The 9 Best Turmeric Supplements Recommended by Nutrition Experts
Turmeric may be the ultimate superfood. It has been used in India and Asia for thousands of years as a culinary spice, prized for its medicinal properties. It a root vegetable that contains the polyphenol curcumin, which is the active compound that gives it its vibrant yellow color. It comes from the same family as ginger and is loaded with anti-inflammatory benefits. But there’s one drawback home chefs should be aware of: it can stain pretty much everything it comes into contact with.
“For healthy individuals, adding turmeric spice daily will help optimize overall health and may prevent health issues associated with inflammation,” says registered dietitian Sydney Greene, MS, RDN, founder of Greene Health. “Most of the research examining turmeric’s role in common health challenges uses large doses of the active compound, curcumin.” As a result, when using smaller doses at home, Greene says, “when it comes to turmeric, adding it to your cooking repertoire might not be enough to notice a significant difference in a given health issue.” Here is where supplements can play an important role in your diet by helping to boost your daily dose of curcumin.
Our articles on supplements are informed by nutrition expertise, but the ultimate choice is a personal decision between you and your healthcare provider. Since dietary supplements are not approved by the FDA prior to going to market, it’s important to do your research before adding them to your regimen. Our team of registered dietitians in the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab analyzed dozens of turmeric supplements, prioritizing picks that have been tested by a credible third party such as USP, NSF and Consumer Lab. These steps are designed to help ensure there are no harmful substances in the products themselves and to verify that what is in the bottle is what is on the label. You can read more about how we tested below.
Read on for everything you need to know about the best turmeric supplements, including whether you should be taking one and what to look for. If you’re interested in checking out more supplements to support your health and wellness goals, check out our top picks for the best multivitamins for women, the best magnesium supplements and best protein powders.
How we chose the best turmeric supplements
While there are a good deal of turmeric supplements to choose from, we evaluated dozens at the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Nutrition Lab and our choices were based on the following criteria:
✔️ Third-party tested: We prioritize companies that conduct third-party testing by credible institutions, such as USP, NSF and Consumer Lab, to ensure quality standards, and that what is on the product label is, in fact, what consumers are purchasing. We reviewed marketing claims, ingredient lists and product quality, and prioritized companies that test for heavy metals, pesticide and herbicide contamination, among other items of concern. We also highlighted companies that have strict internal quality control standards.
✔️ Types of turmeric: We looked for different forms of turmeric that could accommodate a range of symptoms and budgets. We kept in mind dosage and supplement form, be it a capsule, tablet or gummy. We also looked for turmeric specifically targeted for different purposes, such as inflammation response and joint and immune support.
✔️ Ingredients: We emphasized companies that use higher-quality ingredients, and are free from artificial preservatives, flavors, sweeteners, synthetic coloring agents and fillers.
What to look for when shopping for the best turmeric supplements
There are many types of turmeric supplements available to choose from and in different strengths. If you have decided to take a turmeric supplement, here are a few things to keep in mind:
✔️ Form: There are a variety of turmeric supplement forms available, including capsules, tablets, gummies and oils. If you don’t like swallowing capsules, there are plenty of other options to choose from. Pay attention to serving size as some supplements require multiple dosages throughout the day.
✔️ Bioavailability: Turmeric and curcumin are not well absorbed on their own. For example, they may be better absorbed when paired with black pepper or black pepper extract, which is sometimes listed as piperine or bioperine. They are also better absorbed with a fat source so you may want to take your supplement with a meal. “Lecithin and piperine are chemical compounds that may help with the absorption of turmeric in the body and increase the bioavailability of curcumin,” says registered dietitian Abigail Calderon, MS, RD, CDN. Lecithin is found in foods like eggs and vegetable oils, butter, yogurt and other lactose products. “Black pepper contains the chemical piperine, and piperine increases the absorption of curcumin in the body to almost double the amount than if you took turmeric by itself,” Calderon explains. There are also many products that contain turmeric with enhanced bioavailability such as Mervia, Longvida and NovaSOL.
✔️ Dosage: According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), a division of National Institutes of Health (NIH), “turmeric and conventionally formulated curcumin products are probably safe when taken orally or applied to the skin in the recommended amounts.” Different dosages may be indicated for different health issues; ultimately the decision is between you and your healthcare provider.
✔️ Price: Turmeric supplements can vary greatly in price and therefore we’ve listed a range of picks to suit all budgets. As with most things, higher prices are not necessarily a good indicator of quality.
What are the benefits of turmeric supplements
Turmeric and curcumin’s reputation as a superfood is well deserved because it is associated with many health benefits, but as with any supplement more research is needed before a definitive conclusion can be reached. Some of the purported benefits include:
✔️ May help with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Turmeric alone will likely not help decrease the symptoms associated with IBD or ulcerative colitis (UC), explains Greene. However, she adds that a randomized clinical control trial showed that taking supplemental curcumin with a common medication used to treat UC was more successful in helping patients with mild to moderate UC achieve remission than the medication on its own. According to Calderon, who suffers from IBD herself, and specializes in treating patients with IBD, “studies show that turmeric may be beneficial for cases of mild IBD when used together with medication because of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.” She further explains studies also indicate “curcumin has certain natural properties that may improve intestinal barrier, as well as antimicrobial and immunomodulatory properties that may play a roll in regulating the gut microbiome.” Because of this it may have a potential roll in the treatment of IBD.
✔️ May help with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Turmeric may help decrease the pain and discomfort associated with both types of arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. “When compared to ibuprofen, studies showed that taking about 1,000 milligrams of curcumin per day could be as helpful in decreasing arthritis symptoms,” Greene says. “These studies have been done in small groups of people so it is hard to definitively say that turmeric will help more than traditional treatments but it could be worthwhile to try.”
✔️ May help with digestive issues. A 2022 randomized clinical control trial showed that taking 500 milligrams of curcumin four times per day was as effective at relieving reoccurring symptoms such as gas, bloating and nausea as the medication Omeprazole.
✔️ May help with insulin resistance and diabetes. Recent research suggests that curcumin may have effectiveness as an anti-diabetic agent including improving insulin resistance and reducing blood glucose. A recent study indicated that supplementing with 1500 milligrams of curcumin daily reduced fasting blood glucose and weight in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, if you are diabetic and taking medication to control it, it may increase the risk of low blood sugar and therefore should be discussed with your doctor.