Best Turmeric Curcumin Extract Supplements Review & Dosages
Whether you have been searching for an all-natural supplement to treat a specific health condition or you are looking for an all-around great choice to support your general health, one supplement which you probably have been hearing a lot about is turmeric curcumin.
In this guide, I will introduce you to some of the most popular and highly rated turmeric curcumin supplements.
But first, I want to give you the basics, clearing up some confusion about what turmeric curcumin is and what exactly it can do for you.
Turmeric vs. Curcumin: What Is the Difference?
When you are shopping for turmeric curcumin, you will notice something a bit confusing.
Some supplements are simply labeled "turmeric."
Others are labeled simply “curcumin.”
Still others (most) are labeled "turmeric curcumin."
So this may lead you to wonder, "What is the difference between turmeric and curcumin? Or are they the same thing?"
The answer is that turmeric is a spice which contains a compound referred to as curcumin.
You may actually have some turmeric in your spice cabinet. It is the yellow spice which goes into a lot of Indian food.
The curcumin compound it contains is a potent antioxidant.
When you buy a turmeric curcumin supplement, it contains a concentrated form of curcumin extracted from turmeric.
This is because it is the curcumin in turmeric which lends the substance its numerous health benefits.
So why are the bottles usually labeled "turmeric curcumin" instead of just "curcumin?"
Well, there are a couple of answers to that question.
The first is that "turmeric curcumin" is a useful name for marketing purposes.
A lot of people are already familiar with turmeric from their kitchens, so this helps them identify what they are buying.
The other reason is that "turmeric curcumin" supplements may contain whole turmeric and not just isolated curcumin.
Supplements marketed simply as "curcumin" without "turmeric" in the name may be isolated curcumin.
KEY POINT: Turmeric is a spice which contains a powerful antioxidant called curcumin. You can purchase it in supplement form - but there are actually a number of different supplement forms available.
Most versions are marketed as "turmeric curcumin," but some supplements are just labeled "turmeric" or "curcumin."
Which Is Better: Whole Turmeric or Isolated Curcumin?
Should you be shopping for curcumin in its isolated form, or should you be buying whole turmeric supplements?
There are some indications that whole turmeric is more effective for certain applications.
For example, whole turmeric has been shown to be more effective inhibiting the growth of intestinal bacteria than curcumin (1).
This may be due to the fact that the molecular constituents in turmeric number in the hundreds, and each contributes to health in a number of different ways (2).
Indeed, as many as 20 of the molecules contained in whole turmeric have antibiotic properties.
Fourteen of them may help prevent cancer, while 12 have demonstrated anti-tumor properties. Another dozen act as anti-inflammatory agents, and 10 of them are antioxidants.
So there do appear to be many noteworthy advantages to taking whole turmeric curcumin rather than the isolated curcumin.
That being noted, it is also important to mention that the concentration of the curcumin matters.
Most of the studies which support the use of turmeric curcumin to treat various maladies have focused on the role of the curcumin itself.
The natural concentration of curcumin in turmeric is only around 3% (3).
A much higher concentration is needed in order to get enough curcumin for it to be effective.
So when you buy a turmeric curcumin supplement which does contain whole turmeric, make sure that the dosage of actual curcumin present in the supplement is high enough for the supplement to provide you with the health benefits you are looking for.
KEY POINT: Most of the benefits attributed to turmeric come from curcumin, but whole turmeric contains other beneficial compounds as well.
Whatever variety of curcumin supplement you take however, you need to make sure it contains a high concentration of curcumin to be effective.
What Are the Benefits of a Turmeric Curcumin Supplement?
If you take a turmeric curcumin supplement, here are some of the exciting health benefits you can look forward to:
- Curcumin acts as a powerful antioxidant, staving off the damage caused by free radicals and the effects of age (4).
- Fight inflammation and inflammatory diseases (5).
- Increase the antioxidant enzyme activity in your body (6).
- Reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease (7).
- Reduce your chances of developing a brain disease or mental disorder (8).
- Potentially treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease (9).
- Possibly treat or prevent cancer (10).
- Replace an unsuitable anticoagulant (11).
- Potentially treat or reverse diabetes (12).
- Treat IBD (13) or IBS (14).
- Replace steroids as a treatment for chronic eye inflammation (15).
- Replace other painkillers (16).
- Treat postoperative fatigue (17).
- Relieve swelling and pain of the gums and teeth. Cleanse the mouth and strengthen tissue (18).
- Treat a wide variety of skin conditions (19).
- Treat tropical pancreatitis (20).
- Improve spatial memory (21).
- Lower cholesterol levels (22).
- Fight lung infections and treat asthma (23).
- Reduce the risk of childhood leukemia (24).
Learn more in our full guide to the Health Benefits of Turmeric Curcumin.
KEY POINT: Numerous scientific research studies have demonstrated that turmeric curcumin has benefits for treating a wide variety of health problems.
Do You Really Need a Curcumin Supplement?
"All of that sounds great, but do I really need to buy a supplement to do this?"
You might be wondering at this point why you cannot just eat a lot of foods spiced with turmeric. Why go out and purchase a turmeric curcumin supplement?
There are a couple of answers to that question.
- The concentration of curcumin in the turmeric you use to spice your food is too low to enjoy all those benefits I just listed.
- Our bodies are not all that great at absorbing curcumin in spice form. But you can purchase curcumin supplements which are formulated for easy and efficient absorption.
These are both great reasons to invest in the supplements. Otherwise you just will not get the full effects.
KEY POINT: Even though you can get curcumin through your diet, the concentration and bioavailability are too low for dramatic health improvements. So you do need to buy a supplement if you want results.
Are There Curcumin Side Effects?
Speaking of the effects of curcumin, are they all positive, or are there any side effects you should be concerned about?
Generally speaking, most people who use curcumin supplements do not report any nasty side effects.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you can take turmeric curcumin for at least eight months (see the Side Effects tab at the link).
The Mayo Clinic only reports one instance where someone developed a serious condition while taking turmeric, but they were taking very high dosages - more than 1,500 mg twice a day.
They developed an arrhythmia, but it was never determined whether the turmeric was even the cause.
The only other possible side effects mentioned by the Mayo Clinic are upset stomach, diarrhoea, nausea, and dizziness.
You should speak to a doctor before taking curcumin if you have any of the following health concerns:
- Gallblader issues
- Fertility problems
- Bleeding disorders
- Iron deficiency
- Estrogen-sensitive conditions
The good news here is that for the vast majority of people, taking turmeric curcumin or isolated curcumin should be safe and side-effect free.
KEY POINT: A few curcumin side effects have been reported, but most patients taking curcumin are able to do so side effect free.
What is the Correct Turmeric Curcumin Dosage?
The exact dosage of turmeric curcumin which you need depends on the condition you are trying to treat.
Mayo Clinic offers the following recommendations (see the Dosing tab):
- To treat high cholesterol: 1.4 grams of turmeric taken as two divided doses each day for a three month period
- To treat osteoarthritis: 500 mg of turmeric 2-4 times daily for 4-6 weeks
- To treat itching: 1,500 mg of turmeric in three divided doses each day for 8 weeks
Generally speaking, for most uses, around 400-600 mg of turmeric curcumin extract three times per day should be adequate.
If you are concerned about side effects for any reason (i.e. you have GERD and are worried about experiencing heartburn), you can always start out with a lower dosage and work your way up.
KEY POINT: Look up directions for your specific condition, but feel free to default to around 400-600 mg of turmeric curcumin extract three times daily.
Types of Turmeric Curcumin Supplements
There are a number of different types of turmeric curcumin supplements as well as some specialized formulations designed for treating specific conditions.
While shopping for curcumin, here are some of the different products you might stumble across:
Powdered Turmeric Supplements
These are made from ground-up turmeric roots. You can find powdered turmeric loose (you can buy it in bulk), or you can find it in capsules.
While whole turmeric is beneficial, the problem is that these powdered supplements usually only contain a small percentage of curcumin.
As a result, they are not very effective. Their bioavailability is minimal.
Turmeric Curcumin Supplements Containing Concentrated Curcumin
These supplements contain the extract of ground-up turmeric roots, and are comprised of around 95% curcuminoids.
These supplements are much more potent. Note that some may contain other turmeric compounds, but others may be isolated curcumin.
Their bioavailability is relatively poor.
Turmeric Curcumin Supplements with Piperine
Piperine is black pepper extract. You may see it included under a patented trade name like BioPerine.
It can vastly increase the bioavailability of other substances - including curcumin. This can increase absorption tremendously.
Indeed, bioavailability can be increased by as much as 2,000% (26).
The downside is that it inhibits glucuronidation, which in turn may lead to liver toxicity issues if you are taking other supplements or drugs.
Some people also experience gastrointestinal side effects. So weigh those concerns while you are shopping.
Meriva Curcumin Supplements
This is a specialized formulation of curcumin which is used to treat inflammatory diseases like arthritis, IBD or MS.
Utilizing phytosome from non-GMO soy lecithin, Meriva increases curcumin’s bioavailability in a time-release formula.
Taking Meriva can result in a peak plasma level of curcumin that is five times higher than you would get with an unformulated curcumin supplement.
A study (27) conducted on Meriva showed that it was 29 times more bioavailable than curcumin standardized to 95%.
It can also be absorbed twice as quickly. While Meriva is patented by Idena, a company in Italy, you can purchase Meriva curcumin from several different brands including Source Naturals and Thorne Research.
Longvida Curcumin Supplements
This is another patented formulation of curcumin.
Curcumin can already pass through the blood-brain barrier (25), but Longvida curcumin is formulated to be especially effective in doing so.
It is 65 times more bioavailable than curcumin standardized to 95% (28).
Longvida is also encapsulated in such a manner that it is protected against hydrolysis.
This prevents it from being dissolved by stomach acid before it can be effectively absorbed and delivered to your tissues.
It is used to treat cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s traumatic brain injury, stroke, and dementia.
Longvida is available through popular brand names like Now Foods.
This is a special form of curcumin (developed by Theravalues Corporation) where the curcumin particles have been reduced in size to nanoparticles.
This makes it easier for your body to absorb. It also gives you the option of stirring the supplement into water so that it dissolves.
Studies (29) have shown that it is around 27 times more bioavailable than standard curcumin powder.
BCM 95 Curcumin Supplements
Developed by Arjuna Natural Extracts Ltd., this special formula contains curcuminoids mixed with essential oils of turmeric.
There are several benefits to doing this. One is that the presence of the oils helps with the absorption of the curcumin.
Another is that they can be easier on the gut. Finally, the presence of these oils may confer other heath benefits.
Remember, whole turmeric contains many helpful compounds, and many curcumin supplements strip those compounds and their benefits away.
How bioavailable is it? According to this (30) research, about 6.93 times as bioavailable as standard curcumin.
Sabinsa Curcumin C3 Complex
Standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids, this product contains curcumin in conjunction with Demethoxycurcumin (DMC) and Bisdemethoxycurcumin (BDMC).
Usually black pepper extract such as BioPerine is added to the formula as well.
With this addition, bioavailability can be increased by as much as 2,000% (26).
This formula contains curcumin mixed in with cellulose, tocopherols (which are a type of naturally occurring antioxidant) and a hydrophilic carrier known as polyvinylpyrrolidone.
It has been found to be even more effective than phytosome-based formulas such as Meriva.
This study (31) found that Curcuwin can boost serum curcuminoid levels 46 times as much as standard curcumin.
The drawback however is that researchers still are not sure how safe polyvinylpyrrolidone is over the long term.
This is another form of curcumin as nanoparticles.
It has a high degree of bioavailability, and is also mixed in with an emulsifier called Polysorbate 80.
There are a few artificial food dyes contained in the formula.
Bioavailability of micronized powder and liquid micellar formulations of curcumin is up to 185-fold improved over standard curcumin (32).
This form of curcumin is bonded to a naturally-occurring oligosaccharide called gama-cyclodextrin.
This is a fairly new product, but it shows promise for improving bioavailability over traditional forms.
Cavacurcumin has been shown in research trials to be 40 times more bioavailable than standard curcumin (33).
This is curcumin which is bonded with whey protein. Protein can help boost uptake of curcumin significantly.
It takes just 20-40 minutes for peak blood levels, so it is fast acting. Another plus is that it is water-soluble and can be mixed into a beverage.
Note however that as of this time, UltraCur requires more human studies to back up its claims of 15,000-fold higher bioavailability over standard curcumin (34).
So as exciting as these claims may sound, you should take them with a grain of salt as of right now.
A couple of things should be pointed out about the bioavailability figures cited above.
The first is that corporate interests are relevant to the research trials which have been conducted on these products. So there may be a monetary bias at work.
The second is that there has been no all-encompassing trial yet which compares each of these products to each other.
In short, we have quantitative data on each form of curcumin supplement, but we do not know the relative performance of each.
This is important to remember while shopping since many of these manufacturers tout their products as the “most” bioavailable or effective.
Right now, nobody can definitively make that claim. There is no objective proof.
KEY POINT: Turmeric curcumin comes in many different forms. You can buy unprocessed turmeric powder, or you can purchase concentrated extract.
You can also choose to buy a patented formulation which provides you with higher bioavailability as well as extra benefits for specific conditions.
What to Look for in a Turmeric Curcumin Supplement
What quality factors matter when you are shopping for a curcumin supplement? Here is what to be on the lookout for:
- The appropriate dosage: Dosages for curcumin can vary quite a bit. Be sure you are getting the amount you need. If you just want 400 mg per tablet, 1,000 mg per tablet would be overkill. But likewise, if you need a much larger dose, you would not want to have to take four 200 mg pills just to get it.
- The best value: You need to do the math on this. Do not just look at how many mg are in each capsule, or how many capsules are in each bottle. Look at both, and then figure out how much curcumin you are actually getting for your money.
- Bioavailability: Look for BioPerine or special formulations which boost bioavailability of curcumin. That way you can be assured you will absorb as much of the nutrition from the curcumin supplements as possible.
- Easy to swallow and digest: Check to see whether other customers found the capsules easy to swallow and whether or not they caused heartburn. Some formulas may have more side effects than others.
- Formulation for your needs: If you need a special formula to treat a particular condition (like Longvida for Alzheimer’s), make certain you are getting what you need.
- Pure ingredients: Check to make sure the supplement contains healthy ingredients and is not loaded with fillers or additives.
I want to take a moment to caution you when you are reading curcumin supplement reviews submitted by customers.
Reading customer reviews is always a smart move before you purchase a product, especially something you are going to be putting in your body.
But the vast majority of supplement reviews are not very helpful.
Many of them do not focus on the product at all. Instead they simply focus on the supposed results.
A review that says something like, "Took this for two days and then my knee pain went away" is certainly positive, but it is not informative.
Maybe (hopefully) the supplement is what caused the knee pain to subside, but neither the reviewer nor you can be certain.
Instead, try and skim past these reviews and instead read those which comment on quality of ingredients, digestibility, and other features of a supplement which can be discussed in more concrete terms.
Ultimately, reviews like these will help you more with your purchase decision. Maybe curcumin will help treat your malady, maybe it will not.
What is important is to make sure you are getting a quality curcumin product and a decent price.
That way if curcumin is the right supplement for you, you can be assured of the best possible experience.
KEY POINT: When you are shopping for curcumin, remember that not all curcumin supplements are equal.
Make sure you are getting a quality product and one which is a fit for your needs.
Also be sure you are paying attention to the quality factors which are really important - and not simply letting vague but ecstatic testimonials sell you on a miracle cure.
How to Take Curcumin
Check the ingredients on the bottle you buy, but most curcumin supplements can be taken with water. Some supplements need to be taken 20-30 minutes before a meal.
KEY POINT: Taking curcumin is very easy. Just follow the directions.
Top Recommended Turmeric Curcumin Supplements
General Purpose Turmeric Curcumin Supplements
Looking for turmeric root powder rather than turmeric curcumin in capsule form?
One of the most popular and highly rated products in the online market right now is this organic turmeric root powder from Flavor Of The Earth.
It is quite a good value considering how long a bag can potentially last you.
- Sustainably grown and harvested in India.
- Plant is allowed to mature for 9 months before harvesting.
- Produced in small batches to ensure freshness.
What Ultra Pure Organic Turmeric Root Powder Is Best For
Think about buying this turmeric root powder if you want the benefits that come with whole powder and not just isolated curcumin.
It is also a great option for cooking.
One more high-quality supplement to consider is this Vita Breeze product, which contains black pepper extract to boost bioavailability by up to 2,000%.
It is among the most popular and highly rated options you will find online.
- 750 mg.
- 180 capsules.
- Contains Curcuma Longa standardized to 95% curcuminoids.
- 5 mg of black pepper extract.
- No fillers, binders, preservatives, stearates
- No soy, gluten, milk, shellfish, egg, wheat, corn, or peanuts.
- Manufactured in the USA.
What Turmeric Curcumin Complex with BP Extract by Vita Breeze Is Best For
Think about choosing this supplement if you want a product which is highly bioavailable and backed by numerous glowing reviews.
A Quick Note on General Purpose Turmeric Curcumin Supplements
When looking at turmeric supplements, what probably stands out the most is the fact that you have to look very closely at the ingredients list to actually be sure what you are getting.
Most turmeric curcumin supplements contain some percentage of whole turmeric root powder and 95% standardized curcuminoids.
In some cases, the exact proportions are clearly spelled out, while in others, they can be rather vague.
Remember, there are advantages to highly concentrated curcuminoids, but there are benefits of whole turmeric as well, so a combination is actually a good thing.
Turmeric Curcumin Supplements for Specific Purposes
For those in search of a Theracumin product which is easily absorbed and which is entirely vegetarian, this supplement from Natural Factors is worth thinking about purchasing.
- 60 mg of Theracumin curcumin extract from turmeric.
- 60 vegetarian capsules (a 30-count package is available as well).
- Serving size is 1 capsule.
- Other ingredients are cellulose, magnesium stearate, silica and croscarmellose sodium.
What CurcuminRich® Double Strength Theracumin Is Best For
Consider buying Natural Factors Theracumin if you want to use a product from a quality, trusted brand which provides you with high bioavailability in a vegetarian form.
For a time-release curcumin product, think about Doctor’s Best Curcumin Phytosome with Meriva.
This vegan product is a both popular and very affordably priced.
- 1,000 mg curcumin phytosome phosopholipid-curcuminoids complex.
- 180 mg curcumin and other curcuminoids.
- 180 vegan capsules.
- Soy and gluten free.
- Serving size: 2 capsules.
What Doctor’s Best Curcumin Phytosome with Meriva Is Best For
I would recommend this supplement if you want to save money on a high quality curcumin product delivered in a time-release capsule.
Those who are looking to buy a curcumin product formulated specifically for brain health will want to look into NOW CurcuBrain Capsules.
This is a Longvida-based supplement with great feedback in the online market.
- 400 mg of Longvida optimized curcumin extract.
- 50 capsules.
- Serving size is 1 capsule.
- Product does contain soy.
- Product does not contain yeast, gluten, milk, wheat, egg, fish, shellfish or tree nuts, however the GMP facility in which it is manufactured does process these allergens.
One thing that I found reassuring about the reviews mentioned above is that a surprising number of buyers admitted that it is pretty hard to be definitively sure that a specific lifestyle change (like taking a supplement) is making a substantial difference in cognitive processing.
This is refreshing since way too many supplement reviews online seem to present the products in question as miracle cures when nobody can make that claim with certainty.
So even though these reviews might seem a bit more "restrained," that actually makes me trust the customer experiences more.
What NOW CurcuBrain Capsules Is Best For
This supplement is an excellent choice if you want to take a curcumin supplement for brain health.
Just remember to steer clear if you have problems with soy.
Looking for a curcumin supplement which is easy on the stomach and features high bioavailability?
One product to think about is Curcu-Gel Ultra BCM-95.
- 650 mg of BCM-95 curcumin.
- 60 softgels.
- Serving size is one softgel.
- Pesticide free.
- Vegetarian softgels manufactured in USA laboratories following cGMP protocols.
- Not animal tested.
- Contains no stearates.
What Curcu-Gel Ultra BCM-95 Is Best For
If you tend to get an upset stomach from other curcumin products, you may want to try this one. You may find it more pleasant to digest.
This is also a good option if you want the full spectrum essential oil benefits associated with BCM-95.
Those in search of a fast-acting form of curcumin which is high in bioavailability will want to consider the Turmeric Curcumin Whey Complex by UltraCur.
This supplement is a popular choice online, available in either a 60-count or 120-count bottle.
- 600 mg of UltraCur curcumin whey complex (95% curcumin solids).
- Serving size is 1 capsule.
- Organic, vegetarian, non-GMO capsules.
- Does contain cold-processed Wisconsin milk (for the protein scaffold).
- Kosher and Halal compliant.
- Made in the USA and EU in GMP-compliant facilities.
- 100% natural formula.
What Turmeric Curcumin Whey Complex by UltraCur Is Best For
Consider this product if you are in search of curcumin which is fast-acting and which is backed by a manufacturer that cares about customer experience.
Remember, UltraCur is also water-soluble, so this product might work for you if you want something you can stir into a drink.
Conclusion: Purchasing the Right Turmeric Curcumin Supplement Takes Planning and Research … But It Can Pay Off
As you now know, not all turmeric curcumin supplements are the same.
There is quite a bit of variation from one proprietary formulation to the next, and you need to read ingredients and amounts very carefully to understand what you are getting.
Do some research on the condition you want to treat and which proprietary formulas might be the best fit for your needs.
For many customers, a generic turmeric curcumin supplement will suffice.
Any of the curcumin supplements which I have recommended would be a great choice, but my overall top recommendation is Turmeric Curcumin Complex with Black Pepper Extract by Vita Breeze.
Regardless of what you buy, make sure you are getting the dosage you need in a bioavailable, reasonably-priced product, and you should be on the path to health.