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Choosing the Best Quality Turmeric Supplement

Choosing the Best Quality Turmeric Supplement

Turmeric. The golden glory of the spice kingdom. Recently it seems as though this ancient heirloom has made a major comeback. You've likely seen it's name (or it's pseudonym: curcumin) on the cover of health magazines, in promo sections of whole food stores, on ads that follow you around the Internet, and more.

And of course, besides it's bold entrance into supplement distribution limelight, you have to acknowledge it's long-loved place in ethnic cuisine creations. Thanks to delicious dishes like curry and beverage recipes like golden milk, turmeric may have already been benefiting your life like an unexpected blessing.

What is It?

Seeing it all over the place doesn't really tell you what it is. If you're looking for some really technical information, you might be interested in knowing that turmeric is a member of the Zingiberaceae family.

This botanical family also known as the ginger family. It is best known for those two culturally distinct spices, but does include cardamom and a few other members as well.This entire family is known to grow in tropical Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

More specifically, turmeric is a flowering plant with a rhizome. That means is has a root system that is living even though above ground and sprouts new roots and shoots from its nodes. With the skin on, it looks like a light-yellowish colored, super small and narrow baked potato crossed with an alien cocoon. Often there will also be little nubs growing out of the sides as well, like what you may see on a potato. 

Once you slice a piece off or peel back a slice of the papery skin, you'll be certain of its otherworldly nature. The incredibly orange color seen in bottled turmeric powder is even brighter and more vibrant when in the fresh raw state.

Turmeric is often used as a culinary spice. It has a tangy, earthy, bitter, and bold taste. The flavor is quite distinct though the bright color is often already a giveaway that a recipe includes it. It's most commonly sought after for curry dishes of all sorts, whether you're dealing with the Thai or Indian variety.

Traditionally, India has been the main source and trade owners in the turmeric business.

This almost spiritual spice has had a far greater impact on Indian tradition than just being a common ingredient, however. Keep reading and you'll notice the medicinal properties of this plant are unmatched. But as for cultural significance, turmeric is believed to be spiritually powerful in Hinduism.

In fact, Hindi people even today still use a string dyed with turmeric paste in wedding ceremonies. The groom gently ties the mangala sutra necklace around his bride's neck, which is an indication that she is capable and ready to help run his household. The significance of their tradition is correlative many western culture's exchange of gold rings​.

Something our rings can't do, though, is ward off evil spirits, which is yet another unique aspect of Hindu religious construct. People will wear a piece of turmeric rhizome or root as an amulet to ward off spiritual dark forces.

Turmeric or Curcumin?

At this point you're at least intrigued with all the hubbub regarding turmeric, so you wander into your local health food store. But, there is a bit of a problem.

If you pick up most bottles of supplemental turmeric, you may wonder how someone spelled the spice's name completely wrong. Instead what you will often see in big bold letters is: CURCUMIN

Have no fear; it's not really a problem at all. There's not a secret war over the correct word or spelling for the golden spirit-lifting, evil-warding, curry-crazy spice. Curcumin is just the particular substance in turmeric that's been the most studied. The list of benefits are almost impossible to believe until you've experienced them.

Curcumin is the bright yellow compound causing turmeric's distinct color. According to a lot of research, the properties of this naturally occurring chemical have been proven effective for both body and brain health to such a degree that some doctors have deemed it the most effective nutritive supplement in existence.

The main property curcumin holds is its anti-inflammatory impact. Many medical professionals currently hold the belief that most if not all chronic diseases are a form of inflammation gone haywire in the body. Therefore, reducing inflammation is key to finding an answer to things like Alzheimer's, arthritis, digestive ailments, allergies, and other autoimmune diseases. Many studies even show links between cancer aggravation and hyper-inflammatory signaling.

Inflammation as a natural bodily response isn't the problem in and of itself. In fact, it serves an important purpose. It's there so that our body can respond to things like infection, invasions of foreign bodies such as toxins, and muscle or tissue damage. In a simple world, this would be great because those emergency signals would cause other healing mechanisms to wake up and take over.

For example, your arm should swell and become inflamed if you get sting by a bee. It means the worker cells inside of you are making space, calling in troops, and finding/removing the source of pain or harm that has just threatened your otherwise balanced state. The situation however becomes complicated when we put this creative little body feature in context of our modern life.

Doctors call our situation chronic systemic inflammation, and basically it means our inflammatory response was set off at some point but our bodies healing response is not adequate, thus causing more and more inflammation.The reason we have such a problem with it today is that we exist in a world where immediate inflammatory triggers like excess body fat, stress, environmental toxins, and processed foods are everywhere, all the time. This widespread, nearly unavoidable inflammation is a huge reason why turmeric's curcumin has taken over the supplement market.

Using it as a Supplement

Curcumin works best over time, by modifying the body's inflammatory response. Unlike man-made inflammatory medicines that force natural responses, curcumin actually helps rewire cellular response to adapt to stressors. This is effective because it allows your body to make better judgement calls about what it wants to attack. It also works to more efficiently balance minor attacks (i.e. the three slices of pizza you ate last night) without causing whole system shut down as if it were in crisis.

It’s not all about inflammation though. Curcumin is also one of the most potent antioxidants, which functions as a protective and restorative agent against oxidative stress. Oxidation occurs in daily, from things like your body breaking down food, breathing, and normal organ functions. That means, like inflammation, the problem isn't a situation in and of itself.

The problem is when oxidation becomes a stress, an overabundance, pressed on the body. Then, your healthy cells cannot release and recycle the free radicals which are caused in oxidative processes.

Normally we'd be able to release free radicals and maintain minimal stress from oxidation. But once again, our daily lives do not typically promote such a balance. The common list of harmful free-radical-producing, oxidative-stress-causing factors include:

  • overeating (which causes excess effort for digestion)
  • exercising to much or too little
  • excess alcohol consumption
  • air pollutants
  • tobacco smoke
  • not enough sleep
  • airborne fungus (mold)
  • radiation (from cell phones to x-rays)
  • charred foods

Maintaining a lifestyle with less oxidation is key, but supplementing with a formula of strong antioxidants has become equally essential due to modern lifestyles.

Curcumin's proven activity against the harmful overload of inflammation and oxidation is the precise reason why, with one shot, you can combat a major percentage of what would cause you suffering. This goes for your mind just as much as your body. Inflammation and oxidation of the mind caused by stress and intense pressures of life are just as harmful as bodily stressors.

Reviews of Our Top Choices

The most efficient way to get adequate amounts of curcumin circling your body and mind is to invite the troops in via supplementation. Cooking with turmeric is also an alternative option, but unless you are vowing to eat curry forever hereafter, the easier option is choosing something from below. These supplemental forms of curcumin (turmeric) are highly researched and recommended by scientists and users alike.

NativOrganics Organic Veg Capsules 

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There's no moving parts or anything fancy here. Its just a quality product with a good reputation as an organic supplement. 

Features

This bottles contains 60 capsules. You can take either one or two at a time, giving you anywhere from a one to two month supply. 

You can purchase it as a one-time buy or on a subscription plan, which is great if your the type of person that tends to forget to refill your supply until you run out. 

The Good Stuff

  • Absorption: This formula contains black pepper, ginger, amla, and goji to help increase absorption rates.
  • Plenty of Curcumoids: Curcumoids are the main compound in turmeric studied for inflammatory and antioxidant impact, and this formula has plenty. 
  • Vegan and USDA Certified: Don't stress about breaking your vegan diet as this pills are 100% vegan.

The Not So Good Stuff

  • Damage: Make sure to check your shipment as sometimes a capsule with break inside the bottle.

Nutri Amazing Health Capsules

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Marketed as an anti-inflammatory supplement, this product from Nutri Amazing Health is basically a high quality turmeric supplement. 

Features

This is a 90 capsule supply with a 1 capsule serving size. That gives you a full 6 weeks of supply with a single purchase. 

The Good Stuff

  • Buy American: This is sourced exclusively in the USA with non-GMO, gluten free certified ingredients.
  • Absorption: This mix contains BioPerine, which a specially formulated version of black pepper which has been studied to increase curcumoid absorption by a significant degree.
  • Clean: This is USDA certified organic and all natural. 

The Not So Good Stuff

  • Availability: It's not always easy to get your hands on this supplement. 

EarthBound Vegan Capsules

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If you want a quality bang-for-your-buck turmeric supplement, EarthBound has a fantastic product. 

Features

This bottle comes with 120 500mg capsules. That means yu need 2 capsules for each serving, giving you a supply that's good for two months. 

The Good Stuff

  • Affordable: Supplements vary greatly in price from one brand to another. This choice is on the low side of what you'd normally expect for a full two month's worth of pills. 
  • Curmumoids Galore: This contains EarthBound's C3 Complex that includes the three most important curcumoids.  
  • Absorption: It's enhanced with BioPerine to help with your body's ability to absorb as much turmeric as possible. 

The Not So Good Stuff

  • No Organic Certification: While only all natural organic ingredients are used, they doesn't seem to be any kind of formal certification attached to this product. 

Additional Considerations

According to WebMD, turmeric supplements can be used for "arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), joint pain, stomach pain, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, bypass surgery, hemorrhage, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gallbladder disorders, high cholesterol, a skin condition called lichen planus, skin inflammation from radiation treatment, and fatigue." But, that's not even the whole list. Anything immunity or inflammation related could find reprieve using this incredible spice.

Because there isn't one magic cure all pill for all humanity, it is important to make note here of a few precautions when taking supplemental curcumin. Turmeric may interact with anticoagulant/antiplatelet medicines, so speak with your doctor first if you are currently taking a prescription in this category. Curcumin is also great for lowering blood sugar, so be cautious if taking this along with another blood sugar altering drug (particularly prescriptions). Otherwise, no major side effects have been reported with balanced levels of curcumin supplementation.

Possible effects may include stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea, so if you do notice any of these just take a break or lower your dosage/frequency.

Conclusion

Turmeric is quite an amazing root, and the curcumoids found within make for a wonderful supplement. It's all natural, and if you are careful with selecting the right brand and formula, you can find something that will fit within your vegan diet. 

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