Tumeric the humble root, which originates in India is being added to everything from health supplements to juices and beauty products with claims of relieving pain, improving brain function, clearing up skin problems and even tackling cancer.
Key to its many health benefits is its yellow pigment, called curcumin. Medical experts claim curcumin may even improve the function of the insulin producing cells in the pancreas, important for controlling sugar levels (study published in Diabetes care in 2012).
It’s important to note that medical research uses curcumin at very high doses – not just ground-down versions of whole turmeric plants that are commonly available. In fact eating turmeric a common ingredient in curries, and more recently added to drinks such as lattes in coffee shops is a pretty poor way of getting enough curcumin into your body.
Another study in 2015 found that patients with inflammatory bowel disease ulcerative colitis who took a high-dose curcumin supplement with their medication achieved remission after a month.
There is increasing evidence to suggest curcumin reduces the levels of damaging inflammatory proteins released by our cells and therefore has the potential to help many inflammation based diseases including arthritis, dementia, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, says Professor Susan Hewlings, a dietitian at central Michigan University who co-authored an extensive 2017 scientific review on the spice.
So here are SurreyK’s ratings of some of the commonly available turmeric products available on the market now.
This tea is certainly refreshing, but you’re not going to get enough of the important ingredient curcumin to have a significant anti-inflammatory effect in the body. The manufacturer claims that each bag contains 40 per cent turmeric root but as curcumin isn’t water soluble -you’re not going to absorb any meaningful amounts of it from the tea. (1/10).
Pukka Turmeric Gold Tea (1/10)
Free from dairy and caffeine, this latte drink is made with rice milk, turmeric, sunflower oil, ginger, cinnamon and black pepper. Low fat and low sugar, it’s a reasonably healthy alternative to tea and coffee but you’d have to drink litres to reach the beneficial dose of curcumin, around 500mg to 1,000mg found in a good supplement. (2/10)
This oral spray mixes the curcumin with cyclodextrin, a large sugar molecule often used to enhance the absorption of drugs, so in theory this will make it more absorbabale. However absorption through the mouth lining is better than taking a pill because the surface area is much smaller. That said the spray would be useful for people who hate swallowing pills. (7/10).
Is this good for your skin?
A treatment containing turmeric, witch hazel and clay to ‘unclog pores’ and ‘keep blemishes at bay.’ Studies suggest turmeric reduces inflammation when applied to the skin, so this mask may be of benefit for inflammatory skin conditions such as mild acne. (7/10)
This spread contains curcumin with coconut oil and back pepper extract pipeline, said to improve absorption of the spice. A 10ml serving (2tsp) has 200mg of curcumin. The theory is consuming curcumin with a source of fat helps you absorb more. However you could pick a healthier fat such as olive oil with a high dose of curcumin. (4/10).
The suggested daily dose is higher than most studies have tested, but as the perfect dose for curcumin benefits are unknown this is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem with this product is that in the research that has looked at whether adding turmeric essential oil boosts curcumins absorption, it either had no effect or made it worse. (6/10)
Advanced formula to help aid absorption with Organic turmeric (600mg) and Organic Piperine (black pepper 10mg). Piperine helps aid absorption of turmeric. A fantastic product proven to reduce symptoms of hyper mobility syndrome, arthritis, bowel conditions such as ulcerative colitis and raised blood sugars. I love this product and take it on a daily basis. (8/10)
What turmeric products do you use and how do you rate them. Please share with SurreyK.