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Home » Health » Why Curcumin Supplements Are A Waste of Money (Curcumin Vs Turmeric)

Why Curcumin Supplements Are A Waste of Money (Curcumin Vs Turmeric)

Are curcumin supplements worth the hype?

Yes and no.

You’ve heard about the life-changing benefits of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, and you’re curious. But you want proof that it works because you don’t want to waste your money.

Yes, studies show that curcumin can help protect against a wide variety of diseases.

Then why would I say that curcumin supplements a waste of money?

Curcumin supplements are expensive, and there’s a cheaper and better option.

In this article, you’ll learn how to get the benefits of curcumin for under five dollars a month.

Keep reading to learn how to cut through the marketing hype and get the most out of this mysterious golden spice.

If you want to get the most benefit, first you should know the difference between curcumin and turmeric.

Photo of crumpled up 100 dollar bills


What Is Curcumin?

Curcumin is a natural pigment found in the spice turmeric. It’s known for its pleasant mild aroma and its exotic yellow color.

Although curcumin makes up only 2–5% of turmeric, it’s hailed as the main active ingredient. And for a good reason.

More than 50 clinical tries have been done on curcumin, and dozens more are on their way. So far, studies show that curcumin can help with a multitude of diseases including cancers, inflammatory diseases, metabolic diseases, and neurological diseases.

Curcumin, a powerful antioxidant, is also as effective or better than leading drugs, but without the side effects.

Curcumin sounds amazing, but we are building up to something better. Do you want to know how to boost its power even more?


How to Get The Maximum Benefit of Curcumin

Most of the curcumin you take gets flushed away.

Your liver removes foreign substances like curcumin by making them water-soluble.

Piperine is a compound in black pepper that inhibits this process.

For example:

In one study, researchers gave one group curcumin and another group they gave the same amount of curcumin with black pepper.

Those who took curcumin with a quarter teaspoon of black pepper had a 2,000% boost in curcumin bioavailability compared to the curcumin group!

Just looking at these studies, curcumin looks like one of the greatest discoveries in medical science.

But curcumin studies complicate and underestimate the benefits of the whole food spice turmeric.

Before you go shopping for curcumin supplements, do you want to know a better and cheaper option? Let’s look at curcumin and turmeric side by side.

A picture of turmeric and turmeric powder, headline "Why Curcumin Supplements Are A Waste of Money"

Curcumin Verses Turmeric

In this corner is curcumin, and the other corner is turmeric and curcumin? Curcumin is just one of the many different components of the whole food spice turmeric.

Turmeric the spice is the dried powdered root stalks of the turmeric plant, a member of the ginger family. Turmeric is the spice that makes curry powder look yellow, and curcumin is the pigment that makes turmeric yellow.

Other active ingredients of turmeric include cyclocurcumin, curcumenes, turmerine, turmerone, and turmeronal.


Curcumin Supplements Are Only Second Best

Researchers assume that herbs and spices like turmeric have only one main active ingredient. The idea is that if you isolate the active ingredient and purify it into a pill, you can boost its effects.

Nevertheless, new research shows that turmeric may work even better than curcumin alone.

Researchers at Anderson Cancer Center in Texas tested both curcumin and turmeric against seven different types of cancer cells.

They found that curcumin destroys cancer cells, including breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, multiple myeloma, leukemia, and more colorectal cancer. What about turmeric?

Turmeric annihilated significantly more of each type of cancer cell than curcumin. Why settle for second best?

Other studies show that curcumin-free turmeric, with the so-called active ingredient removed, is just as effective or better than curcumin containing turmeric.

But instead of promoting the whole food turmeric, researchers suggested making supplements of the other active ingredients of turmeric. Find out why at the end.


How to Boost the Power of Turmeric

Remember the 2,000% bioavailability boost of curcumin with black pepper? Turmeric has an even greater effect.

Even without black pepper, turmeric offers better curcumin bioavailability than curcumin supplements. The natural oils found in turmeric can increase the bioavailability of curcumin 700 to 800%.

That’s not all.

If you eat turmeric with fat, curcumin can be directly absorbed into your bloodstream through your lymphatic system and bypass your liver.

Just a pinch of black pepper can significantly boost bioavailability. How can you get both curcumin and black pepper in one shot?

Curry powder contains both turmeric and black pepper, making it one of the easiest ways to boost curcumin bioavailability.

Now that you know that turmeric is just as good or better than curcumin. Do you want to know how much to take and learn about the unique side effects of curcumin and turmeric?


How Do Curcumin Side Effects Compare to Turmeric Side Effects?

Curcumin and turmeric are relatively safe at low dosage.

But high doses of either can cause different side effects that you should consider when choosing between them.

The traditional Indian diet and scientific studies have shown that turmeric is relatively safe up to a teaspoon a day. But high doses of turmeric can increase your risk of kidney stones.

For example:

Turmeric has large amounts of soluble oxalates, which can combine with calcium to form insoluble calcium oxalate. And calcium oxalate is responsible for about 75% of all kidney stones.

The American Dietetic Association recommends people with a tendency to form kidney stones should eat no more than a teaspoon of turmeric a day.

Also, some turmeric powders may contain fillers, colorants, or heavy metals. Fillers may include grains containing gluten or heavy metals like lead. Animal studies show that colorants like matinal yellow may cause cancer.

Learn more about finding the best source in the next section.

What about curcumin?

Curcumin supplements provide a higher dose of this powerful ingredient than through your diet.

Studies have tested the amounts of curcumin found in cups worth of turmeric a day. When you include the 2,000% bioavailability boost, the amount of curcumin used in these studies is the equivalent of eating 29 cups of turmeric!

Even at these high doses, the most common side effects of curcumin are nausea and diarrhea. Other side effects include headache, bloating, and acid reflux.

Lastly, curcumin can cause gallbladder pain for people with gallstones. And Patients with biliary tract obstruction should avoid high doses of curcumin as it contracts the gallbladder.

Now that you know the side effects, how do you know which is right for you?


When Should You Take Curcumin Instead of Turmeric?

Generally, turmeric is your best option. But consider curcumin supplements if you are prone to kidney stones or need high amounts of curcumin but low amounts of oxalates.

For example:

People with gout are at high risk of kidney stones. Doctors can’t treat gout inflammation with high doses of turmeric. To reach high levels of curcumin from turmeric, they would incur a heavy oxalate load.

Because curcumin lacks oxalates, doctors can recommend curcumin supplements for patients with gout.

How do you choose a high-quality curcumin supplement?

A recent review from the University of North Carolina recommends choosing supplements from US suppliers that follow Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). The GMP requires testing for heavy metals.

This guideline will decrease your chances of buying an inferior product.

Now you know more about curcumin and turmeric than most people. Do you want to know how to get the benefits for under five dollars?


How to Get the Benefits of Curcumin For Under Five Dollars a Month

Turmeric is much cheaper than curcumin, but don’t let the price fool you.

More and more studies are showing that the whole spice turmeric has the same benefits of curcumin. In most cases, turmeric is even better than curcumin.

You can buy turmeric in almost any grocery store for a few dollars.

A teaspoon (5g) of turmeric costs about 15 cents. Most studies that test turmeric give patients less than a teaspoon of turmeric a day. So you can get all the benefits of curcumin and turmeric for less than 15 cents a day!

The average price of curcumin supplements on Amazon is about $20 for a month’s supply. But you only need to buy about $4.50 a month of turmeric to help prevent a long list of diseases.

Turmeric not only works better, but it’s also only a fraction of the cost of curcumin supplements! Why pay more for less?

How much would a drug cost that could help treat almost any disease without serious side effects?

Sadly, the value of turmeric is undervalued because it is dirt cheap.

Oxygen is free, but if you can’t breathe, it’s priceless. Similar to oxygen, turmeric provides unique nutrients you need to stay healthy. But you don’t realize its value until you have a disease.

Now you know that curcumin supplements are mostly a waste of money. You are only one section away from understanding the secret powers of turmeric and the real purpose of curcumin supplements.


Picture of a superhero, headline "Curcumin Vs. Turmeric: The Avengers Guide to Curcumin Supplements"

The Avengers Guide to Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements

Turmeric has more than 300 phytochemicals working in synergy. As a team, all the nutrients combined have more power than each by themselves.

Think of turmeric as the superheroes of the Avengers and curcumin as the Hulk. The Avengers would beat the Hulk every time because the Avengers have the Hulk, and Iron Man, and Black Widow, and Captain Ameria…etc.

Each member of the team covers the other’s weaknesses and supports their strengths.

For example:

The Avengers movies do better than films based on a single Marvel character because they draw a wider audience.

Similarly, a small amount of a wide variety of phytochemicals has potentially more power than a large amount of fewer phytochemicals.

Turmeric the whole food spice has every component in the proportion nature intended. Concentrated curcumin can help up to a point, but it needs the other ingredients to absorb and be effective.

Why do scientific studies focus on curcumin instead of turmeric? No one owns turmeric.

Disney owns the Avengers, as part of the Marvel franchise, which is protected by international copyright laws. Disney has two main options for making money with the Avengers.

Firstly, Disney makes tons of money marketing the Avengers because they have a monopoly.

Secondly, Disney can make even more money marketing each character individually.

Supplement manufacturers are left with the second option, selling extracted ingredients.

Think of turmeric as being in the public domain. You can’t patent turmeric the spice. So if you can’t patent it, how can you take over the world charging only 15 cents a dose?

You can no longer patent curcumin, but you can patent derivatives, formulations, delivery systems, and synthetic methods.

So a company can isolate a single ingredient such as curcumin, alter it, fund scientific studies, promote its benefits, and sell it for a handsome profit.

Yes, curcumin can mimic some of the activities of turmeric. But most of turmeric’s activities do not depend on curcumin. In some instances, turmeric is even better without curcumin.

Another example of how a single ingredient from whole food that fails to show the same benefits is beta carotene. Beta carotene is a red-orange pigment found in plants.

Foods rich in beta carotene help reduce the risk of certain cancers. But studies show that beta carotene supplements have no benefit.

So are curcumin supplements a waste of money? Yes and no.

Yes, patenting plant extracts to own a profitable cure sounds like something a supervillain would do. But the profit incentive funds research that discovers health benefits we wouldn’t learn about otherwise.

How can you save your money and still get the benefit of these studies?

When you learn about the health benefits of a single extracted ingredient, assume the whole food form is even better for you.

Then laugh like a villain when someone tries to sell you an inferior product.


What Are Your Turmeric Superpowers?

Turmeric helps you save money on curcumin supplements. But the value it can add to your life is priceless.

How much is an extra healthy and vital year of life worth?

What about knowing that turmeric can help prevent and treat dreaded diseases like cancer better than expensive treatments? With this confidence, you can stop worrying and start living your purpose.

Turmeric is just one example of a team of over 300 superheroes. It gives us hope that the plants on this planet hold the cures to every disease imaginable.

Turmeric also gives us hope that the next cure won’t cost a fortune.

What will you choose?


Are You Ready to Save Your Money and Your Health?

Now you know the dark purpose of curcumin supplements and the secret of turmeric.

Are you going to choose curcumin or turmeric based on your needs?

Or, are you going to fall for the next supplement marketing ploy?

Now you’re ahead of the curve. You know how to get the most out of this golden spice without paying the full price.

All it cost you was ten minutes to learn how to choose between curcumin and turmeric. And it costs less than the price of a movie ticket per month to get all the benefits.

Even though a “villain” may have funded curcumin studies, you don’t have to give them your money.

If you want the benefits of curcumin, why not buy from the “superheroes” selling turmeric?

Instead of buying expensive supplements, add turmeric and black pepper to your meals. For the best results, eat curry powder with healthy fats such as seeds, nuts, and avocadoes.

4 thoughts on “Why Curcumin Supplements Are A Waste of Money (Curcumin Vs Turmeric)”

  1. Love the article on Tumeric. I’ve been taking Tumeric powder that I mix with black pepper and garlic powder for years. What is your opinion on the ratio of the Tumeric and black pepper? I eat it with my own bone broth that I eliminate the majority of fat. Is this enough fat to help absorb the Tumeric? Thank you, Marlene

    1. Thank you, this article was one of my favorites to write. In the study, they used a quarter teaspoon of black pepper. I am not sure about the amount of fat you need to absorb turmeric. I will update this article when I get the chance and learn more about it.

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