Acute administration of bioavailable curcumin alongside ferrous sulphate supplements does not impair iron absorption in healthy adults in a randomised trial

Helena Tiekou Lorinczova, Gulshanara Begum, Derek Renshaw, Mohammed Gulrez Zariwala

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    45 Downloads (Pure)


    Ferrous sulphate (FS) is a cost effective, readily available iron supplement for iron deficiency (ID). The pro-oxidant effect of oral ferrous iron is known to induce inflammation, causing gastric side-effects and resulting in poor compliance. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant and has also been shown to exhibit iron chelation in-vitro, although it is not established whether these effects are retained in-vivo. The aim of this study was therefore to assess the influence of a formulated bioavailable form of curcumin (HydroCurc™; 500 mg) on acute iron absorption and status in a double blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial recruiting 155 healthy participants (79 males; 26.42 years ± 0.55 and 76 females; 25.82 years ± 0.54). Participants were randomly allocated to five different treatment groups: iron and curcumin placebo (FS0_Plac), low dose (18 mg) iron and curcumin placebo (FS18_Plac), low dose iron and curcumin (FS18_Curc), high dose (65 mg) iron and curcumin placebo (FS65_Plac), and high dose iron and curcumin (FS65_Curc). Participants were provided with the supplements according to their relevant treatment groups at baseline (0min), and blood collection was carried out at 0 min and at 180 min following supplementation. In the treatment groups, significant difference was observed in mean serum iron between baseline (0 min) and at end-point (180 min) (F (1, 144) = 331.9, p <0.0001) with statistically significant intra-group increases after 180 min (p < 0.0001) in the FS18_Plac (8.79 µmol/L), FS18_Curc (11.41 µmol/L), FS65_Plac (19.09 µmol/L), and FS65_Curc (16.39 µmol/L) groups. A significant difference was also observed between the two time points in serum TIBC levels and in whole blood haemoglobin (HGB) in the treatment groups, with a significant increase (1.55%/2.04 g/L) in HGB levels from baseline to end-point observed in the FS65_Curc group (* p < 0.05). All groups receiving iron demonstrated an increase in transferrin saturation (TS%) in a dose-related manner, demonstrating that increases in serum iron are translated into increases in physiological iron transportation. This study demonstrates, for the first time, that regardless of ferrous dose, formulated curcumin in the form of HydroCurc™ does not negatively influence acute iron absorption in healthy humans.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2300
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    The study was supported by Knowledge Exchange funding from Gencor Pacific Ltd. (UT722720).We gratefully acknowledge the time and dedication of all participants who participated in this study. We would like to acknowledge all colleagues from The University of Westminster who contributed support and expertise to this study. We thank Owen Fitzsimons for assistance with participant enrolment and randomization, phlebotomy and investigation, Lina Temouri for assistance with administrative duties, phlebotomy and laboratory work, Chrystalla Ferrier for assisting with the operation of the Ilab Aries instrument and Yvoni Kyriakidou for assistance with phlebotomy. We thank Sonita Chea, Hashum Sum and Ruchita Venkatesh for their laboratory and administration assistance and Gloria Koncz for her administrative assistance. The authors would also like to thank the Research Interns and Visiting Researchers who assisted over the course of this project.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).


    • Antioxidant
    • Curcumin
    • Ferrous sulphate
    • Iron
    • Nutrition
    • Supplementation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Food Science
    • Nutrition and Dietetics


    Dive into the research topics of 'Acute administration of bioavailable curcumin alongside ferrous sulphate supplements does not impair iron absorption in healthy adults in a randomised trial'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this