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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. It 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.
Turmeric supplements for this article 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
Here are the 10 best turmeric supplements for 2021.
A note on price
General price ranges with dollar signs ($ to $$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher price range.
Generally, prices range from $0.20–$1.50 per count, or $19–$50 per container, though this may vary depending on where you shop.
Note that the dosage recommendations vary between 1–3 capsules or tablets 1–5 times daily.
Thus, a product that you need to take fewer times per day may end up being comparatively cheaper, despite having a higher price per count than a product that you need to take multiple times per day.
- $ = under $0.25 per count
- $$ = $0.25–$0.50 per count
- $$$ = over $0.50 per count
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, that has been shown to have 29 times better absorption of curcumin in humans, compared with other extracts (
Source Naturals’ turmeric with Meriva supplement contains 500 mg of turmeric extract per tablet.
Unlike many other companies, Source Naturals manufactures its 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.
It also contains Thorne’s patented ingredient called Time-Sorb, which contains a semi-synthetic dietary fiber and a form of magnesium (6).
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 (
Whether Time-Sorb further enhances the absorption of Meriva is unknown.
According to its website, Thorne tests for 760 contaminants to verify the identity, potency, and purity of each ingredient in its 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 (TGA) (8).
Life Extension uses a highly absorbable form of curcumin.
The product contains a type of fiber from fenugreek seeds called galactomannans, which enhances the absorption of curcuminoids (
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 its products to guarantee quality, potency, and purity, and you can request it via its website (10).
Swanson Vitamins offers 700 mg of turmeric extract that’s standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids.
They also include 5 mg of Bioperine, a patented extract obtained from black pepper that’s standardized to contain 95% piperine.
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 (
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 (13).
BioSchwartz also uses the patented ingredient BioPerine in its 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 its 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 its 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.
Qunol states that they test each batch of turmeric for heavy metals. Its products are also produced in a cGMP facility, according to the product packaging (16).
Gaia Herbs’ Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength 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 its 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.
Sports Research’s product also contains organic virgin coconut oil, which may further enhance the absorption of the curcuminoids (
On its website, Sports Research allows you to track the lot number of its 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 its 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.
For example, the Turmeric Supreme Heart product contains ingredients that have been shown to support heart health, including resveratrol and quercetin (
Although Gaia Herbs’ line of targeted formulations contain smaller amounts of curcuminoids than the Extra Strength product, 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 Food and Drug Administration (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 utilize 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.
Useful supplement shopping guides
Check out these two articles to help you make supplement shopping a breeze:
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.