Solubilized Curcumin for a healthy brain


The BMBF-project "Novel strategies for the enhancement of the potency of nutraceuticals with low oral bioavailability and their application in novel functional foods for optimum protection of the aging brain" aims to develop novel strategies to enhance the bioavailability and retention of curcumin in the organism and to study their impact on the pharmacokinetics, biological activities, and the safety of the nutraceutical. The novel curcumin-formulations developed within this project will then be tested for their suitability as ingredients in a range of different functional foods.

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Curcumin, a widely used spice and food coloring agent, is a polyphenol derived from the rhizome of Curcuma longa. It is known to have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and anti-protein-aggregate activities. These activities are usually considered beneficial on mitochondrial function therefore curcumin is a promising agent for prevention and treatment of neurodegeneration caused by aging and Alzheimer’s disease. In the scope of a BMBF project new water-soluble formulations of curcumin were produced as curcumin itself exhibits a very low bioavailability due to its low water solubility. Using cell culture and mouse models of aging and Alzheimer’s Disease, we investigate effects of curcumin and the new formulations on mitochondrial function of the aging brain to evaluate if curcumin treatment is able to prevent neurodegeneration and age-dependent mitochondrial dysfunction. The project is conducted by Ph.D. student Stephanie Hagl.

The work packages of this research network are lead by Prof. Dr. Frank from the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences at the University of Bonn (formerly at the Institute of Biological Chemistry and Nutrition at Hohenheim University), PD Dr. Gunter Eckert from the Department of Pharmacology at the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University, Dr. Jakob Weissenberger from the Department of Neurosurgery at the University Hospital of the  Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University (Frankfurt/Main), Prof. Dr. Gerald Rimbach from the Institute of Human Nutrition and Food Science at Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel, Prof. Dr. Tilman Grune from the Institute of Human Nutrition at the Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena, Dariush Behnam, CEO of Aquanova AG, Dr. Josef Jandasek, Senior product developer at Raps GmbH & Co KG, Kalle Debus, Product Manager at Hassia Mineralquellen, Dr. Carola Funk, General Manager R&D at Kampffmeyer Food Innovation, and Dr. Berit Adolphi of Schwartauer Werke.

LINK: BMBF Research Network

Press release: 
Kurkuma - die supergesunde Knolle (TV, hr-online, in German)
Xenius - Wurzelwunder: Ingwer und Kurkuma (TV, arte, in German)


Hagl S, Kocher A, Schiborr C, Kolesova N, Frank J, Eckert GP
Curcumin micelles improve mitochondrial function in neuronal PC12 cells and brains of NMRI mice -  impact on bioavailability
Neurochem Int. 2015, 89:234-42 [Pubmed Abstract]

Kocher A, Hagl S, Schiborr C, Eckert GP,  Frank J.
Concentrations of total curcuminoids in plasma, but not liver and kidney, are higher in 18- than in 3-months old mice.
Nutr Food Sci J (NFS Journal), 2015, 1:3-8. [open access]

Hagl S, Heinrich M, Kocher A, Schiborrb C, Frank J, Eckert GP
Curcumin micelles improve mitochondrial function in a mouse model of Alzheimer`s disease
J Prev Alz Dis (JPAD). 2014, 1(2):80-83 [Pubmed Abstract]

Chin D, Hagl S,  Huebbe P, Pallauf K, Grune T, Frank J, Eckert GP, Rimbach G.
Adenosine triphosphate concentrations are higher in the brain of APOE3 compared to APOE4 targeted-replacement mice and can be modulated by curcumin
Genes Nutr. 2014, 9(3):397

Eckert GP, Schiborr C, Hagl S, Abdel-Kader R, Muller WE, Rimbach G, Frank J.
Curcumin prevents mitochondrial dysfunction in the brain of the senescence-accelerated mouse - prone 8.
Neurochem Int. 2013, 62:595-602.

© Prof. Dr. Gunter P. Eckert 2018