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The Turmeric Story

Wednesday May 15, 2019

An ancient spice offering a modern twist


For literally thousands of years the beautiful yellow rhizomes of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) have been prized as a natural remedy for arthritis and it has been shown to work very well in modern studies.


In one such investigation in people with knee osteoarthritis a high potency turmeric extract (1,500 mg daily, providing around 85% cucuminoids) was as effective as 1,200 mg of a common pain reliever, but had less gastric side-effects.


With the increasing popularity of curcumin extracts there is also a lot of confusion. It is sometimes argued that curcumin is not absorbed thus there may be artificial additives in some “enhanced” products, but many studies, including the one mentioned, do not use any enhancers suggesting curcumin alone works fine.


It is also useful to know that the whole root contains hundreds of phytonutrients, not only curcuminoids, which also help explain the benefits and may even improve its effects. These include essential oils and polysaccharides. For that reason, we recommend using an extract in a base of whole, natural turmeric root.


7-step pain-free guide to turmeric


Confused about the relationship between turmeric and curcumin? Turmeric is a popular spice derived from the root of Curcuma longa, a member of the ginger family.  Turmeric root contains curcuminoids which are the phytonutrients that give turmeric its distinctive yellow colour. Curcumin is the main curcuminoid, but there is a full spectrum of curcuminoids and hundreds of other phytonutrients. Turmeric powder contains 3-5% curcuminoids, while turmeric extract typically contains 85-95% curcuminoids. 


Key points to consider:


1/ Is it organically grown? (good for you and the planet)


2/ Was it produced using chemical solvents such as acetone? (many high-potency extracts are)


3/ Are there unnecessary additives (e.g. titanium dioxide, magnesium stearate), and artificial “absorption enhancers” (e.g. polysorbate-80) in your product?


4/ What is the level of curcuminoids? (high potency products are at least 85%)


5/ Curcuminoids are a good indicator of strength, with at least 200mg and up to 2000mg being daily typical doses.


6/ A high-potency product is different to turmeric powder, as one capsule can be equivalent to around 20 of normal powder.


7/ Turmeric has at least 235 phytonutrients, not simply curcumin, so choose a full spectrum extract containing the three major curcuminoids along with the natural, whole root.

High quality Turmeric and Curcumin supplements are available from specialist independent health food stores.


The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.


TAGS: Joint Health & Mobility


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