SmoothieDiet

The 5 best turmeric supplements to fight inflammation and oxidative stress in 2024


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If you’re a fan of Indian food, you may already know turmeric as one of the foundational flavors in many curry spice blends. It’s been used in cooking and in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Over the last 30 years or so, a growing body of research has shown that there might be something to its medicinal uses. 

“Turmeric, primarily known for its active compound curcumin, is often utilized for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties,” said Dr. Jennie Ding, a Canadian lifestyle medicine physician and the Founder of Kale Health Canada. “Individuals, especially athletes and active persons, turn to turmeric supplements to aid in recovery, alleviate exercise-induced inflammation, and enhance overall wellness.”

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Whether you’re hoping to speed up your post-workout recovery time, improve gut health, or just generally boost overall wellness, the key is to choose a turmeric supplement that you can trust.

Since supplements are regulated by the FDA, that means opting for ones that are third-party tested to confirm purity and quality while making sure your supplement is free from potentially harmful contaminants. To help you find the best turmeric supplement for you, we’ve rounded up five of our favorite third-party tested options.


Best turmeric supplement overall: Thorne Curcumin Phytosome


Amazon

Thorne’s curcumin phytosome supplement is our top pick because it contains a large dose of a highly absorbable form of curcumin without any artificial colors or flavors added. Curcumin Phytosome, the form of curcumin inside this supplement, has been frequently studied in clinical trials–Thorne states it’s the most clinically-studied form of curcumin on the market–so there is a body of research about the potential benefits of this exact form.

It’s also NSF certified for sport to confirm purity, dosage and quality. For athletes, in particular, that NSF certification is key as it confirms that it doesn’t contain any banned substances that might get you disqualified from competitions.

Overall, we like this turmeric supplement because it uses a well-researched and highly absorbable form of curcumin while leaving out all the fillers and additives you tend to find in supplements. It’s everything you want and none of the stuff you don’t want

While the recommended serving size is two capsules, you might want to start with just one per day because the larger dose can cause upset stomach for some. If you do take two capsules per day, consider taking them at different times–such as once at breakfast and again at dinner.

Get a 120-count bottle for $57 on Amazon. That’s a two month supply if you take the recommended two capsules per day or a four month supply if you take just one a day.

Why we like Thorne Curcumin Phytosome:

  • Curcumin phystosome, the curcumin found in this supplement, is a well-researched and highly absorbable form.
  • Each capsule contains 500 grams curcumin phytosome.
  • This supplement is NSF certified for sport.
  • It’s dairy free, soy free, gluten free and has no artificial flavors.


$57 at Amazon


Best vegan turmeric supplement: Naturewise Turmeric Curcumin


Amazon

With simple ingredients, the Naturewise turmeric curcumin supplement is the best pick for anyone concerned about allergens or dietary restrictions. The organic curcumin complex blend is hosed in a cellulose capsule with nothing but rice hull and rice flour added. It’s free of gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish and shellfish.

A best seller on Amazon, each capsule contains a blend of curcumin complex and Bioperine, a patented form of black pepper extract that’s used to increase the absorption rate of curcumin in the body. The ginger root added to the blend is also meant to improve curcumin absorption while offering digestive and anti-inflammatory benefits of its own.

Get a 180-count bottle on Amazon for $22 (reduced from $24). That’s a two-month supply if you take the recommended three capsules per day.

Why we like Naturewise Turmeric Curcumin:

  • This vegan supplement is free of most common allergens.
  • Naturewise curcumin supplements are third-party tested for quality.
  • Bioperine (a black pepper extract) is added to enhance absorption of curcumin.


$22 at Amazon


Best gummy turmeric supplement: Garden of Life Organics Extra Strength Turmeric


Amazon

If you want the benefits of a supplement, but dread the thought of swallowing those large capsules, try these fruity gummy supplements from Garden of Life Organics. Featuring a turmeric and black pepper blend for better curcumin absorption, these gummies are easy to take and easy for your body to absorb the nutrients in them.

The supplement also includes cinnamon bark and ginger root for added health benefits (and added flavor).

While some gummy supplements rely on artificial sweeteners or flavors to make it taste better, Garden of Life Organics uses only certified USDA Organic ingredients like apple puree and peach juice concentrate. There is sugar in the gummies, but it’s the natural sugars found in these fruit ingredients.

Get a 120-count bottle of the fruity turmeric gummies while they’re on sale at Amazon for $27 (reduced from $41). That’s a one-month supply if you take the recommended four gummies per day.

Why we like Garden of Life Organics Extra Strength Turmeric:

  • The tasty gummy form makes it easier to take your daily supplement.
  • This gummy is certified USDA Organic, vegan, kosher and gluten free.
  • It’s NSF certified.
  • Black pepper extract is added to improve curcumin absorption.


$27 at Amazon


Best liquid turmeric supplement: Mary Ruth’s Organic Turmeric Gold


Amazon

A liquid turmeric supplement like this one from Mary Ruth is a great option for those who need a convenient and flexible way to get their daily supplement dose. The dropper bottle fits in a bag and makes it easy to add a turmeric boost to your coffee, tea, smoothie, or protein shake.

Each serving (30 drops) contains 1,180 mg of Mary Ruth’s proprietary turmeric blend that includes black pepper seed, cassia bark, ginger root, rosemary leaf, and sage leaf. That blend is meant to enhance curcumin absorption as well as the health benefits of the supplement. But it also makes for a great aromatic flavor boost to whatever you add those drops to.

Reviewers note adding it to their tea, smoothies, and even soups. It’s subtle enough not to overpower your beverage or dish. One reviewer noted, “No bitter taste better than a turmeric powder as it dissolves into liquid and does not have [an] unpleasant taste.”

The only thing we don’t like is that the concentration of curcumin isn’t listed on the label like it is for the rest of the supplements on this list, so it’s unclear exactly how much of the active ingredient you’re getting.

With that said, it does use certified USDA organic ingredients and the supplement is Clean Label Project certified. That means it passed the Clean Label Project’s tests for food safety and purity.

Get a one-ounce bottle on Amazon for $23. That’s a one-month supply if you follow the recommended serving guidelines of 30 drops.

Why we like Mary Ruth’s Organic Turmeric Gold

  • The liquid form and great taste make it easy to add to coffee, tea, smoothies, soups and more.
  • The proprietary turmeric blend includes black pepper for improved curcumin absorption.
  • This supplement is clean label project certified and made from certified USDA Organic ingredients.


$23 at Amazon


Best turmeric supplement on a budget: Nature Made Crucumin


Amazon

With the lack of FDA regulation, buying cheap supplements can be risky. So it’s hard to find an option that’s affordable but still trustworthy. Nature Made is one of the few exceptions to that rule. Many of the brand’s supplements, including this turmeric supplement, are USP certified to confirm purity, potency and the lack of contaminants.

Each capsule contains 500 mg of a turmeric blend that includes 47.5 mg of curcuminoids. It’s also free of gluten, artificial dyes and flavors, and preservatives. So you’re getting turmeric with none of the extras.

That certified quality comes at a surprisingly affordable price, too. You can get a 120-count bottle for just $14 with the on-site coupon on Amazon. Even at the full list price of $28, this four-month supply of turmeric supplements is a great option for budget-conscious shoppers.

The only tradeoff here is that the turmeric blend doesn’t include black pepper or come in an enhanced absorption form. So we recommend taking this supplement with a meal that contains lecithin-rich foods like eggs, peanuts or yogurt. Like black pepper, lecithin helps boost curcumin absorption but it’s easier to consumer in large enough quantities than pure black pepper.

Why we like Nature Made Turmeric Curcumin:

  • This supplement is USP certified.
  • If following the recommended serving of one capsule per day, this 120-count bottle will last four months.
  • The turmeric blend contains 47.5 mg of curcuminoids per serving.
  • It’s gluten free and doesn’t have any added dyes, flavors or preservatives.


$14 at Amazon


More top-rated turmeric supplements on Amazon


What are the benefits of turmeric supplements?

“The benefits of turmeric span from supporting joint health to potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases, thanks to its ability to mitigate oxidative stress and inflammation. Its role in enhancing recovery post-exercise makes it particularly appealing to the sports community,” said. Dr. Ding.

It’s antioxidant effects are among the most well-researched, with studies showing that taking between 80 and 1,000 mg of curcumin every day can significantly reduce oxidative stress in the body.

It’s anti-inflammatory properties have also been extensively studied and found to help ease symptoms in a wide variety of inflammatory diseases ranging from arthritis and psoriasis to irritable bowel syndrome and depression.

Those same ant-inflammatory effects are why some athletes use it as part of their post-workout recovery. The muscle soreness you often feel after an intense workout is partially caused by inflammation in your muscles. Curcumin’s potential to soothe inflammation may help speed up recovery time — though more research is needed on that particular use case.

What’s the difference between turmeric and curcumin?

Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric. In the research that has been done on the health benefits of turmeric, it’s curcumin that’s credited with the anti-inflammatory effects and other benefits found.

As you shop for a supplement, you’ll find many brands that use various kinds of turmeric extracts that have more concentrated doses of curcumin than you would get if you were to just grab a bottle of turmeric from the spice aisle at your grocery store.

What is the best way to absorb curcumin?

For all the potential health benefits of curcumin, it is difficult for your body to absorb. Even if the supplement you’re taking contains a high dose, your body might end up only absorbing as little as 1% of that curcumin.

One of the best ways to boost absorption is by adding black pepper. According to Dr. Ding, “Combining turmeric with piperine, found in black pepper, can significantly enhance its absorption, making supplementation more effective.”

According to one study, adding 5 mg of piperine per 2 grams of curcumin can triple the amount of curcumin your body actually absorbs. That’s why you’ll often find black pepper extracts added to turmeric supplements.

Another method is to process the curcumin into an easier-to-absorb form, as Thorne does with its curcumin phytosome, a form of curcumin that was found to be five-times more absorbable than pure curcumin.

If your supplement doesn’t use a highly absorbable form or add black pepper extract, take it with a meal that’s high in healthy fats and, if you can tolerate, loaded with black pepper. 

Who should not take turmeric?

Turmeric is generally safe, especially in the less concentrated doses found in food. When you start taking highly concentrated supplements, however, there are a few potential risk factors and side effects worth considering.

“While turmeric is generally safe for most people, high doses or long-term use can cause gastrointestinal issues, such as stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea,” said Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, MD. If you start to notice any of these symptoms, stop taking the supplement and talk to your doctor.

“It can also lead to increased risk of bleeding due to its blood-thinning properties,” Dr. Rokhsar added. This blood-thinning effect can potentially interact with certain medications, like anticoagulants or blood thinners.

Another important complication Dr. Rokhsar noted, “High doses of turmeric might lower blood sugar levels too much in people with diabetes and interfere with iron absorption, leading to iron deficiency in susceptible individuals.”

To be on the safe side, it’s best to talk to your doctor before starting a turmeric supplement (or any supplement, for that matter) to make sure it won’t interact with any medications you take or negatively impact any underlying health conditions.



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