What do you really need to be aware of when purchasing a turmeric supplement? This is a valid question when there are so many supplements available, all varying in price, quality, purity and strength. It can be quite bewildering to be confronted with such an array and it is easy to be fooled into thinking you are buying the best when you listen to all the hype surrounding certain products. The best way to make sure about a product is to check the label (make sure it details ingredients and quantities), find out where it is made, consider the reputation of the brand, look at cost per serving and read customer reviews. The following questions will help guide you to the right product:
1. What is the key active ingredient?
Many companies use the word turmeric and curcumin interchangeably, but curcumin is the bioactive ingredient in turmeric. Turmeric contains only about 2-3% of curcumin. Don’t be confused when the words curcumin and curcuminoids are used interchangeably either. Researchers differentiate between curcumin and curcuminoids but the pharmaceutical industry often refers to all curcuminoids as curcumin.
Some supplement are made from drying out the cut termeric root and making a powder. Others manufacturers extract curcumin from turmeric and then concentrate it to make standardized powders. The standardization process is necessary to ensure some consistency in the amount of curcumin found from bottle to bottle. In many clinical trials and medical studies, the best results come from dosages containing 95% standardized curcumin. A product solely consisting of turmeric root powder may only contain about 2-4% curcuminoids. A product that contains 95% standardized curcuminoids, is typically the highest available form.
Dr. Danielle is a biochemist and licensed naturopathic physician whose product has over 7,000 customer reviews on Amazon. The product is 100% vegan, vegetarian friendly and gluten free. The veggie capsules contain 500mg of organic turmeric and 5mg of BioPerine. Some people simply want an organic tumeric supplement to enhance their health and for that purpose, this one is a good choice.
2. What quantity of the active ingredient does the extract contain?
The quantity of each active ingredient should be clearly stated on the product label. Products that contain a proprietary complex may look high quality at first glance but this can be misleading. When a proprietary blend is used, individual ingredients and their quantities may not be listed so you are not quite sure exactly what the product contains.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, the permissable dosages of the following types of turmeric for adults are as follows:
- Cut root: 1.5 – 3 g per day
- Dried, powdered root: 1 – 3 g per day
- Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 – 600 mg, 3 times per day
Turmeric has been used for thousands of years and millions of people consume it on a daily basis in their food. Consuming about 1tsp of turmeric powder a day is unlikely to have any negative effects but at the same time, therapeutic benefits are probably minimal. Adding a very large amount of turmeric spice to food is unwise – it has been reported to cause an interaction with other drugs being taken. When it comes to an extract of turmeric, its potency is much higher – you have to be cautious with regard to dosage and length of time it is taken.
Turmeric Plus is a product that contains 600mg of turmeric root, 50mg of 95% curcuminoids and 5mg of BioPerine (Black Pepper). Each bottle contains 60 veggie capsules, made in an FDA registered and GMP certified laboratory. The company is currently giving one bottle free for an order for 3 bottles at $63.95.
3. Does it contain piperine?
Black pepper contains a substance called piperine. Piperine is often added to curcumin extracts because curcumin is eliminated quickly from the body. On the labels, piperine may be listed as black pepper extract, piperine or BioPerine. Piperine inhibits a certain process called glucuronidation in the liver. This means that the curcumin is eliminated more slowly and it has more opportunity to have real benefit.
In some cases, because piperine slows down elimination, it can lead to elevated levels of certain medications, such as blood-sugar lowering and blood-thinning ones. Elevated levels could be good or bad depending on context; regardless, piperine should be used with caution. It may cause problems if it is taken in high doses over long periods.
A bottle of Me First Living contains 60 capsules and each capsule contains 1000mg of 95% curcuminoids with 10mg of Black Pepper as Bioperine, This product is gluten-free, vegan-friendly, free of preservatives and made according to certified good manufacturing practices.
4. How pure is the product?
It is important to realize that products using turmeric root can claim to be organic but when it comes to an extract, the issue is more complex. So many constituents go into making an extract and making it compliant with FDA regulations. If you choose to use a turmeric powder, find out whether only pure turmeric root is used or whether the product contains fillers etc. All products should be produced in an approved facility to avoid contamination. Other factors to consider are use of preservatives, artificial colour and whether it is gluten-free or not.
5. How is the curcumin absorbed?
It is a well known fact that curcumin is poorly absorbed into the blood stream and once it gets there, it is quickly eliminated from the body. If you want to get the full healing effects of curcumin, it has to stay in the body for long enough to get to the target tissues. Piperine may be able to delay elimination but fat helps to increase its absorption. This is why taking it with a small amount of fat (coconut oil, olive oil) or after a fatty meal is recommended. Curcumin is lipophilic so it binds to the fat and this increases its absorption. Some of the latest products on the market include BCM-95, which offers greater bioavailability.
Curcumin Extreme™ with BCM 95® has superior bioavailability and absorption. One bottle contains 30 tablets with 400mg of BCM-95 (containing 95% curcuminoids complex with volatile oils of turmeric rhizome.
6. What do other customers think of the product?
Have you read reviews written by satisfied customers? It’s a good sign when a product has a significant number of good reviews. For example, Schwartz Bioresearch Turmeric Curcumin is a best seller on Amazon with reviews written by over 5,000 customers.
It contains 1350mg of turmeric (Curcuma Longa root), 150mg of Curcumin with 95% standardized curcuminoids per serving and 10mg of Bioperine. The extract is formulated by doctors and manufactured in the USA in an FDA-approved facility, following GMP guidelines. It is also third party approved. Each bottle contains 90 veggie, gluten-free capsules.
7. What about the price?
Most of us do have to consider price when buying supplements and we want to buy the best quality we can afford. If you’re looking for affordability and quality, this product is a good choice. Every bottle contains 120 capsules which provides 500mg of Curcoma longa in every serving, containing 95% curcuminoids. It also contains 25mg of BioPerine. Each bottle contains 120 capsules, made in the USA in a quality GMP assured facility and is gluten-free.
Any person in good health will benefit from including turmeric in a diet for its proven anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. It may simply be used as a spice in food or taken as a powder supplement which has a subtle effect over the long term. However, those wanting relief from the pain and inflammation that comes with debilitating health conditions will need the potency that comes with taking one of the better supplements containing turmeric extract. It should be taken in the right dosage and accompanied by ingredients that slow down elimination and increase absorption or they are unlikely to experience any significant relief. Whether turmeric cures cancer and other diseases in humans has not been proved but this does not take away from its health benefits and who knows what future possibilities it might present with further testing on humans.