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Turmeric is an herb with a long history of use in the traditional Indian system of medicine called Ayurveda.
The herb contains a class of compounds called curcuminoids, the most prevalent of which is curcumin. Curcurmin may reduce pain from arthritis, regulate blood sugar levels, and improve cholesterol levels, among other benefits (
While you can buy turmeric as a spice or spice blend to cook with, turmeric supplements provide a more concentrated dose of curcumin and other curcuminoids.
However, not all of these supplements are created equal when it comes to safety and efficacy.
For this article, turmeric supplements were chosen based on the following criteria:
- brand reputability, including the use of third-party testing
- the use of standardized extracts of turmeric rather than turmeric root powder
- patented turmeric formulations that have enhanced bioavailability
- $ = under $0.25 per count
- $$ = $0.25–$0.50 per count
- $$$ = over $0.50 per count
Here are the 12 best turmeric supplements for 2021.
Featuring 350 milligrams (mg) of turmeric per serving sourced from two types of turmeric extract, this supplement from Care/Of is vegetarian, gluten-free, and free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Care/Of focuses on providing personalized vitamin packs, which are designed to help you feel your best while also supporting long-term health.
Using the simple quiz on their website, Care/Of helps you create a custom routine with a variety of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and herbs, including turmeric.
Care/Of also emphasizes transparency, quality, and sustainability by thoroughly testing products, providing detailed information on each ingredient, and partnering with suppliers that prioritize ethical production practices.
This high quality turmeric supplement includes 500 mg of turmeric extract per serving.
It also contains 5.3 mg of BioPerine, a patented extract obtained from black pepper that’s standardized to contain 95% piperine, to help maximize absorption.
Piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper, has been shown to inhibit a reaction in your body that eliminates substances like curcuminoids, allowing for better absorption (
It’s produced by Persona Nutrition, a subscription-based service that offers a variety of high quality vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements.
Persona Nutrition provides detailed product recommendations using information collected from their free assessment online, which takes into account factors like your health goals, medical history, and dietary preferences.
All products are made from ingredients sourced from trusted suppliers and undergo extensive testing to ensure that their strict standards for purity and quality are met.
Curcumin itself is poorly absorbed by your body (
To boost your body’s absorption of curcumin, Source Naturals uses a patented formulation of a compound called Meriva, which is standardized to contain 18–22% total curcuminoids (3).
Meriva is a formulation of turmeric extract with lecithin, a type of fat found in foods like soybeans and eggs. It has been shown to have 29 times better absorption of curcumin in humans, compared with other extracts (
This turmeric with Meriva supplement contains 500 mg of turmeric extract per tablet.
Unlike many other companies, Source Naturals manufactures their products, allowing them to verify the purity and authenticity of each ingredient (5).
Similarly to Source Naturals, the supplement company Thorne offers a turmeric supplement containing Meriva extract.
Thorne’s Meriva 500-SF (sustained-release) product contains 1,000 mg of the patented Meriva turmeric formulation per 2-capsule serving.
These compounds help delay the release of the active ingredient while protecting it as it passes through your stomach so that it can reach your small intestine for absorption (6).
Whether Time-Sorb further enhances the absorption of Meriva is unknown.
According to Thorne’s website, the company tests for 760 contaminants to verify the identity, potency, and purity of each ingredient in their products.
They also follow the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) and received an A1 rating from Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (8).
Swanson Vitamins offers 700 mg of turmeric extract that’s standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids.
They also include 5 mg of BioPerine (the trademarked name for piperine).
In one older study, participants who consumed 2 grams of curcumin with 20 mg of piperine enhanced their absorption of curcuminoids by 2,000%, compared with consuming curcumin alone (
Swanson Vitamins uses third-party laboratories to verify the purity and potency of its products, including NSF International (11).
Life Extension uses a highly absorbable form of curcumin.
Cucumin Elite provides 200 mg of curcuminoids with another active compound from turmeric called ar-turmerone.
Life Extension offers a certificate of analysis for each of their products to guarantee quality, potency, and purity, and you can request it via the website (13).
BioSchwartz also uses the patented ingredient BioPerine in the Premium Ultra Pure Turmeric Curcumin product.
Recall that BioPerine is an extract obtained from black pepper that increases your body’s absorption of curcuminoids.
In addition to 10 mg of BioPerine, the product contains 1,350 mg of turmeric root and 150 mg of turmeric extract (standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids) per 3-capsule serving.
According to the website, BioSchwartz’s products are tested by a third-party laboratory to verify purity and potency. Plus, its facility is FDA-approved (14).
Part of the reason your body doesn’t absorb curcumin very well is because of its poor solubility in water (
Qunol uses a specific type of technology to manufacture the Extra Strength Turmeric Curcumin Complex product to increase the water solubility of curcumin, thereby enhancing its absorption.
One study demonstrated that the form of curcumin that Qunol uses in its turmeric supplement was 39 times more efficiently absorbed than a standard turmeric extract product (
Qunol’s product contains 1,000 mg of turmeric — standardized to contain 18–22% curcuminoids — per 2-softgel serving.
This Gaia Herbs product offers a concentrated liquid extract of turmeric.
According to Gaia Herbs, this form of turmeric is more easily digested and better absorbed by your body than powdered extracts of turmeric, which some research supports (
The Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength product delivers 482 mg of turmeric extract that’s standardized to contain 36 mg of curcuminoids per capsule.
It also contains 7 mg of black pepper to enhance absorption.
Gaia Herbs offers a traceability tool on their website that allows you to discover the origin of the herb and view validation of the product’s quality (18).
Sports Research uses a patented extract of turmeric called Curcumin C3 Complex, which is standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids.
The product contains 500 mg of the extract and 5 mg of BioPerine per softgel.
On the Sports Research website, you can track the lot number of their products to view the third-party testing company (20).
Doctor’s Best also uses Curcumin C3 Complex turmeric extract.
This patented turmeric extract is standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids.
The product contains 1,000 mg of the extract and 6 mg of BioPerine per 2-capsule serving.
Doctor’s Best includes a scannable quick response (QR) code on their product labels to improve consumer education and product transparency.
Gaia Herbs also offers a line of turmeric supplements that target various components of health and well-being. These products, which are available for purchase online, include:
- Turmeric Supreme Joint
- Turmeric Supreme Pain
- Turmeric Supreme Pain P.M
- Turmeric Supreme Heart
- Turmeric Supreme Sinus Support
- Turmeric Supreme Immune Support
In addition to turmeric, each of these products contains various other beneficial ingredients.
Although Gaia Herbs’ line of targeted formulations contain smaller amounts of curcuminoids than the extra strength product mentioned above, they still contain black pepper for better absorption.
Note that some of these combo supplements contain herbs that may interact with certain medications, so it’s best to check with your doctor before taking them.
With the hundreds of turmeric supplements available for purchase, it can be difficult to know which ones are safe and effective.
Still, it’s important to determine these factors, as supplement companies do not need to prove the safety or effectiveness of their products to the FDA before selling them (
Choose a reputable brand that adheres to good manufacturing practices, which ensures that products are produced according to specific quality standards (
Some companies may choose to have their products tested for safety and quality by an independent third-party laboratory, such as NSF International, U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), or Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
Companies that use patented ingredients in their products have also committed to quality, as these ingredients have usually been generally recognized as safe by the FDA and tested in clinical studies for efficacy.
Many of these ingredients not only have research to support their use but also help increase your body’s absorption of curcuminoids.
You can likewise consult a registered dietitian or physician to determine whether a specific supplement is of high quality.
It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding how much of the supplement to take, as the dose will vary among brands depending on the extract used and presence of absorption-enhancing ingredients.
In either case, for optimal absorption, it’s best to take turmeric with a meal or snack containing a source of fat.
Turmeric is an herb that contains beneficial compounds called curcuminoids, the most prevalent of which is curcumin.
These compounds may reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar levels, and improve cholesterol levels, among other benefits (
The best turmeric supplements contain patented turmeric extract formulations and ingredients that increase the absorption of curcuminoids.
Before buying a turmeric supplement, research the manufacturing company to ensure it adheres to good manufacturing practices and is committed to quality.