Turmeric is a spice that is used a lot in southeast asian cuisine, which can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and support proper kidney function. It is actually part of the ginger family and shares a bioactive compound called curcumin, which is responsible for many of turmeric’s benefits and the yellow pigment (1).
Ayurveda (medicine from the Indian sub-continent) and traditional Chinese medicine have used turmeric for thousands of years to treat illnesses, but in recent times Western medicine has become increasingly interested in turmeric’s potential health benefits.
While turmeric is often talked about as a medicine, it is in fact the yellow pigment curcumin which is responsible for any health benefits. So when we talk about turmeric helping fight the symptoms of depression, we are in fact talking about curcumin.
This means that you wouldn’t have to specifically take turmeric, but could take a curcumin supplement instead. However, most people tend to use turmeric in cooking anyway so it is a common (and cheap) way to increase curcumin intake.
1Turmeric Curcumin + By Nuzena
Turmeric Curcumin + by Nuzena is our number one pick of 2019 for turmeric supplements. It’s an organic turmeric supplement specifically designed to provide anti-inflammatory support for joint care and healthy immunity. Turmeric Curcumin + is made with BioPerine for maximum absorption and bioavailability in the body.
This top of the line product is also GMP certified and manufactured in the United States inside an FDA registered facility.
21MD Advanced Turmeric Curcumin X285
CurcuminMD Plus helps relieve sore, stiff joints, promote heart health, and encourage a cognitive boost by combining an advanced form of curcumin—the active compound in turmeric—with powerful Boswellia Serrata (Derived from frankincense, its antioxidant powers boost the effects of the curcumin). Their formula is also 285x more absorbable than 95% standardized curcumin.
With clinically studied ingredients, CurcuminMD Plus is the optimal way to enjoy all the benefits turmeric has to offer.
3VitaBalance Turmeric Plus
The Turmeric Curcumin Plus formula, consisting of BioPerine and turmeric extract supports weight loss, supports healthy blood pressure levels within the normal range, supports joint and muscle health, and also supports your brain with potential cognitive benefits.
Turmeric Curcumin Plus is made in the US in an FDA registered facility that follows GMP guidelines. Ingredients in the formula are both domestic and imported.
4Smarter Nutrition Curcumin
Smarter Curcumin is not just different, it’s better; because they formulate it for maximum bioavailability and absorption.
Since curcumin is fat soluble, delivering it with a fat source, a healthy oil, makes it fully bioavailable to your body – giving you access to all of those health benefits. Smarter Curcumin comes in a liquid (veggie) softgel with “Black Seed Oil” and other smart support ingredients making it the most bioavailable curcumin you can buy!
5Transparent Labs Turmeric
RawSeries Turmeric contains 500mg high potency 95% curcuminoids. Other brands will dilute their turmeric products with cheaper turmeric root powder.
Each serving is paired with 20mg of bioperine (black pepper) for increased absorption (shown in studies to
The list of turmeric benefits is long – and at a glance, almost too good to be true (don’t worry we have studies to back up claims). This is one supplement we would classify as a super food.
BioSchwartz Turmeric formula has 1500mg of Turmeric Curcumin with 95% Standardized Curcuminoids per serving (Highest Potency) and 10mg of BioPerine (black pepper, curcumin with black pepper) aiding in enhanced absorption and bio-availability.
BioSchwartz Turmeric formula is also free Of soy, gluten, milk, egg, wheat, GMOs, peanuts, sweeteners, shellfish and sugar.
7Nature’s Nutrition Turmeric
Our premium T3 Turmeric Curcumin Complex 1950mg, with standardized 95% Curcuminoids and Enhanced with 15mg Bioperine (Black Pepper) for best absorption.
Black pepper extract has been shown to improve the bioavailability of many herbs and spices. Our Turmeric Curcumin Extract with Bioperine Black Pepper Extract provides as much as 2000x better absorption than consuming turmeric capsules alone.
8Gaia Turmeric Supreme
Gaia turmeric supreme is a vegan turmeric supplement designed to support whole-body vitality & a healthy inflammatory response. It’s formulated to deliver more of the power of Turmeric with whole-plant extracts of Turmeric.
Gaia turmeric supreme is made with Black Pepper to increase absorption of curcumins, the active components in turmeric.
9Nature Wise Turmeric
NatureWise Certified Organic Curcumin with 95% curcuminoids packs 750mg of Organic Curcumin into each capsule. 180 capsules per bottle. At our recommended maximum serving size of three capsules per day, you will receive 2250 mg of organic curcumin per daily serving, more than any other brand.
NatureWise Certified Organic Curcumin with 95% curcuminoids and Organic Ginger and BioPerine is gluten-free, vegan and non-GMO. It’s manufactured in the USA, with each batch tested for safety and purity.
10Nobi Nutrition Turmeric
Nobi nutrition turmeric supports a healthy inflammation response and is carefully crafted with whole super foods known to support a healthy, active lifestyle. The perfect, natural complement to any healthy and active lifestyle, Nobi’s Turmeric delivers over a gram of pure whole turmeric root enhanced with a concentrated 95% curcuminoid turmeric root extract to provide all protective antioxidant benefits of this amazing whole food.
Nobi’s Turmeric with BioPerine also contains spirulina, a nutrient-dense whole food rich in protein, amino acids and essential fatty acids.
How We Ranked
Due to the popularity of turmeric and curcumin, there were a few factors to look at to determine the best supplements on the market.
First, we looked at the dosage per serving. When paired with black pepper extract, the clinically effective dosages of curcumin ranges between 500 and 1000 milligrams. This is why products like Transparent Labs and Turmeric Plus made the top of the list.
Leading off that, the second thing we looked at was which products included complimentary ingredients to increase bioavailability. Any product not including Bioperine in 2019 was eliminated due to its powerful absorption. That’s why products like Nuzena were favored high on our list.
We also looked for different formulations and patented turmeric formulae. Lastly we eliminated any products containing too many coloring agents, additives or fillers (like silicon dioxide).
After all that, we were able to come up with our 2019 list of best turmeric supplements on the market.
1Turmeric can help lower blood pressure. One study of postmenopausal women found that taking 150mg of curcumin for 8 weeks led to a reduction in systolic blood pressure (2).
The study found that curcumin and aerobic exercise (separately) could both “improve age-related decline in endothelial function” by increasing flow-mediated dilation. This means that a combination of both curcumin and aerobic exercise could potentially improve it further.
A study in 2012 on both men and women, found that three servings of turmeric per day (22.1mg curcumin per dose) led to a reduction in systolic blood pressure (3).
This study was performed on people suffering from relapsing of refractory lupus nephritis (an inflammation of the kidneys caused by an autoimmune disease called lupus).
2Turmeric can improve kidney function. In the study above turmeric was found to help reduce systolic blood pressure in people with lupus (an autoimmune disease that can lead to inflammation of the kidneys). One of the most common symptoms of kidney disease is the presence of high levels of protein in the urine. This is called proteinuria.
A 2011 study found that short term supplementation of turmeric can reduce proteinuria in patients with type II diabetes (4).
A study on rats found that a combination of ginger and turmeric was more effective than a standard anti-inflammatory drug at treating the impairment of kidney functions (5).
3Turmeric is very effective at reducing inflammation. Curcumin, the bioactive compound in turmeric has long been associated with an anti-inflammatory effect. One study found that two 500mg doses of curcumin per day was effective at reducing inflammation in overweight men and women aged between 45 and 64 years (6).
Lichen planus is a rash that can affect your body and even the inside of your mouth (7).
A study in 2012 found that high doses of curcumin (3 x 2g doses per day) led to a significant reduction in inflammation (8).
A review of the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin showed that it had the potential to be very effective at reducing inflammation. However due to the poor absorption and its rapid plasma clearance it needed to be taken as a complex (9). We will discuss this further in the recommended dosage.
4Turmeric is effective for joint pain and general pain. Many joint supplements contain turmeric due to its anti-inflammatory properties. But it is also effective at reducing pain associated with poor joints. Studies have shown that doses of 2g of curcumin (considered a high dose) can help to reduce acute pain (10).
A 2010 study found that 1g of curcumin per day over a period of six months led to a significant reduction in pain in middle aged men and women suffering from osteoarthritis (11).
Another study found that turmeric was effective at reducing post-operative pain and fatigue in patients recovering from a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) (12).
Patients were given 500mg every 6 hours for 2-4 weeks. Reported pain and paracetamol use was significantly reduced compared to the placebo group.
5Turmeric may help improve cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels. High density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol is often called “good cholesterol”. It removes the “bad cholesterol” (LDL) and is responsible for reducing the risk of heart disease and strokes. There isn’t too much hard evidence that turmeric can massively improve HDL cholesterol levels, but some studies have found that it makes a small difference.
A 2008 study found that supplementation with low doses of curcumin led to a reduction in LDL cholesterol, an increase in HDL cholesterol, and a reduction in total cholesterol (13).
A 7 day trial of curcumin supplements found that doses of 500mg and 6g daily led to a significant reduction in total cholesterol and a lowering of triglyceride levels (14).
Lowered triglycerides are often associated with raised HDL cholesterol.
6Turmeric may help to reduce depression and anxiety. There seems to be a lot of scientific interest in whether turmeric can help to reduce the symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD). The theory is that its anti-inflammation properties can help alleviate some of the symptoms. Studies have recently started to link inflammation in the body with depression, so supplements or foods that can reduce inflammation may help treat it (15).
An interesting study in the Journal of Affective Disorders (2014) split 56 individuals into two groups. One group consumed a placebo while the other consumed 500mg of curcumin twice daily. Over the first 4 weeks both the placebo and curcumin were equally effective at treating depression symptoms. But in the second 4 weeks the curcumin was significantly more effective at treating the symptoms of depression (16).
Another study also found that curcumin had a significant effect on “several biomarkers that may be associated with its antidepressant mechanisms of action” (17).
The study also used two doses of 500mg curcumin per day for a period of eight weeks.
A study in 2015 looked at 108 male adults aged between 31 and 59 years old who suffered from depression (18).
The study had them take either two capsules of 1000mg (1g) curcumin or a placebo.
Both groups also took their usual antidepressant medication. The study found that those taking curcumin alongside their medication had a significant reduction in reported depression (using the 17-item Hamilton depression rating scale and Montgomery-Asberg depression rating scale) than those taking a placebo with their medication.
Finally, a study in 2014 found that “curcumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment in patients with MDD [major depressive disorder] without concurrent suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders” (19).
But it’s not just depressive symptoms that can be improved with turmeric, anxiety may also be reduced. A study on obese men and women found that 1g per day of curcumin over a period of 1-6 months led to a reduction in anxiety (20).
Interestingly this study failed to find a reduction in depressive symptoms.
A study in the Journal of Affective Disorders (2014) found that curcumin supplementation led to both a reduction in depressive symptoms and a reduction in anxiety (21).
7Turmeric can increase antioxidant enzymes. While the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric are mostly responsible for the reduction in depressive symptoms (as the theory goes) it could also be down to the effects that it has on anti-oxidant enzymes. This is because stress-related anxiety and depression can cause biochemical changes that antioxidants can defend against (22).
Turmeric can increase certain antioxidant enzymes, particularly nitric oxide and catalase. A study in 2012 found that low doses of curcumin led to a large increase in serum nitric oxide and catalase (23).
8Turmeric can improve liver function. Over time, the liver can get damaged from various toxins, medications and pathogens, so it’s important to support it as much as possible. Studies show that turmeric has such powerful antioxidant properties that it can even block toxins from damaging your liver (25).
9Turmeric can help with digestion. Turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory and healing agent. Recent studies have now been showing how it can act as a digestive healing agent. It does this by reducing gut inflammation and gut permeability, two measures of your digestive efficiency (26).
It may even help with IBS (27).
10Turmeric may help with aging and longevity. Since turmeric plays a role in preventing many age related diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s, it only makes sense that it’s become a popular anti-aging and longevity supplement (28).
11Turmeric can help prevent and treat cancer. A 2008 study showed that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can affect the growth and development of cancer at the molecular level (29).
Turmeric may also help by preventing cancer from forming in the first place. In a 30-day study in 44 men with lesions in the colon that sometimes turn cancerous, 4 grams of curcumin per day reduced the number of lesions by 40% (32).
12Turmeric can help with the treatment of Alzheimers. One of the benefits of turmeric is that it can cross the blood rain barrier, making it an effective anti-inflammatory agent in the brain. One of the key components of the development of alzheimers is inflammation and oxidative damage; 2 things turmeric has been proven to be beneficial for (33).
In addition, a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease is a buildup of protein tangles called amyloid plaques. Studies show that curcumin can help clear the buildup of protein tangles called amyloid plaques; a key feature of Alzheimer’s disease (34).
13Turmeric may be beneficial for those with arthritis. Arthritis is a common disorder characterized by joint inflammation. A 2012 study showed that curcumin was even more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug in treating people with rheumatoid arthritis (35).
14Turmeric can help with PMS. A 2015 study showed that turmeric may help alleviate and ease symptoms of PMS (36).
15Turmeric can help heal wounds and acne scars. Turmeric’s anti-inflamatory properties even work on skin. By using a turmeric based face mask, it can calm your skin and reduce acne scarring. It also lowers the response of your body to cutaneous wounds. This results in your wounds healing more quickly.
However, there aren’t enough studies to provide conclusive evidence about how turmeric can help other skin conditions.
Turmeric can boost your immune system. Turmeric has been shown in the last two decades to be a potent immunomodulatory agent that can modulate the activation of T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells (39).
Even in people with immune disorders, the medicinal properties in turmeric may be able to boost the immune system.
1Turmeric can thin your blood. Due to its powerful detoxifying properties, turmeric may cause your blood to thin. People who are going into surgery or are taking blood-thinning drugs should be careful about aking turmeric (40).
2Curcumin can be overdosed on in large doses. A study on rats found that it can cause “oxidative stress, inflammation, and metabolic disorders” (41).
This is often the problem with traditional medicine. The ingredients can be very effective, but because they are natural they are not as reliable as a drug. Another study published a mini perspective in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry on “The essential medicinal chemistry of curcumin” (42).
They stated that “Unfortunately, no form of curcumin, or its closely related analogs, appears to possess the properties required for a good drug candidate (chemical stability, high water solubility, potent and selective target activity, high bioavailability, broad tissue distribution, stable metabolism, and low toxicity)”.
By not being reliable, stable, or having a low toxicity, turmeric cannot be considered an effective drug. Using it as a treatment for inflammation, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol is therefore not advised. That doesn’t mean that you can’t use it, just don’t use it instead of proper medication. In other words, start cooking with some more turmeric.
3Turmeric may cause digestive distress. One of the side effects of turmeric is that it stimulates the stomach to produce more gastric acid. Often this helps many individuals with digestion. However, some people might be sensitive, and turmeric has the opposite effect, causing digestive distress.
4Turmeric can affect testosterone levels. Curcumin may inhibit enzymes involved in the final step of testosterone synthesis. This could potentially lead to a reduction in testosterone levels at very high concentration. However, the significance of this effect is unclear (43).
5Turmeric can cause stains and possibly allergic reactions. Due to its potent coloring, turmeric can temporarily stain clothing or the skin or when applied. In specific individuals, it may cause an allergic reaction as well as leading to swelling and redness. That being said, turmeric and curcumin are pretty safe in large doses, and you could probably see a lot of benefits by staying well within the recommended dosage.
Curcumin needs to be taken with black pepper (bioperine) to increase absorption, otherwise it is ineffective. Pure turmeric contains an average of 3.14% curcumin by weight (44).
This means that 100g of turmeric will contain around 3g of curcumin. According to examine.com if you are taking curcumin for intestinal purposes you can just use turmeric – taking 2-4g (0.6g curcumin). But if you are looking for systemic purposes you need to take curcumin orally while combining it with black pepper (piperine) (45).
The recommended dosage for that is 80-500mg.
Can turmeric help you lose weight? The primary antioxidant in the spice, curcumin, is an anti-inflammatory that’s been used for centuries in medicine. While increasing your intake of turmeric isn’t a lone strategy for weight loss, it may help you mitigate the inflammation associated with obesity and give you a boost in fat burning.
Is too much turmeric bad for you? Turmeric usually does not cause significant side effects; however, some people can experience stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea. In one report, a person who took very high amounts of turmeric, over 1500 mg twice daily, experienced a dangerous abnormal heart rhythm.
Can you take turmeric on an empty stomach? Yes, but some people may experience stomach aches. In that case take it with food.
How is turmeric best absorbed? Neither curcumin nor turmeric taken orally is well absorbed unless taken with black pepper or piperine, a constituent of black pepper responsible for its pungency. When shopping for supplements, make sure that the one you choose contains black pepper extract or piperine.
Is turmeric tea any good? The turmeric tea is highly effective thanks to its thermogenic effects which accelerate the metabolism and help the body burn fat faster, resulting in quick, but safe weight loss. The tea can also help treat digestive problems and significantly reduce inflammation in the body.
Can turmeric help with depression? Curcumin Shows Promise as Depression Treatment. An anti-inflammatory compound in turmeric may benefit those with depression. Researchers are finding mounting evidence that an anti-inflammatory compound in a common kitchen spice might help reduce symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD).
Is turmeric good for sleep? In the evening, a warm cup of golden yellow turmeric milk is soothing and helps me sleep soundly through the night. … You can substitute the milk of your choice and adjust the amount and type of sweetener used such as agave, stevia, raw cane sugar, coconut sugar, maple etc. It’s both calming and anti-inflammatory.
Is turmeric good for your skin? Yes, the anti-inflammatory qualities can target your pores and calm the skin. Turmeric is also known to reduce scarring.
Where does turmeric come from? 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.
Does turmeric act as a detoxifying agent? Among those benefits is turmeric’s ability to help the liver to detox. The liver is one of the most important organs for detoxification. When the liver is supported through the use of turmeric, it can also help to detox the blood, reduce inflammation, and prevent internal blood clotting
Is turmeric good for blood pressure? Turmeric is a natural blood pressure reducer and cardiovascular spice that has been used for years. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that help lower blood pressure by lowering the excess platelet aggregation that occurs in sticky, clot-forming blood.
What is the best time of day to take turmeric? The best time to take turmeric is three or more hours before or after eating a meal.
Is turmeric bad for kidneys? Too much turmeric, though, may increase the risk of kidney stones. Turmeric is high in soluble oxalates, which can bind to calcium, and form insoluble calcium oxalate, which is responsible for approximately three-quarters of all kidney stones.
Does turmeric affect sleep? At its base, turmeric reduces inflammation, lowers your blood sugar levels, helps your liver to detoxify, boosts your immune system and eases your digestive system – all of which help you to get to sleep faster, to sleep better, and to wake up feeling refreshed.
Can turmeric help fatty liver? Curcumin shows potential for the prevention and treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to new research published in Physiological Reports. As an antioxidant, curcumin also improved some markers of oxidative stress such as increasing glutathione in the prevention group.
Can turmeric unclog arteries? No, however current study suggests curcumin may thwart the development of atherosclerosis, or clogged arteries, a key risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.
Does turmeric improve circulation? Turmeric has a significant action upon the heart and the circulation. It will improve the flow of blood to the heart and encourage anti-platelet activity, reducing the risk of plaque build up in the arteries.
What is turmeric? 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.
What is the difference between turmeric and curcumin? 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.
What is Bioperine? It’s the active ingredient in black pepper that contributes to that unique spice you taste
Why is Bioperine combined with curcumin? Freshly ground black pepper will increase the bioavailability of curcumin, which basically means it makes it possible for the body to absorb the curcumin. Piperine is the key active ingredient in black pepper, and according to various studies, it’s said to help make curcumin more bioavailable. The bioavailability of curcumin (2000 mg) when co-administered with BioPerine (20 mg) was enhanced by 20 – fold or 2000% compared to bioavailability of curcumin alone at doses that were devoid of adverse side effects.
What is the benefit of taking BioPerine? One way Bioperine increases nutrient absorption is by increasing your metabolism by improving thermogenesis. This may also apply to nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, selenium, Vitamin B6, and beta-carotene, not just curcumin.
What are the negative side effects of turmeric? some people can experience stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea. In one report, a person who took very high amounts of turmeric, over 1500 mg twice daily, experienced a dangerous abnormal heart rhythm. It can also thin your blood, especially if you are already on blood thinning medication. If you are allergic, it may cause rashes or swelling.
Is bioperine dangerous? Be aware that piperine can interact with many medications and may also have anti-platelet effects. In addition, it may cause gastrointestinal side-effects and, potentially, bleeding, at somewhat higher-than-suggested doses.
Is bioperine and piperine the same thing? Yes, they are the same thing.
There appears to be many benefits to consuming turmeric as part of your diet. If you are looking to improve your joint health, or reduce joint pain then turmeric is a great choice. It can also help with inflammation, is good at enabling antioxidant enzymes, and may also be useful at helping reduce depressive symptoms and anxiety. It may also be effective at reducing your risk of metabolic diseases such as type II diabetes, strokes, and heart disease.
But as we mentioned in the side effects section, turmeric is not a medicinal drug. It is a plant. That means that it is not as reliable, and more research is definitely needed before it can be recommended instead of regular medicine for any condition.
In a letter to the editor titled “The dark side of curcumin”: “It is unfortunate that curcumin is regarded in the scientific literature as efficient and safe when its efficiency and safety have not been proven. The fact that curcumin is a common dietary constituent is not enough to prove its safety, as the common dietary constituents have shown toxicity when used as supplements” (46).
They go on to point out that just because some studies have found no toxicity in short term studies on humans it doesn’t mean that curcumin is necessarily safe. Long term toxicity of curcumin needs to be fully assessed before it can be declared safe to use. This may be appear to be a little overly cautious, but when it comes to medicine and supplement use, there is no such thing.
All in all, turmeric is a safe supplement and cooking ingredient that may have many benefits to health.