Best Turmeric Supplements
Turmeric is a strong natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, as well as a popular spice used in foods like curry. The turmeric that we use for supplements and cooking is made from the roots of the turmeric plant. In addition to the flavor that many enjoy, turmeric also offers many health benefits when taken as a supplement and can be a useful treatment for some health problems.
How does it work in the body?
The main beneficial compound found in turmeric is called curcumin, which gives it both its bright orange color and many of its beneficial properties. Turmeric curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and antimicrobial compound. That all sounds good, but what does it mean? Anti-inflammatories block inflammatory responses in the body. Although we sometimes need inflammation, as it’s part of our immune response when we are sick or injured, chronic inflammation is often a problem that needs to be controlled.
Anti-inflammatory supplements help manage conditions that involve chronic inflammation. Antioxidants protect cells from free radical damage. The damage caused by active free radicals can lead to many chronic health problems, so antioxidants help to prevent or slow the onset of these conditions by limiting free radical damage.
Conditions Treated with Turmeric
Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric curcumin, turmeric supplements can be very effective in the treatment of chronic inflammatory conditions. One of these conditions is rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease in which the body causes inflammation by mistakenly attacking healthy cells. Rheumatoid arthritis is incurable, so effective long-term treatment is critical for those afflicted with it.
Turmeric has been proven to reduce pain and stiffness in the joints of individuals with arthritis at least as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen. This is extremely encouraging since many anti-inflammatory medications can cause damage to the body over time, while turmeric is safe to take indefinitely.
Conditions Prevented with Turmeric
Many studies have been done (many more are ongoing) which look at the ability of turmeric to reduce the risk of cancer. So far, results in both human and animal studies indicate that turmeric does affect the formation and growth of cancerous cells, so regular consumption of turmeric or a turmeric supplements may very well prevent some types of cancer.
Turmeric is also being studied as a preventative treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and other mental health problems. Inflammation and the buildup of certain proteins, both of which are characteristic of Alzheimer’s, are prevented or reduced by turmeric curcumin.
The role of curcumin in preventing mental health issues like depression and anxiety is also being studied. The antioxidant effects of turmeric, which prevent free radical damage, may also play a role in preventing heart disease, as free radical damage is one of the key factors in the development of heart disease. However, further research is needed into this treatment option.
Turmeric is available in different forms, normally as a capsule, a tablet, or a loose spice. However, there are also different types of turmeric supplements, which may be processed in different ways or contain extra ingredients to improve the benefits offered by the supplement.
- Turmeric with Meriva - Meriva is a patented formulation of curcumin, in which the compounds are extracted using lecithin. It claims to have up to 29x greater absorption of curcumin in humans than other formulas.
- Turmeric with black pepper - Many turmeric supplements include black pepper, although they often use the patented form called BioPerine. Consuming a small amount of black pepper along with turmeric curcumin greatly increases the absorption of curcumin.
- Turmeric with galactomannan - Galactomannans, a type of soluble fiber found in seeds like fenugreek and carob seeds, increase the absorption of curcuminoids, including turmeric curcumin. Some brands of turmeric supplement may choose to include this fiber to make their product more effective.
- Water-soluble turmeric - One of the reasons that the body may have a hard time absorbing turmeric, and the reason so many supplements include other ingredients to aid absorption, is that turmeric doesn’t have very high solubility in water. Some supplements may choose to design a form of turmeric that is more soluble in water, and therefore more available to the body, instead of adding other compounds to aid absorption.
Ultimately, these different types of supplements can all be very effective, so the one you choose is up to your personal preference and any sensitivities you may have to the other ingredients. When you know what kind of turmeric supplement you might like to try, you can check out our list of the top ten turmeric supplements to find a highly rated supplement that meets your requirements.
Ways to Get Turmeric in Food
Turmeric is, of course, just a spice, and it can be used on anything. However, if you’re not very familiar with using it in cooking and need some ideas, you might try:
- Turmeric latte - This is usually non-dairy milk with a combination of spices, including turmeric.
- Eggs with turmeric - It’s easy to add turmeric to eggs while you cook them, and the flavors complement each other quite well.
- Turmeric on veggies - Roasted veggies, especially veggies like cauliflower and carrots, are great with a little turmeric.
- Curry - Of course, the classic example of a food that turmeric is perfect for is curry! If you are a curry lover, you can get lots of turmeric in your diet that way.
- Pancakes - Adding turmeric to your favorite pancake recipe can give it a fun, bright color, without adding much noticeable flavor (unless you want that, then you can always add more!).
Turmeric has been used for its health benefits for around four thousand years, and the more we study it, the more benefits we find. As a powerful anti-inflammatory, it can relieve symptoms of chronic conditions like heart disease, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and many others. Short-term pain caused by inflammation, such as joint pain after intense exercise or headaches, can also be relieved with the use of turmeric.
The antioxidant properties of turmeric may also reduce the risk of high blood pressure and eye problems like cataracts and glaucoma. It can limit the risk of cancer and, in cancer patients, slow the growth of cancerous cells. Turmeric is even being studied as a way to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Turmeric is considered very safe when used orally or topically, which is what we might expect considering that it’s just a spice. Very few people report any side effects when taking a turmeric supplement. The side effects which do sometimes occur normally follow very high doses of turmeric, and they are minor: nausea, diarrhea, or another stomach upset.
Precautions and Warnings
Pregnant women should not take turmeric supplements, as this is considered to be unsafe. Consuming turmeric in small amounts, as a spice on food, is safe during pregnancy, but the amount of turmeric in supplements is considered too high.
Turmeric can aggravate existing gallbladder issues in some people. If you have a history of gallstones or bile duct problems, you should not take turmeric.
Turmeric supplements can slow blood clotting. People with bleeding disorders may need to take extra caution when using a turmeric supplement, as it could increase their risk of bleeding.
People with conditions that are affected by hormones, like breast cancer and ovarian cancer, should consult a doctor before taking a turmeric supplement. Some studies indicate that turmeric behaves like estrogen in the body, which can interfere with hormone-sensitive cancer cells. Others indicate that turmeric reduces the effects of estrogen.
Since more research is needed to understand this interaction, you should follow the direction of your physician.
How Long to Take Turmeric Supplements?
You can use turmeric for as long as you like, as a spice in your food. However, when used as a supplement, the appropriate length of treatment depends on your reasons for taking it and on the progress you see. Your doctor should be able to offer guidance on how long you should take the supplement. For most conditions, turmeric can be taken at relatively high doses for several months, and lower doses can be taken safely for years.
Turmeric has relatively few potential drug interactions, but you should make your doctor aware of any medications you are already taking before starting a turmeric supplement so that they can advise you on how to consume it safely.
One of the main concerns is taking turmeric alongside medications that slow blood clotting. This is because turmeric can also slow blood clotting, and the risk of bruising or bleeding may be increased if you take both turmeric and another medication with this effect.
Aspirin and ibuprofen are the two most common drugs that may slow blood clotting and interact negatively with turmeric.
Turmeric is an incredibly healthy spice with a wide range of potential health benefits that are still being discovered and studied. As a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, it mitigates the symptoms of many health conditions and prevents many others. It can be easily added to any food dish if you would like to add it to your diet.
There are very few risks or side effects associated with turmeric, but it’s still a good idea to inform your doctor of your medical history when you’re considering a turmeric supplement. Once it has been determined to be safe for you, you can pick from our list of the best products to start trying a high-quality turmeric supplement.
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