Turmeric is trending because it has been researched as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and protective agent against chronic diseases.
It’s the “super supplement” of recent years.
All this from the yellow root of an Asian rainforest plant where the chemical compound curcumin is found.
If you want to work in a super healthy supplement to hedge your on-the-go lifestyle, turmeric is one of the best.
Because of the popularity of turmeric, there are hundreds of supplements on the market. Our research team has found the best.
1. 1MD Advanced Turmeric Curcumin X285
For those who’re serious about taking an excellent turmeric supplement, Advanced Turmeric Curcumin X285 is the purest.
Which is why 1MD Turmeric Curcumin is our #1 pick.
They have the endorsement of a prolific cardiologist, Dr. Michael Fenster, who says, “As a Board Certified Cardiologist, I stand behind 1MD’s Advanced Turmeric Curcumin x285 formula which combines two clinically studied, patented ingredients, Longvida® Turmeric Curcumin and WokVel® Boswellia Serrata, both clinically shown to boost systemic health.”
From alleviating joint pain to providing your body with more energy, Advanced Turmeric Curcumin X285 is one of the better daily habits you can have in the supplement space.
No “additives.” All natural, and made in the USA in an FDA-approved facility.
The all-around turmeric winner of 2019.
2. VitaBalance Turmeric Plus
For overall health—including weight loss, blood pressure control, less inflammation, and sharp thinking even as you age— nothing beats turmeric…
If your body is able to absorb all its goodness, that is.
And that’s a big if.
As we age, turmeric is increasingly important. It can help control inflammation—so you have less joint pain and are more resilient to the illnesses associated with aging. And it can keep your thinking clear and memory sharp—the curcumin in turmeric is known to protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
With a whopping 1200mg or turmeric and 100mg of curcuminoids, you get all the antioxidant and immunity effects of this incredible superfood. And with 10mg of BioPerine, your body is actually able to absorb it and use it.
Formulated in an FDA registered facility that follows GMP guidelines, this is one of the safer choices for turmeric.
3. Solgar Turmeric Root Extract
Solgar may not look like the most exciting turmeric supplement out there, but when it comes to cost-effectiveness, it can’t be beat. It provides about 80% as much turmeric extract as a typical supplement on the market, but for half the cost! The ingredients are fairly straightforward; 400 mg of turmeric extract per capsule, and notably, no black pepper extract like many of the competitors.
Those savings get passed down to you. The other ingredients are pretty unremarkable; just some binders and antioxidants to increase shelf life. If all you want is a cheap, effective, and simple turmeric extract supplement, look no further than Solgar.
4. New Chapter Turmeric Force
New Chapter makes a point of emphasizing how the turmeric is extracted from the plant. Like Gaia Herbs, they also use both an ethanol process and a supercritical CO2 process to get the extract from the raw plant material.
As is the case with Gaia, this does add extra cost to the supplement, so only go for New Chapter if you want a very high-quality extract that captures as much of the raw plant material as possible.
5. BlueBonnet Turmeric Root Extract
BlueBonnet has made a name for itself as a manufacturer of simple and high-quality supplements, and that reputation is deserved in the case of their turmeric root extract supplement. With no fluff and no extra ingredients, BlueBonnet delivers 400 mg of turmeric root extract per vegetarian capsule.
The company also guarantees that the supplement is free from all common allergens; many other competitors make their products on the same equipment that is used on wheat, dairy, or soy-based supplements and as such can’t make such a claim. It’s well-reviewed and very effective, but you do have to pay up for this boutique approach: it’s pretty spendy compared to many of its competitors, which hurts its ranking a bit. Still, if you’ve got cash to drop, it’s hard to go wrong with BlueBonnet.
6. Organic India Turmeric Formula
Organic India puts a unique spin on their turmeric supplement by adding ginger root extract into the mix. Ginger is reputed to be a powerful supplement in its own right, though there isn’t much in the way of specific research on combining the two.
The turmeric dose is pretty standard, at 400 mg per capsule, though Organic India does note that they take the extract from two slightly different parts of the plant. The defining attribute of the supplement, though, is the ginger, so make this the deciding factor for you.
7. Lumen Naturals Turmeric Curcumin 1200
Lumen Naturals provides a high dose of straight turmeric root extract, combined with a few boosters of additional bioactive compounds. Each cellulose (i.e vegan) capsule provides 600 mg of pure turmeric root extract alongside 50 mg of highly purified curcuminoids, the primary bioactive compounds in turmeric root and 5 mg of BioPerine, which is a proprietary black pepper extract preparation.
The high amount of turmeric, plus the boost of the curcuminoids, makes Lumen Naturals a very solid choice, though it’s not the most cost-effective or the best for a strict purity fanatic.
8. BioSchwartz Turmeric Curcumin
BioSchwartz follows the standard model when it comes to turmeric supplements: a hefty dose of unprocessed turmeric root, alongside a small amount of the purified, concentrated curcuminoids, and a small dose of BioPerine.
In this case, the supplement provides 500 mg of turmeric root, 50 mg of purified curcuminoids, and 3.3 mg of black pepper extract (BioPerine). It’s in a cellulose capsule, and it’s extremely popular online, but despite this, it’s a bit mediocre. BioSchwartz Turmeric Curcumin is pretty cost-effective, but it doesn’t really distinguish itself in any particular way, good or bad.
9. Me First Living Turmeric Curcumin
Popular and beloved–that’s the most accurate way to describe Me First Living’s turmeric supplement. What’s it got going for it? It’s a fairly cost-effective supplement that delivers a no-nonsense turmeric extract. 500 mg per capsule, plus a small amount of BioPerine, like many of the other turmeric extracts on the market.
This is all fine and good, but there are no “extras” like other companies offer, like turmeric from a different extraction method or a highly purified concentrate booster. Me First Living falls into the good but not outstanding category.
10. Doctor’s Best High Absorption Curcumin from Turmeric Root
Doctor’s Best has something of a reputation as a budget buy when it comes to supplements. In the case of their turmeric extract, the price is not much cheaper than most competitors, and the actual product is pretty middle of the road.
It’s got your typical makeup, though it’s a bit on the light side, dosage-wise. Each capsule provides 500 mg of purified turmeric extract and 3 mg of black pepper extract. If you want to really delve into the content of the individual curcuminoids, the label does provide a breakdown, so it picks up points for that. That doesn’t offset the fact that the price isn’t low enough to justify the low dosage per capsule.
11. Doctor Recommended Supplements Turmeric Curcumin
As an incredibly popular supplement online, Doctor Recommended Supplements is surprisingly mediocre. Each capsule provides 750 mg of the company’s proprietary blend, which includes turmeric root and curcumin extract, as well as Triphala powder, which is a completely different herbal supplement that’s primarily used in Ayurvedic dietary practices.
Now, how much of each of these compounds the supplement contains is a real puzzler. Because the blend is proprietary, the company doesn’t need to disclose it. If you are trying to follow a research-based supplement protocol, these kinds of labeling practices make it very difficult.
Who should buy turmeric?
Turmeric is a good supplement for any health and wellness issue related to chronic inflammation.
A turmeric supplement is a good option for people who want to reduce certain risk factors for heart disease, fight inflammation-related joint pain, or treat inflammatory bowel conditions.
Turmeric’s ability to combat oxidative damage also makes it well-suited for preserving cognitive health as you get older.
How we ranked
In formulating our turmeric rankings, we first looked to the dosage level. While turmeric has been tested as effective at many different dosages, much of the research has used doses between 400 or 600 mg of turmeric, or 50 to 100 mg of curcumin as an active ingredient.
As such, we prioritized supplements that had doses that were approximately in this dosage range. After dropping products that had too high or too low of a dosage, we narrowed in on extra ingredients.
Products with too many fillers, like silicon dioxide, coloring agents, and extra additives, got dropped. We had a slight preference for products with a cellulose capsule as opposed to a gelatin capsule, but we didn’t rate this as a critical distinction.
Lastly, what distinguished the top products from the rest of the pack was whether or not they took the extra steps to ensure that the turmeric was bioavailable. Top contenders like Solgar and 1MD used products like black pepper extract or proprietary turmeric preparations to improve the amount of turmeric that actually gets absorbed into your system.
Turmeric is a spice containing curcumin, a powerful antioxidant. Turmeric has a long and respected history of medicinal use in India and other eastern countries.
Scientific studies of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, confirm it has much more to offer than the distinctive yellow or gold coloring it imparts to curry dishes. Besides working to rid the body of free radicals caused by oxidation, it has extremely beneficial effects on inflammation. (1)
Curcumin is the most important of the curcuminoids contained in turmeric, but two factors make it difficult to get a significant amount of this spice through diet. It occurs in very small amounts at about 3% by volume of turmeric powder (2).
Since medicinal dosages of curcumin usually run at 500 milligrams (mg) or more daily, eating enough turmeric to get an appreciable amount of curcumin through diet isn’t practical. Purchasing an encapsulated extract to deliver the recommended dosage solves this problem.
Turmeric is a popular supplement for many of the same applications as other potent antioxidant agents. Its role in reducing inflammation makes it a promising avenue for treating joint pain, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
For this reason, you’ll find it in some joint supplements alongside things like glucosamine and hyaluronic acid. It has also been studied for treating irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
Curcumin isn’t well-absorbed, so extra measures are needed to get the benefits. When taken in combination with piperine, a substance found in black pepper, absorption or curcumin is enhanced by 900 to 2000%. (3, 36) Eating curcumin with a meal containing fats is also helpful since curcumin is fat soluble.
Besides assisting the body with curcumin absorption, piperine (also known as Bioperine) boosts uptake of other phytonutrients as well as medications due to its bioavailability enhancing properties. (4)
Turmeric can fight inflammation. While inflammation itself isn’t a bad thing – it’s actually part of the body’s process for repairing wear and tear, as well as mounting attacks against foreign substances like bacteria or viruses that don’t belong in the system – excessive and chronic inflammation can become problematic.
Chronic inflammation is implicated in a number of serious health disorders, including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, and diseases associated with obesity. (5, 6, 7)
In a clinical trial testing curcumin supplements with rheumatoid arthritis patients, those with the most improvement took curcumin alone; patients using curcumin in combination with an anti-inflammatory drug, as well as those using the pharmaceutical drug on its own, experienced less improvement. (8)
Even with established inflammatory conditions that have developed over a period of years, curcumin can offer as much or more help in normalizing the system as certain anti-inflammatory drugs. (9) When such powerful effects can be realized from a natural substance, avoiding pharmaceutical drugs and the possibility of detrimental side effects is an appealing option. (10, 11)
Being able to head off the development of inflammation on a molecular level is a powerful tool for keeping the body’s tissues in a healthy state and reducing cancer risk. (12, 13, 14) One way curcumin accomplishes this is by suppressing NF-kB, a molecule that is involved in DNA transcription, the first step in gene expression. NF-kB enters the cell nuclei and switches on genes associated with inflammation and cancer growth (15, 16, 37).
Turmeric may help with inflammatory bowel disease and related conditions. In the case of inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, research has shown the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin improve symptoms in pediatric patients and warrants double-blind studies to investigate improved outcomes. (39, 42).
The ability to soothe inflammation in early stages could also serve well as a preventative measure.
Turmeric is a strong antioxidant. We hear a lot about antioxidants, which help reduce damage caused in the body by free radicals; these rogue molecules have unpaired electrons that react with protein, fatty acids and even DNA, leading to what’s referred to as oxidative damage.
Curcumin acts even more decisively in relation to free radicals than other antioxidants; its chemical structure neutralizes these trouble-makers (17, 18), then goes on to stimulate the body’s ability to produce its own antioxidants or stabilize levels of glutathione, a protective and anti-cancer substance (19, 20).
The antioxidant effects of turmeric may help protect your brain. Along with Inflammation, oxidative damage is believed to be another factor contributing to the aging process (21), so adding a natural supplement that works to reduce both of these could be a winning two-punch for staying young and healthy.
The prospect of losing brain function as we grow older is a grim thought. Adding turmeric and curcumin to the diet of female rats improved memory (22), and further research will help determine if the same effect can be achieved with humans.
Curcumin stimulates brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a growth hormone necessary for creating new brain cells. (23) Since BDNF levels affect the ability of neurons to generate new connections, it may play a role in keeping learning processes humming along, with the added benefit of helping reverse the effect of stress on the brain. (24)
Patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and depression, as well as other brain disorders, statistically register low levels of BDNF. (25)
Curcumin crosses the blood-brain barrier (26) going straight to where it can protect against degeneration of key brain functions, as well as clearing the build-up of beta-amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. (27)
Turmeric could be useful for reducing your risk of heart disease. Heart disease is listed as the number one cause of death worldwide. (28) Recent studies indicate the curcumin found in turmeric may actually correct conditions leading to heart disease. (29)
The endothelium cells lining blood vessels affect clotting as well as pressure regulation. (30) Endothelium dysfunction raises the risk of heart disease; curcumin improves endothelium function, positively affecting this vital marker as efficiently as engaging in exercise or taking drugs. (31, 32)
Curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties add more benefits for preventing heart disease; a recent study of heart disease patients indicated even a few days of taking supplements containing curcumin before surgery decreased the chance of a heart attack in the hospital by 65%. (33)
The active ingredients in turmeric show some promise at reducing the growth of cancerous cells.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. (39) The excessive multiplication of cells involved with cancer differs greatly between types, but the active ingredient in curcumin appears to be effective in reducing tumor growth, stopping the spread of cancer, and even killing existing cancer cells. (34) In-vitro research has also shown curcumin to target breast cancer cells but more research is needed to confirm this in humans. (38)
One study followed 44 men with colon lesions known to become cancerous; the curcumin dosage of 4 grams daily (but not 2 grams) for 30 days reduced the amount of lesions present by 40%. (35)
These results show good promise for preventing cancer in the digestive system, and further studies may help determine whether curcumin can actually help treat or prevent cancer.
In clinical research, only minor side effects have been reported. The most common of these are gas and flatulence, as well as dry mouth. Some research has reported that up to a quarter of people who take a turmeric supplement (39).
Beyond these side effects, some biochemical research suggests that high doses of turmeric, when taken over a long period of time, could increase your risk for kidney stones.
This was suggested by a study that found a significant increase in oxalate levels in urine after taking a standard dose of turmeric (40).
As such, if you have a history of kidney stones, taking turmeric may not be the best idea given the effects of turmeric on oxalate levels. Turmeric may also interact with blood thinners like warfarin. Aside from this, the safety profile of turmeric is quite attractive, which makes sense given its genesis as a spice for thousands of years.
If you are consuming raw turmeric, you’ll need to consume a lot to get an effective dosage. One study pegged the concentration of biologically active compounds in raw turmeric at approximately 3%, meaning you’d get about 30 mg of bioactive curcumins for every gram of raw turmeric (41).
Supplements of turmeric use extracted forms which can deliver a higher dose. While some of the benefits of turmeric likely come from the panoply of phytonutrients in the raw plant material, research studies are still typically focused on the curcumin dosage as the primary metric of dose.
Among the research studies that have examined the benefits of turmeric, a fairly wide range of doses has been explored.
One study touted benefits for reducing blood lipids, inflammation, and cognitive benefits from a dosage of only 80 mg per day (42).
On the other hand, another study that also found improvements in blood lipids, alongside biomarkers of liver and kidney function, used a much higher dose of 500 mg (43). Another study that specifically targeted people with type two diabetes used a 2000 mg daily dosage, but this time using raw turmeric powder in capsules, again with success (44).
From these results, we might be able to infer that a higher dose might be necessary for more drastic health conditions, like type two diabetes, while lower doses may work just fine if you are fairly healthy to begin with.
However, one issue that scientists and nutritionists are starting to grapple with is that the bioavailability of turmeric varies considerably depending on how it’s consumed.
For example, some supplement formulations use an oil or fat as a solvent to assist with bioavailability, while others rely on black pepper extracts (such as the proprietary formulation BioPerine) to enhance the absorption. Be on the lookout for these ingredients, as they’ll modify the effective dosage that you’re getting.
That being said, a starting dose of 400 to 600 mg of turmeric, or 50 to 100 mg of curcumin, is a good place to start—that is approximately in line with the bulk of the clinical research. If you aren’t getting the results you want, you can try upping the dose.
Q: What is turmeric?
A: Turmeric is an herb that’s native to Asia and has been used for thousands of years as an herbal remedy. The part of the plant material that is actually used as a cooking spice and for herbal extracts comes from the roots of the turmeric plant, which is dried and ground into a powder.
Sometimes, this powder is directly packaged into capsules for use as a turmeric supplement, but in other cases, the biologically active compounds are extracted using alcohol or another solvent.
Q: What does turmeric do?
A: Turmeric’s greatest strength is its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The biologically active compounds in turmeric, such as curcumin, help reduce inflammation and fight oxidative damage in the body.
Like other antioxidants, such as resveratrol and astaxanthin, turmeric has found uses when it comes to reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and high blood lipids.
It’s also included in joint supplements thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, and some people take turmeric directly for joint pain.
Finally, it may also be useful as an adjunctive treatment for type two diabetes, again thanks to its inflammation and oxidation fighting properties.
Q: How long does it take for turmeric to work?
A: Most studies on the efficacy of turmeric are several weeks long. To this end, it would probably be unrealistic to expect turmeric to reach its full effects before about six weeks or so of supplementation.
However, turmeric and its active ingredients are actually metabolized quite quickly, so in terms of a short term dose, you should feel an effect over the course of just a few hours (45).
However, turmeric isn’t a quick-fix supplement; generally, people need several weeks for any benefits to manifest themselves.
Q: How do you take turmeric for inflammation?
A: Combating inflammation is one of the greatest strengths of turmeric. Most research that has capitalized on the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric has used doses of about 500 mg per day, sometimes split into multiple doses.
Since turmeric is both metabolized and eliminated from your body fairly quickly, it’s important to be consistent with your supplementation routine to maintain high levels of anti-inflammatories in your blood to achieve the optimal effects.
Q: Where does turmeric come from?
A: Turmeric comes from the dried and powdered root of the turmeric plant, which is native to Asia. It has a long history in Ayurveda, and has long been utilized as an herbal remedy.
The raw powderized form of turmeric is often used as a cooking spice, and can even be taken directly as a supplement, but more often, it is passed through an extraction process using alcohol or another solvent, then is packed into capsules for use as a supplement.
Q: What is the difference between turmeric and curcumin?
A: Turmeric refers to the raw plant material, as well as what’s left after the extraction process. Curcumin is one specific molecule that is present in raw turmeric at concentrations of approximately three percent.
Curcumin is thought to be responsible for many of the health benefits of turmeric, though turmeric contains other phytonutrients as well. It’s not known to what extent the health benefits ascribed to turmeric are solely the responsibility of curcumin, or whether these other phytonutrients contribute as well.
Q: How many mg of curcumin should there be in turmeric?
A: In raw turmeric powder (like the kind you’d use as a cooking spice), the curcumin content is about 3% by weight. This means that there is around 30 mg per 1000 mg of raw turmeric.
However, in supplemental form, the curcumin content can be much higher: between 50 and 100 mg of curcumin per 500 mg of turmeric.
Specifying exactly how much should be in turmeric from a dosage perspective is trickier, because not all of the scientific research has used the same concentration of curcumin in turmeric, and moreover, there is research that supports a huge range of potential doses, so anywhere in the vicinity of about 10% of the total turmeric content is an appropriate level of curcumin content.
Q: How much black pepper supplement does it take to help turmeric?
A: Black pepper extract, which is sometimes listed in ingredients as BioPerine, has been studied as a potential way to boost the bioavailability of other herbal supplements.
There’s good evidence it can boost the absorption of other supplements, including CoQ10, by up to 30% (46). In these studies, the dose of black pepper extract that’s needed to achieve a significant boost in absorption is not very much—even just 5 mg is enough to see substantial effects on bioavailability.
Several of our top-ranked turmeric supplements include 5 to 10 mg of black pepper extract, or its proprietary form BioPerine.
Q: How much turmeric is needed to lower blood triglycerides?
A: Lowering blood triglycerides has been one of the more robust findings across the scientific research on turmeric, though the exact dosage that’s necessary is less clear.
A good place to start is 500 to 600 mg of turmeric per day, though some research has employed higher or lower doses than this and has achieved acceptable effects.
Lowering triglycerides is one benefit that does seem to be directly linked to curcumin content, so curcumin levels between 5o and 80 mg per day seem optimal for lowering blood triglycerides.
Turmeric is a potent antioxidant that has a wide range of applications for reducing inflammation, preventing oxidative damage, and helping to assist with long-term health.
Most research has focused on the ability of turmeric and its biologically active ingredients to treat risk factors for heart disease, markers for type two diabetes, and could even speed wound healing by enhancing the body’s healing response to physical trauma.
It’s been studied at a wide range of doses, from as little as 80 mg all the way up to 2000 mg per day. Most research, however, supports doses of 400 to 600 mg as safe and effective.
The primary side effects are gas, flatulence, and dry mouth, though some biochemical research suggests that supplemental turmeric could increase your risk for kidney stones.
In all, turmeric is one of the most potent supplemental sources of antioxidants, and has promising applications for reducing risk for heart disease, as a supplementary treatment for type two diabetes.
For BodyNutrition‘s #1 turmeric recommendation, click here.