About those “Turmeric Curcumin” capsules…

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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!

6 thoughts on “About those “Turmeric Curcumin” capsules…

  1. Sheila Zimmer

    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.

    Reply
    1. Dr. Richard Matthews Post author

      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.

      Reply
    1. Dr. Richard Matthews Post author

      Hi Dee,
      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.

      Reply

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