. The highly superior performance of CAVACURMIN® was demonstrated by the fact that the curcumin uptake was at least 4.5 times higher than the next-best commercial curcumin formulation in this clinical study.Animals that received CAVACURMIN® showed a 10 to 20 times higher amount of total curcuminoids in their blood plasma, expressed as the sum of free curcumin and its metabolites, than animals that received a commercial product or pure curcumin powder. CAVACURMIN® was up to five times more efficiently dissolved compared to leading commercial curcumin supplement products or curcumin powder itself.

The following uptake study with human Caco-2 cells also demonstrates a superior performance by CAVACURMIN®. The uptake was up to 10 times higher than for other leading commercial curcumin formulations or curcumin powder itself.
ConclusionThese results clearly underline the significant increase in bioavailability of curcumin in a cyclodextrin-based formulation. Furthermore, these data suggest that CAVACURMIN® can provide the benefits of the powerful antioxidant curcumin to a much greater extent than existing commercial products. This huge difference in HPLC-measured curcumin metabolites indicates that a maximum amount of curcumin was delivered into the blood stream of the rats, which can only be explained by the very highly bioavailable CAVACURMIN®. These results clearly underline the significant increase in bioavailability of curcumin in a gammadextrin-based formulation.
GraphsSee Graphs 1 and 2See Graph 3See Graph 4

Human Bioavailability in a Clinical Study (2013) – Graph 1 & 2


Graph 1: Blood concentration of CAVACURMIN® compared with standard curcumin and commercial curcumin products was significantly higher in the first few hours after intake


Graph 2: After oral intake of standard curcumin, two commercial bioavailable formulations (CP-1 and CP-2), and CAVACURMIN®, the relative absorption of total curcuminoids was compared in each case. The results showed a significantly higher relative absorption of CAVACURMIN®.

In Vivo Bioavailability in a Rodent Model (2009) – Graph 3


Graph 3: Total curcuminoids: sum of free curcumin, curcumin sulfates and curcumin glucuronides; CP = commercial product

In Vitro Bioavailability in a Human Caco-2 Model (2011)) – Graph 4


Graph 4: Caco-2 model: absorption of CAVACURMIN® in comparison to leading commercial products; CP = commercial product

Informational References:

Highly Bioavailable Curcumin – Properties (Wacker Chemical Corporation)  (PDF)

Note: PDF files require a viewer such as the free Adobe Reader

Wacker Chemical Corporation – HIGHLY BIOAVAILABLE CURCUMIN

Wacker Chemical Corporation – CAVACURMIN® Cyclodextrins

    Print This Post Print This Post