An Independent review by Andrew Price of Marketing by Kevin
Turmeric supplements have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. Prized for their anti-inflammatory benefits, turmeric supplements are affordable and convenient ways to support various benefits.
Some describe turmeric as an antioxidant superfood. Others tell you that it’s been used for thousands of years for antioxidant effects. Some mix turmeric powder into shakes and smoothies. Others take it daily in the form of a capsule or liquid tincture.
However, you like to take turmeric, and whatever you’re looking for in turmeric supplements, we want to help. There are hundreds of turmeric and curcumin supplements available today – and some are better than others. Here are the top 10 best turmeric supplements of 2020.
Ranking the Best Turmeric Supplements
After much deliberation, our editorial team picked the top 10 best turmeric and curcumin supplements available today.
Organifi sells its supplements through an awkward sales page, and the company charges higher prices than any other turmeric supplement here. However, if you get past these two issues, Organifi Gold is one of the best and most convenient turmeric supplements available today.
Organifi Gold comes in the form of a powder – not a capsule. You mix the powder with hot water at night to create a tea, then drink it nightly to support inflammation as you sleep. Organifi claims their Gold formula can activate “cell restoration” as you sleep using ancient Ayurvedic medicinal effects.
If you like turmeric supplements to have extra active ingredients inside, then you’ll like Organifi Gold. It doesn’t just contain turmeric; it also contains ginger, reishi mushroom, lemon balm, turkey tail mushroom, and black pepper extract. There’s also a 3,000mg “Digestion Blend” featuring cinnamon powder, coconut milk, and prebiotics, among other ingredients.
Overall, Organifi Gold is ideal if the price isn’t an issue and if you want added ingredients in your formula. Otherwise, there are better options available.
PuraTHRIVE Curcumin Gold
PuraTHRIVE Curcumin Gold is the only turmeric supplement on this list that comes in the form of a liquid tincture – not a powder or capsule. You take the liquid daily to enjoy the benefits of curcumin and turmeric. PuraThrive claims their formula can help with joint function, cognitive health, and all-around vitality.
What makes PuraTHRIVE Curcumin Gold different from competing formulas is the use of “Advanced Micelle Liposomal” technology, which increases the formula’s absorption. That’s a fancy way of saying PuraTHRIVE has wrapped the curcumin in a fatty molecule to boost the bioavailability, which means your body can absorb the active ingredients more easily.
It’s difficult to compare Curcumin Gold to other formulas listed here in terms of dosage, and PuraTHRIVE hasn’t run clinical trials to prove its bold claims about its effectiveness. The price ($50 for 15 servings) is also more expensive than other curcumin and turmeric supplements listed here, although you can get a discount by ordering multiple bottles at a time.
Prime Health Daily Turmeric Restore
Prime Health Daily’s Turmeric Restore is a curcumin formula that contains turmeric with 95% curcuminoid content mixed with BioPerine black pepper extract for maximum absorption.
Like other turmeric supplement companies, Prime Health Daily makes a big deal out of its use of BioPerine black pepper extract for absorption. However, all major turmeric supplements contain a similar black pepper extract dose because studies show it enhances curcumin absorption by 2,0005.
By taking Turmeric Restore daily, you can purportedly flood your body with age-defying antioxidants, support inflammation, support immunity, and support weight loss, among other benefits. With 650mg of turmeric in each veggie capsule, Turmeric Restore is also one of the more powerful formulas listed here. Each capsule contains two turmeric types, including 600mg of turmeric root and 50mg of turmeric with 95% curcuminoids.
Ideally, you’d want more of the high-concentration formula and less of the root extract, which is why Prime Health Daily Turmeric Restore is further down our list. The awkward marketing and scam-like sales page also push Turmeric Restore further down this list.
1MD CurcuminMD Plus
CurcuminMD Plus claims to be 285x more absorbable than standard turmeric because it uses vegetable oil and sunflower lecithin, wrapping the curcumin molecule in a fatty layer to help it survive your stomach acid.
CurcuminMD Plus also contains a surprisingly strong curcumin dose, delivering 400mg of a 95% curcumin extract (Longvida’s Optimized Curcumin Extract). That means you get 380mg of curcuminoids in each 2 capsule serving. CurcuminMD is a good example of why concentration matters more than the overall dosage when it comes to curcumin and turmeric supplements.
CurcuminMD Plus also wraps its ingredients in a fatty molecule without using animal by-products. Other curcumin supplements use gelatin and other animal-derived ingredients. One unusual thing about CurcuminMD, unfortunately, is that the formula contains 333mg of Boswellia serrata extract. 1MD claims Boswellia serrata is “clinically shown to reduce joint-related swelling, stiffness, and discomfort, and boost overall systemic health” – although we would have appreciated a higher dose of curcumin instead.
Turmeric Total Boost
A lot of turmeric supplements on this list make dramatic claims about their benefits, but PhytAge Labs is the only company that describes its turmeric supplement as “life-saving.” The company claims its formula can change your life and save your life.
Awkward marketing aside, Turmeric Total Boost is a high-priced turmeric supplement with one of the shadier sales pages we’ve seen. The page is filled with fake reviews and claims of a “limited supply.” And, at $50 to 470 per bottle, it also seems overpriced, given the low dosage.
Each veggie capsule of Turmeric Total Boost contains 650mg of turmeric extract, including 600mg of turmeric root and 50mg of turmeric with 95% curcuminoid content. Like Turmeric Curcumin Plus above, Turmeric Total Boost contains more turmeric than other supplements – but less curcumin overall.
Ultimately, Turmeric Total Boost isn’t a bad turmeric supplement. Still, the unusual marketing, overhyped claims, and high price tag place it near the bottom of our list of the best turmeric supplements available today.
VitaBoost Turmeric Curcumin Plus
VitaBoost markets their Turmeric Curcumin Plus formula as an “antioxidant superfood” that supports joint and muscle health, a healthy immune system, and other benefits.
Each 2 capsule serving contains 1,300mg of turmeric, including 1,200mg of turmeric root extract and 100mg of turmeric with 95% curcuminoids. Overall, it’s a lower dose of curcuminoids than other top-ranked options on our list – even if the total dose of turmeric is higher. You’re taking curcumin supplements for their curcumin content – not the turmeric. So curcumin dosage is important.
Each serving also contains 10mg of BioPerine black pepper extract to enhance absorption – just like most other turmeric supplements listed here. One of the biggest advantages of VitaBoost Turmeric Curcumin Plus is the price, although it’s not enough to balance out the lower curcumin concentration.
Transparent Labs Turmeric 95% Curcuminoids
You’re taking turmeric because of the curcuminoids. Curcuminoids are the active ingredients within turmeric linked to various benefits. Transparent Labs has the strongest dose, best pricing, and best value on this list – and it’s not even close.
Each bottle of Transparent Labs Turmeric contains 90 capsules, and each capsule contains 500mg of turmeric with 95% curcuminoids. To put that dosage in perspective, other supplements listed here provide 100mg of curcumin with 95% curcuminoids – and charge 2 to 3 times the price as Transparent Labs. Did we mention Transparent Labs charges just $19 to $22 per bottle?
Rounding out the formula, Transparent Labs has added BioPerine black pepper extract, which has been shown to increase turmeric’s bioavailability by 2,000%. Overall, if you want a no-nonsense, highly-effective curcumin and turmeric supplement with the highest possible dose of curcuminoids, then Transparent Labs Turmeric 95% Curcuminoids is an unbeatable option.
Qunol Extra Strength Turmeric
Qunol’s Extra Strength Turmeric is one of the best-selling and best-known turmeric supplements available today. It’s the complete package of turmeric and curcumin supplements, delivering 1,000mg of a curcumin complex in each serving at a price under $28. You can buy it through Amazon and other major retailers.
We also like the fact that Qunol has packaged its turmeric with medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) from palm oil and sunflower oil, which could help your body absorb turmeric further. This is important because, unlike most other turmeric supplements listed here, Qunol Extra Strength Turmeric contains no black pepper extract for added absorption.
It’s also important to look closely at dosage. Each 2 softgel serving contains 1,000 of a Bioenhance Turmeric Complex with 18% to 22% curcuminoids. That seems like a lower dosage than other turmeric supplements here. However, other supplements contain a lower dose (50mg or less) of the high-concentration (95% curcuminoid) formula and a lower dosage of the curcumin root formula. When you run the numbers, you get 200mg of curcuminoids in each serving of Qunol Extra Strength Turmeric. And, there are 60 servings in each reasonably-priced container. Qunol also claims their formula is “doctor recommended,” which is a claim few other turmeric supplements make.
Smarter Nutrition Curcumin
Smarter Nutrition’s Smarter Curcumin is an affordable curcumin and turmeric formula that contains similar ingredients to other top-rated formulas on this list, including 400mg of curcumin, 400mg of black cumin seed oil, 100mg of ginger, and 50mg of astragalus extract.
Overall, Smarter Nutrition’s Smarter Curcumin doesn’t have the purity or high dosage to compete with the curcumin supplements at the top of our list. However, if you’re looking for a unique formula, you want added ingredients like ginger, and you trust the Smarter Nutrition brand name, then Smarter Curcumin is a decent option.
It’s also important to note that Smarter Nutrition uses a curcumin version called Curcumin C3 Reduct standardized to contain a minimum of tetrahydro curcuminoids. The formula may be easier for your body to digest, which means more curcumin ends up in your bloodstream than some of the higher-dosed options listed above.
Where Smarter Nutrition’s Smarter Curcumin really impresses is the price. The supplement costs just $25 per bottle (30 servings / 60 capsules per bottle) when ordering 6 at a time, although individual bottles are priced at $40.
Nuzena Turmeric Curcumin
Nuzena is one of the few companies on this list to advertise its turmeric supplement as a “natural anti-inflammatory specifically.” While other companies claim to support healthy inflammation, Nuzena claims their formula can work as a natural anti-inflammatory. The company also claims you can take Turmeric Curcumin daily to support joint health, mobility, blood sugar, cholesterol, and immunity, among other “health benefits.” Again, it’s unusual for a company to advertise the “health benefits” of a supplement specifically.
Awkward marketing aside, Nuzena Turmeric Curcumin provides 1,200mg of turmeric root extract and 100mg of the more powerful turmeric extract with 95% curcuminoids in each serving. All ingredients are packaged into a vegetable capsule.
Nuzena’s Turmeric Curcumin supplement is also priced reasonably, given the dosage, at $24 to $40 per bottle (depending on how many bottles you buy). It also has arguably the best-looking packaging among all leading turmeric supplements on our list.
How We Rated the Best Turmeric Curcumin Supplements
All turmeric and curcumin supplements make similar claims. They all claim to provide you with a high dose of curcumin and turmeric to support inflammation, immunity, and other benefits.
To separate the best and worst turmeric supplements, we used the following:
Curcumin Dosage: You’re taking turmeric supplements for the curcumin dosage, which comes in the form of curcuminoids. Some supplements contain turmeric root extract that has not been standardized to contain any specific concentration of curcuminoids. Others use extract with 10% to 30% curcuminoids. The best turmeric supplements use turmeric standardized to contain 95% curcuminoid, which is the highest possible concentration.
Bioavailability: Turmeric supplements contain two types of ingredients to boost bioavailability: black pepper extract or fats. Both have been shown to boost the bioavailability of curcumin by 400% to 2,000%, which is why your turmeric supplement must have one of these bioavailability boosting ingredients.
Price & Value: Turmeric supplements are trendier today than ever. That means some supplements are wildly overpriced – and others offer fair value. The Transparent Labs Turmeric supplement at the top of our list contains 5x the curcumin dosage of some lower-ranked formulas – yet it’s half the price. We listed a range of turmeric supplements at all prices, although we always emphasized fair value.
Manufacturer Reputation and Transparency: Some turmeric supplement companies use sleazy marketing and have limited transparency. Others use honest marketing, fair pricing and tell you exactly where the ingredients are sourced and where the supplement is made. Some supplement companies employ genuine medical doctors, while others do not.
Other Active Ingredients: Since this is a guide to the best turmeric supplements, we preferred turmeric supplements with pure, high-quality turmeric and few other active ingredients. However, if supplements did use other active ingredients, we preferred science-backed ingredients that complemented turmeric’s benefits – like ginger or Boswellia serrata.
Scientific Evidence for Turmeric
Turmeric has been increasingly studied in recent years for its anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidant capabilities. Some studies have shown that turmeric and its active ingredient curcumin can significantly reduce oxidation or inflammation, which is a key biomarker for disease.
Turmeric has surged in popularity in recent years, although the use of turmeric dates back centuries – or even millennia. Turmeric played a crucial role in ancient Indian (Ayurvedic) medicine, and it continues to play an important role in Indian culture, cuisine, and medicine today.
Today, we know why turmeric was used for centuries: turmeric is loaded with curcumin and curcuminoids, natural chemicals that appear to have antioxidant effects.
One study published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics in 1990 should that curcumin could act as a “potent anti-inflammatory agent” and a “free radical scavenger,” suggesting it could target inflammation and oxidation throughout the body by neutralizing free radicals.
This 2015 review study published in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine checked dozens of clinical trials on turmeric and curcumin performed over the years. After analyzing evidence, researchers concluded that curcumin “is able to exert anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet, antioxidative, hepatoprotective, and antitumor activities, particularly against cancers of the liver, skin, pancreas, prostate, ovary, and head neck.” Researchers also praised curcumin for having “a positive effect in the treatment of arthritis.”
Some turmeric supplements market themselves as cognition boosters. This study showed curcumin could boost your short-term memory by increasing Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). In contrast, another study linked curcumin with improved memory, calmness, and stress resilience in patients after 4 weeks. Researchers have also found that curcumin “significantly increased” attention and memory compared to a placebo in a study where participants took 1,000mg of curcumin per day.
Some take curcumin to lower blood pressure. Multiple studies have linked curcumin with cardioprotective effects, including this study, that showed curcumin significantly reduced blood pressure. Women either took a curcumin supplement or performed light aerobic exercise, and women in both groups significantly lowered blood pressure.
Based on this evidence, you’d think turmeric and curcumin would be miracle supplements sold at every store. So what’s the catch?
The catch with curcumin is that your body struggles to absorb it on its own. Even if you take a significant amount of curcumin, your body cannot effectively process the curcumin inside that turmeric powder. Your body processes some of the curcumin – but not all of it.
In this study, researchers found that mice absorbed approximately 60% of the curcumin after taking a 400mg turmeric supplement. That sounds okay – but researchers believe bioavailability is even lower in humans because of our digestive systems. Our stomach acids break down curcumin before it can be absorbed, limiting the effect.
Fortunately, researchers have found a way to boost the bioavailability of curcumin: black pepper extract.
In this study, researchers found that they increased the bioavailability of curcumin 2,000% by combining curcumin with black pepper extract (also known as piperine). This black pepper extract gives your body more time to absorb the curcumin before it’s broken down. Today, most turmeric supplements use a specific version of black pepper extract called BioPerine.
Recommended Dosage of Turmeric
Typically, turmeric supplements contain a dose of 500mg to 2,000mg of turmeric extract. However, it’s important to check the concentration of this turmeric extract, as it varies widely between formulas.
Some turmeric extracts contain 95% curcuminoids, for example, which is the highest possible concentration available in normal turmeric supplements. If you have 1,000mg of turmeric with a 95% concentration of curcuminoids, then you’re getting 950mg of curcuminoids in each serving – considered a very strong dose.
Lower quality turmeric supplements use mostly turmeric root extract, which has less than 25% curcuminoids by concentration. The lowest quality formulas don’t list their concentration whatsoever and aren’t standardized to contain any specific curcumin amount.
Generally, you want your formula to contain 100mg to 500mg of curcuminoids per serving, which could be anywhere from 500mg to 2,000mg of turmeric per serving.
In some studies, researchers have given patients up to 15,000mg (15g) of turmeric per day with no observed side effects.
FAQs About Turmeric Supplements
Q: What is turmeric?
A: Turmeric is an underground stem (like a root) of a ginger family plant. Its scientific name is Curcuma longa, and it’s native to Southeast Asia and India, where it was traditionally used for thousands of years as a food and medicine.
Q: How do I take turmeric?
A: Most people take turmeric as a capsule, powder, or liquid tincture. In India and Southeast Asia, people eat turmeric fresh, pickled form, or juice.
Q: What are the traditional uses of turmeric?
A: Traditionally, turmeric was used to improve skin appearance, to add color or flavor to food, for coughs and colds, as a treatment for type II diabetes, or as a dye for fabrics, among other purposes.
Q: What is curcumin? What’s the difference between curcumin and turmeric?
A: Curcumin is a natural plant-based chemical within the turmeric root. Curcumin is part of a larger family called curcuminoids, and curcumin gives turmeric its unique yellow color.
Q: How much turmeric should I take?
A: Follow the recommended dosage on your turmeric supplement. Typically, studies use doses of 500mg to 1,500mg of turmeric powder, although some studies have safely used doses as high as 15,000mg. Always talk to a doctor before taking turmeric or any side effect, especially if you have a medical condition or are pregnant or nursing.
Q: What are the side effects of curcumin?
A: Curcumin could slow down blood clotting in some people, so you should avoid taking it before a scheduled surgery. You should also avoid taking turmeric (or talk to your doctor) if you are taking any type of medication, as turmeric interactions are not fully known.
Q: Why do turmeric supplements contain black pepper extract or BioPerine?
A: Turmeric supplements contain a type of black pepper extract known as piperine (or as BioPerine in the trademarked form). This form has been shown to increase the absorption of curcumin by 2,000%.
Turmeric has been used for thousands of years for various health and wellness purposes. Today, a growing number of people take turmeric supplements to enjoy those same purported benefits.
Consider taking one of the turmeric supplements listed above if you are interested in turmeric’s benefits or effects and its active ingredient curcumin.