I’m sure you’ve heard of turmeric, especially with the comeback it has been making in recent years, but is curcumin something you are familiar with?
Many have never heard of it, but curcumin is, for one, what gives turmeric its yellow color, and two, actually the most beneficial part of turmeric!
It only makes up around 6% of the spice, but it holds both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
First discovered by Harvard scientists over 200 years ago, curcumin is a nutraceutical, a food that provides medicinal benefits – though turmeric has been used in India and other eastern countries for medicinal use for even longer.
Years later, in 1949, scientists also found that it has antibacterial capabilities.
Since then, many have boasted of its ability to heal wounds, pain, arthritis, IBS, psoriasis, and many more pro-inflammatory conditions.
However, curcumin – or turmeric – is not just some sort of magical cure-all.
There are certain ailments in which it can be very helpful, for some people more than others, but it also lacks the ability to be easily absorbed into the body.
This and the fact that its slightly bitter taste can be rather unpleasant make it more effective if you supplement it with another food, drink, or spice.
For instance, black pepper is said to boost its absorption into the bloodstream, but it can also be mixed into teas, lattes, or foods as a seasoning.
The recommended amount for the most anti-inflammatory benefits is 500 to 1000 milligrams of curcumin per day.
However, before you begin such a dose, you would be wise to speak with a doctor to make sure the supplement is safe for you.
Curcumin is excellent for ridding the body of free radicals caused by oxidation in addition to its beneficial effects on inflammation.
The most important of the curcuminoids within turmeric, its difficult to consume it effectively since it occurs in turmeric at about 3% by volume of turmeric powder.
For curcumin to be medicinally effective, you really should be consuming 500 milligrams or more a day, but adding this much to your diet would be impractical, not to mention unenjoyable!
The solution? Purchasing an encapsulated extract that holds the recommended dosage.
As we noted in the beginning, our bodies do not easily absorb curcumin, and black pepper aids in this issue.
The reason for this is a substance found within black pepper called piperine – or Bioperine –, which enhances the absorption by 900 to 2000%.
Piperine also boosts the body’s uptake of other phytonutrients and medications because of its bioavailability-enhancing properties.
Including turmeric in a fatty meal is also effective since it is fat soluble.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is excellent for treating joint pain, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, so you may see that some joint supplements include it in addition to things like glucosamine and hyaluronic acid.
Studies have also found that it can treat Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
Inflammation isn’t always bad; many times, it’s how the body repairs wear and tear or attacks viruses and bacteria that shouldn’t be in the body.
However, excessive and chronic inflammation is the type that you want to fight against.
A number of serious health disorders can cause this, such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory conditions, and any disease connected to obesity.
Clinical trial testing has proved curcumin’s effectiveness when it comes to rheumatoid arthritis.
In one test, the first group of patients took curcumin on its own while the second group took it alongside an anti-inflammatory drug. The former group saw the most improvement.
With such powerful effects, curcumin is an extremely appealing natural substance to take in order to avoid possible side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.
So, how does curcumin do this exactly? Warding off inflammation on a molecular level keeps the body’s tissues healthy and even reduces the risk of cancer.
One of the ways curcumin does this is by suppressing NF-kB, a molecule that is involved in DNA transcription, the first step in gene expression.
NF-kB enters the cell nuclei and switches on genes associated with inflammation and cancer growth.
Other health conditions that turmeric may have effective positive results with is inflammatory bowel disease and related conditions.
In inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, or Crohn’s disease, studies and research have found symptoms in pediatric patients were improved by curcumin.
Further double-blind studies are warranted to investigate improved outcomes.
As we said earlier, turmeric is a strong antioxidant.
Our bodies need antioxidants to ward off the oxidative damage done by free radicals, and curcumin acts even more decisively in relation to free radicals than other antioxidants.
It has the ability to neutralize free radicals in addition to stimulating the body to produce its own antioxidants or stabilize levels of glutathione, a protective and anti-cancer substance.
Another benefit of turmeric’s antioxidant effect is its ability to protect your brain since oxidative damage is believed to contribute to the aging process – all the more reason to add turmeric supplement to your daily diet!
A test involving female rats showed improved memory, but more research has to be done to say with certainty that it will do the same for humans.
However, since curcumin stimulates brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a growth hormone that is necessary to create new brain cells, it may help the brain’s learning processes to stay active as well as reverse stress’s effects on the brain.
Patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and depression, as well as other brain disorders, statistically register low levels of BDNF.
Curcumin has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier to fight at the frontlines against the degeneration of key brain functions.
Because of this, it clears the build-up of beta-amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Another health issue that turmeric may reduce the risk of is heart disease, the number one cause of death worldwide.
Studies have recently shown that curcumin could correct conditions leading to heart disease.
The endothelium cells lining blood vessels affect clotting as well as pressure regulation, and endothelium dysfunction raises the risk of heart disease.
Curcumin is able to improve endothelium function just like drugs and exercising do.
One particular recent study of heart disease patients had them take curcumin supplements for just a few days before surgery, and they found that the chance of a heart attack in the hospital was reduce by 65%!
Finally, turmeric shows some promise at reducing the growth of cancerous cells, the second leading cause of death globally.
How quickly cancer cells multiply depend on the type, but the active ingredients in curcumin prove to effectively reduce tumor growth, stopping the spread of cancer, and even killing existing cancer cells.
Though more research must be done to confirm its effect in humans, in-vitro research has also shown curcumin to target breast cancer cells.
One study followed 44 men with colon lesions known to become cancerous; the curcumin dosage of 4 grams daily for 30 days reduced the number of lesions present by 40%.
Research continues to be done on this particular positive effect of curcumin, but the results thus far are quite promising.
One of the many reasons that turmeric is such an appealing supplement is because it has only minor side effects, the most common among them being gas and flatulence and a dry mouth.
Other than that, a study that found a significant increase in oxalate levels in urine after taking a standard dose of turmeric suggests that when taking high doses of turmeric over a long period of time, one could increase his risk for kidney stones.
If you have a history of kidney stones, turmeric may not be the best supplement for you.
Turmeric may also interact like warfarin does with blood thinners, but apart from these two possibilities, turmeric is quite safe and harmless. After all, it’s a spice that has been in use for years!
We noted earlier that getting the recommended dosage through raw turmeric is nearly impossible and quite unpleasant, to say the least.
That’s where extracted forms in supplements come in handy.
Typically, you’d want around 500 mg per day, but various studies have landed on different recommended dosages.
One study found that just 80 mg a day successfully reduced blood lipids and inflammation and gave cognitive benefits.
In contrast, however, a different study found that blood lipids and liver and kidney function were improved with a higher dosage of 500 mg per day.
Yet another study that targeted people with type two diabetes specifically saw greater benefits from a dose of 2000 mg a day.
All in all, it seems as though the more drastic the health condition, the higher the dosage; for those who are relatively healthy, a daily dose on the smaller side would most likely be sufficient.
Probably a dose of 400 to 600 mg of turmeric or 50 to 100 mg of curcumin would be a good place to start, and if you aren’t seeing the results you want, try a higher dosage.
However, one crucial aspect of the supplement’s effectiveness is what the turmeric is paired with to aid in the body’s absorption of it.
For example, some pair it with an oil or fat while others rely on black pepper extracts.
Make sure you read the label of whatever supplement you choose to ensure your body is actually receiving all the benefits of a dosage.
Who should buy turmeric?
Anyone who deals with chronic inflammation, inflammation-related joint pain, heart disease, or an inflammatory bowel condition or is at risk for any of these health issues could benefit greatly from making turmeric a part of their daily consumption. It’s also a great supplement for those who are getting older as it is able to combat oxidative damage.
If you fall under any of these categories and are ready to start taking turmeric, we’ve listed our favorite turmeric supplements below to help you get started!
Best Turmeric Supplements in 2019
Solgar isn’t flashy, but it certainly is cost-effective. For half the cost, you get nearly 80% as much turmeric extract as a typical supplement.
It includes 400 mg of turmeric extract per capsule, but no black pepper extract.
The rest of the ingredients are just some binders and antioxidants to increase shelf life.
Solgar is a simple, no-nonsense, cheap choice.
New Chapter uses an ethanol process in combination with a supercritical CO2 process to extract the raw material from the turmeric plant, just like Gaia Herbs, but as is also the case with Gaia, such a complex process adds to the expense of the supplement.
If you want very high-quality extract, New Chapter Turmeric Force is a great choice, but if knowing that as much of the raw plant material was captured as possible is not important to you, you may be better off selecting a different option.
What makes Organic India Turmeric Formula unique is that it adds ginger root extract to the supplement.
Ginger is another powerful supplement, so the two paired together pack a powerful punch. 400 mg are contained in each capsule; Organic India points out, however, that the extract is taken from two slightly different parts of the plant.
Lumen Naturals is vegan and holds a higher dose of turmeric root extract along with a few other strong ingredients.
Every capsule contains 600 mg of pure turmeric root extract, 50 mg of highly purified curcuminoids, and 5 mg of BioPerine (the black pepper extract).
The large amount of turmeric along with the powerful curcuminoids makes Lumen Naturals a great choice.
It’s not cheap, however, and if you’re wanting pure turmeric, it’s not the choice for you.
BioSchwartz turmeric curcumin is quite standard as far as turmeric supplements go.
It has 500 mg of turmeric root, 50 mg of purified curcuminoids, and 3.3 mg of BioPerine all packed within a cellulose (vegan) capsule.
It’s quite popular among online shoppers, but in reality, it’s pretty average.
It is cost-effective, but it doesn’t particularly stick out above other supplement options.
Each capsule has 500 mg of turmeric extract with a small amount of BioPerine.
You get what you need, and that’s it.
There are no bells and whistles with this one. It’s a solid choice, but not exceptional.
Though Doctor’s Best High Absorption Curcumin from Turmeric Root has a reputation for being the best choice for those on a budget, it really isn’t that cheap compared to its competitors, and the product itself is average.
Like most, it has 500 mg of purified turmeric extract with 3 mg of BioPerine.
The label does provide a breakdown of the content of the individual curcuminoids, if you’re interested.
Doctor Recommended Supplements Turmeric Curcumin is another popular yet relatively average online supplement.
The blend in each capsule contains turmeric root, curcumin extract, and Triphala powder, an herbal supplement typically used in Ayurvedic dietary practices, and each capsule has 750 mg of this blend.
However, the brand doesn’t specify how much of each ingredient is in the capsule.
Vimerson Health Turmeric is a turmeric supplement made with athletes in mind.
With a combination of turmeric extract and BioPerine to aid absorption, it’s an excellent choice for athletes in need of an anti-inflammatory remedy.
It’s also quite an affordable option.
Nature’s Nutrition Turmeric combines turmeric extract with BioPerine, making the absorption rate rise to 2,000 times higher than it would on its own.
This supplement is great for heart health, joints, inflammation, and even brain function, and Nature’s Nutrition is all-natural!
It’s an especially good choice for athletes prone to joint injuries.
A Squared Nutrition Turmeric offers maximum strength to help boost muscle performance while doing cardio workouts.
It’s also great for your digestive system as well as your overall cardiovascular health.
This naturally detoxifying supplement could help rid your body of toxin build-up, improving overall health.
It’s also great if you regularly experience joint pain and muscle aches – all at an affordable price!
Gaia Turmeric Supreme is an extra-strength supplement that utilizes plant extracts to help your body effectively absorb high amounts of turmeric.
It’s non-GMO and certified, so you can be sure that it is organic and safe to consume; it’s also pretty much allergy-free as it is free of gluten, soy, dairy, meat, peanuts, sesame, shellfish, yeast, and eggs, so it’s safe for almost anybody to consume.
Just take one to two capsules a day with food, and you will see anti-inflammatory benefits and overall improvement to your health.
It comes as a 2-month supply, making the purchase cost-effective.
Many don’t realize that turmeric contains over 300 naturally-occurring vitamins including beta-carotene, calcium, potassium, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), iron, flavonoids, fiber, niacin, and zinc.
As we know, the curcumin within it lowers inflammation, improves memory, enhances mood, boosts energy, and even burns fat.
Like its competitors, Science Naturals Supplements Turmeric with BioPerine adds black pepper extract to make the turmeric even more effective, increasing absorption up to 2000%.
Q: What is turmeric?
A: Originally from Asia, Turmeric is an herb that has been used for thousands of years for both an herbal remedy and as a cooking spice.
Q: What does turmeric do?
A: Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and possesses antioxidant properties and compounds such as curcumin which helps reduce inflammation and fight oxidative damage in the body.
It also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
You’ll find it included in joint supplements thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, and some people take turmeric directly for joint pain.
Studies have also shown that it is an effective treatment for type two diabetes.
Q: How long does it take for turmeric to work?
A: Typically, several weeks long, so seeing results before six or so weeks would be unrealistic.
However, turmeric and its active ingredients are actually metabolized quite quickly, so in terms of a short-term dose, you should feel an effect over the course of just a few hours.
It’s definitely not a quick-fix supplement, however.
Q: How do you take turmeric for inflammation?
A: The best way for your body to successfully ingest turmeric is to take around 500 mg per day in a supplement capsule, but you must be consistent with your supplementation routine since it is metabolized and eliminated from the body fairly quickly.
You may also find it beneficial to combine the turmeric with glucosamine or MSM if you are taking it for inflammatory joint pain.
Q: Where does turmeric come from?
A: Native to Asia, especially in Ayurveda, Turmeric comes from the dried and powdered root of the turmeric plant.
It can be used as a supplement after being passed through an extraction process using alcohol or another solvent or as a cooking spice
Q: What is the difference between turmeric and curcumin?
A: Turmeric refers to the raw plant material while curcumin is a molecule found within raw turmeric, making up about 3% of it. Many attribute the health effects of turmeric to curcumin.
Q: How many mg of curcumin should there be in turmeric?
A: In raw turmeric powder, the curcumin content is about usually about 3% by weight, or around 30 mg per 1000 mg of raw turmeric.
You’ll find that the ratio in supplements is much higher, however, like 50 or 100 mg of curcumin per 500 mg of turmeric, for instance.
Scientists have yet to land on a unanimous decision on how much a daily curcumin dosage ought to be, but it typically lies around 10%.
Q: How much black pepper supplement does it take to help turmeric?
A: You’ll usually find that even just 5 mg of black pepper extract, often referred to as BioPerine, is enough to help absorb turmeric into the body. Most of our favorite supplements have 5 to 10 mg.
Q: How much turmeric is needed to lower blood triglycerides?
A: A good place to start is 500 to 600 mg of turmeric per day, though some research has found that those with more severe issues benefit from a higher dose.
If you’re only worried about lowering triglycerides, levels between 50 and 80 mg per day seem optimal.
As you can see, turmeric isn’t only an enjoyable, exotic flavor to add into your cooking, but a powerful supplement to add to your life.
From reducing inflammation to preventing oxidative damage to treating risk factors for heart disease, turmeric can do quite a bit for your overall health – even with just 80 mg per day!
With such little risk involved and so much to gain, it’s time for you to start supplementing your life with turmeric!