I have been recommending curcumin for years, because of the huge number of research studies demonstrating its power to reduce inflammation, block oxidative stress, and inhibit or kill cancer (and other great benefits!) Lately there has been an explosion of supplements labeled as “turmeric curcumin” or “curcumin complex”. This is about like trying to buy pure cranberry juice. If you see “cranberry juice cocktail” or “cranberry drink” or “cranberry juice beverage”, what does it tell you? Right-it’s mostly apple juice or some other inexpensive juice, with enough of the cranberry juice to flavor it!
The same thing applies to curcumin. I have recommended it to several patients recently, who then tell me a couple weeks later that it didn’t help them. When I ask about the brand and details, it’s one of those labeling bait-and-switch schemes all over. Often the label reads “turmeric curcumin” which really doesn’t mean much, as they are two separate products…which is it? or “turmeric curcumin complex”…
The active, desired ingredient is Curcumin. Turmeric, the spice, is quite inexpensive but only contains typically 5% curcumin. Pure curcumin is most often 95% curcumin, and costs much much more. So, when the label explains that the product contains 450 mg of Turmeric, and 50 mg of curcumin, you can easily see that you’re getting basically ripped off because they’re cutting the good stuff 9:1 with the inexpensive less effective stuff! Then, of course, it doesn’t work as well, because you can’t take enough. I often recommend 6 capsules per day for a very inflamed patient (someone with Lyme disease, for example). That’s 6, 500mg capsules at 95%, or 2850 mg of actual curcumin. If those capsules are 450/50 as in the above example, that’s only 70mg of curcumin in each 500 mg capsule. To get the same effect as 2850 mg of pure curcumin, you’d have to consume over 40 of those capsules, instead of 6 when it’s 95% curcumin!
So, make sure that you get what you’re paying for-real 95% curcumin. There isn’t a “bioavailability problem” as some manufacturers of blends state. It’s a fat soluble substance, so chase your capsules with a spoon of coconut oil. It’s also alcohol soluble…well, I won’t go there just yet!
11 thoughts on “About those “Turmeric Curcumin” capsules…”
Is curcurmin okay for people who have had gall stone/gall bladder induced sepsis? I’m fine for the past five years, but I want the benefits of curcumin.
While you should always ask your doctor (sorry…disclaimer alert 🙂 studies show that curcumin reduces gallstone formation so I would definitely be taking it if that were my history. See these studies:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21609281,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21609281,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23364205
Do we need to add black pepper?
I never do, because so many of the studies I’ve read are about straight curcumin. While pepper might improve absorption, it is also inflammatory – so somewhat counter to the whole reason for taking curcumin. To improve absorption, it can be taken with a fat or oil, such as a spoonful of coconut oil.
Could you recommend some brands that have the right amounts of curcumin in them?
I’ve used Progressive Labs for it often, and also NOW. Too many brands are offering blends that actually contain less curcumin though. I do also sell it myself; I buy curcumin in bulk and do my own capsules that we sell locally or ship. They’re $35/100 vegetable capsules, the “OO” size that holds around 600mg each. Shipping is $6.80 priority anywhere in the US.
Why don’t you recommend the plant itself – it is easy to eat raw?
Hi Peter, and thanks for the question. I do approve/recommend eating the plant itself; the issue is that the ingredients that reduce inflammation so powerfully, curcuminoids, are only in low concentrations in the plant, 5%. In order to effectively achieve most of the health goals, it is more effective to use the extract, curcumin, because at 95% potency it is 19x more powerful. Eating turmeric fresh is still very healthy, but it comes down to what your problems are and what your goal is. Just for health benefits, turmeric would be fine, though even with studies on prevention of diseases such as Parkinson’s, the concentrations studied are not possible to achieve using turmeric root. So the root is very healthy, but the extract is far more powerful.
Can you recommend a brand or a few?
I’ve used DaVinci Labs brand as well as the ones we make. I buy it by the kilogram and make our own capsules of it. I got tired of patients buying different brands and combinations and not getting the desired result, and decided to offer our own product. So, best sources would be DaVinci: http://www.davincilabs.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=200788060 which you can order direct from them. You have to select a provider, so please choose my clinic “center for integrative chiropractic neurology” in Maine from the dropdown menu on their site. Or, you can order the capsules I make, from my site http://neurodoc4u.com and I’ll ship to you. There are several other brands; the key is to get as close as possible to 95% concentration without lots of other/diluting ingredients. Seriously though, if you order from one of the two sources above, it helps support this blog and similar information projects I work on. Thanks!
Great blog! You have provided us valuable insights regarding turmeric curcumin capsules. And yes, these capsules are necessary for preventing from diseases.