Stronger Together - Wacker Chemie AG

Stronger Together

Considerably Improved Uptake

a-, β- AND γ-CYCLODEXTRIN: Depending on the number of glucose units, a distinction is made between α-, β- and γ-cyclodextrin: α-cyclodextrin consists of six, β-cyclodextrin of seven and γ-cyclodextrin of eight glucose units. Cyclodextrins are bioengineered via enzymatic degradation of starch-containing raw materials, made from corn or potatoes, for example. The enzymes used here are known as cyclodextrin glycosyl transferases, or CGTases. When acting on starch, the CGTase cleaves individual sections out of the carbohydrate’s helical structure and combines them to form a ring-shaped oligosaccharide, the cyclodextrin. The sugar molecules are colorless, odorless, non-hygroscopic, very stable in alkaline solutions and are only hydrolyzed in acidic media when the pH falls below two. They have no fixed melting points and can withstand temperatures of around 200 °C. An important benefit for the food industry is that these molecules are non-allergenic, vegetarian-grade and produced from renewable raw materials.

The results of the study, which was published in the European Journal of Nutrition in February 2017, showed that absorption of the curcuminoids was around 40 times more efficient with the cyclodextrin formulation than with the conventional curcumin extract (95%). Bioavailability was also greatly enhanced compared to the other two curcumin products. “The considerably improved uptake of CAVACURMIN® revealed itself in the curcuminoid content of the participants’ blood, which was around 5 times higher than for the best of the two curcumin reference products,” emphasizes Elgeti. As a free-flowing powder, the gamma-cyclodextrin-based raw material is perfect for use in tablets, capsules, granules and energy bars. Since the powder readily disperses in water, it is also ideal for liquid food supplements.

“Based on available studies to date, WACKER’s CAVACURMIN® is the best solution for increasing the bioavailability of curcumin,” summed up Dr. Wolz. His long-established business has been marketing the curcumin-cyclodextrin complex as Curcumin Extrakt 45 since 2014 – and straight away created one of its most successful products. Bioengineered from renewable, plant-based raw materials, cyclodextrins also fully address the current trend of avoiding animal-derived products. Furthermore, gamma-cyclodextrin is hypoallergenic, kosher and halal in accordance with 2003/89/EC and 2006/142/EC, and approved for use in food by the authorities in the USA, Canada, Europe and most Asian and Latin American countries. “This makes cyclodextrin formulations an ideal alternative – free of allergens and cholesterol, based on plant-derived renewable raw materials – for functional food applications to enhance the bioavailability of substances, such as curcumin, that are otherwise absorbed poorly,” said Mohr.

The German Reformhaus® chain of health-food stores has also recognized that the combination of cyclodextrins and curcumin is a highly innovative approach to dietary supplements. It honored Dr. Wolz’s Curcumin Extrakt 45 as the “2015 Health-Store Product of the Year.”

“The considerably improved uptake of CAVACURMIN® revealed itself in the curcuminoid content of the participants’ blood, which was around 5 times higher than for the best of the two curcumin reference products.”

Dana Elgeti Marketing Manager at WACKER BIOSOLUTIONS


Based on current knowledge, absorption of complexed curcumin involves the following individual steps:

  1. After ingestion of the food supplement – for example in the form of a capsule as is the case with the Dr. Wolz product – the curcumin-cyclodextrin complex is transported unchanged through the stomach to the upper intestinal tract.
  2. This is where a chemical equilibrium reaction releases the curcumin molecules, so that they can be absorbed by the body through the epithelial cell membrane.
  3. During further digestion, gamma-cyclodextrin is degraded enzymatically into ever-smaller fragments down to glucose, which can ultimately be absorbed into the blood stream.
  4. As a result, a considerably larger amount of curcumin is absorbed directly into the blood compared to conventional curcumin extract and other curcumin products.