Turmeric is a traditional spice. It is orange-yellow in color and has been used for cooking and as a medicinal herb for thousands of years, majorly through the Indian subcontinent. It had been long persistent in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric supplement is still a relatively new find, gaining popularity for a unique reason.
Normally, it is always advised to opt for food sources, over supplements. But this does not apply in the case of turmeric. You might start trying it out by adding it to your curries, but if you want to experience the medicinal benefits of taking turmeric, more directly, only sprinkling it over your food while cooking is not enough. In that case, you might just want to turn to turmeric supplements. With the precise composition of all its plant compounds present in it, it is in the perfect form of a packaged supplement.
The advantages of turmeric are many-fold, about which we will discuss in detail. But this is because it contains more than 320 natural components. Some of the primary ones include beta-carotene, Vitamin C, calcium, fiber, iron, flavonoids, niacin, potassium, and zinc amongst others. However, the chemical present in turmeric that causes almost all its celebrated health effects is called curcumin. Any research related to turmeric supplements will lead us to a supplement of another kind called the curcumin supplement. Usually, both of these are thought to be of the same kind. Although understanding the difference between turmeric and curcumin is important before we proceed further.
How does Curcumin differ from Turmeric?
- Turmeric is a root-like structure or more precisely it is derived out of rhizomes of a flowering plant. It is mainly found in India and other South-East Asian areas.
- This flavored spice has various uses. It is made up of important and notable plant compounds like curcuminoids, zingiberene, phellandrene, and so on and so forth.
- Curcumin is nothing but a part of a group of plant compounds known as curcuminoids. It is one of the primary active compounds in turmeric.
- As a matter of fact, curcumin is mainly responsible for the yellow color found in turmeric.
Now, one main area of debate still prevails regarding whether the benefits of taking a turmeric supplement takes an upper hand over the benefits of curcumin supplement or not. While curcumin makes up about 2-8% of any turmeric preparation and is very useful in fighting osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, and at times performs even better than Advil and Aspirin, there may be the presence of other compounds apart from curcuminoids in turmeric which contribute towards its multiple benefits. In one study it was found that turmeric as a whole was more efficient in fighting breast cancer cells and stopping other tumor cells (66% inhibition) than curcumin alone (33%). This suggests the presence of some other plant compound in turmeric as well, as potent as curcumin, that contributes towards the many advantages of turmeric.
Though experts state that enough scientific experiments have not been conducted yet, at the end of the day, to make a comparison of the benefits of taking turmeric supplements versus curcumin is just a matter of personal preference. However, the form, closest to turmeric as a spice is more preferred since a turmeric supplement will also offer a high percentage of curcumin along with other important curcuminoids and beneficial plant compounds.
Turmeric often does not suit the body very well. This is one of the main reasons why, if one has to observe the benefits of taking turmeric, opting for the supplement form is always better.
Major benefits of taking turmeric supplement
- Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric is a very powerful antioxidant. It also has strong anti-inflammatory effects on the human body.
- Turmeric helps in treating heart-related illnesses. To be more precise, the endothelium or the lining of the blood vessels in your heart can function better with certain dosages of a turmeric supplement.
- One of the main advantages of turmeric is the fact that it keeps a check on cancer growth, its development, and its spread at the very molecular level. Even the scope of treating cancer in the near future using turmeric as a medicine is bright.
- As mental health diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia are not yet completely treatable, one of the benefits of taking a turmeric supplement is that it will reportedly act as a preventive measure for these.
Apart from these major advantages of turmeric, there are more nuanced benefits of this spice, which is slowly becoming a mainstream and important ingredient in modern medicine. Choosing a turmeric supplement over ground turmeric has a lot of advantages. If you distinctly want to observe the healthy benefits of taking turmeric, you should go for a supplement because only that contains all the necessary compounds of turmeric, like curcumin, in larger compositions absolutely fit for giving out quick and evident health benefits.
Some of the best, handpicked turmeric supplements are:
Source Natural’s Turmeric with Meriva
-Containing 18-22% total curcuminoids
-containing 500mg of turmeric extract per tablet
Thorne Meriva 500-SF
-containing an ingredient called Time-Sorb, which contains a semi-synthetic dietary fiber and magnesium
– containing 1000mg of turmeric formulation per 2-capsule serving
Life Extension Curcumin Elite
-containing galactomannans, which acts as a faster enhancer in the absorption of curcuminoids
-containing 200mg of curcuminoids with another active compound in turmeric called ar-turmerone.
-containing the highly absorbable form of curcumin
Swanson Vitamins Curcumin Complex
-contains 95% curcuminoids
-containing 700mg of total turmeric extract
NSF international verified purity
Choose your turmeric supplement keeping these simple points in mind:
- Reputability of brand which also includes the monitoring of third-party testing
- Use of standardized and real extracts of turmeric in place of turmeric root powder
- Turmeric formulations that have a patent and enhanced bioavailability.
From a conclusive standpoint, the advantages of turmeric are manifold. However, these companies often do not prove the safety of their products to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before bringing them into the market. So, before buying any turmeric supplement, be sure to choose a reputable brand, which maintains proper quality standards.
Some supplement companies on the other hand test their safety and quality by independent third-party laboratories such as NSF International, USP, or Underwriters Laboratories. These are fair options as well.
Also, companies that exclusively use their own patented ingredients have also committed to quality and are recognized by the FDA.
However, a lot of examinations are yet to be done in this field. Consulting a registered dietitian or physician regarding which turmeric supplement is of the best quality is desired.
The composition of various plant compounds in ground turmeric differs distinctly from what is present in turmeric supplements. Hence, initially, if you’re switching over to the supplement, it is admirable that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Knowing how much of it you should intake is important, as the dose varies brand wise and from the presence of various absorption enhancing ingredients.