Utilization of curcumin has been limited due to its poor oral bioavailability. Oral bioavailability of hydrophobic compounds might be elevated via encapsulation in artificial seed oil bodies. This study aimed to improve oral bioavailability of curcumin via this encapsulation. Unfortunately, curcumin was indissoluble in various seed oils. A mixed dissolvent formula was used to dissolve curcumin, and the admixture was successfully encapsulated in artificial oil bodies stabilized by recombinant sesame caleosin. The artificial oil bodies of relatively small sizes (150 nm) were stably solidified in the forms of powder and tablet. Oral bioavailability of curcumin with or without encapsulation in artificial oil bodies was assessed in Sprague Dawley male rats. The results showed that encapsulation of curcumin significantly elevated its bioavailability and provided the highest maximum whole blood concentration (C-max), 37 +/- 28 ng/mL, in the experimental animals 45 +/- 17 min (t(max)) after oral administration. Relative bioavailability calculated on the basis of the area under the plasma concentration time curve (AUC) was increased by 47.7 times when curcumin was encapsulated in the artificial oil bodies. This novel formulation of artificial oil bodies seems to possess great potential to encapsulate hydrophobic drugs for oral administration.
Journal of Agricultural And Food Chemistry, v.61 n.40 pp.9666-9671