Q. Does heating improve the bioavailability of turmeric (as in curry)?
A. Researchers at Tufts’ HNRCA Vascular Biology Laboratory have been investigating curcumin, the key ingredient in turmeric spice, as a possible weapon against atherosclerosis, so-called hardening of the arteries. Mohsen Meydani, DVM, PhD, director of the laboratory, answers: “I do not think heating improves the bioavailability of turmeric. But I assume that when it is in curry, it will be more bioavailable. That is because studies have shown when curcumin from turmeric is mixed with piperine (the compounds that gives black pepper, typically found in curry, its pungency), the bioavailability of curcumin increases by several-fold.”