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Last modified on February 5th, 2020
Turmeric has been a wonder drug for thousands of years. The spice has a long history in the culture, religion, and medical practices of India and the Middle East. Over the centuries, the rest of the world began to hear about turmeric and its benefit on various aspects of health.
Over the past 20 years, medical studies have begun to prove the benefits of turmeric scientifically.
Scientists are only now beginning to understand why this ancient spice has a benefit on health issues ranging from cancer to pain to cholesterol.
At the same time, many different turmeric supplements are now available, and it can be hard to pick between them. We have scoured the internet to bring you the top 6 best turmeric supplements, and why they are worth a look.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice that has long been used in Indian culture and religion as well as Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda is a holistic approach to medicine that is focused on plant-based treatments. The spice is also known as Indian saffron because of its rich gold color. The word turmeric itself is a reference to the spice’s color and derives from the Latin phrase terra merita, or meritorious earth.
Turmeric comes from the underground stem, or rhizome, of the Curcuma longa plant. The plant is a perennial herb that belongs in the ginger family and is native to South Asia. The stem matures in the ground and branches extensively. The outside of the stem is brown and has a round shape with rough skin. In contrast, the inside of the stem is dull orange. After the stem is boiled and dried, it is ground into the yellow powder called turmeric.
Turmeric contains more than 100 different chemicals. One of its main components is curcumin, a natural antioxidant that makes up about 6% of the spice. The spice also contains an essential oil called turmerone which comprises about 3.5% of the spice.
Even today, India produces nearly all turmeric used in the world. The spice remains very popular in India, which consumes 80% of its own turmeric production.
History of Turmeric Use
Humans have used turmeric for almost 4000 years. Experts think it originated in the Vedic culture in India and was used in both cooking and religious ceremonies. Within the past 1500 years, turmeric use began to spread across the globe, first moving to China, Africa, and finally the Americas. Turmeric is very popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. The spice is one of the main ingredients in curry, giving the food its color and flavor.
Turmeric has been used for health for more than 2000 years. One of the first references to the spice was in the Ayurvedic Compendium by Susruta from 250 B.C., where turmeric was recommended as a cure for food poisoning.
Turmeric and Medicine
Turmeric has long been used in traditional medicine in Asia. In Ayurvedic medicine where turmeric got its medicinal start, turmeric is believed to:
- Improve the body’s energy
- Relieve gas
- Get rid of worms
- Improve digestion
- Ease menstrual flow
- Get rid of gallstones
- Aid arthritis
Other Asian counties use turmeric topically, as an antiseptic and antibacterial drug. In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the spice is used to clean wounds. More recently, turmeric has been used as an ingredient in some sunscreens and cosmetics. Some data suggests that topical turmeric may even help to fight some types of skin tumors.
Besides its historical use as an herbal medicine since ancient times, turmeric has attracted the attention of modern scientists. The spice is known to have multiple properties that may be useful, like anti-inflammatory activity against the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) enzymes. Turmeric has been studied to treat various medical problems, like:
- Abnormal liver function tests: Turmeric has been found to improve liver tests at a dose of 3 grams a day. The effect lasted for as long as the people in the study continued taking turmeric.
- Gastrointestinal health: A study showed that turmeric is consumed by healthy gut bacteria. The probiotics Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium can use turmeric to grow, and the spice can support these probiotics for more than 72 hours. Some data indicates that turmeric may even help to prevent cancer of the stomach and esophagus.
- Cancer: Doctors found that turmeric makes breast cancer cells more sensitive to cancer treatment. This was even true when the breast cancer was supposed to be resistant to the cancer treatment that was given. Further, turmeric was found to help prevent some of the side effects of chemotherapy, like heart, nerve, and kidney damage.
- Arthritis: Turmeric was studied in patients with osteoarthritis. The spice was found to improve pain, stiffness, and overall function.
- Diabetes: A study found that turmeric use led to an improvement of fasting blood sugar levels.
- Cholesterol problems: Turmeric use was found to lower triglyceride The spice was also found to increase high density lipoprotein, also known as HDL or good cholesterol, levels.
- High blood pressure: Turmeric was found to decrease diastolic blood pressure, the bottom blood pressure number.
Turmeric and Nutrition
Turmeric is full of nutrients. The spice is a source of omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid. 100g, or about 3.5 ounces, of turmeric has:
- 390 calories
- 10 grams of fat, including 3 grams of saturated fat
- 0 grams cholesterol
- 2500mg potassium
- 5mg iron
- 21 grams fiber
- 8 grams protein
Although commonly used in curry, turmeric can bought from a grocery store and used in your food in many ways like:
- Sprinkled in soups or on eggs
- Mixed in rice or potatoes
- Added to a smoothie or soup
Turmeric is generally considered safe. After all, it has been used as a spice and household remedy for more than a millennium. However, over the past few years, several different turmeric grocery products for cooking were recalled due to lead contamination. No turmeric supplements were affected by the recall. It is unclear how the products ended up containing lead, because lead in the soil generally does not make it into turmeric in large amounts. Some experts suspect that lead might have been added to the spice to increase its weight and brighten its color, although there is no evidence to support that claim at this time.
Our Picks for the Best Turmeric Supplements
We looked high and low across user reviews, manufacturing documents, and chemistry data to pick the top 6 best turmeric supplements. The name of each supplement is linked to the product on Amazon. We have also included a description of why the supplement was one of our top-ranked choices. Although there is no standard for recommended doses of turmeric, a typical dose can range from 250 mg to 1800 mg or more every day.
Enhanced Absorption and Potency
- Top-rated product on Amazon with excellent reviews
- High-dosage and very bio-available form of turmeric with Bioperine- 2000% improved absorption
- Contains no fillers or binders
- 95% standardized curcumin
Why we love it: Our top pick for the best turmeric supplement has 1500mg total active spice, including 1350 mg turmeric. In addition, it has an extra 150 mg standardized curcuminoids, the active ingredient in turmeric. Although normally curcumin only makes up 6% of turmeric, it is often standardized to a concentration of 95% for supplements. Lastly, to aid absorption, the product has 10mg BioPerine, or piperine, an extract made from black pepper and long pepper.
The product comes in a plant-based capsule made from tapioca fermented into pullulan. As a result, it is vegan-friendly. It contains no artificial ingredients, fillers or binders. It also does not contain magnesium stearate. It is free of soy, gluten, milk, egg, wheat, GMOs, peanuts, sweeteners, shellfish and sugar. However, it is not organic.
The product is made in the United States, however the turmeric is sourced from India. The labeling states that it is made following the FDA’s GMP guidelines, however it is important to note that there is no official GMP seal of approval on the product. The labeling also states that the company audits its suppliers, analyzes samples every 15 minutes, and has a third party lab test the product. The manufacturer also tests for heavy metals.
The downside is that a serving size is 3 capsules. However, the capsules can be opened and sprinkled into food or drink, although users have reported that doing so gives a strong taste. Amazon users generally like this product, which is a top seller both among turmeric supplements as well as health and household products. Users reported feeling results from the product in as little as a couple of weeks. Further, the product has a money-back guarantee from the manufacturer.
- Liquid version of turmeric is easy to take if you don’t like pills or capsules
- Made from high-quality turmeric and curcumin
- Includes black pepper for bio-availability
- 1000 mg of curcumin with 95% curcuminoids
Why we love it: Our next pick for one of the best turmeric supplements comes in a dosage form that makes it very easy for your body to break down. When taking a supplement, the first step in your body being able to absorb it is the supplement’s ability to disintegrate and dissolve. This is especially true if you have health conditions that complicate your stomach’s ability to churn, such as a history of bariatric surgery. Because Liquid Turmeric Curcumin with Black Pepper is already in a liquid form, your body gets to skip the step of dissolving it. In turn, the supplement may be more easily absorbed than some other dosage forms, especially since it contains black pepper extract to help turmeric absorption.
A serving size of this product is one tablespoon once a day. It can be taken straight or mixed with another liquid like juice or water. It is low-calorie, at just 10 calories per serving. Each tablespoon contains 1000 mg of 95% curcuminoids, the active ingredient in turmeric. The supplement contains a small amount, only 9 mg, of Vitamin C. In addition, Liquid Turmeric Curcumin with Black Pepper contains glycerin, acacia gum, xanthan gum, guar gum, and flavoring. As the product was made in a facility that also processes allergens like soy, peanut, egg, wheat, tree nuts, shellfish, and fish, if you suffer from allergies you may need to avoid this product.
Amazon users generally like Liquid Turmeric Curcumin with Black Pepper, including the taste. It is a top seller among turmeric supplements.
Although Qunol also makes turmeric supplements in softgel and instant drink mix formulations, they do not have the same ingredients as the liquid form. For example, neither the softgels nor the drink mix contains black pepper extract. Further, the softgels are sourced from beef and are therefore not appropriate for vegetarian, vegan or Hindu users.
- Includes fermented turmeric and ginger for added anti-inflammatory properties
- Gummy is easy to use and can be taken by adults or children
- Non-GMO, organic and contains no added sugars
- Fermentation helps with digestion and makes the curcumin in this supplement more available in the body
Why we love it: The third pick for our best turmeric supplements comes in a chewable gummy formulation. It is one of the only top turmeric supplements on our list than can be used by both adults and children. Each serving mykind Organics Turmeric Inflammatory Response Gummy contains 254 mg of an organic turmeric blend consisting of turmeric, 95% curcuminoids, and black pepper. Further, the turmeric is fermented, which may enhance absorption. The gummies also contain 60 mg of cinnamon bark and 50 mg of ginger root added into the product for anti-inflammatory effects.
Both adults and children should chew 4 gummies daily. Each serving of 4 gummies contains 35 calories. The product also has 8 grams of carbohydrates, including 1 gram of fiber and 7 grams of sugar from fruit. The fruit itself is a mix of organic apples, peaches, lemons and oranges, although the chews are apple-flavored.
mykind Organics Turmeric Inflammatory Response Gummies are certified organic and are non-GMO. They are gluten free and vegan. Further, they do not contain refined sugar. Although the gummies themselves do not contain nuts, they are manufactured in a German facility that processes tree nuts, so may not be ideal for users with allergies.
Amazon users like this product, which has a good ranking in the best seller list for turmeric supplements.
- A dosage contains 20 mg of BioPerine to ensure absorption and bio-availability
- May help protect against free radical and improve joint function
- Made in the U.S.
- Natural and non-GMO
Why we love it: This supplement has one of the highest doses of turmeric on our list, with a recommended daily dose of 1950 mg a day. The product comes in vegetable-based capsules. This total dose is divided between 1800 mg of turmeric and 150 mg of 95% curcuminoids. Further, the spice contains 15 mg of BioPerine black pepper extract to help absorption.
The supplement carries the GMP label, meaning that it follows the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing practices. The product is non-GMO and is made in the United States. The capsules are vegetarian and do not contain gluten, soy, milk, egg, shellfish, corn, wheat, or peanuts. According to the seller, every batch is tested by a third-party lab to make sure there are no impurities or heavy metals.
Nature’s Nutrition makes several additional products that contain turmeric. While some of the products simply contain turmeric and black pepper at varying doses, other products contain additional ingredients. For example, some Nature’s Nutrition turmeric products also include other agents like ginger for anti-inflammatory action and glucosamine/chondroitin and MSM to support joints. It is important to note that the labels for all of these products look very similar to one another.
Amazon users like this product, which is one of the top sellers among turmeric supplements.
A downside is that 3 veggie capsules are recommended per day, which some may consider a high pill burden.
Easy-to-use turmeric drops
- Liquid drop form is easy to take, and also more readily absorbed
- Inflammation fighter and natural pain relief
- Highest potency 95% standardized curcuminoids
- Top-seller on Amazon
Why we love it: Turmeric Curcumin with Bioperine Drops is the second liquid dosage form on our list of the best turmeric supplements. Because it is already dissolved, the product bypasses the first step in absorption, which is disintegration. Therefore, your body can much more easily break down and absorb this product as it is already in a liquid form.
Turmeric Curcumin with Bioperine Drops comes in a glass bottle with a dropper. The daily dose is two half-full droppers once a day, which is about 2 milliliters. This liquid contains 760 mg of a turmeric blend per serving. The turmeric blend contains not only the turmeric extract but 95% curcuminoids for a total of 750 mg turmeric. The drops also contain 10 mg of BioPerine black pepper extract to help absorption. The drops can be taken straight from the dropper and Amazon users report the taste is pleasant.
The drops are organic (although not certified organic) and contain kosher glycerin. The essential fat lecithin from non-GMO sunflowers is used to make phosphatidylcholine, a major component of membranes that is an ingredient in the drops. According to the manufacturer, the phospholipids have led to increased absorption in their studies. The drops also contain organic stevia for sweetness. The product is made in the United States.
One downside to the product is that the dropper does not contain markings. Therefore, you have to estimate the half-dropper for dosing.
Amazon users give high ratings to Turmeric Curcumin with Bioperine Drops. The product is one of the top sellers among turmeric supplements on Amazon.
Helps support a healthy inflammatory response
- Affordable 60-day supply
- Made at a certified organic farm in North Carolina
- Whole plant turmeric extracts and black pepper for absorption
- Many reviews on Amazon describe it as the best turmeric available, particularly when it comes to pain relief
Why we love it: The last item on our list of the best turmeric supplements is Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength. This product comes in gelcaps with a turmeric blend consisting of 482 mg of turmeric, and 36 mg curcumins. Black pepper extract 7 mg is also included to help absorption. Sunflower lecithin is also included as an essential fat to help absorption.
The gelcaps dissolve about 10 minutes after ingestion to release the liquid turmeric supplement inside. Because the supplement is liquid, it easily dissolves into your stomach contents. This overcomes the first step to absorption, which is disintegration. Because the contents of the gelcaps are already in liquid form, they do not need to undergo the disintegration process.
The gelcaps are vegan and all contents are organic and non-GMO. There is no gluten, soy, dairy, meat, peanuts, sesame, shellfish, yeast or eggs in Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength.
Amazon users give Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength high ratings, and it is one of the top-selling turmeric supplements on Amazon.
Unlike many of the other capsules on our best turmeric supplement list, a serving size is only one capsule. It can be taken once or twice a day with meals.
In conclusion, turmeric has been a staple in the diet, medicine, and culture of India for thousands of years. Recent studies have shown the possible benefit of turmeric in a variety of medical conditions. Turmeric is generally considered very safe, although several turmeric grocery items were recalled in years past for lead content. Turmeric itself can be hard for the body to absorb, and is often combined with black pepper or essential fats like lecithin to help absorption. Further, turmeric supplements are available in a variety of dosage forms like capsules, gelcaps, and liquids. Our top 6 best turmeric supplements can help you take advantage of this ancient spice to improve your health.