Curcumin is very poorly absorbed by the gut. This is partly due to its low solubility in water.
In fact, plain curcumin powder is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream at doses of up to 12 grams per day (more than a tablespoon of powder), according to a study conducted at the Universities of Michigan and San Diego. Of the 24 people who participated in the study, only 2 showed increased levels of curcumin in the blood, but these were insufficient to provide any significant benefit (Lao 2006).
A group of researchers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) have developed Longvida® Curcumin to overcome the very low absorption of curcumin.
The process involves precisely coating curcumin with natural lipids to form small particles. This improves the absorption of curcumin in the body by at least 65 times. Longvida Curcumin has been the subject of several clinical and in vitro studies. (Cox, 2014; Di Silvestro 2012).
Cox KH, Pipingas A, Scholey AB. Investigation of the effects of solid lipid curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population. J Psychopharmacol. 2014 Oct 2
DiSilvestro RA, Joseph E, Zhao S, Bomser J. Diverse effects of a low dose supplement of lipidated curcumin in healthy middle-aged people. Nutr J. 2012 Sep 26;11:79
Lao CD, Ruffin MT 4th, Normolle D, Heath DD, Murray SI, Bailey JM, Boggs ME, Crowell J, Rock CL, Brenner DE. Dose escalation of a curcuminoid formulation. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2006 Mar 17;6:10.