Unraveling the Science behind Curcumin C3 Reduct


Tetrahydrocurcuminoids are the major active metabolites of curcumin which are formed in the body, upon oral or peritoneal administration. Structurally the tetrahydrocurcumin is similar to curcumin with saturated double bonds of hepta-diene chain between two aryl groups present in curcumin.

Curcumin Tetrahydrocurcumin

The other curcuminoids, namely demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin also give rise to the more saturated derivatives – Tetrahydrodemethoxycurcumin (THDMC) and Tetrahydrobisdemethoxycurcumin (THBDMC) respectively.

Tetrahydrocurcuminoids have been isolated as a natural product from Zingiber officinale (ginger). The minor constituents THDMC and THBDMC also occur naturally in Curcuma zeodaria, a Thai plant known for its anti-inflammatory activity in Thai traditional medicine system.

Conversion of curcumin into Tetrahydrocurcumin

THC has been identified in the intestinal and hepatic cytosol from humans and rats. The reduction of curcumin to THC was proposed to occur via a reductase enzyme in the cytosolic compartment either in intestine or hepatic cells (1).

In 2011, in an article in PNAS (Proceeding for Natural Academy of Sciences), the authors reported presence of curcumin converting micro-organism in human digestive system. Researchers of the same study were also able to isolate the enzyme (NADPH depedent curcumin/dihydrocurcumin reductase-CurA) responsible for conversion of curcumin into tetrahydrocurcumin in a step by step conversion (2).

Ref: 1. P Murugan, L Pari. Protective role of tetrahydrocurcumin on changes in the fatty acid composition in streptozotocin-nicotinamide induced type 2 diabetic rats. J Appl. Biomed. 2007; 5: 31- 38.

Ref: 2. A Hassaninasab, Y Hashimoto, KT Yokotani and M Kobayashi. Discovery of the curcumin metabolic pathway involving a unique enzyme in an intestinal microorganism. PNAS. 2011; 108(16): 6615-20.

Sabinsa obtains the Tetrahydrocurcuminoids in the Curcumin C3 Reduct® in a process which is similar to “hardening” of oils, used in preparing margarine.