I began taking turmeric supplements on a nutritionist's recommendation due to knee cartilage issues I've been having for two years. She totally convinced me when the soreness disappeared after about two weeks while still training as normal. There just didn't seem to be any way to deny the anti-inflammatory properties.
However, finding the right concentration of turmeric with curcumin was challenging, and I had a few hit-and-miss experiences with different products. After extensive research and testing over 50 products, we've curated a list of the top recommendations.
The Best Turmeric Supplements
- Best Overall Turmeric Supplement: Transparent Labs
- Cheapest Turmeric Capsules: Solgar Standardized Turmeric Root Extract
- Best Turmeric Capsules for Joint Health: Flex Performance Lab
- Best Organic Turmeric Supplement: Organixx Turmeric 3D
- Best Turmeric Tablets for Inflammation: MegaFood Turmeric Strength
- Best Turmeric Softgels for Immune Boost: Qunol Turmeric Curcumin Softgels
- Best Turmeric Supplement for Athletes: ORGANIC INDIA
- Best Pure Form Turmeric Supplement: Youtheory Turmeric Advanced
- Best High-Dose Turmeric Supplement: Oregon's Wild Harvest
Our Top Curcumin Recommendations (December 2023)
1 - Transparent Labs Curcumin C3 (Best Overall)
Having tried various turmeric supplements, I was pleasantly surprised by Transparent Labs Curcumin C3. It offered a strong dose without any noticeable side effects like bloating or cramps, which I've experienced with other brands.
Plus, it's gluten-free and non-GMO and free of artificial sweeteners, coloring, and preservatives. And it should be easy enough to absorb due to the added pepper extract that will improve the uptake of bioactive curcuminoids in your intestine.
We did find that the turmeric capsules tend to give a slight aftertaste if you don’t take them on an empty stomach.
- Curcumin amount: 475 mg
- One of the stronger doses available
- Should work well as an anti-inflammatory
- Includes some added black pepper fruit extract for easier absorption
- Might leave a slightly spicy aftertaste
We did find that the turmeric capsules tend to give a slight aftertaste if you don’t take them on an empty stomach.
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2 - Flex Performance Lab (Best for Joint Health)
This supplement form has been designed to provide specific health benefits for joints. I tested how effective it is, and found this is true. During my intense workout sessions, I often felt joint discomfort. Flex Performance Lab's unique formula seemed to target this issue directly, providing noticeable relief after just a few doses.
According to the company, they have chosen all the ingredients based on scientific research.
One other bonus benefit is that it may help with strengthening your bone tissue, which could help athletes and elderly people.
- Curcumin amount: 250 mg
- Specifically designed to help with joint pain after weight training
- May also help to improve bone density
- Free from the most common allergens
- Available with good bulk order discounts
- Some minor gas has been reported
We found it wasn't too strong to cause stomach issues, but you may find it initially results in some gas.
3 - Organixx Turmeric 3D (Best Organic)
Many people prefer taking organic supplements, like these natural preworkouts to avoid some of the common pesticides and herbicides that could accumulate.
I've always leaned towards organic supplements, and Organixx Turmeric 3D didn't disappoint. Its strong formula, combined with the added vitamin D3, made it a staple in my daily routine.
We also liked the added vitamin D3, which might mean that you can avoid the expense of other supplements.
If you want more of this vitamin, check out the benefits of taking Vitamin D3 and K2 together.
- Curcumin amount: 1,000 mg
- Provides an organic formula for added peace of mind
- Contains an added dose of vitamin D3
- Claims to use fermented turmeric root for easier absorption
- It’s one of the more expensive turmeric supplements
Just keep in mind that the strength and organic source does make this one of the more expensive options available.
4 - MegaFood Turmeric Strength for Whole Body (Best for Inflammation)
I was skeptical at first, but after trying MegaFood Turmeric Strength, I understood the positive buzz. It genuinely helped with my inflammation, especially after long runs.
There are also very few comments about it causing any stomach issues like gas, so it could be an option to take on an empty stomach.
- Curcumin amount: 481 mg
- Many positive reports that it seems to help with inflammation
- May be easy enough on the stomach to not require taking with food
- Comes with added vitamin C for an immune boost
- The tablets might be a bit large for some people to swallow
Just keep in mind that the tablets might be bit big to swallow, which some people have difficulty with.
5 - Qunol Turmeric Curcumin Softgels (Best for Immune Boost)
This one stood out because the company claims that the way they prepare the turmeric and curcumin might make it 40 times faster to absorb than just a standard turmeric powder.
I've always struggled with supplements that take time to show effects. But with Qunol Turmeric Curcumin Softgels, I can confirm I felt a difference much quicker.
We didn't find a way to test this, but people did find that it may be easy on the stomach.
- Curcumin amount: 200 mg
- Claims to be 40 times easier to absorb than normal turmeric powder
- Many positive reports about it dealing with joint pain
- Quite an affordable option especially in the larger bottles
- The softgel capsules are an inch long which might not suit everyone
This turmeric supplement comes in softgels, which are quite long and not the easiest to swallow down.
6 - ORGANIC INDIA Turmeric Curcumin (Best for Athletes)
Being budget-conscious, I was thrilled to find ORGANIC INDIA's Turmeric Curcumin. It's certified organic, affordable, and after a month, I noticed my post-workout joint issues had diminished.
It has also been certified as not containing some of the most common allergens, so more people should be able to take it without having to worry about sudden negative effects.
We also saw a few comments from athletes who had joint issues after training where those problems seemed to go away.
- Curcumin amount: 160 mg
- Certified organic for a higher quality turmeric powder
- Free of the most common allergens for less risk of reactions
- Seems to help athletes with cartilage issues after exercising
- Doesn’t seem to be as easy on the stomach as other options
The only thing we found with this one is that you may need to take it with food to avoid some gas and bloating.
7 - Youtheory Turmeric Advanced With Black Pepper Bioperine (Best Pure Form)
I've always been particular about the purity of my supplements. Youtheory's claim of a purer form of curcumin caught my eye, and after using it, the results spoke for themselves. I didn't notice any joint pain after finishing my workout sessions.
I also liked that you may be able to spread the dose throughout the day as it comes in smaller tablets.
This one also has one of the stronger doses of black pepper extract, which should mean that the active ingredients are absorbed faster.
- Curcumin amount: 427 mg
- Seems to be one of the purer forms of curcumin
- Dosage can be easily spread throughout the day
- Has a good amount of black pepper to help with effective absorption
- Some people reported side effects like gas
Just keep in mind that some people reported it might cause some gas and bloating, which may not suit people who have a sensitive stomach.
8 - Oregon's Wild Harvest Turmeric Curcumin Supplement (Best High-Dose)
Dealing with inflammation has been a constant battle for me. Oregon's Wild Harvest Turmeric Curcumin was a game-changer, especially with my bowel issues.
This might be down to the fact that it claims to be a highly purified form in a stronger dose that could bring more health benefits.
- Curcumin amount: 800 mg
- One of the strongest doses of curcuminoids available
- Seems to settle bowel inflammation effectively
- Includes 9 mg of Bioperine for faster absorption
- The full dose might be a bit too strong in one go
Some people might find it’s too strong, and it would be difficult to reduce the dosage as it comes as one capsule.
9 - Solgar Standardized Turmeric Root Extract (Cheapest Option)
Brain fog and mood swings were becoming a daily challenge. Solgar's Turmeric Root Extract not only cleared my mind but also uplifted my mood consistently.
There are also plenty of certifications from vegan to kosher and gluten-free, which should cover most dietary requirements.
And the capsules seem to be nice and small to make swallowing a bit easier.
- Curcumin amount: 372 mg
- Positive reviews about it helping with your overall mood
- Certified vegan, kosher, and gluten-free
- Capsules seem to be easy enough to swallow
- You might want to take this curcumin supplement just before eating
Maybe consider taking them with food when you first start using it, as some gas is possible.
How We Tested Turmeric Supplements
Let's go over the criteria we considered when choosing the best products on this list.
The amount of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, was a significant factor in the evaluation. Different products contained varying amounts of curcumin, which influenced their effectiveness. For instance, Transparent Labs Curcumin C3 contained 475 mg of curcumin, while Organixx Turmeric 3D had a whopping 1,000 mg.
Apart from the primary ingredient, curcumin, we considered the presence of other beneficial ingredients. Some products contained added vitamins, while others had black pepper extract, which enhances the absorption of curcumin.
The quality and source of the turmeric used were also crucial, with some products being organic or having undergone fermentation for better absorption.
When evaluating turmeric supplements based on price, our approach went beyond just looking at the cheapest option. We calculated the cost per serving by dividing the total price by the number of capsules or servings, ensuring a clear understanding of each dose's value.
Additionally, products that provided a full month's supply were favored for their convenience and potential long-term savings.
Finally, we checked for a warranty or money-back guarantee, as it indicated the company's confidence in its product and offered added security for buyers.
As I mentioned above, not all turmeric supplements are what they claim to be. I've tried various products with mixed results. It's essential to consider safety and potential medication interactions when selecting a supplement.
Here's how to choose the best supplements to avoid this and get the most benefits.
1 - Curcumin Source
If you like cooking curries, then you’ve probably encountered turmeric, which is a ground up root that has a yellow color.
It also has quite a distinctive smell to it.
“Curcumin belongs to a family of chemicals that are known as curcuminoid and which have a bright yellow color. It is this compound that lends the distinctive color to the spice.”
- NDTV Food
It’s not too spicy and is very commonly used in Indian dishes, but the magic lies in a micronutrient that it contains.
According to an article on NDTV Food, turmeric root should contain anywhere between 2% and 5% of curcumin depending on the growing conditions, which makes it one of the best sources .
2 - Amount
There are two things to keep in mind when comparing the dosage of curcumin supplements.
Most of them are marketed as turmeric, and that’s completely fine.
But just looking at the amount of turmeric may not give you an accurate enough comparison between supplements.
Depending on how well it was refined and possibly fermented, the curcuminoid content would be quite different.
So, look at both the turmeric content and the number of curcuminoids to get a full picture of how different products compare.
According to a study published in IOP Science, it's recommended to look at the curcumin values on the nutrition label, rather than anything else .
3 - Superior Quality
This is where I seem to have run into issues.
If the turmeric root was not grown under ideal conditions, and if it wasn’t dried and prepared properly, then you could lose a lot of the anti-inflammatory properties.
Slow drying seems to be an important factor as well. And some companies seem to just get the cheapest sources of turmeric, which may have cut some corners during the process.
Another good option to look out for is whether the turmeric has been fermented or not. A study published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies journal found that fermented turmeric might be one of the better choices to make .
4 - What Supplement Form to Choose
Turmeric supplements come in diverse formulations, each designed to optimize the absorption and efficacy of curcumin, the primary active compound.
For instance, Curcumin Phytosome is a notable form that boasts higher bioavailability, meaning the body can absorb and utilize it more efficiently than some other forms. This is achieved by combining curcumin with a phospholipid complex, enhancing its solubility in both water and oil, thus improving absorption.
When choosing a supplement, consider these formulations, as they can significantly impact the supplement's effectiveness. Always look for details on the label about the form of curcumin used, and any added ingredients that enhance its absorption.
5 - Additional Ingredients
Curcuminoids are the group of active compounds in turmeric, with curcumin being the main one. Curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. While this is the most important ingredient, you should look for a few more. Also, this is where you could end up saving yourself some money.
We found a few products that contained some added vitamins, which should help to boost your immune system and also help with some added detox .
But the most important ingredient I would look for is black pepper extract .
In small doses, black pepper extract has been shown to support digestive functions and the absorption of curcumin .
Who Should Buy Turmeric Supplements?
Individuals should buy turmeric supplements for anti-inflammatory effects, antioxidant support, or potential relief from conditions such as arthritis or digestive issues. Turmeric supplements may also appeal to those who want to incorporate the potential health benefits of turmeric into their routine without changing their diet significantly.
It is popular among people interested in natural remedies and holistic health.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Turmeric Supplements?
People shouldn't buy turmeric supplements if they have a known allergy to turmeric or other members of the ginger family. Individuals with gallbladder disease, bleeding disorders, pregnancy, or breastfeeding should consult a healthcare professional before taking turmeric supplements.
Additionally, people taking certain medications, such as blood thinners or diabetes drugs, should exercise caution due to potential interactions with turmeric.
Is Curcumin Safe to Take Daily?
Yes, curcumin is safe to take daily as long as you keep to small enough doses. In very large amounts, it can cause some upset stomach and cramping, and this isn’t advisable in the short or long term.
When Should You Take Curcumin?
You should take curcumin just before a meal. Ideally, that meal should contain some fat, as curcumin is fat-soluble and wouldn’t be as easily absorbed when taken with just water.
Is It Ok to Take a Turmeric Supplement Everyday?
Yes, it is safe to take turmeric supplements every day. Turmeric products and supplements that provide up to 8 grams of curcumin on a daily basis seem safe when used for up to 2 months.
Our Verdict on the Best Turmeric Supplement
Having personally navigated the world of turmeric supplements, I can confidently vouch for Transparent Labs Curcumin C3.
From my firsthand experience using this supplement, its blend, especially with the black pepper extract, made a noticeable difference in joint health.
I felt less discomfort after my intense workouts, and it became an essential part of my daily regimen.
If you're on the hunt for a turmeric supplement that truly delivers, this one's a game-changer.
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