Curcumin is a natural antioxidant compound found in turmeric; a member of the ginger family. The bright yellow tumeric has been used throughout the Middle East and Southeast Asia for centuries now as a food spice. It’s also widely used in those areas as a really powerful natural disinfectant for both the skin and around the house.
The curcumin in tumeric is where all the health and cleansing benefits come from. The amount of curcumin found in turmeric, however, is really miniscule. In its natural form, the curcumin isn’t very bioavailable when digested either, further complicating one’s ability to get enough into their bloodstream to offer health benefits.
Top 5 Curcumin Herbal Supplements
|Brand||Dr.Danielle||Eden Pond||Jarrow Formulas||Life Extension||Terry Naturally|
|View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon||View on Amazon|
|Overall Rating||5 / 5||5 / 5||4.9 / 5||4.8 / 5||5 / 5|
|Serving Size||1 Capsule||2 Capsules||1 Capsules||1 Capsule||3 Tablets|
|Effectiveness||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5|
|Quality||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5|
|Taste||5 / 5||5 / 5||4.9 / 5||4.9 / 5||5 / 5|
|Digestibility||5 / 5||5 / 5||4.9 / 5||4.9 / 5||5 / 5|
How Much Curcumin is in Turmeric?
Curcumin is one of three “curcuminoids” found in the underground stem of the turmeric plant, called a rhizome: curcumin, demethoxyl-curcumin, and bisdemethoxyl-curcumin. Curcumin is thought responsible for all the many benefits tumeric has to offer.
Only about 3% curcumin is found in turmeric, and even that number is highly-dependent on how well the tumeric has been stored and cared for. You’d have to consume pounds of it to get any usable curcumin into your body. If you’re on a low-fat diet, absorbtion is further inhibited, since curcumin is fat-soluble just like many of the B vitamins in our diet.
Worse, one of turmeric’s unique uses is as a clothing dye. It’s useful here because it permanently stains anything it comes in contact with, including expensive fabrics and human skin. Therefore, handling it directly without staining yourself and clothing requires a little more forethought than most people are willing to deal with in order to take a health supplement.
Because of this bioavailability and messiness issues, and the low overall levels of curcumin found in the turmeric, the only way to ensure you get any of the incredible benefits detailed below is to take a concentrated curcumin supplement, preferably in capsule form to ensure the powder doesn’t stain your clothing, skin, hair, or home decor!
Don’t Forget the Pepper!
Piperine or its trademarked name “BioPerine”, is an extract from the fruit of the black pepper plant, proven to increase the absorbtion of several nutrients including: vitamin C, selenium, beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, coenzyme Q and curcumin. In fact, studies have shown BioPerine can increase bioavailability of curcumin by as much as 2000 percent! (source)
BioPerine has also been shown to have some potent immuno-modulating abilities that may benefit people with sluggish immune systems. The typical recommended dose of BioPerine is 5 – 20mg daily, to ensure you’re getting the increased absorbtion benefits it offers.
If you’re on any pharmaceutical medications, talk to your doctor before consuming BioPerine, as it enhances the absorbtion of many drugs including narcotics (of all kinds), heart medications, anti-depressants and anti-psychotics.
Benefits of Curcumin:
1. Antioxidant Benefits
Oxidative damage is no joke. Consider that all the visible (and hidden) signs of aging are all caused by this problem, caused by the natural and man-made free radicals we eat, breathe and drink every day. They cause damage to every cell in our body. As you continue to read through the accompanying benefits, keep in mind that each of them is possible thanks to this super-spice’s effect on halting oxidative damage in the blood, organs and other cells inside our bodies.
Curcumin is quite unique when it comes to the antioxidative effects it has when ingested. Its chemical makeup makes it perfect for scavenging the free radicals that cause oxidative damage throughout the body and it does so very effectively. It enhances the body’s own natural response to free radicals, increasing the amount of antioxidants and protective enzymes that are released into the blood (source).
2. Heart Health
Like so many of the other benefits you’ll learn about, curcumin works to improve the health and function of the heart by fearlessly scouring the bloodstream for free radicals. Free radical damage starts right at the arteries and inside the walls of our heart, but it doesn’t stop there. Not only do these oxidative compounds inflame the walls of our arteries, a process that sets the stage for the hardening of the arteries; it also oxidizes LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides, which stick to the inflamed tissues of the arteries forming the plaque that causes blockages to occur.
Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that helps to rid the bloodstream of the free radicals that damage arterial walls, cholesterol and triglycerides, and it helps the body absorb and produce more antioxidants on its own. This natural spice may be one of the biggest natural enemies to the various (inflammatory) processes that contribute to heart disease that’s ever been discovered.
3. Cancer Treatment
Curcumin has shown to induce cancer cell death in people receiving treatment for colon cancer. However, there are two key factors that contribute to cancers of all kinds: 1. Genetics, which are controlled by our DNA expression (causing mutation to cancer cells); and 2. Excess inflammation, normally caused by environmental toxins, but can also relate to poor immune function or other congenital defects. There are other factors such as the formation of dangerous proteins that help to form tumors and the development of new blood pathways that feed the cancerous cells.
4. Curcumin has proven to curb cancer in its tracks in several ways:
1. Inhibits the proliferation of tumor cells.
2. Decreases inflammation.
3. Inhibits the transformation of cells from normal to tumor.
4. Inhibits the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation.
5. Helps your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body.
6. Helps prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth (ie., angiogenesis).
Of the nearly 100 processes that contribute to cancer in the body, several documented studies have confirmed that curcumin may play a role in inhibiting every single one of them. Just as with its effect at stopping heart disease, curcumin may well be the most potent anti-cancer agent available without prescription (learn more about the current studies here).
5. Liver Aid
The liver has more than 300 important jobs to do at any given moment. This includes toxin removal duty, hormone regulation, blood sugar balancing, and several other metabolic functions. Every toxin that enters the body has to be neutralized and expelled via the liver. What makes this fact all the more frightening is that the liver has the unfortunate job of determining what job’s most important at any given time.
When the liver’s stressed, and most are for those living in an urban or semi-urban environment, things like hormone and blood sugar balance fall to the wayside, causing any number of serious health maladies. Curcumin, being one of nature’s most potent antioxidants, helps to detoxify the blood and liver, stopping conditions like fatty liver syndrome before this most important organ becomes stressed the point it can no longer keep up with the body’s day-to-day requirements.
Few people, even those afflicted with the disease, understand the role liver malfunction plays in causing insulin resistance in the body. The liver is responsible for storing over 80% of the glucose our bodies need for on-demand energy. An overstressed liver, or worse, fatty liver disease both result from a stressed liver that can’t handle the dangerous chemicals we breathe, eat and drink every day. A less stressed, fat-free liver can lead to improved sugar-handling via the liver.
Even better, there have been a few significant studies indicating that – surprise, surprise – the antiinflammatory benefits enjoyed by the rest of the body actually help to significantly reduce inflammation in the beta cells of the pancreas that release insulin into the blood when we eat (learn more).
7. Brain Health and Function
Everyone can use a little more brain function. And you certainly won’t find anyone eager to stand in a line for brain cancer, Alzheimer’s or dementia as a retirement gift, right? Like so many other oxidative damage that happens throughout the body, the brain gets no exception from the natural and unnatural toxins that ravage our bodies on a daily basis.
Curcumin stops tissue and fat oxidation in its tracks, reducing the inflammatory load on the brain tissue and other organs. An exact list of all the ways this superfood protects and nourishes the brain have yet to all be identified. It is known that its ability to reduce inflammation, along with the ability to cross the brain barrier and protect neurotransmitter function are just a couple of the ways our brain benefits from higher serum curcumin levels in our blood (source).
8. Arthritis and Joint Pain
Curcumin has shown to be just as effective as the prescription medication’s Phenylbutazone and Diclophenac, in its ability to reduce painful swelling in the joint tissues. This should come as no surprise after what you’ve learned already, as curcumin eases inflammation naturally without the use of NSAIDs and other drugs. Unfortunately, these NSAIDs and other prescription drugs used to treat the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis come with a long list of unpleasant side effects.
When scientists put curcumin up against Diclophenac, they found that in some cases curcumin alone was able to triple the antiinflammatory effects on patients when compared to those who only took the prescription variety:
“For example, the curcumin-only and curcumin-plus-diclofenac groups saw reductions of 11.2 and 13.3% in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate test, a measure of inflammation; the diclofenac-only group had just an 8.3% reduction. Still, more dramatic results were seen on the more sensitive C-reactive-protein (CRP) measurement that is capable of detecting systemic inflammation; the curcumin-only group had a 52% reduction in CRP, the curcumin-plus-diclofenac group had a 26.9% CRP reduction, and the diclofenac-only group had a 1.5% increase in CRP.5 Curcumin-treated patients had no side effects. While patients in the groups receiving diclofenac experienced drug-related adverse events, those in the curcumin-only group had none at all.” (source)
Pretty compelling results and a definite reason to give a curcumin supplement a try if you’re suffering from arthritis symptoms or joint pain of any kind.
9. Autoimmune Disease
Curcumins ability to halt the pain and uncontrolled inflammation that comes along with most autoimmune conditions is like a gift from heaven for many sufferers around the world. While the spice has been used throughout Asia, Europe and the Middle East for centuries for this purpose, only in the last few decades have North Americans become privy to this spice and its overwhelming effect on autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), myocarditis, thyroiditis, uveitis, lupus, and myasthenia gravis.
There’s a lot of complicated terminology associated with the various processes in the body that go south when autoimmunity takes over and the body starts to attack its own tissues. All that autoimmune sufferers need to know is that the immune system becomes confused and can no longer discern between its “self” and “non-self” antigens: a signaling process that allows the immune system to determine when foreign invaders have entered the body.
That process results from uncontrolled inflammatory cytokines overwhelming the immune system over time. Taking a low dose of as little as 500mg of curcumin a day, over a period of several months can help to halt the symptoms of nearly any autoimmune disease – to the point of a complete remission of pain and symptoms (see page 434 in this Research Gate study on curcumin).
Known Side Effects
• Curcumin consumption may lessen the effectiveness of certain cancer-fighting drugs like doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide.
• Being a potent natural blood thinner, curcumin may further increase the bleeding risks associated with prescribed blood thinners like coumadin and low-dose aspirin.
• Curcumin stimulates bladder production, making it a no-no for people suffering with a gallstone.
• If you have an ulcer or GERD, curcumin can increase the risk of bleeding and infection in the stomach and esophagus, due to it’s stomach-acid-increasing effect.
• Curcumin has been shown to decrease sperm motility – this is not a permanent effect, but if you’re looking to get pregnant, it’s best to avoid until conception is achieved.
• Other common side effects include stomach upset and diarrhea, but both are usually short-lived and wear off within a few days to a week after you start taking it.
Super-spices like curcumin don’t enjoy multi-million-dollar research grants like so many of the Big Pharma drugs they can replace. Very few conclusive studies have been performed using humans or even animals for this wonder spice with regard to an ideal daily dose.
It appears that, as long as you don’t experience any of the side effects mentioned already, it’s perfectly fine to take doses of up to 12,000mg per day without worry. If you’re coping with any sort of pain due to inflammation, more in fact may be better. If in doubt, follow the recommendations on the back of the bottle.
You can better assess what dosage might work best for you by reading over the results of this curcumin toxicology study posted on the NCBI website. Keep in mind that the findings of the study, and the defined “acceptable” maximum daily dose, aren’t endorsed currently by the FDA or any other health governing body in the world.
Curcumin Supplement Reviews
Organic Curcumin With BioPerine
This concentrated 500mg per dose curcumin supplement is extracted from organically grown tumeric, in GMP-certified facility. Dr. Danielle, a renowned naturopathic doctor and biochemist, developed this formula to be as bioavailable as possible, adding 5mg of BioPerine to each capsule. BioPerine is an extract taken from the black pepper fruit that’s proven to increase the absorbtion of a number of a vitamins and nutrients, including curcumin (learn about its other benefits here).
Eden Pond Turmeric Curcumin
This interesting little curcumin supplement is also organic and GMP-certified. The formulation is different though: 1200mg of standardized raw tumeric is used, containing up to 100mg of curcuminoid content per dose. I really trust the quality of the ingredients used in this product, since its manufacturer, Prima-Source uses only USA grown ingredients and testing facilities for all their natural health products. Though this product doesn’t contain BioPerine, it sure packs a heck of a curcumin dose. BioPerine is very affordable when purchased separately here.
Jarrow Formulas Curcumin
Jarrow’s been around since the natural health product movement began. They’re a California-based whole food supplement company that consistently wins awards for the integrity of their products, as well as their farming and manufacturing processes. The company ensures at least 95% curcuminoid content, though I would definitely recommend buying a bottle of BioPerine to take with it. If you’re choosing not to consume animal product, Curcumin 95 is the way to go, containing only vegetable-derived fillers. Each capsule costs just $0.06 for a natural organic and animal-free product. You can’t go wrong with this one, on price or quality.
Life Extension Bio-Curcumin for Vegetarians
This is an interesting vegetarian-friendly curcumin supplement that’s received several amazing reviews. Life Extension uses their own synergistic blend of curcuminoids and sesquiterpenoids. Sesquiterpenoids have shown promise in lab studies as a compound that may well rival the absorbtion-enhancing effects of curcumin as much as BioPerine does. The company claims that each 400mg dose of this Super Bio-Curcumin is equivalent to 2772mg of the extract used by their competitors. This product is a must for auto-immune sufferers.
I’ve personally been taking close to 1,000mg of curcumin every day for the last 4 years. I fell in love with this spice after several trips to Thailand and different areas of India. After a few days living through the “cleansing” of my bowels which made long distance travel – shall we say – difficult: I realized just how much better I felt. A clearer mind, less congestion in the sinuses, and feeling lighter on my feet.
I’ve never looked back since and hope that all you’ve learned today will convince you to give this super-spice a try for a few months. Once you see how much better you feel, you’ll never miss a dose, ever! Heck, you might just start ordering the curry chicken instead of the sweet and sour when ordering from your favorite Chinese food establishment!