Turmeric has long been a part of Eastern traditional medicines, with purported benefits ranging from improved memory and pain management to weight loss. Clinical research supports several of these claims to varying degrees, with pain management being one of the benefits with the most scientific consensus.
While you could certainly get some turmeric into your system through your diet, turmeric supplements deliver much more than you could get from reasonably seasoning your food. But there seems to be a lot of confusion regarding turmeric and one of its constituent parts, curcumin. Is there a meaningful difference between the two? If so, which one should you take?
This guide will break down everything you need to know about turmeric, curcumin, and the supplements’ landscape. Then, we’ll let you in on our top seven picks for turmeric supplements.
If you’re a little pressed for time, you should check out this quick summary:
- Best overall: Pure Synergy SuperPure Turmeric
- Best budget pick: Bulk Supplements Turmeric Extract
- Best money-back guarantee: Life Extension Curcumin Elite
- Best extract-powder combination: Primal Harvest Turmeric Complex
- Best turmeric-ginger combination: Garden of Life mykind Organics Extra Strength Turmeric
- Easiest to take: MegaFood Turmeric Curcumin Minis
- Best bioavailability: Youtheory Turmeric
Pure Synergy’s supplement contains quality turmeric that's bioavailable for better absorption.
Pure Synergy is organic, kosher, non-GMO, gluten-free, and chemical-free. All products are third-party tested and USDA-approved. A one-time purchase of SuperPure Turmeric qualifies you for free shipping.
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The field of available turmeric supplements is vast, and it can be intimidating if you aren’t familiar with some of the terminology. We whittled our selection down to these top seven supplements by considering a few key aspects, and each rises to the challenge when we consider the following criteria.
When you buy any extract, look for a percentage concentration. Sometimes the label will say something like “standardized to X%.” Non-standardized extracts can vary in potency from batch to batch, making it difficult to know that you’re getting the same daily dose. The higher the concentration, the better.
We were particularly careful while evaluating turmeric supplements, as some companies use blends that only standardize some extracted components and not others, meaning you get fewer curcuminoids and other active compounds per dose than it may seem. Cucruminoids are a whole class of compounds you can find in turmeric; curcumin is just one of them. You’ll get curcumin, other curcuminoids, turmerones, and polysaccharides when you opt for a turmeric supplement over a curcumin supplement. None of our included turmeric supplements contain curcumin alone.
Bulk Supplements offers a 95% curcuminoid concentration in a 1,000mg dose. That’s 950mg curcuminoids per dose. Primal Harvest, Youtheory, and MegaFood also offer 95% concentrations in their formulas, but these are either part of more complex blends that dilute their ability to standardize or part of a smaller dose than Bulk Supplements.
Garden of Life doesn’t boast anywhere near the curcuminoid concentration of these others, but they get an honorable mention for clarifying their exact concentration per dose, even with the use of a proprietary blend.
Evaluating the cost of any supplement goes way beyond the sticker prices. Supplements that seem very similar can have wildly different concentrations, and those differences are crucial when calculating cost.
Bulk Supplements offers one of the highest doses of turmeric extract with a standardized 95% curcuminoid concentration. They also have among the lowest prices for capsules in the entire field, as well as powders you can buy in bulk to save even more. All told, their cost per milligram of curcuminoids is a fraction of most other companies.
Let’s take a quick look at how extract concentration impacts cost in this handy chart:
|Pure Synergy SuperPure Turmeric||Bulk Supplements Turmeric Extract||Primal Harvest Turmeric Complex||Life Extension Curcumin Elite||Garden of Life mykind Organics Turmeric||MegaFood Turmeric Curcumin Minis||Youtheory Turmeric|
|Extract dose per capsule||500mg||500mg||200mg||500mg||553mg||175mg||150mg|
|Active compounds per dose||412.5mg||425mg||190mg||365mg||100mg||119mg*||142mg|
|Cost per gram of active compounds||$1.48||$0.40||$2.80||$1.00||$4.13||$1.55||$1.64|
*Garden of Life and MegaFood list their 95% concentrations as part of proprietary turmeric blends that include whole turmeric root powder. That makes the math regarding curcuminoid concentration a bit more complicated, but both companies self-report the doses listed above.
Our measure of ingredient quality relies on several factors. Some companies have obvious advantages over others by offering organic, non-GMO, gluten-, soy-, and dairy-free options. Less straightforward factors arise from ingredient processing. For example, both Garden of Life and Primal Harvest utilize whole turmeric powder in their supplements, but Garden of Life employs fermented turmeric, introducing probiotic benefits that Primal Harvest lacks.
Another important measure of ingredient quality comes from testing and manufacturing facility certifications. We always prefer companies that go through third parties for their product testing. Often, this confirms the safety and purity of a supplement, and it’s a way for companies to show they’re doing all they can to give you exactly what they’re advertising. And supplements made in GMP-certified facilities are almost always superior, since it means the FDA has given their stamp of approval on the facility’s manufacturing quality.
Pure Synergy’s variegated extraction processes, Oregon Tilth organic certification (more stringent than USDA), and commitment to facility compliance and product testing give them the win in this category.
Just as turmeric extract shows superior performance to curcumin alone, additional ingredients can make turmeric work even better or work synergistically with it to improve specific systems. Ginger is one well-known ingredient that seems to perform well alongside turmeric, the two acting as more than the sum of their parts. And turmeric is not very well-absorbed in the body, so adding black pepper or including turmeric’s natural turmerones can improve bioavailability.
Sometimes, the additional components in a turmeric supplement are just more turmeric. That’s a good thing — turmeric in different forms other than a basic root extract can improve its impacts across the board. As long as each ingredient meets a certain quality standard and the doses are high enough, we generally encourage people to seek turmeric supplements with a little variety. Pure Synergy’s offering is an excellent example of how different forms of turmeric derived from disparate extraction processes can improve performance. And Garden of Life’s turmeric, ginger, and black pepper combination ensures high degrees of bioavailability and efficacy.
Convenience from a turmeric supplement starts with your interactions with the company. Do they have an intuitive website that makes ordering easy? Is there chat or phone support to help you along? We also look at available purchasing and payment options, as well as free shipping offers or bulk discounts. A good return policy is important here, too.
Once you actually receive the supplement, it should be convenient to take. That means no complicated dosing schedules or large quantities of pills per dose. MegaFood easily earned a spot here thanks to its downsized tablets, which are smaller than most others and easy for just about anyone to swallow. And Life Extension’s year-long return policy and convenient subscription system earned them a spot here alongside MegaFood.
Turmeric is a leafy plant in the ginger family that’s native to Southeast Asia. Its most useful part is its rhizome, which is not its root but rather a horizontal stem that grows underground between the vertical, above-ground stem and the root system. That rhizome, once dried and ground, creates the orange spice we call turmeric.
Turmeric has been an integral part of Eastern medicine and cuisine for centuries. It’s an essential ingredient in curries, and it’s made its way into many tasty Western dishes in recent decades. But modern science’s ability to isolate and extract its constituent compounds has made its benefits available on a whole new level. The most abundant and potent of these compounds are the curcuminoids. And one cucurminoid — curcumin — is widely regarded as the most impactful and bioactive of the bunch, with links to studies on everything from diabetes to cancer prevention.
The supplement industry doesn’t do a great job differentiating between turmeric supplements and curcumin supplements. Sometimes one is even labeled as the other. But understanding the difference can help you get the most out of your supplement regimen.
Curcumin is a compound found inside turmeric. It’s one of the most widely studied of turmeric’s components, leading many researchers to believe it’s the most beneficial of the compounds turmeric offers.
Medical science has a knack for identifying and isolating one element that may work the best in our bodies and then packaging it and selling it on its own, but this isn’t always the best course of action. Lesser active compounds in turmeric may work synergistically with others to create positive effects that one compound couldn’t manage alone.
Curcumin is just one of several curcuminoids found in turmeric. There are other compounds in turmeric as well, including turmerones and polysaccharides, which can help with nutrient absorption. A curcumin supplement will usually only contain curcumin extracted from turmeric. In comparison, a turmeric supplement pulls a more generalized extract from turmeric that doesn’t isolate one compound but instead gives you the plant’s full spectrum of available components.
Taking curcumin on its own will most likely provide some benefit, at least according to the lion’s share of available research. But taking a high-quality turmeric supplement will provide you with curcumin, other curcuminoids, and various compounds found in turmeric, essentially maximizing your potential benefits.
Turmeric has been used to address numerous health problems through the ages, so many people could benefit from adding a turmeric supplement to their regimen. Among the benefits most commonly researched, you’ll find turmeric can:
- Reduce pain and inflammation
- Improve heart health
- Regulate blood sugar
- Shorten workout recovery
- Inhibit free radicals
- Slow age-related cognitive decline
The reduction of pain and inflammation is one of turmeric’s most well-researched benefits, and studies often show that it can be useful for those with and without pain conditions, as everyone suffers from inflammation to varying degrees.
Most turmeric supplements deliver anywhere between 200mg and 1,000mg of turmeric per dose. But the body doesn’t do a very good job absorbing turmeric or any of its isolated compounds, and studies show that doses as high as 8,000mg are generally well-tolerated. There are diminishing returns there, however, as an 8,000mg dose won’t give you anywhere near eight times the benefit of a 1,000mg dose. The common dose range among turmeric supplements, especially those with bioavailability enhancers, appears to be the most effective.
There are some people for whom turmeric supplements are not ideal, including pregnant people and children. It’s best to talk to your doctor before introducing any new supplements to your daily regimen, including turmeric.
- USDA and Oregon Tilth organic
- Three forms of extracted turmeric
- Gluten-free and non-GMO
- Kosher Certified
- Contains turmerones for better absorption
- Chemical-free extraction processes
- Third-party tested
- Free shipping when you purchase through iHerb
- No free shipping on orders under $70
SuperPure Turmeric lives up to its name well as one of the most well-made turmeric supplements available. In addition to Pure Synergy’s various certifications —organic, kosher, non-GMO, and so on — the company uses three extraction processes to get the most out of their turmeric. Each process is highly effective, and none of them use harsh chemicals. Instead, the processes use CO2, H2O, and organic ethanol to provide you with a full array of curcuminoids, turmerones, and polysaccharides.
Pure Synergy’s organic certification goes beyond typical regulatory requirements. In addition to that USDA stamp of approval, their turmeric is certified organic by Oregon Tilth standards, which are more stringent than USDA’s.
A single serving of Pure Synergy SuperPure Turmeric contains 500mg of their extract, broken down into:
- Total curcuminoids: 325mg
- Total essential oils: 47.5mg
- Total polysaccharides: 40mg
That’s 412.5mg out of 500mg, standardized to a concentration of 82.5%.
Within the essential oils complex, you’ll find alpha-, beta-, and ar-turmerones, which increase Pure Synergy’s bioavailability without needing black pepper extract. There isn’t enough research comparing the bioavailability enhancements of black pepper and turmerones in turmeric supplements, but both are known to support absorption effectively.
We found the best deal on Pure Synergy SuperPure Turmeric on iHerb’s website, where you can get a better money-back guarantee than you would buying from Pure Synergy directly. You still have subscription savings opportunities, and you’ll get free shipping, even on a single-bottle order.
Best budget pick
- 95% cucurminoid concentration
- Extremely well-priced
- Available as powder or capsules
- Bulk and subscription savings options
- No listed turmerones or added black pepper
- Capsules contain bovine gelatin
- Powder preparation can be difficult
Bulk Supplements boasts an impressive 95% extract concentration, meaning that for every 1,000mg dose (two capsules), you’ll get 950mg of curcuminoids. They sell their product in powder and capsule form, with the powder offering the most profound savings.
The company doesn’t advise you on how you might ingest their turmeric powder. If you can stand the taste of an entire serving mixed into a glass of water, then you’re both fortunate and rare among us. Our testing team endeavored to add a day’s worth of turmeric powder to various dishes, from smoothies to cake batter. As long as you don’t cook it (which would damage its potency), you can ingest a little here and there throughout your day to get to the daily recommended amount.
Keep in mind that turmeric can stain, which is a big downside to using powdered supplements. You’ll likely want to use it in recipes that include berries, chocolate, or other components that can balance against its strong yellow-orange color to protect your teeth and your clothes.
Since there are so many sizes of powder and capsule orders available through Bulk Supplements, we’ve gone ahead and made a useful chart for you.
|Servings||Cost||Cost with subscription|
Powder in sizes up to 1kg come in single resealable bags. If you place a 5kg order, you’ll receive five 1kg bags, and orders of 20kg or 25kg ship in tubs. At the time of this writing, 20k and 25k tubs were sold out.
Shipping from Bulk Supplements is free on orders over $59. The company only accepts returns on unopened items within 30 days of purchase.
Best extract-powder combination
- 95% extract concentration
- Also contains turmeric root powder
- Contains BioPerine to enhance bioavailability
- U.S.-made in GMP-certified facility
- Generous 90-day money-back guarantee
- A bit on the pricey side
- Not organic
Primal Harvest Turmeric Complex is our top pick for a combined turmeric extract and root powder because the company employs a 95% extract alongside a generous 900mg dose of turmeric powder. In the same way turmeric extract is more beneficial than curcumin alone, some people believe consuming whole foods like a root powder instead of an extract is a superior path to health.
There isn’t much evidence to support this for the turmeric spice, and turmeric’s components are well known for their poor absorption. But Primal Harvest includes a 10mg dose of black pepper extract to enhance their supplement’s bioavailability and potentially get more of that powder’s components into your system.
Primal Harvest’s website offers you the ability to buy as many as four bottles at once, but there are no additional discounts for bulk purchases. The only way to save money through their system is by subscribing, which knocks 18% off the price.
Without a subscription, one 60-capsule bottle (a one-month supply) costs $38.95. Shipping costs an additional $5.95 for all orders under $75. With a subscription, that same bottle costs $31.94, and shipping is free.
Best money-back guarantee
- Concentrations are clearly labeled
- Contains 15mg of tumerones
- Gluten-free and non-GMO
- Free shipping with a subscription
- One-year money-back guarantee
- Low number of curcuminoids per dose
- Advanced formula contains bovine gelatin
Life Extension offers a handful of products derived from turmeric, but there are only two worth your consideration: Curcumin Elite and Advanced Curcumin Elite. Their formulas are nearly identical, but the advanced version adds gingerols extracted from ginger with a CO2 process and additional turmerones from oil extraction.
Both supplements contain glucomannans, which are a polysaccharide found in turmeric. Glucomannans have been shown to increase the ability for curcumin to pass through the blood-brain barrier and may be influential in turmeric’s ability to slow the onset of cognitive decline.
Strangely, the advanced formula is a little less expensive than the standard Curcumin Elite. This is likely due to the Advanced formula’s reliance on gelatin-based capsules to protect the added components. Standard Curcumin Elite uses vegetable capsules that are preferable for vegans and vegetarians but are a bit more expensive to produce.
Both forms of the supplement contain the Curcumin Elite blend, which is made of:
- Total curcuminoids: 200mg
- Total turmerones: 15mg
- Total glucomannans: 150mg
The advanced formula adds 60mg of gingerols and another 60mg of turmerones to maximize absorption.
Here’s how the pricing for Life Extension’s two Curcumin Elite supplements works out:
|Curcumin Elite||Advanced Curcumin Elite|
|Price with subscription||$22||$18|
Shipping is free on all subscription orders, and basic shipping for one-time purchases costs $5.50.
Life Extension offers one of the best money-back guarantees in the business, allowing you up to a year to decide whether a given supplement is right for you and get your money back if it isn’t.
Best turmeric-ginger combination
- Uses fermented turmeric and ginger
- Contains probiotics
- Certified organic and non-GMO
- Kosher Certified
- Dose is on the low side
- No subscription option
Garden of Life is a certified B corporation that produces a wide variety of supplements, many of which are organic. Their mykind Organics Extra Strength Turmeric is part of a specific product lineup dedicated to organic production. It’s something of a misnomer, though, as this is one of the least powerful options on our list. Its turmeric blend yields just 100mg of curcuminoids per dose.
That said, we didn’t include this product on our list for its potency; it’s here for its ingredient quality. In addition to using organic, vegan, and non-GMO ingredients, the turmeric and ginger root in this supplement are fermented, bringing probiotic benefits to the table that none of the others in this guide can boast.
These aspects might speak to you if you don’t think you need a particularly strong dose of curcuminoids. Of course, given what we know about turmeric tolerability at high doses, you might consider doubling your dose of this supplement to see more dramatic results. That makes it a much more expensive choice, however. And you should always talk to your doctor before using any supplements in a manner not described on the label.
One 60-count bottle of mykind Organics Extra Strength Turmeric costs $24.79. But you can get a 120-count bottle for an extra $16, and at $40.79, you’ll qualify for free shipping.
Easiest to take
- Contains vitamin C and a healthy food blend
- Offers turmeric extract and powder
- Budget-friendly price point
- Certified B corporation
- Free shipping on all orders
- Subscribe and save 15%
- Black pepper dose is low
- Money-back guarantee is only 30 days
MegaFood has been producing supplements since 1973, and they attained certified B corporation status in 2018. Their Turmeric Curcumin Minis, as their name implies, are designed a bit smaller than the average turmeric tablet. That feature makes them the easiest supplement to take on our list.
The total curcuminoid dose isn’t especially high, even though the company uses a 95% extract. Two tablets will provide you with 237.5mg curcuminoids daily and 100mg turmeric root powder. These Minis also provide a food blend that contains:
- Orange: 71mg
- Tart cherry: 50mg
- Wild blueberry: 40mg
- Black raspberry extract: 37.5mg
- Brown rice: 21mg
- Cranberry: 4mg
Whether such amounts of dried and powdered foods can make a big difference to a supplement is unclear. Still, several of these ingredients boast antioxidant properties and may work synergistically with turmeric to battle oxidative stress.
The formula also contains 100mg of holy basil leaf extract and 1.5mg BioPerine, a patented piperine extract.
You can get a 30- or 60-day supply of Minis as a one-time purchase or as part of a subscription that will save you 15%. Here’s how it works out:
|Cost||Cost with subscription|
- 95% curcuminoid concentration
- Generous dose of black pepper extract
- Contains olive leaf extract
- 15% off with subscriptions
- No free shipping
- Large serving size
- Strange number of servings per container
Youtheory doesn’t make the cheapest turmeric supplement out there. Still, it’s important to remember that they utilize a 95% curcuminoid concentration in their extract and include both BioPerine and olive leaf in their formula. And among all the products in our guide, the 15mg dose of BioPerine is the largest, allowing us to consider Youtheory’s turmeric as the most bioavailable option.
Olive leaf is an interesting addition here. On its own, it’s been shown to manage inflammation and damage in arterial endothelial cells. It also shows promise in treating upper respiratory illness. There hasn’t been much research combining curcuminoids with olive leaf extract, though one review posits that the ingredients can work together to manage insulin levels in diabetic patients.
One frustrating thing about Youtheory is that they provide 120 tablets of a supplement with a 3-tablet serving size. That means you get 40 servings per bottle. If you want to order without subscribing, you’ll have to keep track of your stock carefully. And if you choose to subscribe to take the burden off, you only have intervals of one, two, or three months to choose from. So, you’ll either end up with too few tablets in a given time period or you’ll slowly build up a reserve from over-ordering.
One bottle of Youtheory turmeric costs $32.95, but you can get 15% off with a subscription, bringing the cost down to $28.01.
The company does not offer free shipping on one-time or subscription orders at any price level. They also only offer returns on unopened products within 30 days of purchase.
What is turmeric good for?
Turmeric has been shown to help reduce pain, inflammation, and oxidative stress. There’s evidence it can improve heart health and delay the onset of age-related cognitive decline. It may also help manage blood sugar and obesity.
How much is too much turmeric?
Turmeric is incredibly well-tolerated in clinical studies. Some of these studies used quantities as high as 8g per day without any noteworthy adverse reactions. Of course, there is little benefit to taking that much turmeric, as the positive effects don’t increase in direct proportion to the dose once you pass a certain point. In short, none of our top supplements pose a risk of overdosing on turmeric.
Will turmeric supplements stain my teeth?
When used as a spice, turmeric can stain your teeth over time. But it would require consistent consumption. In capsule or tablet form, there is far less risk of turmeric staining your teeth, as the compounds that cause its signature color don’t linger in your mouth.
Can I take turmeric while pregnant?
Unfortunately, turmeric supplements — or any supplement other than prenatal vitamins — are not advisable during pregnancy unless your doctor says it’s okay. Pregnant women are often told to avoid NSAIDs for pain unless prescribed by their doctor, as these can pose health risks to the fetus. So, it’s natural that pregnant women would look to something like turmeric or another supplement associated with pain relief to take instead. Unfortunately, medicinal concentrations of turmeric may influence estrogen levels too much to be safe during pregnancy.