After 25 years of research there is no doubt that curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) can play a major role in fighting pro-inflammatory diseases like cancer, heart disease, arthritis, IBS, diabetes, atherosclerosis and many more. The question now isn’t whether to use curcumin, but which curcumin to use.
To distinguish fact from fiction when buying a curcumin product, here’s what you need to know:
- Taking turmeric does not provide a sufficient dose of curcumin. Turmeric contains only about 3% curcumin and of the 3% almost none is absorbed by the body. Turmeric does have other health benefits, however.
- Higher doses of curcumin in a product will not necessarily provide higher doses of curcumin. This sounds like a contradiction in terms, but a published study in the Journal of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535097/) showed that even when individuals received doses as high as 2000mg of curcumin, blood serum levels of curcumin remained either undetectable or very low. In other words, individuals who partook in the study got virtually no benefits from taking a dose even as high as 2000mg of curcumin on its own.
- Administering 20mg of piperine (black pepper) with curcumin, increases the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%. This shows the importance of piperine in a curcumin product. Piperine also prevents the premature breakdown of curcumin in the gut and increases its lifespan. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535097/
- Liposomal encapsulation increases the absorption of curcumin by another 29 times! https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535097/
The bottom line is that if the product doesn’t contain proven (see note below) measures/technology to increase absorption, curcumin remains virtually inabsorbable even at high doses.
Oshun Health’s Curcumin Boost contains piperine and uses our trademarked liposomal absorption system (fulvisomes) to increase absorption. This makes the product so absorbable that doses higher than 200mg should be taken with caution given that curcumin has a significant impact on blood sugar levels (lowers it) and certain medications (anticoagulants for instance).
*Note: An emulsion (mixture of two or more liquids that normally don’t mix, for instance vinegar and oil) is not the same as liposomal encapsulation. Emulsions are cheaper and easier to make than liposomes but will not provide the absorption that liposomes do.
Precautions when taking Curcumin
Turmeric in the diet is safe, but large amounts may cause gastric upset. Therefore it’s best to start with small doses and increase gradually. (Read Side effects of Turmeric)
One of the important precautions in relation to cardiovascular diseases is that turmeric has anti-platelet properties proven by animal studies. Though minimal amounts of dietary turmeric should not pose any problem, it is advisable to consult a health practitioner with regards to this, especially when you are already taking blood thinners.
Also, due to the anti-platelet properties of turmeric, it is advised to discontinue turmeric two weeks prior to surgery in order to avoid bleeding risks.
Turmeric supplements should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation.
Curcumin at low doses can cause gall bladder contractions, so if suffering from gallstones or gallbladder obstruction, avoid curcumin supplements. (Read Should you take turmeric if you have gallstones)
Turmeric as a spice is high in oxalates hence it is advisable to limit intake of turmeric as a spice in case of gout or kidney stones. (Read Is Turmeric safe in gout? Does Turmeric cause kidney stone?)
Curcumin in turmeric does interfere in drug metabolism. Therefore it is advised to avoid taking curcumin supplements concomitantly with other medications.
Consult a health practitioner prior to taking turmeric supplements.
Oshun Health’s Pro32 Probiotic contains nine strains and 32 species of live cultures. It suppresses pathogen growth and stimulates beneficial microbiota. We believe it to be an essential go to after taking antibiotics, when changing one’s diet as well as during stressful situations.