Research Turns Spices to Spiceuticals®


New generation bioavailable curcumin with free curcuminoids absorption
and blood-brain-barrier permeability (clinically validated for liver, heart and brain)

Research of CurQfen® to Curcumin Bioavailability

Akay is one of the resourceful leaders in the nutraceutical ingredient manufacturer such as bioavailable curcumin, Capsifen®, FenuSMART®, procynCi® and so on. Our R&D is in dedicated & passionate research to open up a novel ‘spice route’ by unlocking the nutritional secrets of spices. The meticulous research-led approach could generate clinically validated nutraceuticals and functional food/beverages ingredients. Spiceuticals® represents the unique brand of nutraceutical ingredients from spices – a flagship of Akay‘s commitment to research & quality.

CurQfen® is a “Spiceuticals – curcumin” developed by several years of our constant R&D efforts. The unique delivery mechanism of CurQfen® and its enhanced efficacy with regard to brain, heart & liver health has been clinically evaluated and published in highly cited journals with high impact factor. It is the SCIENCE that distinguishes CurQfen® from the other bioavailable formulations of curcumin. Novel delivery mechanism, ability to provide bioactive free-form curcuminoids for longer duration with cellular uptake and improved blood-brain-barrier permeability are the key factors of CurQfen®. It is the one and only form of curcumin which has been investigated to enhanced free curcuminoids bioavailability in human subjects and the measurement of the ratio of free-form curcumin to the biologically inactive curcumin glucoronides.

The unique galactomannans in fenugreek are brilliantly executed with natural curcumin to form CurQfen® with both water and oil binding capacity (a GREEN delivery technology – FenuMAT™).

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CurQfen®- Free curcuminoids absorption naturally

(Journal of Functional Foods, 2016, 22:578-587)

A randomized double-blinded crossover study (n = 50) to investigate the relative bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of free curcuminoids following the oral administration of high (1000 mg) and low (250 mg) doses of a food-grade formulation of curcumin with fenugreek dietary fibre as curcumagalactomannosides (CGM). CGM administration provided over 45.5-fold enhancement in free curcuminoids bioavailability with improved pharmacokinetics when compared to unformulated standard curcumin. Further investigations with and without enzymatic hydrolysis of plasma collected over 5 h postadministration of CGM at 1000 mg dose revealed higher free curcuminoids in plasma (74 ± 8%) as compared to conjugated curcuminoids (26 ± 12%) indicating a significant distribution of free curcuminoids over conjugated curcumin metabolites.

CurQfen® provides Blood-Brain-Barrier permeability and tissue distribution when supplemented orally

(Journal of Functional Foods, 2015, 14:215-225)

Absorption and organ tissue distribution of the bioactive form of a substance is very crucial for the functional benefits/therapeutic efficacy at the target site. While most of the formulations of curcumin deliver the conjugated metabolites of curcumin in plasma with no evidence of tissue distribution, CurQfen® has been shown to deliver significantly high levels of free unconjugated curcuminoids (curcumin, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin) into the brain and other organ tissues. Well-designed UPLC-ESI-MS/MS study conducted as per ICH guidelines was recently published in Journal of Functional Foods, indicating its importance in the light of the recent study that the major metabolites of curcumin, namely, mono and di-glucuronides, possess no anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory effects.

CurQfen® is the only form that has the relative distribution ratio of free curcuminoids to conjugated curcuminoids

(Journal of Functional Foods, 2016, 22:578-587)

Despite the reports on bioavailability of curcumin as measured by the plasma levels of “conjugated curcumin metabolites”, systematic analysis of the absorption and pharmacokinetics of free curcuminoids verses conjugated curcumin metabolites has not been made on any of the curcumin formulations so far. This piece of information should be the very first end point in the design of the plausible applications of a curcumin formulation, since only the free curcuminoids possess cellular permeability, especially the blood-brain-barrier permeability. In the case of most of the curcumin formulations, such a study is not feasible since they do not provide free curcuminoids in plasma, irrespective of their number of folds of bioavailability. But, animal studies on CurQfen® have already shown to provide free curcuminoids with improved blood-brain-barrier permeability and organ tissue distribution (Journal of Functional Foods, 2015, 14:215-225). So, we employed a standardized method of β-glucuronidase enzymatic hydrolysis of plasma to convert the conjugated curcuminglucuronides and sulfates to the free curcumin and quantified by triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry. It was found that >70% of the curcuminoids in plasma exist as stable free curcuminoids (C, DMC and BDMC) for almost 5 h post-administration time period.

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Thus, CurQfen, reported for the first time, the ratio of the free curcuminoids to the plasma levels of curcumin metabolites (FCR) as a measure of the ability of a formulation to provide the highly bioactive and membrane permeable form of curcuminoids. From the plasma concentration by time plot, FCR of CurQfen was found to be 4.3. Higher the ratio, higher the free curcuminoids delivery and hence the tissue distribution which ultimately correlated to the efficacy. It is to be noted that all the cellular in vitro efficacy studies have performed with the free form of curcuminoids. Only one study reported with curcumin glucuronides so far, which showed it is in active.


CurQfen® curcumin has the potential to de-stiffen arteries in young, obese men with greater aortic stiffness

(Journal of Functional Foods, 2017, 29:154-160)

In the latest double-blinded randomized placebo-controlled study from the University of Kentucky, USA, CurQfen was reported to significantly reduce ‘aortic stiffness’ and ‘brachial pulse pressure’ in young obese men with higher baseline stiffness when supplemented at 500 mg/day for 12 weeks. “Aortic stiffness” is a strong predictor of cardiovascular (CV) events, CV mortality, and all-cause mortality. It was demonstrated that an increase in carotid-femoral Pulse Wave Velocity (cfPWV) of 1.0 m/s corresponded with a 14% increase in CV events, 15% increase in CV mortality, and 15% increase in all-cause mortality. It was observed that CurQfen offered 1 m/s relaxation in cfPWV.

Effect of CurQfen® on Anxiety/Depression/Fatigue/Stress

(Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2016, 36(3):236-243)

Today’s work is changing in a whirlwind speed posing tremendous amount of stress to workers leading to the development of various disorders including cardiovascular diseases, immune system suppression, impaired neurotransmission disorders, etc. Although regular attempts to improve the interpersonal and intra personnel skills and proper exercises/yoga are very often suggested as methods to overcome the occupational stress, a proper nutrition regimen with supplementation of micronutrients and antioxidants has also shown to be very crucial. Here comes the significance of curcumin, especially the one which can provide significant levels of free curcuminoids for brain-health functions. CurQfen has been studied clinically in comparison with unformulated curcumin, in its capacity to elicit the primary antioxidant defenses responsible for detoxification and cellular energy. 30 days of supplementation of CurQfen could significantly enhance the glutathione, superoxide dismutase levels with a reduction in lipid peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation is identified as a very important step in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis (cardiac arrest). Similarly, CurQfen offered significant reduction in stress, anxiety and fatigue among people who experienced significant level of occupational stress.

CurQfen® shown enhanced antioxidant effect and detoxification potential in human subjects by elevating the endogenous antioxidants markers, especially glutathione and superoxide dismutase

(Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 2016, 36(3):236-243)

The supplementation of CGM (group 1) resulted in a significant elevation of erythrocyte CAT (P < 0.01), SOD (P < 0.01), GPx (P < 0.01), and GSH (P < 0.01) levels and a significant reduction in TBA reactive substances values (P < 0.001) between the baseline and the end of study period. Although relatively less as compared with the CGM group, the observed effects in standard curcumin supplemented group were also significant (P < 0.05). However, no significant effects (P > 0.05) were noticed in the placebo group. The CGM group showed a mean (SD) increase of 11.11 (6.63) in CAT, 59.84 (7.65%) in SOD, 70.24 (4.24%) in GPx, and 77.04 (33.12%) in GSH as compared with the standard group. The extent of lipid peroxidation in the CGM group was found to have 53.6 (8.95%) reduction as compared with unformulated curcumin-treated group 2, 25.2%.

CurQfen® as a Functional food ingredient

(Food & Function, 2015, 6:276-86)

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CurQfen is self-GRAS ingredient. It has been shown to be safe upon chronic (90 days) toxicity and genotoxicity studies with a NOAEL level of 1000 mg/kg body weight. Being a 100% natural formulation without any synthetic emulsifiers or additives, provides a unique way to clean label food items capable of easy and significant absorption of curcuminoids. It is stable and water dispersible without the organoleptic characters of turmeric or fenugreek. We could successfully incorporate CurQfen in sachets, ready to use soup-mixes, chocolates, yogurts, honey etc. and showed that the consumption of one serving can provide bioavailable curcuminoids.