The Press Centre of the University of Hohenheim released information (in German only) on a research network coordinated by Dr. Frank, which investigates novel strategies to improve the bioavailability and health beneficial effects of nutraceuticals. The press release can be read here.
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
Curcumin is a nutraceutical currently intensively investigated for its potential use as a therapeutic or preventive agent against a number of degenerative diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Curcumin is the coloring agent derived from the root of the plant Curcuma longa and gives the yellow color to the spice curry, in which it is found in significant amounts. It is also commonly used, under the designation "E 100", as a coloring agent by the food industry.
Because of its potent health beneficial activities, such as antiinflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer effects, to name only a few, researchers have attempted to enhance the uptake and retention of the phytochemical in the body. Curcumin, however, remains a very difficult compound to detect in the body (see our recent publication in Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry as an example), because it is taken up into the body to a limited extent and subsequently rapidly metabolised and excreted from the organism. Hence, an important question in this context remains largely unanswered: Could the health beneficial activities of curcumin be enhanced if more of the active compound would reach the site of action, e.g. the brain.
To answer this and a number of related questions, Dr. Frank (University of Hohenheim) coordinates a research network consisting of five academic and five industry partners, which is financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research with ca. € 1.5 M. The project started August 1, 2010 and will go on for three years.
The work packages of this research network are lead by Dr. Frank from the Institute of Biological Chemistry and Nutrition at Hohenheim University, PD Dr. Gunter Eckert from the Department of Pharmacology at the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe Universityand 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. Simone Toelstede, Head of Research Department at Raps GmbH & Co KG, Kalle Debus, Product Manager at Hassia Mineralquellen, Dr. Carola Funk, General Manager R&D at Kampffmeyer Food Innovation, and Manuela Neske of Schwartauer Werke.