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Facts about turmeric supplements

Turmeric root (Curcuma longa) consists of 3 curcuminoids (importantly curcumin) and other active components (e.g. ar-turmerone). Turmeric powder (from root) contains a maximum of 5% curcuminoids. The curcuminoids do not dissolve in water. They are broken down rapidly in the digestive tract and most of it gets excreted. Taking turmeric powder orally is therefore not effective.

Taking turmeric powder with black peper and/or oil increases the absorption of the active components of turmeric significantly. But this still does not deliver levels of bio-active curcuminoids worth a mention. Thus there is a need for special turmeric supplements.

Instead of turmeric powder, turmeric extract (from Curcuma longa) is used. All active components or only curcumin are extracted from the root. Most of the heavy metal and pesticide content remains behind in the residue.

The extraction process can vary quite a bit resulting in varying qualities of turmeric extracts.
A manufacturer claim of a specific product being "xx" times more bio-available than a reference product is therefore very relative and does not offer any basis for comparing various turmeric supplements.

Manufacturers use different methods or technologies to increase bio-availability of curcumin e.g. turmeric extract or powder or only curcumin with black pepper or black pepper extract, with or without ar-turmerone, with phytosomes, liposomal or micellar, or nano- or hydrogel technology.

The patented products/technologies are among others (in alphabetical order):

BCM-95® e.g. LifeExtension® Super Bio-Curcumin®
Curcuma Hydrogel® Pastilles
CureSupport Liposomal Curcumin C3 complex®
Longvida® e.g. Vitals Curcumin SLCP™
Meriva® e.g. Now® Curcumin Phytosome
NovaSOL® e.g. SOLGAR® Full Spectrum Curcumin
Sabinsa Curcumin C3 Complex® (with BioPerine®) e.g. VitamineMan
Theracurmin™ e.g. Natural® Factors CurcuminRich™ Theracurmin™
UltraSOL® e.g. Lamberts® Curcumin Ultra

Due to the diversity of turmeric supplements available, the obvious manner to compare them is on the basis of the curcumin levels delivered in blood (bio-availability) by each supplement.

Most manufacturers do not as yet place enough importance in measuring the effectiveness of a supplement (hopefully this will change in the near future).

Please click here for a comparison based on bio-availability.