Solubilization Of Curcuminoid Compounds And Products Thereof

SOLUBILIZATION OF CURCUMINOID COMPOUNDS AND PRODUCTS THEREOF

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to provisional U.S. patent application no. 61/629,738, having the same title and filed November 26, 201 1.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention pertains to aqueous solutions of curcuminoids and their use for nutraceutical and pharmaceutical formulations.

BACKGROUND

Turmeric is a curry spice obtained from the rhizome of Curcuma !onga of the ginger family, and has a long history of use in ayurvedic medicine and in traditional Asian diets. The principal bioactive component of turmeric is curcumin (l,7-bis[4-hydroxy-3~methoxypheny3]- l,6-heptadiene-3,5-dione), a yellow pigment first identified in 1910. Curcumin is used widely in the United States for food coloring (e.g, in mustard, cheese, spices, cereals, potato flakes, soups, pickles, ice cream, and yogurt), but also as a nutraceutical. The interest in turmeric and its molecular components is rising. Curcumin in particular has become an important focus of pharmaceutical development. A June 2011 report stated that 61 clinical trials registered with the U.S. National Institutes of Health were completed or underway on the use of dietary curcumin in treating a variety of clinical disorders.

Structurally curcumin exists as a tautomer; the enol form tends to predominate both in solution and in the solid phase.

Curcumin Keto and Enol Tautomers

Commercial curcumin contains curcumin itself (77%), desmethoxycurcumin (DMC, 17%) and bisdesmethoxycurcumin (BDMC, 3%); the latter two differ from curcumin only by lacking one or both methoxy groups, respectively. As a group these compounds and their derivatives for pharmaceutical use are referred to as curcuminoids. Among the major cellular metabolites of these three compounds are the tetrahydrocurcuminoids, in which both vinylidene groups are reduced, i.e., THC (i.e., tetrahydrocurcumin), TDMC and TBDMC. The tetrahydrocurcuminoids retain the bioactivity but are colorless and more chemically stable than the curcuminoids.

Curcumin 's medicinal properties include substantial effects that are antioxidative, antiinflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal, and it is safe for human consumption even at the level of 8 g day ingestion for sustained periods, Studies have shown that to varying degrees curcumin promotes wound healing and has therapeutic and or preventive effects against diabetes, asthma, allergies, cataracts, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, myelodysplastic syndromes, cystic fibrosis, myocardial infarctions, high cholesterol, stroke, malaria, HIV, HSV-1, psoriasis, and others. Among the diseases for which curcumin has ameliorative effects are autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, Sjogren's syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, type I diabetes mellitus, neurodegenerative diseases, and several types of cancer.

Curcumin5 s efficacy is thought to arise in part from its blocking the effects of 4-hydroxy- 2-nonenal (HNE), an alpha, beta-unsaturated aldehyde that is an oxidation byproduct from disease pathogenesis and that covaiently modifies cellular targets; HNE is cytotoxic, mutagenic and genotoxic, Curcumm also suppresses the expression of c-jun, a proliferation-stimulating gene in immune cells; this affects both apoptosis and cancer. In addition curcumin has also been shown to bind in both the minor and major grooves of DNA and RNA as well as at their phosphate groups, yet without being a mutagen. Curcumin binds to proteins nonspecifically and inhibits their oxidative modification. Curcumin' s benefits against autoimmune diseases appear to be linked to its ability to regulate inflammatory cytokines such as IL-l beta, IL-6, IL-12, TNA- alpha, and IFN-a, and associated JA -STAT, AP-1 and NF-kB signaling pathways in immune cells, and may also arise from inhibiting unwanted antibody-antigen interactions.

Available data suggests that individual curcuminoids differ in their effects for important biological activities and in some cases are synergistic with each other. For instance, when individual curcuminoids are used at high purity (e.g., 95-99%) differences exist between their respective anti-proliferative effects against cancer cell lines, and in fact a mixture of the curcuminoids is more effective at suppressing nuclear factor-kB (NF-kB) activation in the inflammation response than are the components in isolation. Curcuminoids also induce glutathione S-transferase and are potent inhibitors of cytochrome P450.

Nevertheless the use of purified curcumin is often preferred because it is a potent antioxidant (including against superoxide and singlet oxygen) for multiple targets, is non-toxic up to 12 g day, and can regress a variety of disorders inexpensively. Curcumin scavenges free radicals and inhibits lipid peroxidation and oxidative DNA damage. Curcumin is a chemopreventive agent for cancers of the colon, prostate, esophagus, lung, breast and mouth. It has been used in inhibiting viral and bacterial growth as well as for atherosclerosis. Curcumin suppresses cyclin Dl and anti-apoptotic gene products to yield anti-proliferative effects. Very recently curcumin was shown to suppress NF-kB and increase apoptosis in both Flo-l and OE33 esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) cell lines, and was shown to enhance both S-fluorouraci! and cisplatin-mediated chemosensitivity in EAC. Curcumin conjugated with polyethylene glycol (35 kD) displayed greater reduction of cell growth compared to free curcumin in pancreatic cancer cells, by affecting cell cycle progression owing to its better solubility in water. The results of this study suggest thai PEGylated curcumin inhibits cell proliferation through suppression of Jun activation domain binding protein 1/COP9 signalosome complex activity. Curcumin also induces cytochrome C release, caspase activation, p53 activation, and is anti-angiogenic by down- regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

Medicinal use of curcumin has been limited because the compound is virtually insoluble (dissolution of only ca. 600 ng/mL) in water at acidic and physiological pH and hydrolyzes rapidly at alkaline pH. Plasma concentrations from high human oral doses (8-12 g day) of curcumin are just in the nanomolar range. Most therapeutic in vitro studies on curcumin have solubiiized it in organic solvents. Those solvents include dimethyisu!foxide (DMSO), acetone and ethanol but they have limited suitability for in vivo studies themselves. Surfactants or co- surfactants can be used to improve solubility in water, but are often undesirable for other reasons. The eureuminoids also have poor solubility in lipids. Curcumin has been solubiiized by sulfation and giucuronidation, however those derivatives cannot penetrate the blood brain barrier whereas the parent compound can. And other derivatives cause concerns because their effects and side effects are not as well known.

Sabinsa Corp. has used pipeline ("bioperine" extracted from black pepper) to increase the solubility of curcumin, but this effect lasts only one hour, (Shoba G; Joy D; Joseph T; Majeed M; Rajendran R; Srinivas PS (May 1998). "Influence of pipeline on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers". Planta Med 64 (4): 353-6).) Formulations in lipids or phospholipids improve bioavailability of the free eureumin, and are used in products such as Longvida Optimized Curcumin (achieving 5 μΜ in the brain), Meriva® (little or no free curcumin in humans'--), and BCM-95® (includes turmeric oil, with mixed results). The use of cyclodextrin host-guest complexes, curcumin nanoparticles, curcumin complexes with albumin protein, and curcumin encapsulated in liposomes micelles (e.g, in poly(ethylene oxide)- poly(caprolactone) copolymers) have also been reported but not yet fully validated.

Some observers have concluded that solubility is not the only barrier for water as a delivery medium, reporting water-mediated hydrolysis of curcumin to vanillin and ferulic acid (Wang, YJ; Pan MH, Cheng AL, Lin LI, Ho YS, Hsieh CY, Lin JK, (1997). "Stability of curcumin in buffer solutions and characterization of its degradation products.". J Pharm Biomed Anal 15; 1867-76). Yet despite the degradation and relative insolubility of curcumin in aqueous solutions, the compound is most bioavailable at one of the body's major water ingesting sites, the colon. Indeed curcumin has some of its strongest observed medicinal effects there. Thus even trace levels of curcumin in water appear to have provided important medicinal value,

Consequently, there is an ongoing need for methods and processes that enhance curcumin1 s solubility in water in a stable way and provide pharmaceutical preparations at elevated concentrations of curcumin in water.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present inventors have found that surprisingly both the aqueous concentration of curcumin and its stability against hydrolysis and precipitating out are enhanced to a very large degree by dissolving the curcumin at modestly elevated temperatures and pressures, that the effect is further enhanced by the iiiclusion of a small amount of an alcohol (only part of which is subsequently lost as vapor), and thai the spectroscopic signature of the dissolved compound remains substantially identical. These results are counterintuitive and their molecular basis is not yet clear.

The inventors have also found that ingestion of aqueous solutions of curcumin that is solubilized in this manner provides substantial mood-elevating benefits for a period of several hours.

in one embodiment, the invention provides a process for solubilizing and stabilizing curcumin in an aqueous solution, comprising:

a) providing a quantity of water;

b) providing over 0.008 mg curcumin per niL water;

c) optionally providing at least 0.01 mL lower alcohol per mL of water;

d) optionally providing at least 0.01 mL polyalkyleneoxide per mL of water;

e) combining the water, curcumin and optional lower alcohol in any order and optionally with mixing; and

f) heating the combined water, curcumin and optional lower alcohol to a temperature in excess of 100%, optionally at a pressure exceeding 1 atmosphere;

wherein steps a), b) and c) may be done in any order, and wherein the process includes at least one of combining the lower alcohol or optional polyalkyleneoxide in step e) and applying a pressure exceeding 1 atmosphere in step f).

In a further embodiment, the invention provides a product comprising solubilized and stabilized curcumin in an aqueous solution made by a process comprising solubilized and stabilized curcumin in an aqueous solution made by a process comprising;

a) providing a quantity of water; b) providing over 0.008 mg curcumin per mL water;

c) optionally providing at least 0.01 mL lower alcohol per mL of water;

d) optionally providing at least 0.01 mL polyalkyleneoxide per rnL of water;

e) combining the water, curcumin, optional lower alcohol and optional polyalkyleneoxide in any order and optionally with mixing; and

f) heating the combined water, curcumin and optional lower alcohol to a temperature in excess of 100%, optionally at a pressure exceeding 1 atmosphere;

wherein steps a), b) and c) may be done in any order, and wherein the process includes at least one of combining the lower alcohol or optional polyalkyleneoxide in step e) and applying a pressure exceeding 1 atmosphere in step f).

in a particular embodiment the invention provides a method of treatment comprising administering to a subject in need thereof an aqueous solution comprising over ,008 mg curcumin per mL water to treat, prevent or ameliorate a medical or psychological condition.

In an additional embodiment the invention provides a process for staining proteins comprising:

a) providing a solution of curcumin that has been soiubilized by heating in water, optionally under pressure and optionally in the presence of a lower alcohol or a polyalkyleneoxide; b) combining the soiubilized curcumin with one or more proteins in an assay for an amount of time sufficient to stain the protein; and

c) determining a presence or amount of protein as a function of the fluorescence or

coiori metric density of the stain. DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGURE ί provides a histogram depicting the effects of heat, pressure and etlianol in solubilization of curcumin in water according to the invention, DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Previous state rf.the art..fo

Prior mixtures that had 5 mg of solid cmOuminoids added per mL of deionized water at room temperature typically resulted in dissolution of only about 0.13% of the curcuminoid mass. Given curcumin's molecular mass of 368.38, that represents -0.017 irsM solutions. Yet essentially all of the dissolved material is DMC and BDMC; curciimin itself remains insoluble under these conditions (which suggests that prior studies studying the effects of aqueous "curcumin" did not in fact evaluate the effects of curcumin at all). For solutions made at room temperature it is difficult to obtain a clear (i.e., solid-free) supernatant even from careful centrifuging. The samples are far more soluble in alkaline water (e.g., pH 7.6), but when placed in phosphate buffered saline (PBS) and serum-free media at modest alkaline pH (pH 7.2, at 37 °C) the curcuminoids are hydrolyzed substantially completely within 30 minutes.

Two of the present inventors reported in 2007 that heat treatment increased curcumin's solubility in pure water. (B.B. Kurien, A. Singh, H. Matsumoto and R.H. Scofield, "improving the Solubility and Pharmacological Efficacy of Curcumin by Heat Treatment," ASSAY and Drug Dev. Techno!., 5(4):567-576 (2007). There the curcumin was held in boiling deionized water. The maximum heat-dissolved amount increased from about 0.13% of the total amount of curcumin present (for unheated solutions) to 1.5% (ca. 75 fag-'mL, 0.20 mM for heated solutions). This represented a 12-fold increase in solubility: the solubility increase for turmeric generally was 3-fold. After the solution was centrifiiged to remove the undissolved material, none of the dissolved cureumin was observed to precipitate out over time. Moreover, instead of hydrolyzing rapidly as for cureumin solutions prepared at room temperature, the boiled cureumin solutions had only 47% hydrolysis after 12 hours and only 67% hydrolysis after 72 hours of exposure to alkaline pH (pH 7.2, at 37 °C, in PBS). Even so, UV- Visible spectra and mass specta (from matrix assisted laser desorption deionization time of flight mass spectrometry, MALDI-TOF- MS) confirmed that the dissolved cureumin was substantially unchanged by the heat treatment. Heat treatment also appears to increase the solubilization of BDMC but (curiously) not DMC,

The cureumin samples in that report were obtained from Sigma Chemical Co. and Cayman Chemical, Following heating of the samples in deionized water they were centrifiiged at 1000 g to remove insoluble particles, then centrifiiged twice at 26,895 g (30 minutes each time) to remove residual insoluble cureumin particles. As necessary aliquots from these samples were rc-centrifuged at 16,200 g for 20 minutes until the supernatant was clear; this liquid was used to determine cureumin concentrations using a UV-Vis spectrometer at 405 nm, with a water blank for comparison.

The heat-soiubilized cureumin was validated by confirming that it inhibited 4-hydroxy-2- nonenal-mediated oxidative modification of a protein substrate by 80%. We also confirmed that autoantibodies human subjects treated with heat-solubilized curcumin turmeric significantly inhibited binding of anti-Ro60 autoantibodies from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) (up to 52/70%, respectively) and Sjogren's syndrome sera to Ro60 autoantigen (up to 43/70%, respectively) in a non-specific way. In addition, we confirmed that the heat-solubilized curcumin/turmeric also inhibited binding of commercial polyclonal anti-spectrin to spectrin (50/56%, respectively) and binds to proteins on SDS-PAGE media, thus it is not specific to aauuttooiimmmmuunnee ddiisseeaasseess.. IInntieerreessttiinnggllyy wwee ffoouunndd tthhaatt hheeaatt ssoolluubbiilliizzeedd ccuurrccuummiinn ddooeess nnoott iinntteerrccaallaattee iinnttoo oorr ootthheerrwwiissee bbiinndd ttoo DDNAA,, aanndd iinn ppaarrtt tthhaatt vvaalliiddaatteess iittss ssaaffeettyy ffoorr mmeeddiicciinnaall uussee,,

That prior-reported heat dissolution method appeared to have reached the natural limit for dissolving curcumin in water because no benefit resulted from providing more than 5 mg of curcumin powder per mL water to be heated, nor in boiling the curcumin for more than 10 minutes. However the inventors have now discovered that using an autoclave to heat aqueous mixtures having curcumin present at 5 mg/mL substantially increases the amount of curcumin that can be dissolved. Thus treating the samples at 15 psi (i.e., ca, 1 ,02 aim) pressure and 121 °C and then centrifuging the autoclaved solutions (to remove the undissolved mass) yields samples with dissolution increased to 5% of the curcumin initially present (ca. 250 μ¾ ηιΙ,, 0,68 mM). The autoclave cycle was 70 minutes, of which ~40 minutes represent actual time under pressure, The pressure-dissolved curcumin was confirmed by UV-Vis spectroscopy to he unmodified, and did not precipitate out or cause the solution to become cloudy or turbid over time, thus it appears these are stable solutions. Exposure to alkaline pH for 72 hours led to only a 32% reduction in pristine curcumin. The increase in stability over solutions prepared at ambient temperature suggests that the heat- or pressure- dissolved curcumin might be present in a previously unrecognized ordering of molecules, however the invention is not so limited.

The inventors have further discovered that the curcumin concentration can be improved still more and disproportionately by initially including up to 5% of an alcohol such as methanol, ethanol, iso- or n-propanol, n-, sec- or tert- butanol or another alcohol when making up the initial mixture for pressurization. In an illustrative example, 2.5 mL of neat ethanol was combined with 250 mg of curcumin, resulting in a turbid mixture. That mixture was then combined with 47.5 mL of deionized water to make up a 50 mL solution. Some liquid is lost during autodaving, however more is lost when methanol or ethanol is included than when water is the only liquid medium; it appears that some hut not all of the alcohol is lost as vapor irom the mixture; due to azeotrope effects and it is believed that a trace amount or more of alcohol may remain. The alcohol content can be further reduced by further exposure to vacuum pressures if desired. For exactness in quantification, if the solution is made up to the full 50 mL again by replacing lost fluid with only water, and if the undissolved curcumin is removed by centrifugmg, the resulting solution has about 60 μυ/ηι!_ curcumin dissolved, or about 12.9% of the original amount, which represents about a 100-fold increase over curcumin dissolved at ambient temperature, to about a 1 ,7 fflM solution. Using larger amounts of ethanol (e.g., doubling its proportion) provided little improvement. UV-Vis spectra again confirmed the undegraded nature of the curcumin.

Note that when evaporation losses of the autoclaved solution are not replaced the concentrations of the obtained solutions are higher by several percent than the numbers just reported.

Figure 1 provides some data in a visual format from these preparations. The OD405 values on the y-axis pertain to the concentration of dissolved curcumin observed as a function of the absorption of light at 405 rim. The numerical values on the x-axis pertain to the percentages of ethanol in the aqueous medium (prior to any heating). The bar heights of the histogram represent the relative concentrations observed. '"Heat/Pressure" refers to use of the autoclave protocol for solubilization. RT represents room temperature. Cayman and Sigma pertain respectively to fine chemical suppliers of curcumin, from Cayman Chemical (solid bars) and Sigma Chemical Co. (unfilled bars); the differences in the result are presumably due to differences in the composition of their natural extracts. It has further been discovered that the inclusion of a trace amount of a poly(alkylene ether) solubilizes curcumin and its derivatives still further as shown below in the table. Autoelaving curcumin in water with 2% of a poly(aikyl ether) solubilizes 31% of 5 g of starting curcumin in a 50 mL starting solution. Only 920 μΐ, of a 0.5% Tween-20 auioclaved solution is needed to attain a target in vivo level of 51 ng/mL in an average subject's plasma (i.e., 5L), and only 160 μΐ, of an auioclaved 2% Tween-20 solution of curcumin are needed per subject plasma liter.

The availability and bioactivity of curcumin dissolved according to the invention were found to have surprising efficiency in staining proteins. The proteins were presented in gel lanes having 2 fig, 1 50(3 ng, and 100 ng of protein marker and compared to the staining rate of Coomassie Brilliant Blue (CBB). Staining solutions were used directly from the samples prepared as above by autoclaving or by heating to 100 °C, except that solubilized curcumin solutions that were prepared with Tween additives were diluted 1 :50 with water due to their high concentration of curcumin.

The curcumin that was solubilized according to the invention in either pristine form or from tumieric stained the proteins with almost the same sensitivity as CBB did. Unlike the four hours required for staining with CBB, the curcumin and turmeric stains required only 30 minutes, though staining tests were done for as long as two hours. Moreover the staining of the invention is suitable for calibration by ordinary means for fluorescent and colorimetric dyes. The results of the invention are quite surprising because curmurin that had been solubilized by ethanol, DMSO or alkali was essentially ineffective for staining proteins. For the curcumin that had been solubilized in DMSO the DMSO solution was dissolved with water to obtain a 0.1 % DMSO solution. The proteins employed included IgM, Fc fragment, interleukm 13 receptor, mouse serum and bovine serum albumin; all were stained by solutions of the invention.

Curcumin and turmeric that are solubilized according to the invention are unique and ideal in that not only does their staining efficiency approach that of CBB. but they require no de- staining, and they are nontoxic and environmentally friendly. The new stains can be discarded in the sink, unlike CBB. Moreover the price of turmeric is less than 1% that of CBB.

References are cited at the end of this description, the teachings of ail of which are incorporated herein by reference. These nanomolar solutions were found to have surprising pharmacodynamic efficacy and entirely unexpected effects. The phenomena were observed consistently in four adult males (human), who each reported unexpected mood elevating effects that manifested almost instantaneously and lasted four or more hours. The study conditions were as follows.

Subject #1 had a body mass of about 60 kg. and ingested 5 ml, of a 350 micromolar sample of curcumin that had been prepared three days earlier using the autoclave with 5% efhanol as described above and adjusted to the final concentration.

Subject #2 had a body mass of about 60 kg, and ingested 10 mL of a 350 micromolar sample of curcumin that had been prepared three days earlier using the autoclave with 5% ethanol as described above and adjusted to the final concentration.

Subject #3 had a body mass of about 100 kg, and ingested 20 mL of a 350 micromolar sample of curcumin that had been prepared three days earlier using the autoclave with 5% ethanol as described above and adjusted to the final concentration, in addition to the mood elevating results this subject experienced reproducible relief from metatarsal arthritic inflammation for a period of about 48 hours; anti-inflammatory effects were already a known property of curcumin.

Subject #4 had a body mass of about 60 kg, and ingested about 8.5 mL of a 150 micromolar sample of curcumin that had been prepared five days earlier as described above using the autoclave but not the. and adjusted to the final concentration, This subject's study was conducted in a completely blind manner: the subject was told nothing about the known or suspected properties but was merely asked to report his observations. Definiiions

The invention may he better understood by reference to the following definitions for the terms as used herein,

The term "solubilizing" means making a solute or potential solute soluble or more soluble in a liquid.

The term "solute" means a substance that is dissolved in a liquid; the term "potential solute" means a substance that is to be dissolved in a liquid.

The term "stabilizing" means altering conditions such that a particular solute is more stable against degradation in a given solution.

The term "aqueous" means a liquid comprising a substantial proportion of water.

The term "solution" means a liquid comprising a second liquid and or comprising one or more solutes.

The term "lower alcohol" is used in the sense of organic chemistry and means an alcohol having from one to four covalently bonded carbons. The term "alcohol" as used herein includes saturated and unsaturated alcohols, linear and cyclic alcohols, and branched carbon chain alcohols, The term "alcohol" as used herein includes alcohols substituted by one or more halogens. The term "lower alcohol" as used herein optionally includes mixture of lower alcohols. Illustrative non-limiting examples of linear, cyclic and branched saturated alcohols without halogen substitution include methanol, ethanoi, n-propanol, isopropanol, cyclopropanol, n-butanol, sec-butanol, tert-hutanol, cyclobutanol, n-hydroxymethyl (cyclopropane), sec- hydroxyfmethyl cyclopropane) and tert-hydroxy(methyieyelopropaiie). As used herein with respect to alcohols, the term "low boiling" means boiling at a temperature below 100 °C. The terms "poly(alkylene ether)," "polyalkyleneoxide" and "polyoxyalkylene" as used herein are synonymous and used in the sense of organic and polymer chemistry; they refer to a polyether such as an oligomer, polymers of any molecular weight of polyoxyethyiene, polyox propylene, polyoxybutylene, poiyoxypentylene, polyoxyhexylene, pegylated species such as the Tween series of polysorbates, and other poly(alkylene ether)s, The terms are not limited by the type of end groups on the respective structure; the end groups may he hydroxy!, alkyl ether, carboxylic acid, carboxylic ester, or other end groups such as are known in the art for polyoxyalkylenes.

The term "food product'' means a substance that is a food or beverage, or that is a condiment, glaze, flavoring, coloring, supplement, or other ingredient or additive for a food or beverage.

The term "supplement product" means a non-pharmaceutical product intended for ingestion to facilitate the health of a subject by natural means, optionally at the subject's discretion.

The term "pharmaceutical product" means a product intended for use by medical prescription or for use as an over-the-counter drug.

EXAMPLE 1 : Water : Curcumin Ratios

A solution of deionized, distilled, or other quality of water is provided in an amount of 40-50 mL. The invention is not limited by the amount of water provided. A sample comprising curcumin is also provided. In preferred embodiment the sample comprises a sufficient amount of curcumin that if all of it was dissolved the curcumin concentration would exceed 0.008 mg½L, In particular embodiments, total dissolution of the sample in the water would result in a curcumin concentration exceeding any of 0.015 mg/mL, 0.023 mg mL, 0.030 mg/mL, 0.038 mg mL, 0,045 mg mL 0.052 mg/mL, 0,060 mg mL, 0,090 mg mL, 0.12 mg/mL, 0,15 mg mL, 0. 8 mg/mL, 0.24 mg/mL, 0.30 mg mL, 0.40 mg mL. 0.50 mg/mL, 0.60 mg mL, 1.20 mg mL, 1.80 mg mL, 2.40 mg/mL and 3,00 mg/mL.

EXAMPLE 2: Alcohol

A lower alcohol is provided, wherein lower means having four carbons or less, which may be: saturated or unsaturated; linear, branched or cyclic; and substituted or not by a halogen. The alcohol optionally may be a mixture of lower alcohols. In particular embodiments the alcohol is low boiling but the invention is not so limited.

EXAMPLE 3: Poly(alkylene ether)

A polyalkyleneoxide (PAO) is provided, wherein the ether oxygen atoms are separated by an from two to six carbons in the backbone of an alky!ene group, and the alkylene group may be: saturated or unsaturated: linear, branched or cyclic; and substituted or not by a halogen. The PAO optionally may comprise end groups that are hydroxyl, ether, alkyl, or carboxylic ester, and may comprise internal groups that are ether, alkyl or carboxylic. ester. The PAO optionally may comprise a mixture of PAO compounds, and optionally may be a single PAO compound comprising a mixture of alkylene groups in its structure. In particular embodiments one or more of the PAO ether oxygens may be part of an etherified sugar moiety such as in a polysorbate compound.

EXAMPLE 4: Unheated Mixtures

The water and sample comprising eurcumin from Example 1 and optionally the lower alcohol from Example 2 or PAO from Example 3 are combined in any order desired, optionally with mixing. If the alcohol is included, it is provided in a proportion up to 75% of the total liquid, optionally 1-50% of the total liquid, optionally 2-25% of the total liquid, optionally 3-15% of the total liquid, optionally 4-10% of the total liquid, or about 5% of the total liquid.

If the PAO is included, it is provided in a proportion up to 10% of the total liquid, optionally 0.1-8.0% of the total liquid, optionally 0,2-6,0% of the total liquid, optionally 0.5- 4.0% of the total liquid, optionally 1-3% of the total liquid, or about 2% of the total liquid.

EXAMPLE 5: Heated Mixtures

The combination from Example 4 is heated. The maximum temperature may be in the range 105-300 °C, 110-250 °C, 115-200 °C, 120-150 °C, or about 125 °C.

The heating is optionally carried out under pressure. The maximum pressure may be in the range 1-220 atm, 1-100 atm, 1.01-50 arm, 1.01 -10 arm, 1.02-5 aim, 1.02-2 arm, or between 1 and 1.2 atm.

The duration of heating is optionally at least 10 seconds, 1 minute to 72 hours, 5 minutes to 24 hours, 10 minutes to 12 hours, 15 minutes to 6 hours, 20 minutes to 3 hours, 30 minutes to 1 hour, or about 30 minutes.

In a particular embodiment the maximum temperature is 121 °C, at a pressure of 15 psi (1.02 atm) for between 30 and 60 minutes.

in particular embodiments the heating is carried out in an autoclave, a bomb calorimeter, or a sealed reaction vessel. In some embodiments the heating is conducted in a reaction vessel under high pressure from an applied gas such as: steam; a noble gas; a relatively inert gas such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, dinitrogen, or another relatively inert gas; a reducing gas such as dihydrogen or another reducing gas; or another gas under pressure. In certain embodiments the heating is carried out in an unstoppered tube, flask, beaker or other open reaction vessel that is capable of allowing a liquid within it to evaporate and exit the reaction vessel during the heating.

In still further embodiments mixtures that have been heated are allowed to cool before further processing,

EXAMPLE 6: Volume Gross Up

In certain embodiments the mixtures from Example 5 after heating optionally receive additional amounts water or a lower alcohol to replace fluids lost during heating. In certain embodiments the replacement brings solutions approximately exactly up to their original volumes. In other embodiments the replacement brings total solutions to less than their original volumes. In further embodiments the replacement brings total solutions to more than their original voiumes. In still other embodiments liquid is removed from the mixtures after their heating by pouring, static evaporation, lyophilizing. use of molecular sieves, or other means, EXAMPLE 7: Separation

In certain embodiments the mixtures from Example 5 or Example 6 after heating are used for medicinal or food purposes without separation of any remaining undissolved material.

In other embodiments the mixtures from Example 5 after filtered by means of a filtration apparatus such as a paper filter, ceramic filter, glass frit or other filtration apparatus known to persons of ordinary skill in the art to remove undissolved solids, and optionally this is done with the assistance of a pump to push the liquid through the filtration apparatus or a vacuum line to pull the liquid through the filtration apparatus.

In particular embodiments the mixtures from Example 5 are filtered by means of dialysis membranes to remove undissolved solids. In oilier embodiments residual solids in the mixtures from example 5 are separated by means of cenirifiigation and pouring off the supernatant.

EXAMPLE 8: ingested Supplements

In certain embodiments a filtered or unfiltered mixture described in Example 7 is incorporated in a food product, The food product is optionally a beverage, condiment, coloring, glaze, spice, herbal mixture, or other food product, In particular embodiments a mixture cited in Example 7 is incorporated into a liquid mitraceutical supplement, or into a nutraceutical supplement that has a liquid component such as a gel or capsule.

EXAMPLE 9: indications

In certain embodiments a filtered or unfiltered mixture cited in Example 7 is provided to a subject in need thereof to prevent, treat, or ameliorate a medical condition, in particular embodiments the condition is selected from one that requires an anti oxidative, antiinflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and or antifungal effect. In certain embodiments the condition is an autoimmune disease such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, Sjogren's syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, type Ϊ diabetes mellitus, neurodegenerative diseases, or a type of cancer, In further embodiments the condition is one such as Type II diabetes, asthma, allergies, cataracts, atherosclerosis. Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, myelodysplastic syndromes, cystic fibrosis, myocardial infactkais, high cholesterol, stroke, malaria, HIV, HSV-1, psoriasis, or another type of disease..

EXAMPLE 10: Doses

In particular embodiments a mixture cited in Example 7 is provided to a consumer or subject in a quantity that provides up to 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 or 16 g day of curcumm to a consumer of the product. EXAMPLE 1 1 : Subjects

In some embodiments the subjects of Example 10 are human subjects, in certain other embodiments they are other mammalian subjects. In particular embodiments the subjects are selected from the group consisting of humans, pets, livestock, research animals and display animals, wherein these terms include but are not limited to: pets such as dogs, cats, rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and other pets: livestock such as cattle, horses, sheep, goats, alpaca, chickens, geese, pigs, and other livestock; research animals such as mice, rats, pigeons, dogs, cats, captive woodland creatures, captive aquatic creatures, captive birds, captive desert- creatures, captive marsh creatures and other research animals; and display animals such as zoo animals, carnival display animals, commercial aquarium animals, and other display animals. EXAMPLE 12: Psychodynamic effects

In some embodiments a mixture cited in Example 7 is provided to a subject of Example 11 for purposes of mood elevation. Illustrative but nonlimiting examples of subjects in need of mood elevation include clinically depressed subjects, bereaved subjects, subjects suffering physical pain, subjects exhibiting symptoms of dementia, and subjects under mental stress such as battlefield stress, academic stress, occupational stress, relational stress, and homesickness or other loneliness.

The foregoing description and drawings comprise illustrative embodiments of the preferred embodiment, but the invention is not so limited. It will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that numerous alternatives, variations, modifications and permutations of the invention described herein may be made without departing from the spirit or nature of the invention; these are contemplated as being part of the invention. Also, merely listing or enumerating the steps of a method or the components of a device in a certain order does not constitute any limitation on the order of the steps or components of that method or device, respectively. Although specific, terms are employed herein, they are used in a descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation.

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CLAIMS

claim:

A process for solubilizing and stabilizing curcumin in an aqueous solution, comprising: a) providing a quantity of water;

b) providing over 0.008 mg curcumin per rnL water;

c) optionally providing at least 0.01 rnL lower alcohol per mL of water;

d) optionally providing at least 0.01 mL polyalkyleneoxide per mL of water;

e) combining the water, curcumin and optional lower alcohol in any order and

optionally with mixing; and

f) heating the combined water, curcumin and optional lower alcohol to a temperature in excess of 100%, optionally at a pressure exceeding 1 atmosphere;

wherein steps a), b) and c) may he done in any order, and wherein the process includes at least one of combining the lower alcohol or optional polyalkyleneoxide in step e) and applying a pressure exceeding 1 atmosphere in step f),

The process of claim 1 wherein the water provided comprises deionized, distilled, or another quality of water.

The process of claim 1 wherein the curcumin is provided in the form of purified curcumin, a mixture of eureuminoids, turmeric, or a portion of rhizome of Curcuma longa.

The process of claim 1 wherein the curcumin is provided in a sufficient amount that if it is completely dissolved in a full volume of the provided water, the resulting curcumin concentration exceeds a concentration selected from one of the following: 0.008 mg/mL, 0,015 mg/mL, 0.023 mg/mL, 0,030 mg/mL, 0,038 mg mL, 0.045 mg/mL 0,052 mg/mL, 0.060 mg-'mL, 0.090 mg/mL, 0.12 mg mL, 0.15 mg mL, 0.18 mg-'mL, 0.24 mg/mL, 0.30 mg/mL, 0.40 nig/mL. 0.50 mg/mL, 0.60 nig/niL, 1 ,20 mg mL, 1.80 mg mL, 2.40 mg/niL and 3.00 mg mL..

5) The process according to claim 1 wherein the lower alcohol comprises from one to four covalently bonded carbons, is saturated or unsaturated, is linear or cyclic, optionally is branched, optionally is substituted by a halogen, and optionally is a mixture of lower alcohols.

6) The process according to claim 5 wherein the lower alcohol is a saturated alcohol selected from the group consisting of methanol, ethanol, n-propanol, isopropanol, cyclopropanol, n- butanol, sec-butanol, tert-butanol, eyelobuianol, n-hydroxymethyl(cyclopropane), see- hydroxy(methyl cyclopropane) and tert-hydroxy(methyl cyclopropane) .

7) The process according to claim 5 wherein the alcohol is low boiling.

8) The process according to claim 1 wherein a lower alcohol is provided in a proportion selected from one of the following ranges: up to 75% of the total liquid, 1-50% of the total liquid, 2-25% of the total liquid, 3-15% of the iota! liquid, 4-10% of the total liquid, or about 5% of the total liquid.

9) The process according to claim 1 wherein ether oxygen atoms of the polyalkyleneoxide (PAO) are separated by from two to six carbons in the backbone of an alkylene group, and wherein the alkylene group is saturated or unsaturated, linear or cyclic, optionally is branched, and optionally is substituted by a halogen.

10) The process according to claim 9 wherein the PAO comprises a mixture of PAO compounds, or is a single PAO compound comprising a mixture of alkylene groups in its structure, or comprises an etherified sugar moiety. 11) The process according to claim 9 wherein the PAO comprises end groups thai are hydroxy!, ether, alkyl, or carboxy!ic ester or comprises internal groups that are ether, alky or carboxylic ester.

12) The process according to claim 1 wherein a polyalkyleneoxide is provided in a proportion selected from one of the following ranges: up to 10% of the total liquid, optionally 0.1- 8.0% of the total liquid, optionally 0.2-6.0% of th total liquid, optionally 0,5-4.0% of the total liquid, optionally 1-3% of the total liquid, or about 2% of the total liquid.

13) The process according to claim 1 wherein the heating is performed to a maximum temperature selected from within one of the following ranges: 105-300 °C, 110-250 °C, 115-200 °C, 120-150 °C, or about 125 °C,

14) The process according to claim 1 wherein the pressure exceeding 1 atmosphere is selected from within one of the following ranges: 1-220 atm, 1-100 aim, 1.01-50 atm, 1.01-10 atm, 1.02-5 atm, 1.02-2 atm, or between 1 and 1,2 atm.

15) The process according to claim 1 wherein the heating is performed for a duration selected from within at least one of the following ranges: 10 seconds to 1 week, 1 minute to 72 hours, 5 minutes to 24 hours, 10 minutes to 12 hours, 15 minutes to 6 hours, 20 minutes to 3 hours. 30 minutes to 1 hour, or about 30 minutes.

16) The process according to claim 1 wherein the heating is performed to about 121 "C, at a pressure of about 1.02 atm for between 30 and 60 minutes.

17) The process according to claim 1 wherein the heating is carried out in an autoclave, a bomb calorimeter, or a sealed reaction vessel.

18) The process according to claim 1 wherein the heating is conducted in a reaction vessel under pressure from a gas selected from the group consisting of: steam; a noble gas; a relatively inert gas such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, dinitrogen; or a reducing gas such as dihydrogen,

19) The process according to claim 1 wherein the heating is carried out in an unstoppered tube, flask, beaker or other open reaction vessel that is capable of allowing a liquid within it to evaporate and exit the reaction vessel during the heating.

20) The process according to claim 1 wherein the combination is allowed to cool after heating and before further processing.

21) The process according to claim 1 wherein after the water, curcumin and lower alcohol are combined and heated, they are combined with an additional amount of water and or of a lower alcohol to replace fluids lost during heating.

22) The process according to claim 1 wherein after the heating step the solution is filtered to remove undissolved solids, optionally with the assistance of a pump and or a vacuum line.

23) A product comprising sofubilized and stabilized curcumin in an aqueous solution made by a process comprising:

a) provi ding a quantity of water;

b) providing over 0.008 mg curcumin per mL water;

c) optionally providing at least. 0.01 mL lower alcohol per mL of water;

d) optionally providing at least 0.01 mL polyalkyleneoxide per mL of water;

e) combining the water, curcumin, optional lower alcohol and optional

polyalkyleneoxide in any order and optionally with mixing; and

f) heating the combined water, curcumin and optional lower alcohol to a temperature in excess of 100%, optionally at a pressure exceeding 1 atmosphere; wherein steps a), b) and c) may be done in any order, and wherein the process includes at least one of combining the lower alcohol or optional pol alkyleneoxide in step e) and appfying a pressure exceeding 1 atmosphere in step f).

24) The product of claim 23, wherein the product is further comprised in a food product, a supplement product or a pharmaceutical product.

25) The product of claim 23, wherein the product is further comprised in a beverage, condiment, coloring, glaze, spice, herbal mixture, liquid nutraceutical supplement, gel or caps

26) A method of treatment comprising administering to a subject in need thereof an aqueous solution comprising over ,008 xng curcumin per niL water to treat, prevent or ameliorate a medical or psychological condition.

27) The method of claim 26 wherein amounts of soluble curcumin are administered to a subject to provide a maximum daily selected from the group consisting of up to 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 or 16 g day of soluble curcumin,

28) The method of claim 26 wherein the subject has a medical condition selected from the group consisting of conditions that require an antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and or antifungal effect.

29) The method of claim 26 wherein the subject has a medical condition selected from autoimmune diseases.

30) The method of claim 26 wherein the subject has a medical condition selected from the group consisting of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, Sjogren's syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, type 1 diabetes mellitus, neurodegenerative diseases, or a type of cancer. 31 ) I'he method of claim 26 wherein the subject has a medicai condition selected from the group consisting of Type II diabetes, asthma, allergies, cataracts, atherosclerosis. Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, myelodyspiastic syndromes, cystic fibrosis, myocardial mfaetions, high cholesterol, stroke, malaria, HIV, HSV~1. and psoriasis.

32} The method of claim 26 wherein the subject has a psychological condition that requires mood elevation.

33) The method of claim 26 wherein the subject has a psychological conditional selected from the group consisting of clinical depression, bereavement, mentally depressing physical pain, dementia, battlefield stress, academic stress, occupational stress, relational stress, homesickness, or other loneliness.

34) The method of claim 26 wherein the subject is a human subject or another mammalian subject.

35) The method of claim 26 wherein the subject is selected from the group consisting of humans, pets, livestock, research animals and display animals.

36) The method of claim 26 wherein the subject is selected from the group consisting of pets such as dogs, cats, rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish; livestock such as cattle, horses, sheep, goats, alpaca, chickens, geese, and pigs; research animals such as mice, rats, pigeons, dogs, cats, captive woodland creatures, captive aquatic creatures, captive birds, captive desert creatures, and captive marsh creatures; and display animals such as zoo animals, carnival display animals, and commercial aquarium animals.

37) A process for staining proteins comprising: a) providing a solution of curcumin thai has been solubilized by heating in water, optionally under pressure and optionally in the presence of a lower alcohol or a polyaikyieneoxide;

b) combining the solubilized curcumin with one or more proteins in an assay for an amount of time sufficient to stain the protein; and

c) quantifying an amount of protein as a function of the amo unt of fluorescence or colorimetric value of the stained protein.

38) The process of claim 37 wherein:

a) the solution of curcumin is obtained from solubilization of turmeric by heating in water, optionally under- pressure and optionally in the presence of a lower alcohol or a polyaikyieneoxide;

b) the one or more proteins are comprised in a gel or mini-gel assay format;

c) De-staining of the one or more proteins or the gel or mini-gel is not employed.

39) The process of claim 37 wherein the amount of time for staining is about 30 minutes. 40) The process of claim 37 wherein following the determination step, the curcumin and the one or more proteins with which it is combined is disposed of by any means that is suitable for non-toxic, biodegradable, environmentally friendly compositions.

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