How Does Turmeric Spice Compare to Turmeric Supplements?
Discoveries of turmeric’s multiple health benefits have generated much public interest, but some may wonder how including the spice in the diet compares to taking the supplement. Here are some factors to consider.
Turmeric Supplements Provide Doses Needed for Therapeutic Benefits
Consuming between one-half to one teaspoon of turmeric powder with food has been shown to enhance cognition and digestion, but most of the clinical studies have focused on turmeric extract. Turmeric powder contains only 3 percent curcumin, the active ingredient responsible for the wellness effects; while turmeric extracts contain as much as 95 percent curcumin. Half of a gram of turmeric powder may provide 15 milligrams (mg) of curcumin, but the same amount of the extract may provide 400 mg.
Quantities of curcumin in turmeric supplements vary because many brands use a combination of extract and powder. The greater the proportion of extract, the higher the amount of curcumin is present. To get the therapeutic dose, look for a brand that contains at least 95 percent standardized curcumin.
Curcumin has low bioavailability, which means it is hard for the body to absorb. However, the absorption can be improved when it is combined with compounds from certain foods or spices. Piperine, a compound in black pepper, is added to some curcumin supplements to boost bioavailability.
Turmeric Supplements Are Purer Than Turmeric Powder
Another advantage of the supplements is that they are less likely than the powders to contain heavy metals like lead. In addition, they don’t have unsavory contaminants often found in powders like rodent hairs and insect parts. If you would like to purchase turmeric powder for cooking, a quality product may be procured from local spice markets or reliable online spice merchants. Experts recommend buying the turmeric whole and grinding it at home.
Do Turmeric Supplements Have Side Effects?
When taken as directed, the supplements generally don’t produce side effects; but taking extra-large doses for extended periods can cause dizziness or an upset stomach. No one should take turmeric who has a bleeding disorder or is on blood-thinning medication, such as Coumadin. Turmeric should be stopped two weeks before any scheduled surgery.
Why the Excitement Over Turmeric
The excitement over turmeric began decades ago when researchers wondered why India has low rates of certain types of brain-related complications. Scientists pinpointed the country’s advantage to its dietary staple of curry powder, of which turmeric is the main ingredient. This finding led to multiple studies revealing the spice may have value in preventing or treating a host of maladies. Turmeric has since become one of the most promising agents within the field of complementary medicine research.
Take a standardized turmeric supplement to ensure you receive the therapeutic amount. I personally feel it’s also important to include the spice in the diet because healthful components in food tend to work synergistically. Compounds in cruciferous vegetables, onions and pineapples can boost the benefits and/or absorption of turmeric, so experiment with some delicious curry dishes. They will please your palate as well as enhance your health.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.