Finding the Best Quality Turmeric Supplement (2017 Guide)
It’s a shame that turmeric is only now being researched for its medicinal treatments because this root has been used in the East for hundreds of years as a natural form of medicine.
Yes, you know this spice from its yellowish color and distinct warm and aromatic taste. In fact, the entire country of India is practically synonymous with the use of this ubiquitous plant. It’s used in just about every dish they produce.
But those Indians have known much more about the powers and properties of turmeric than just as a good flavor for a curry. They’ve been using turmeric for its health benefits for centuries. And coming from a country that is populated with 40% of the world’s vegans, they understand how to harvest the natural wonders of the earth.
So, what can turmeric, as a supplement, do for you? As it turns out, we’ve only scratched the surface on what science is just beginning to understand about this incredible edible.
So, What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is the name given to the root that grows mainly in Southern Asia. The yellow spice powder, also known as turmeric, is derived from the dried and ground flesh of the root. This is what you’ll find in every supermarket shelf and spice drawer in the world.
Supplement or Spice?
The spice is wonderful to add to dishes, but it’s slightly different to the supplement that you can take. To give you an understanding, you’d have to eat eat 1-1.5 teaspoons to get the medicinal effect from pure dried powder. That is more than is used in an entire curry dish.
But what you’ll find in a turmeric supplement is the extract. The reason for turmeric having such amazing health properties comes from a little molecule called ‘curcumin,' which gives that distinct yellow color you know and love. The curcuminoids are the active ingredient of the root, giving you the benefits you hear about.
Only 3% of any weight of turmeric powder contains the active curcuminoids. However, a turmeric supplement contains pure turmeric extract, providing you with the all the benefit in a concentrated form. In pill form, you could find up to 95% active curcuminoids per weight, increasing your intake of these powerful molecules.
Turmeric vs. Curcumin
When you find the turmeric supplement, you might find it’s listed as turmeric or a curcumin supplement - no need to get in a huff about this labeling.
That’s just listing the common name (Turmeric) and the active ingredient (Curcumin) as the same thing.
Now we get to the good stuff.
There are too many health benefits to fully understand, so we’ll try to cover the main purposes for taking turmeric supplements.
Of course, it seems that a new benefit is understood every other week. So, consider this list, in no way, to be comprehensive or complete.
One of the most documented and researched properties of turmeric is the effect it has on your joints. It is an excellent anti-inflammation supplement that doesn’t have the added chemicals and additives other vitamins do.
Inflammation is one of your body’s worst enemies, and it plays a part in just about every major killer disease (Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer…ETC). Aiding your body’s ability to fight this inflammation is your best bet to prolonging your health.
Curcumin targets the inflammation at the molecular level. It blocks the molecules that activate your body’s inflammation sensors.
If you’ve been alive for more than a day, you’re surely aware of anti-oxidants. They are well-known as chemicals that fight your cells oxidization, or as you might know it, aging.
Yes, turmeric is a fantastic source of anti-oxidants, fighting against the body’s premature aging symptoms. It prevents degeneration of cells and encourages and promotes the growth of new cells. This gives you better-thinking capacity, better ability to regenerate cell loss in muscle, and increased youthful appearance.
✓ Cancer Prevention
The ‘C’ Word. Yes, turmeric can prevent cancerous cells in the body.
What’s even more exciting is that it might even treat certain forms of cancer as well.
Although cancer is such a wide term, encompassing so many different forms, turmeric can reduce the spread of cancer throughout the body, aiding treatments by stopping further recursions.
✓ Brain Disease
Curcumin increases the natural growth hormones in your brain. This stops the degeneration of the tissue and cells in the brain. The molecule directly targets those growth factors that are known to prevent depression and Alzheimer’s. This boosts your brain power and longevity.
✓ Arthritic Joints
Turmeric and curcumin both have good responses in patients suffering from arthritis. It’s well known as an anti-inflammatory, but the interesting news is how well it responds. In some cases, rheumatoid arthritis suffers saw better results under turmeric treatment, then with standardly prescribed medication.
✓ Other Ailments
As mentioned before, these aren’t the only affected diseases. Turmeric has been effective against headaches, heartburn, ringworm, sprains, IBS, fibromyalgia, diabetes, ulcers, Crohn’s disease, high cholesterol, forms of Lupus, tuberculosis, stomach pain, and bloating.
Each of these issues has been successfully treated and produced results with the use of steady turmeric supplements. It seems that Western medicine is only just discovering what Eastern medicine has known for centuries. Turmeric is an incredible, powerful supplement.
Turmeric Supplement Safety
The use of medicinal or supplemental turmeric is considered safe for adults. When discussing turmeric safety, the dosage is the main complaint by those who have minor side effects. Long-term or excessive use of anything can be dangerous, and turmeric is no exception. The recommended dosage is 1500mg per day for a normal, healthy adult. This is also seen as the most effective dosage for noticeable results.
For those who’ve exceeded the dosage limits, they have suffered diarrhea and minor stomach ulcers. Only one case was reported of abnormal heart rhythm after a patient self-dosed 1500mg of turmeric extract, twice daily. But the cause wasn’t even determined to be turmeric in that case.
So, just as in everything, moderation is the key. It doesn’t even require you to take large dosages. It works best in smaller dosages, so you should never be at risk with this pure, organic compound.
For breastfeeding mothers, turmeric has not been proven to have any effect whatsoever on breast milk. The body can handle high doses of turmeric, and it does not cause any ill to children breastfeeding or in utero.
There are too many options online for turmeric supplements, and it can be confusing when some describe turmeric, while others describe curcumin.
For the best vegan option, avoid any supplements that use animal gelatin capsules. There are many options on the market that either used a plant-based gelatin for their capsule, or simply use a pill form.
Some supplements include other additives like black pepper. The curcumin molecule isn’t easily absorbed by the body, but it can be aided by the pepper. This increases your body’s ability to absorb it by 2000%. But if the turmeric capsule doesn’t contain pepper, swallowing a few peppercorns with the supplement can aid in the absorption of the turmeric.
Also, curcumin is not water soluble. It doesn’t dissolve and therefore can go right through you. It’s best to take the supplement with a fatty meal to increase your body’s reception of the molecule. Curcumin is extremely fat soluble, and it attaches to the lipids in your body. This is the time when fat is your friend.
5 Best Turmeric Supplement Brands
How do they Compare?
Trusted by the masses
Fresh Healthcare has a stellar reputation among the vegan population. They’re trusted, they’re USDA certified, and now they’ve introduced this popular turmeric supplement.
Of all the options, this is the option that most people online will turn to. There are multiple reviews and a number of authentic users claiming excellent benefits from this pill.
The bottle is huge with 3 months’ worth of pills in the one supply. If you’re familiar with turmeric, and you’ve used it in the past, we highly recommend using this bottle. The size alone will tide you over for many weeks to come.
What We Liked
We like the brand. We like the claims. But most of all we like the crowd. If you were going to choose a brand simply on its popularity, this is the one. We know that many brands out there promise the same things, and the Fresh Healthcare brand is no different. However, this is well received online, and a good reputation isn’t easy to come by, nor is it easy to brush off.
What We Didn't Like
They claim to have a potent pill, but there’s no science to back up a 1200mg requirement. In fact, what you can get with 600mg is more than enough. So, we don’t back up the claim that ‘More = Better. In this case, more just seems too excessive.
Perfect for Aching Joints
While we’ve always liked the NOW brand because of their respect in the vegan community, their turmeric supplement only boosts our impression of them.
These capsules have been formulated to specifically target inflammation and joint pain. The turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory, and the 600mg punch you’ll get from 2 capsules is more than enough to give you relief.
NOW also added Bromelain, a natural extract from pineapple. Pineapple has also long been known to have anti-inflammatory impacts on the body. They’ve included the extract to boost the effectiveness of the turmeric. In essence, this is a double blast on those sore and aching joints.
This brand has rave reviews online and is incredibly popular among the community of those seeking out good turmeric supplements. The price point is pretty fair as well.
What We Liked
It seems that the guys at NOW have doubled down on their attempt to combat joint pain. Crippling arthritis can be tough, so the addition of Bromelain can pack a punch on your pain. We also like the 600mg dosage. It’s not too much, and it’s enough of the turmeric extract to make a good impact on your inflammation.
What We Didn't Like
Unfortunately, if you target one symptom, that leaves all the other symptoms untreated. If you want to take turmeric for something other than the anti-inflammatory effect, it’s not the ideal solution.
There are enough options on the market that you will be tempted to look elsewhere. Also, there’s no additive to help absorb into the body. You’ll have to take some peppercorns to get the maximum absorption with these capsules.
Best for those who don’t like supplements
NativOrganics is a trustworthy and transparent company that gives you all the facts about what’s in their bottle.
They don’t mince around with their turmeric capsule. They pack enough into one pill that you only need to take one pill. Otherwise, you’ll end up unnecessarily taking too much.
Each capsule contains two different turmeric extracts and a few other beneficial ingredients like goji berry, ginger extract, and mangosteen Super ORAC. They have certified that each and every compound in this capsule is organic. IN fact, this supplement is USDA certified to be completely organic.
What We Liked
If you’re not a fan of pills, this is a good option for you. No need to take two large capsules to get the benefit of turmeric. Each single pill has 620mg of active turmeric extract. There is enough science to back up the claims that this one pill should suffice for any ailment that turmeric claims to treat.
What We Didn't Like
Again, just like the Pukka brand, the folks at NativOrganic went a little too far with what they’ve included. Goji berry, ginger, and amla fruit might be good for you, but they aren’t necessary in a pill that’s designed for turmeric absorption. They don’t add to the impact that turmeric has on your body, and we feel it’s a little deceptive to make it sound better than it is.
The most powerful turmeric supplement
Of all the turmeric capsules, this is the one that really gives you the extra oomph. Each serve of turmeric (2 capsules) contains a whopping 1000mg of turmeric.
The potency of the turmeric extract is important, but it’s so much more effective with the addition of Bioperine. Bioperine is a patented extract of the pepper fruit, the same as piperine. It binds with the curcuminoids in the turmeric and allows them to be rapidly absorbed into the body, up to 2000% faster.
With each capsule, you’re getting the same impact as if you’d swallowed 2.5 teaspoons of the raw turmeric powder. That’s a concentrated amount per pill!
What We Liked
The addition of the Bioperine makes this a great option if you want the benefits of turmeric and you want it fast. There’s no point taking other supplements without the addition of the absorber so that Bioperine is worth its weight in gold. There is nothing else you don’t need in this capsule, which is great because it just means more turmeric and less filler.
What We Didn't Like
This is a big bottle. 120 capsules can be a lot. If you’re not willing to commit to trying it for at least two months (more if you only take one capsule a day), it could be more than you need. Otherwise, it’s best knowing you’re getting a maximum impact for an extended period.
For the uninitiated
If you’re starting out with turmeric, this is the brand to get. It has a relatively small dose of turmeric extract with each capsule only containing 155mg of the active curcumin ingredient.
The folks at Pukka thought of everything with this supplement. They understand that the best absorption of the compound is with the piperine found from the black pepper. Because the turmeric is best absorbed with the pepper, they’ve included it to make the supplement that much more effective.
Everything in this pill is 100% vegan with the only non-organic compound being the silicone dioxide to keep everything from caking in the bottle.
And one bottle will tide you over for a month, giving you enough time to see the benefits turmeric promises to have.
What We Liked
The lower potency of the turmeric is a good leaping point for those who aren’t accustomed to taking turmeric. It gently eases you into the supplement while still providing an effective dose against inflammation and indigestion. It also adds in the piperine to rapidly absorb into the body.
What We Didn't Like
There are a few extra additives in the supplement that seem like filler. While spirulina, ginger, and seaweed are good foods and powerful supplements, they aren’t added in any effective dosages. It doesn’t diminish the effectiveness of the tablet, but it does seem a little disingenuous.
The Ancient Medicine of the Subcontinent…in Pill Form
Let us be the first to welcome you to the benefits of turmeric. There’s still so much to discover about this incredible root. We seem to be just catching up to Eastern medicine, but we’re slowly understanding that there’s more to turmeric than a tangy taste and a bright color.
If you enjoy mustard, you’ve had turmeric for years. But with a turmeric supplement, you’ll finally get to enjoy the medicinal impact of the turmeric extract and the curcuminoids on your joints, your stomach, and your overall brain health.
So, eat your curry, spread on your mustard, and take your turmeric supplement to your good health.