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Best Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements

Best Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements

Turmeric is a root in the ginger family with an earthy flavor. It’s a popular cooking spice in India, and has been used as a medicinal herb by Ayurvedic physicians for thousands of years, much like ashwagandha.

One of the most well-known components of turmeric is curcumin, usually comprising 2-8% of the root by weight.1Curcumin and obesity. Its numerous research-backed health benefits make it highly valued as a supplement.

However, turmeric itself has potential health benefits that curcumin alone doesn’t. Because of this, both raw turmeric and its proceeding curcumin extract are both quite popular health supplements.

In this complete guide, we’ve listed the best curcumin supplements and the best turmeric supplements, as they both have their own usefulness. Farther down, we’ve listed their science-backed health benefits.

In this guide, you’ll learn about:

Quick Glance: 8 of 16
Turmeric Curcumin C3 Complex 500mg, Enhanced with Black Pepper & Organic Coconut Oil for Better Absorption; Non-GMO & Gluten Free - 120 CountBest Curcumin: SR – Curcumin Liquid Softgels

“This is overall one of the best curcumin supplements you can get.”
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PuraTHRIVE Curcumin Gold Liposomal Curcumin Supplement with DHA and Ginger Oil by PuraTHRIVE. Micelle Liposomal Delivery for Maximum Absorption. Vegan, GMO Free, Made in The USA.PuraTHRIVE – Liposomal Curcumin

“This pleasant, citrus-flavored liposomal curcumin supplement is a great option for fortifying drinks and smoothies.”
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Solgar Full Spectrum Curcumin - 90 Liquid Extract Softgels - Brain, Joint, Immune Support Supplement, Anti inflammatory, Antioxidant - Non-GMO, Gluten Free - 90 ServingsSolgar Full Spectrum Curcumin – Liquid Extract Softgels

“Solgar curcumin is a micellar-based, highly absorptive option comparable to curcumin phytosome.”
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ORGANIC INDIA Turmeric Curcumin, 180 Veg Capsules (Packaging May Vary)Best Turmeric: Organic India – Turmeric Capsules

“Available in several different sizes, this top-notch turmeric supplement is an easy pick.”
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Organic Turmeric Root Powder - 32oz Resealable Bag (2lbs) - 100% Raw w/Curcumin From India - by Feel Good OrganicsFeel Good Organics – Organic Turmeric Powder

“If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, this organic turmeric powder is a great pick.”
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Herb Pharm Certified Organic Turmeric Root Liquid Extract for Musculoskeletal System Support - 4 OunceHerb Pharm – Organic Turmeric Tincture

“If you’re looking for a high-quality organic turmeric tincture, Herb Pharm has you covered.”
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Dynamic Health Labs Turmeric Gold Supplement, 32 OunceDynamic Health – Organic Turmeric Juice Supplement

“This delicious turmeric juice is a great way to take your drinks and smoothies to the next level.”
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Turmeric Ginger with Curcumin Gummies, Joint Support and Pain Relief. Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant Supplement, Vegan Friendly, All Natural Chews for Adults & Kids, 60 Chewable Gummy VitaminsBeLive – Turmeric Gummies with Ginger

“These tasty turmeric gummies are some of the most popular on Amazon.”
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Top 8 Best Curcumin Supplements

Best Overall: SR – Curcumin Liquid Softgels

95% curcuminoids

Black pepper extract for absorption

Non-GMO

60/120
count
500mg
each

Key Ingredients: Curcumin, Black Pepper Extract

Sports Research’s C3 complex curcumin is one of the best curcumin supplements you can get your hands on. And looking at the price per serving, it’s also one of the most inexpensive curcumin supplements.

In addition to curcumin extract standardized to 95%, each softgel capsule is packed with piperine, better known as black pepper extract. Although curcumin is naturally very poorly absorbed by the body, black pepper extract greatly enhances absorption.

BOTTOM LINE

This is overall one of the best curcumin supplements you can get.

Runner-Up: Smarter Nutrition – Curcumin Softgels

95% curcuminoids

Black seed oil for absorption

+ Ginger extract

60
count
950mg
each

Key Ingredients: Curcumin, Black Seed Oil, Ginger Root Extract

If you want a little something extra, this curcumin supplement may be for you. It’s similar to our top pick, but loaded with a few bonus health-supporting ingredients.

Of course, the 95% curcuminoids are complemented by black seed oil for enhanced absorption. In addition to that, each softgel capsule contains a dash of ginger and ginseng, which each have their own slew of purported health benefits.

BOTTOM LINE

High-absorption curcumin and black seed oil with ginger and ginseng—this is a great high-value supplement.

Best Curcumin Phytosome: Thorne – Curcumin Phytosome

Curcumin phytosome

Enhanced absorption

Sustain-release

120
count
500mg
each

Key Ingredients: Curcumin Phytosome

Instead of using black pepper oil or black cumin seed oil for enhanced absorption, this curcumin phytosome supplement takes another route. Using phospholipids, a fat-like compound found in all cells, phytosomal curcumin is absorbed at a much higher rate than regular curcumin.

Several studies have linked phytosomal curcumin to health benefits not associated with regular curcumin. For example, curcumin phytosome has been linked to decreased blood pressure, but not regular curcumin. This is a great supplement for reaping some of those potential health benefits.

BOTTOM LINE

One of the best curcumin phytosome supplements, this is absorbed at a much higher rate than most.

Best Liposomal Curcumin: PuraTHRIVE – Liposomal Curcumin

Liposomal curcumin

+ Vegan omega 3

+ Ginger oil

8oz / 255mL
bottle

Key Ingredients: Liposomal Blend, Curcumin, Turmeric, Algal oil (Omega 3), Ginger Oil

Much like curcumin phytosome, liposomal curcumin is absorbed at a much higher rate than regular curcumin without black seed oil. Liposomes are also fat-like compounds, and are in fact almost identical to phytosomes, with a few molecular differences.

This liquid liposomal curcumin supplement has a few extra health-supporting ingredients. Omega-3-rich algal oil, citrus oil, and ginger oil bolster both its beneficial effects and pleasant flavor.

BOTTOM LINE

This pleasant, citrus-flavored liposomal curcumin supplement is a great option for fortifying drinks and smoothies.

Solgar Full Spectrum Curcumin – 90 Liquid Extract Softgels

95% curcuminoids

Micellar dispersion

Higher potency

30/60/90
count
90mg
each

Key Ingredients: Curcumin

Solgar curcumin is a specially-formulated curcumin supplement. The curcuminoids are are dispersed throughout a micellar liquid, greatly enhancing absorption. It’s roughly comparable to curcumin phytosome and liposome in terms of absorption.

Aside from the vegetable-based capsule, this Solgar curcumin supplement is 100% curcumin and turmeric extract—no unnecessary ingredients. It’s one of the best curcumin supplements in terms of absorption.

BOTTOM LINE

Solgar curcumin is a micellar-based, highly absorptive option comparable to curcumin phytosome.

NatureWise Curcumin Supplement

95% curcuminoids

Piperine for absorption

+ Ginger

90/180
count
750mg
each

Key Ingredients: Turmeric, Curcumin, Ginger, Black Pepper Extract

If you want an excellent turmeric-curcumin combo with a little extra oomph, this is a great option. Each capsule contains a blend of organic turmeric root and standardized 95% curcuminoids. To enhance absorption, there’s also a dash of black pepper extract.

In addition to your standard curcumin and turmeric, this curcumin supplement is also packed with a little organic ginger. And with the 180 capsule package, you get a really great value per serving.

BOTTOM LINE

This turmeric-curcumin blend is fortified with organic ginger and black pepper extract for absorption.

Divine Bounty – Curcumin with BioPerine Black Pepper Extract

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95% curcuminoids

Piperine for absorption

Non-GMO

120
count
750mg
each

Key Ingredients: Curcumin, Black Pepper Extract

This is one of our first featured curcumin supplements with BioPerine, a popular ingredient in some of the best curcumin supplements. In reality, BioPerine is simply 95% standardized black pepper extract, but it’s a very reputable brand.

Put simply, this supplement is high-quality curcumin with black pepper for enhanced absorption. It’s a great non-GMO option for mixing some curcumin into your diet.

BOTTOM LINE

Another no-nonsense curcumin supplement, these 95% curcuminoids are enhanced with BioPerine black pepper extract for absorption.

FineVine – Turmeric Curcumin with Black Pepper and Ginger

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95% curcuminoids

Piperine for absorption

+ Ginger

60/120
count
825mg
each

Key Ingredients: Curcumin, Ginger, Black Pepper Extract

This is another high-quality curcumin supplement with BioPerine. These 95% standardized curcuminoids are fortified with top-notch black pepper extract to enhance their rate of absorption.

In addition to the curcumin content, each capsule is packed with a dash of organic ginger. This is a great option for those who want a high quality ginger-curcumin supplement. And the 120-count bottle is a fantastic value.

BOTTOM LINE

Curcumin and ginger backed by BioPerine black pepper extract—this is one of the best curcumin supplements at this price.

Top 8 Best Turmeric Supplements

As discussed farther down, there are benefits of turmeric (the whole root) that aren’t associated with curcumin alone. To take advantage of these many people take turmeric supplements alone or alongside curcumin.

For those who want to reap the full spectrum of benefits associated with turmeric, here are our top 8 turmeric supplements picks of 2019.

Best Overall: Organic India – Turmeric Capsules

Turmeric rhizomes

Piperine for absorption

All organic

180
count
500mg
each

Key Ingredients: Turmeric Rhizome, Turmeric Extract, Long Pepper Fruit, Black Pepper Seed, Ginger Rhizome

If you’re looking for the best turmeric supplement, you can’t go wrong with this one. Organic India offers this authentic turmeric supplement with 370 milligrams of turmeric root per capsule, plus a few extra health-supporting ingredients.

In addition to the ultra pure turmeric powder, each capsule contains a decent amount of curcuminoids—85 milligrams each. Beyond that, there’s a dash of long pepper fruit, ginger rhizome, and, importantly, black pepper extract for enhanced absorption.

BOTTOM LINE

Available in several different sizes, this top-notch turmeric supplement is an easy pick.

Runner-Up: NuVitality – Turmeric with Piperine

Sale

Turmeric rhizomes

Piperine for absorption

Money-back guarantee

120
count
650mg
each

Key Ingredients: Turmeric, Piperine

A close pick for the top spot, this no-nonsense turmeric supplement is a great option. Each capsule contains 600 milligrams of turmeric root powder, 50 grams of curcuminoids, and dash of black pepper extract for absorption.

This is one of the most popular turmeric supplements on Amazon, with lots of glowing reviews. It’s a great pick with a great value.

BOTTOM LINE

With 600 milligrams of turmeric per capsule and a dash of black pepper extract, these are some of the best turmeric pills you can get.

Feel Good Organics – Organic Turmeric Powder

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100% turmeric powder

Non-GMO

All organic

32oz / 907mL
bottle

Key Ingredients: Turmeric Powder

If you’re looking for some organic turmeric powder, you can’t go wrong with Feel Good Organics. This is 100% organic turmeric powder, with absolutely nothing else. You know exactly what you’re getting: some of the best turmeric powder on the market.

Despite the top-notch quality, this is also one of the best turmeric supplements when it comes to price. If you want to make your own inexpensive turmeric supplement at home, just grab a capsule filling machine and some empty gelatin capsules.

BOTTOM LINE

If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, this organic turmeric powder is a great pick.

Herb Pharm – Organic Turmeric Tincture

Turmeric rhizome extract

Organic cane alcohol tincture

Non-GMO

4oz / 120mL
bottle

Key Ingredients: Turmeric Rhizome

If you’re looking for some highly absorptive turmeric, this top-notch turmeric tincture is a great option. Unlike most liquid mixtures, this turmeric tincture is made primarily with organic cane alcohol, further enhancing absorption.

This organic, vegan, non-GMO turmeric tincture supplement is also very cost effective. There are over 40 servings per ounce, making it quite inexpensive.

BOTTOM LINE

If you’re looking for a high-quality organic turmeric tincture, Herb Pharm has you covered.

Dynamic Health – Organic Turmeric Juice Supplement

Sale

Organic turmeric juice

Piperine for absorption

Great for smoothies/drinks

32oz / 473mL
bottle

Key Ingredients: Turmeric Juice

For a more playful splash of nutrition, turmeric juice is a great option. And this particular organic turmeric juice is complemented with a little organic stevia leaf extract for sweetness and black pepper extract for absorption.

If you want to zest up a drink, smoothie, or even water, just toss in a splash of turmeric juice. It’s a great way to get some delicious curcuminoid content.

BOTTOM LINE

This delicious turmeric juice is a great way to take your drinks and smoothies to the next level.

BeLive – Turmeric Gummies with Ginger

Turmeric rhizome extract

+ Ginger

Great taste

60
count
140mg
each

Key Ingredients: Turmeric Rhizome Extract, Ginger

For something a little more fun, these turmeric gummies a great way to get your daily dose of curcuminoids. And these particular turmeric gummies have some of the lowest sugar content we could find.

If you’re looking for a healthy treat for your kids or even yourself, you can’t go wrong with these. With turmeric rhizome extract, a little bit of ginger, and a handful of other ingredients, these are truly some high-quality turmeric gummies. And they’re tasty!

BOTTOM LINE

These tasty turmeric gummies are some of the most popular on Amazon.

BioShwartz – Turmeric Capsules with Bioperine

Turmeric root extract

Piperine

Non-GMO

90
count
500mg
each

Key Ingredients: Turmeric, Black Pepper Extract

These are some of the best turmeric capsules you can get your hands on. The BioSchwartz Ultra Pure Turmeric capsules are incredibly popular on Amazon, and that’s not without good reason!

This top-tier ultra pure turmeric supplement is fortified with just a dash of black pepper extract to enhance curcuminoid absorption. And aside from the non-GMO vegetable capsules, there are absolutely no other ingredients. It’s one of the best turmeric supplements with black pepper extract.

BOTTOM LINE

BioShwartz’s Ultra Pure Turmeric is one of the best turmeric supplements with black pepper extract.

MaxX Labs – Liposomal Turmeric Liquid

Sale

Turmeric root extract

Piperine for absorption

Non-ethanol liquid extract

2oz / 60mL
bottle

Key Ingredients: Turmeric Root Extract, Black Pepper Extract

As discussed above, liposomes can enhance absorption of curcuminoids, and liposomal turmeric is no exception. Whereas curcuminoids have a very low rate of absorption naturally, these fat-like compounds help them to be absorbed at a much higher rate.

This liposomal turmeric is also fortified with black pepper extract, further increasing absorption. It’s an easy way to get your daily does of turmeric.

BOTTOM LINE

This liposomal turmeric has a much higher rate of curcuminoid absorption than plain turmeric.


Differences Between Curcumin and Turmeric

Although the terms turmeric and curcumin are often used interchangeably, they are actually their own distinct preparations.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a flowering plant of the ginger family, also known by its scientific classification Curcuma longa. Its roots are widely used for cooking, particularly in India and Southeast Asia.

Turmeric root boasts a potent flavor somewhat similar to that of ginger, though more bitter and earthy. It’s most commonly ground into a fine powder and mixed into dishes, such as curry or rice, though some dishes use it fresh as well.

In addition to its culinary use, turmeric root has been found to have many other applications. For example, its bright powder can be mixed into a vibrant yellow dye for fabric.

Most notably, turmeric root has a long history of medicinal use. For example, for thousands of years it has been used traditional Chinese medicine for its supposed medicinal effects. In the ancient Indian medicinal practice of Ayurveda, it also found a place among other traditional herbal remedies, such as ashwagandha.

The benefits of turmeric are summarized a little farther down.

Turmeric Root
Turmeric root has a long history of medicinal and culinary use.

Curcumin

Curcumin is a chemical compound contained within turmeric, usually comprising 2-8% of the root by weight.2Curcumin and obesity. It’s the root’s most dominant curcuminoid, a class of naturally-occurring chemicals that give turmeric root its distinct smell and taste.

When extracted, curcumin is bright yellow, as curcuminoids are responsible for turmeric’s vibrant color. In addition to being an herbal supplement, it’s also used in cosmetics and as a food coloring.

Despite its popularity as a health supplement, curcumin is very poorly absorbed by the body. When taking curcumin, most of it passes through the digestive system without being fully absorbed.3Recent Developments in Delivery, Bioavailability, Absorption and Metabolism of Curcumin: the Golden Pigment from Golden Spice

The total absorption rate of curcumin can vary a lot. However, one study found that after humans ingested 2 grams of curcumin powder, or roughly 3/4 teaspoon, the total amount absorbed was sometimes so low that it was undetectable.4Influence of Piperine on the Pharmacokinetics of Curcumin in Animals and Human Volunteers

There are a few methods to increase curcumin’s absorption, however. Most notably, the same study found that taking curcumin with a small amount of piperine, or black pepper extract, increases absorption by up to 2000%.

With this in mind, for our best curcumin supplement selections featured in this guide, we’ve largely chosen products that contain piperine, or black pepper extract. Without this, much of the curcumin essentially goes to waste.

We’ve also featured other preparations that enhance absorption, such as curcumin phytosome and liquid liposomal curcumin.

The benefits of curcumin are summarized a little farther down.

BOTTOM LINE

Turmeric is a root in the ginger family, and curcumin is a compound found within. They each have their own health benefits, detailed below.

Curcumin Powder
Curcumin is a prominent curcuminoid, compounds that give turmeric its vibrant color and bitter taste.

Benefits of Curcumin

Curcumin boasts a long history of use as medicinal herb, from ancient China to the Ayurvedic physicians of India.

Although a long history alone doesn’t prove anything, research in the past few decades has begun to verify many of the health benefits of cumin.

Benefits for the Body

  • May Promote Weight Loss

There is strong evidence that curcumin can promote weight loss.5Curcumin and obesity: evidence and mechanisms6Curcumin and obesity Research has demonstrated that supplementing curcumin can help with increasing the rate at which fat is burned.

Most notably, curcumin has been shown to promote fat metabolization—that is, the breakdown of fat for energy. Here’s how.

Brown fat, sometimes call “good” fat, is one of the primary types of fat in the body. Another is energy-storing white fat—the type that people think of when they hear the word “fat.” Whereas white fat builds up around the stomach, thighs, and almost everywhere else, small deposits of brown fat are usually only found near the neck and shoulder blades.

Brown fat’s primary function is to burn white fat. When the body is cold enough, brown fat starts to metabolize white fat. As that white fat is burned, its energy is released as heat, warming the body in the process.

Before we get back to curcumin, there’s one more type of fat cell to talk about: beige fat.

Given the right triggers, white fat cells can turn into a “brown-like” fat cells, called beige fat.7Brown and beige fat: development, function and therapeutic potential This is also sometimes called “brite” fat, or “brown-in-white” fat. Although technically not brown fat, these cells function similarly to brown fat in that they burn white fat cells to generate heat.

A few different triggers can cause white fat to turn into beige fat. One notable example is cold exposure.8The adipose organ of obesity-prone C57BL/6J mice is composed of mixed white and brown adipocytes. Wim Hof, a Dutch athlete-guru known for his ability to withstand extreme cold temperatures, has popularized a form of cold-exposure training which, in part, promotes the conversion of white fat into heat-generating beige fat.

Here’s where we get back on topic: curcumin has been shown to promote the conversion of white fat to beige fat.9Curcumin promotes browning of white adipose tissue in a norepinephrine-dependent way This beige fat, in turn, burns white fat for heat.

This is all well and good on paper, but let’s look at research that has actually shown direct correlations between curcumin and weight loss.

One study sought to examine the effects of curcumin on several different body measurements, including waist size. 10Effects of phytosomal curcumin on anthropometric parameters, insulin resistance, cortisolemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease indices: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial In an 8-week, placebo-controlled trial with 80 overweight subjects, those who took curcumin demonstrated a significant decrease in waist circumference. It’s notable that this study used curcumin phytosome, which significantly increases its absorption.

Another study examined the effects of curcumin on several other fat-related measurements.11Potential role of bioavailable curcumin in weight loss and omental adipose tissue decrease: preliminary data of a randomized, controlled trial in overweight people with metabolic syndrome. Preliminary study After 30 days of diet and exercise, 44 subjects who demonstrated less than a 2% decrease in body fat were selected for the trial. For an additional 30 days, they were administered either phytosomal curcumin or the pure phytosome (specifically, phosphatidylserine).

At the end of the trial, the subjects who took phytosomal curcumin demonstrated a significant decrease in weight loss, body fat, waistline size, and BMI. Those who took the phytosome without curcumin demonstrated no significant change. And, again, it’s important to note that this was phytosomal curcumin, which is more readily absorbed by the body.

  • May Reduce Chronic Pain

A slew of research has shown that curcumin may be effective at reducing pain and inflammation. For example, one study found that curcumin appeared to be as effective as ibuprofen in treating knee pain.12Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts compared with ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a multicenter study.

Most notably, curcumin has been shown to reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis, joint pain most commonly referred to simply as arthritis.

For example, one study examined the effects of curcumin specifically on knee osteoarthritis.13Curcuminoid treatment for knee osteoarthritis: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial. After a 6-week trial, those who had taken curcumin demonstrated a significant reduction in several different pain-measuring scales, in addition to an improvement in physical function scores.

Another study focused on Meriva, a curcumin phytosome supplement, and its effects on general osteoarthritis.14Efficacy and safety of Meriva®, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, during extended administration in osteoarthritis patients. In a lengthy 8-month trial with 100 subjects, those who took the phytosomal curcumin demonstrated a reduction in pain measurements.

These findings aren’t limited to those suffering from arthritis. For example, one study examined the pain-inhibiting effects of curcumin in 50 patients who had undergone surgery for gallbladder removal.15Efficacy of turmeric (curcumin) in pain and postoperative fatigue after laparoscopic cholecystectomy: a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study. As they were discharged from the hospital, they were given either curcumin or placebo for pain management (as well as a full full strength pain medication for emergency cases).

Upon checkout, patients were instructed to keep records of their pain levels using two different pain scale tools. And at the end of the 3-week trial, those who had taken curcumin demonstrated significantly lower measurements of pain.

These findings aren’t alone—we could go on. Many other studies have similarly found a correlation between curcumin and pain reduction.16Product-evaluation registry of Meriva®, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, for the complementary management of osteoarthritis.17Comparative evaluation of the pain-relieving properties of a lecithinized formulation of curcumin (Meriva(®)), nimesulide, and acetaminophen.18Safety and efficacy of Curcuma longa extract in the treatment of painful knee osteoarthritis: a randomized placebo-controlled trial.19Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts compared with ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a multicenter study.20A Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo Controlled, Parallel-Group Study to Evaluate the Safety and Efficacy of Curene® versus Placebo in Reducing Symptoms of Knee OA.21The efficacy of Curcuma Longa L. extract as an adjuvant therapy in primary knee osteoarthritis: a randomized control trial.

  • May Reduce Blood Pressure

There is some evidence to suggest that curcumin supplementation may slightly reduce blood presure.

For example, one 8-week trial on 80 overweight subjects noted such an effect.22Effects of phytosomal curcumin on anthropometric parameters, insulin resistance, cortisolemia and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease indices: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Compared to a placebo, those who took phytosomal curcumin demonstrated a significant improvement in blood pressure.

However, these findings should be taken with a grain of salt. Other studies on curcumin have not always noted a decrease in blood pressure—at least, not a statistically significant change.23Influence of enhanced bioavailable curcumin on obesity-associated cardiovascular disease risk factors and arterial function: A double-blinded, randomized, controlled trial.24Nano-curcumin improves glucose indices, lipids, inflammation, and Nesfatin in overweight and obese patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD): a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial.

It may be that only phytosomal curcumin has the potential to improve blood pressure.

As previously discussed, curcumin has an incredibly low rate of absorption after consumption. Phytosomal curcumin solves this problem by combining curcumin with a phospholipid that significantly improves curcumin’s absorption.

If a decrease in blood pressure is only notable at higher concentrations of curcumin, it would make sense that phytosomal curcumin would promote this. If this were the case, the same effect would likely be seen in curcumin with black pepper extract, as it similarly increases absorption.

Curcumin Benefits
Curcumin has been linked to reduced chronic pain, improved weight loss, and more.

Benefits for the Brain

  • May Help Depression

Some preliminary research suggests that curcumin may be helpful in reducing symptoms of depression. Here’s a summary.

In 2013, one of the earliest studies on curcumin’s effects of depression found that it may be effective in reducing its symptoms.25Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. The study focused specifically on the effects of curcumin compared to fluoxetine, a commonly prescribed antidepressant.

Three groups of 20 subjects each took either curcumin, the antidepressant, or both for 6 weeks. At the end of the trial, the researchers found find that the curcumin-antidepressant combination group demonstrated lower depression scores.

The findings were promising, but there were still a few shortcomings. Most notably, there was no true placebo group against which to compare the others.

Since then, further research has provided supporting evidence of curcumin’s impact on depression symptoms. Most of the research has focused on curcumin as a possible treatment alongside traditionally prescribed antidepressants.26Chronic Supplementation of Curcumin Enhances the Efficacy of Antidepressants in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study.27Investigation of the efficacy of adjunctive therapy with bioavailability-boosted curcuminoids in major depressive disorder.

For example, another study in 2014 examined the effects of curcumin vs. placebo alongside antidepressants in 56 subjects with major depressive disorder.28Curcumin for the treatment of major depression: a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study. Beginning at week 4, curcumin was significantly more effective at improving mood-related scores compared to placebo. This trend continued until the end of the 8-week trial.

More recent research in 2018 examined the antidepressant effects of curcumin alone.29Add-on Treatment with Curcumin Has Antidepressive Effects in Thai Patients with Major Depression: Results of a Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study. In a 12-week study, 65 subjects took either curcumin or placebo and completed two different depression-measuring questionnaires every 4 weeks. The study found that curcumin was more effective than placebo in reducing symptoms of depression.

And these findings are not alone by any means. Several other studies have similarly demonstrated that curcumin alone may be effective in reducing symptoms of depression.30Efficacy of curcumin, and a saffron/curcumin combination for the treatment of major depression: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

  • May Reduce Anxiety

Alongside its potential depression-reducing effects, there is some evidence to suggest that curcumin may be effective at reducing anxiety.

These effects were first studied in animal models. One notable study leveraged rats’ natural aversion to heights to examine the effects of curcumin on anxiety.31Effects of curcumin on pentylenetetrazole-induced anxiety-like behaviors and associated changes in cognition and monoamine levels Using a height-based anxiety test called the elevated plus maze, researchers found that rats that had been administered curcumin demonstrated significantly less anxiety-like behavior than the control.

Several other animal-based studies have similarly found that curcumin may be helpful in reducing anxiety.32A blunted anxiolytic like effect of curcumin against acute lead induced anxiety in rat: Involvement of serotonin33Protective Effect of Curcumin on Anxiety, Learning Behavior, Neuromuscular Activities, Brain Neurotransmitters and Oxidative Stress Enzymes in Cadmium Intoxicated Mice34Pretreatment with curcumin attenuates anxiety while strengthens memory performance after one short stress experience in male rats Furthermore, these findings are not limited to animals.

As anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand, research on one or the other often measures both. For example, one of the above-cited studies on curcumin’s effects on depression also measured its impact on anxiety.35Investigation of the efficacy of adjunctive therapy with bioavailability-boosted curcuminoids in major depressive disorder. And as was the case with depression, curcumin was similarly shown to be effective at reducing measurements of anxiety by the end of the 6-week study.

Most of these studies focus on the effects of curcumin alongside a regularly prescribed antidepressant. However, there is further evidence to suggest that curcumin alone may be effective in reducing anxiety.36An investigation of the effects of curcumin on anxiety and depression in obese individuals: A randomized controlled trial.

Take, for example, one of the above-cited studies similarly examining the effects of curcumin on depression and anxiety.37Efficacy of curcumin, and a saffron/curcumin combination for the treatment of major depression: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. In this study, a total of 123 subjects were split into 4 groups, consisting of a placebo group, a low-dose curcumin group, a high-dose curcumin group, and a curcumin-saffron group. At the end of the 12-week trial, all three non-placebo groups demonstrated better scores on measurements of anxiety.

BOTTOM LINE

Research has shown that curcumin may be effective in aiding weight loss, reducing pain, slightly lowering blood pressure, and reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.


Benefits of Turmeric

Although most people lump turmeric and curcumin together, they are two distinct substances. As mentioned above, curcumin only makes up 2-8% of turmeric.38Curcumin and obesity.

In addition to curcumin, turmeric contains other curcuminoids, oils, sugars, proteins, and resins.39Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research. As these other components may have different effects on the body, it’s important to look at the health benefits of turmeric as a whole in addition to curcumin specifically.

For example, researchers in 2012 found that turmeric is much more effective in fighting various cancer cells than curcumin alone.40Multitargeting by turmeric, the golden spice: From kitchen to clinic. Against cells of breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, and more, turmeric was significantly more effective.

And while curcumin has been shown to potentially decrease blood pressure by a slight amount, turmeric is even more promising. For example, one study found specifically that turmeric alone was highly effective in reducing the blood pressure of subjects suffering from lupus.41Oral supplementation of turmeric decreases proteinuria, hematuria, and systolic blood pressure in patients suffering from relapsing or refractory lupus nephritis: a randomized and placebo-controlled study.

Furthermore, even curcumin-free turmeric has been shown to possess several health-beneficial properties. For example, it exhibits potential anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anti-cancer effects.42Curcumin‐free turmeric exhibits anti‐inflammatory and anticancer activities: Identification of novel components of turmeric

Unfortunately, research on turmeric and curcumin-free turmeric is still somewhat limited. The research thus far is promising, but further research is needed.

BOTTOM LINE

Early research has indicated that turmeric has health benefits beyond that of curcumin alone, but further research is needed to identify them.


Summary

For thousands of years, turmeric and curcumin have been used in ancient Chinese and Indian medicinal traditions. In the past few decades, research has begun to verify these health benefits.

From relieving chronic pain to helping with weight loss, turmeric has been shown to be a fantastic supplement for supporting a healthy lifestyle.

Top 8 Best Curcumin Supplements
Turmeric Curcumin C3 Complex 500mg, Enhanced with Black Pepper & Organic Coconut Oil for Better Absorption; Non-GMO & Gluten Free - 120 CountBest Overall: SR – Curcumin Liquid Softgels

“This is overall one of the best curcumin supplements you can get.”
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Smarter Turmeric Curcumin - Potency and Absorption in a SoftGel | The Most Active Form of Curcuminoid Found in the Turmeric Root | 95% Tetra-Hydro Curcuminoids (60 Count - 1 Month Supply)Runner Up: Smarter Nutrition – Curcumin Softgels

“High-absorption curcumin and black seed oil with ginger and ginseng—this is a great high-value supplement.”
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Thorne Research - Meriva SF (Soy Free) - Sustained-Released Curcumin Phytosome Supplement - 120 CapsulesThorne – Curcumin Phytosome

“One of the best curcumin phytosome supplements, this is absorbed at a much higher rate than most.”
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PuraTHRIVE Curcumin Gold Liposomal Curcumin Supplement with DHA and Ginger Oil by PuraTHRIVE. Micelle Liposomal Delivery for Maximum Absorption. Vegan, GMO Free, Made in The USA.PuraTHRIVE – Liposomal Curcumin

“This pleasant, citrus-flavored liposomal curcumin supplement is a great option for fortifying drinks and smoothies.”
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Solgar Full Spectrum Curcumin - 90 Liquid Extract Softgels - Brain, Joint, Immune Support Supplement, Anti inflammatory, Antioxidant - Non-GMO, Gluten Free - 90 ServingsSolgar Full Spectrum Curcumin – Liquid Extract Softgels

“Solgar curcumin is a micellar-based, highly absorptive option comparable to curcumin phytosome.”
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NatureWise Curcumin Turmeric 2250mg | 95% Curcuminoids & BioPerine Black Pepper Extract | Advanced Absorption for Cardiovascular Health Joint Support | Gluten Free Non-GMO [1 Month Supply - 90 Count]NatureWise Curcumin Supplement

“This turmeric-curcumin blend is fortified with organic ginger and black pepper extract for absorption.”
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Turmeric Curcumin with BioPerine Black Pepper Extract - 750mg per Capsule, 120 Veg. Capsules - GMO Free Tumeric, Standardized to 95% Curcuminoids for Maximum PotencyDivine Bounty – Curcumin with BioPerine

“Another no-nonsense curcumin supplement, these 95% curcuminoids are enhanced with BioPerine black pepper extract for absorption.”
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Turmeric Curcumin with BioPerine Black Pepper and Ginger - Made in USA - 120 Vegetarian Capsules for Advanced Absorption, Cardiovascular Health, Joints Support and Anti Aging Supplement (120 Capsules)FineVine – Turmeric Curcumin with Black Pepper and Ginger

“Curcumin and ginger backed by BioPerine black pepper extract—this is one of the best curcumin supplements at this price.”
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Top 8 Best Turmeric Supplements
ORGANIC INDIA Turmeric Curcumin, 180 Veg Capsules (Packaging May Vary)Best Overall: Organic India – Turmeric Capsules

“Available in several different sizes, this top-notch turmeric supplement is an easy pick.”
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Turmeric Curcumin with Piperine (Black Pepper Extract) - 120 Veggie Capsules - Premium Quality with 95% Standardized Curcuminoids - Best Absorption & Potency - Pain Relief & Joint Support SupplementRunner Up: NuVitality – Turmeric with Piperine

“With 600 milligrams of turmeric per capsule and a dash of black pepper extract, these are some of the best turmeric pills you can get.”
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Organic Turmeric Root Powder - 32oz Resealable Bag (2lbs) - 100% Raw w/Curcumin From India - by Feel Good OrganicsFeel Good Organics – Organic Turmeric Powder

“If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, this organic turmeric powder is a great pick.”
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Herb Pharm Certified Organic Turmeric Root Liquid Extract for Musculoskeletal System Support - 4 OunceHerb Pharm – Organic Turmeric Tincture

“If you’re looking for a high-quality organic turmeric tincture, Herb Pharm has you covered.”
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Dynamic Health Labs Turmeric Gold Supplement, 32 OunceDynamic Health – Organic Turmeric Juice Supplement

“This delicious turmeric juice is a great way to take your drinks and smoothies to the next level.”
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Turmeric Ginger with Curcumin Gummies, Joint Support and Pain Relief. Anti-Inflammatory, Antioxidant Supplement, Vegan Friendly, All Natural Chews for Adults & Kids, 60 Chewable Gummy VitaminsBeLive – Turmeric Gummies with Ginger

“These tasty turmeric gummies are some of the most popular on Amazon.”
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Turmeric Curcumin with Bioperine 1500mg. Highest Potency Available. Premium Pain Relief & Joint Support with 95% Standardized Curcuminoids. Non-GMO, Gluten Free Turmeric Capsules with Black PepperBioShwartz – Turmeric Capsules with Bioperine

“BioShwartz’s Ultra Pure Turmeric is one of the best turmeric supplements with black pepper extract.”
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Turmeric Liquid - Highest Potency 800mg - Liposomal Tumeric Drops with BioPerine Black Pepper Extract - Antioxidant, Pain Relief, Joint Support - Turmeric Root Curcumin - Non-GMO 2ozMaxX Labs – Liposomal Turmeric Liquid

“This liposomal turmeric has a much higher rate of curcuminoid absorption than plain turmeric.”
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