Optim Curcuma's formula, Longvida®, is guaranteed to be polysorbate FREE.
There are curcumin-based formulations available today that contain polysorbate 80 (Tween 80), but this may have some side effects.
What is polysorbate 80 (tween-80)?
Polysorbate 80 (or Tween 80) is a polyoxyethylene sorbitan monooleate. It is a synthetic molecule used as a food additive (E433 number), as an ingredient in some cosmetic products and also in some flu vaccines.
It is an emulsifier that stabilises emulsions. Indeed, polysorbate 80 has the characteristic of having a hydrophilic part and another lipophilic part. This allows, for example, to improve the water solubility of hydrophobic molecules such as curcumin and thus to improve their assimilation.
Is Polysorbate toxic/hazardous?
Polysorbate is authorised in Europe as a food additive (E433). However, EFSA (The European Food Safety Authority) has re-evaluated the toxicity and possible hazards of some additives including polysorbate. The Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) has defined the Tolerated Daily Intake at 10mg/kg body weight per day.
This amount corresponds to the daily consumption of 600mg polysorbate for a 60kg person.The Tolerated Daily Intake is therefore quickly exceeded when taking dietary supplements containing this additive.
What are the possible side effects of polysorbate?
➡ In mice, polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose, at relatively low concentrations, lead to alterations in the gut ecosystem, inflammation and metabolic syndrome (increased levels of food consumption, obesity, hyperglycaemia and insulin resistance). In addition, researchers from the Universities of Ghent (Belgium) and Atlanta (USA) have shown that emulsifiers such as Polysorbate alter the composition of bacterial strains in the gut microbiota in a way that makes the gut flora more pro-inflammatory. (Chassaing, 2015; Chassaing 2017)
➡ Two other recent papers have demonstrated that emulsifiers could lead to intestinal barrier dysfunction by affecting tight junctions i.e. increased intestinal permeability. When tight junctions are destabilised, this leads to the entry of foreign antigens that activate inflammation and autoimmune phenomena. (Lerner, 2015; Csáki , 2011).
The consumption of polysorbate is therefore not advised in people with ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease or inflammation of the intestines.
Chassaing B, Koren O, Goodrich JK, Poole AC, Srinivasan S, Ley RE, Gewirtz AT. Dietary emulsifiers impact the mouse gut microbiota promoting colitis and metabolic syndrome. Nature. 2015 Mar 5;519(7541):92-6.
Csáki KF. Synthetic surfactant food additives can cause intestinal barrier dysfunction. Med Hypotheses. 2011 May;76(5):676-81. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2011.01.030.
Lerner A, Matthias T. Changes in intestinal tight junction permeability associated with industrial food additives explain the rising incidence of autoimmune disease. Autoimmun Rev. 2015 Feb 9. pii: S1568-9972(15)00024-5. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2015.01.009.