When you hear the word ‘curcumin’ you probably think of the yellow powder turmeric that is used a lot in the Indian kitchen. However, it does appear in food supplements. We need to give some explanation for that, which you can find here!
What is the difference between turmeric and curcumin?
A brief biology lesson is necessary to give an explanation about curcumin. The Indian yellow root, also called turmeric root, belongs to the curcuma long plant. Curcumin and turmeric can be extracted from the root of the plant. Now it’s becoming a bit tricky because these two terms are very similar, but certainly differ in existence. However, they are often confused. The yellow powder that is used in the kitchen is turmeric. Curcumin is its ‘little brother’ and a natural chemical substance (yellow pigment) that is extracted from the yellow root.
‘Polyphenols’: the molecules from curcumin
Is the story clear so far? Well, then let’s keep talking about curcumin. It belongs to a group of molecules that are scientifically also called ‘polyphenols’. Therefore, curcumin belongs to a group of plant-based substances that can influence the human body in different ways. Other known examples of polyphenols are tannins, caffeine, and coumaric acid (derived from cinnamic acid).
Next step: curcuminoids from curcumin
The biology lesson is making way for chemistry, because we now diving deeper into the molecules of curcumin. Not just one form of curcumin is namely extracted from the Indian yellow root. That would obviously be too easy. No, a variety of various forms can be extracted in the root. Such a group of curcumin molecules are called curcuminoids by scientists. Three principal types are used in food supplements: curcumin, bisdemethoxycurmin and demethoxycurmin.