More than 50% of inflammatory factors of psoriasis are decreased by curcumin treatment.
A study into the efficient treatment of psoriasis using a combination of tacrolimus and curcumin loaded liposphere gel formulation was released in October 2016. The research was conducted by the Department of Pharmaceutics, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), India.
To overcome poor solubility and poor skin penetration of a gel formulation that can deliver the tacrolimus and curcumin, lipospheres were deployed to deliver the drugs. Lipospheres are composed of a solid lipid core surrounded by a layer that may entrap the drug or absorb the drug in its outer lining. The researchers conclude that liposphere gel containing combination of tacrolimus and curcumin can be an effective strategy for the treatment of psoriasis.
What the research article does not address is the risk of side effects of using tacrolimus to treat an autoimmune skin condition.
What is tacrolimus?
Tacrolimus gel works on the immune system and directly on skin cells. It is an immunosuppressant and is given orally or by injection to prevent organ transplantation rejection. Tacrolimus reduces the activity of T-lymphocytes in the immune system and suppresses the body’s defence mechanism. Because of this, there are concerns that topical tacrolimus may aggravate herpes simplex and other viral infections.
What is curcumin?
Curcumin is an active herbal ingredient possessing surprisingly wide range of beneficial properties, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. The primary source of curcumin is turmeric, a spice derived from the rhizomes of the tropical plant Curcuma longa Linn, which is a member of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae).
Recent controlled tests on mouse models investigated the effects of curcumin on inflammatory factors secretion in T cells and psoriasis development in keratin.
Results showed that, 10 μM of curcumin significantly inhibited secretion of inflammatory factors. Even more impressive was that more than 50% of T cells proliferation was inhibited by application of 100 μM curcumin.
Compared with severe psoriatic symptoms observed in the negative control mice, all psoriasis indexes were significantly improved by oral application of curcumin in treatment.
Examination showed that curcumin had anti-inflammatory function in the experimental mice. More than 50% level of inflammatory factors were treated, and no obvious side effect in mouse kidney was found after they were treated by curcumin. The test concluded that curcumin has a great potential to treat psoriasis with high efficacy and safety.
For the psoriatic:
Although you are not a mouse, it is worth noting the positive results of this research into curcumin:
- T cells proliferation was inhibited by curcumin
- Oral application of curcumin showed obvious effects on psoriasis
- No obvious side effects of curcumin was found in mouse kidney
- Curcumin has a great potential to treat psoriasis
We have long been aware through alternative medicine channels, of the benefits of curcumin. In addition to its use as a spice and pigment, turmeric has been used in India for medicinal purposes for centuries. It is refreshing to see that pharmacology is catching up in recognising these resounding benefits.
Consider including turmeric, the primary source of curcumin, in your daily diet. Lots of it! Here is an interesting fact about the amount of turmeric required in your diet is based on the finnicky bioavailability or curcumin, meaning how much of it can be absorbed into your body systems to give you the benefits you need. Clinical trials in humans indicate that the systemic bioavailability of orally administered curcumin is relatively low, meaning that the portion of curcumin that reaches your body systems, circulation and the site of the target tissue, is low.
You can improve the bioavailability of oral turmeric by chosing curcumin supplements that contain piperine, a major component in black pepper, which increase the bioavailability of curcumin by inhibiting its metabolism, or if you cook with turmeric, add pepper to the preparation.
How much turmeric is too much? Serious adverse effects have not been reported in humans taking high doses of curcumin, however there is potential for curcumin supplementation to increase the risk of bleeding in people taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications.
Turmeric in meal preparation
- Turmeric is a main ingredient in yellow Thai curry
- Turmeric and a kaffir lime leaf can be added to rice while it is cooking
- Turmeric tossed with roast vegetables adds colour
- Turmeric added to soups gives a rich and warm flavour
- Turmeric and ginger tea
- Include pepper when using turmeric to improve its bioavailability
Happy smooth skins
Tacrolimus and curcumin co-loaded liposphere gel: Synergistic combination towards management of psoriasis. J Control Release. 2016 Dec 10;243:132-145. doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2016.10.004. Epub 2016 Oct 8. Jain A, Doppalapudi S, Domb AJ, Khan W
Curcumin shows excellent therapeutic effect on psoriasis in mouse model. Biochimie Volume 123, April 2016, Pages 73–80. Di Kanga, Bowen Lia, Lei Luoa, Wenbing Jiangc, Qiumin Lua, Mingqing Ronga, Ren Laia
Curcumin. Howells L, Higdon J. Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University