Co-Administration of Iron and Bioavailable Curcumin Reduces Levels of Systemic Markers of Inflammation and Oxidative Stress in a Placebo-Controlled Randomised Study

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

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    Ferrous sulphate (FS) is widely used as an iron supplement to treat iron deficiency (ID), but is known to induce inflammation causing gastric side-effects resulting in poor adherence to supplement regimens. Curcumin, a potent antioxidant, has been reported to suppress inflammation via down regulation of NF-κB. The aim of the present double blind, placebo-controlled randomised trial was to assess whether co-administration of FS with a formulated, bioavailable form of curcumin (HydroCurc™) could reduce systemic inflammation and/or gastrointestinal side-effects. This study recruited 155 healthy participants (79 males; 26.42 years ± 0.55 and 76 females; 25.82 years ± 0.54), randomly allocated to one of 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). Completed questionnaires and blood samples were collected from all participants at baseline (day 1), mid-point (day 21), and at end-point (day 42). Results showed a significant reduction in IL-6 in the FS65_Curc group (0.06 pg/mL ± 0.02, p = 0.0073) between the mid-point and end-point. There was also a significant reduction in mean plasma TNF levels in the FS65_Curc (0.65 pg/mL ± 0.17, p = 0.0018), FS65_Plac (0.39 pg/mL ± 0.15, p = 0.0363), and FS18_Curc (0.35 pg/mL ± 0.13, p = 0.0288) groups from mid-point to end-point. A significant increase was observed in mean plasma TBARS levels (0.10 µM ± 0.04, p = 0.0283) in the F18_Plac group from baseline to end-point. There was a significant association with darker stools between FS0_Plac vs. FS65_Plac (p = 0.002, Fisher’s exact test) suggesting that high iron dose in the absence of curcumin leads to darker stools. A reduction in inflammation-related markers in response to co-administering supplemental iron alongside formulated curcumin suggests a reduction in systemic inflammation. This supplementation approach may therefore be a more cost effective and convenient alternative to current oral iron-related treatments, with further research to be conducted.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number712
    Number of pages21
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2022

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited


    • Antioxidant
    • Curcumin
    • Ferrous sulphate
    • Inflammation
    • Iron
    • Supplementation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Food Science
    • Nutrition and Dietetics


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