As more and more people find out about the benefits of turmeric the more companies will want to get in on the action and fulfil this demand. We live in an era where anyone, within reason, can cheaply create or private label (e.g. putting your brand on a product manufactured by someone else) products in almost any category in any market. Amazon has democratized retail in a way no-one could have imagined a few years ago. They provide the demand, a place to complete the transaction and the fulfilment. As a seller you just have to send them a pallet of product, and you sit back and count the money. Ok it is not as simple as that, but it nearly is!
In the last 30 days (from date of this post), 77,000 jars of Turmeric & Black Pepper Capsules were sold on Amazon.co.uk spread over nearly 50 sellers, netting them £930,000. That is nearly £1m worth of quite a specific product from just one market. With a quick search on Alibaba I can order a huge range of turmeric supplements from China, slap my brand on it and just have them sent to an Amazon warehouse of my choosing, which in many ways is quite scary. So it stands to reason why many entrepreneurs are attracted into this space, some, with very little knowledge of the products they are selling.
In a recent post on what is the best turmeric supplement to take, we discussed the benefits of Turmeric Capsules. But not all Turmeric Capsules are the same and others are seriously ill-advised to take under normal circumstances. There are strict regulations around what you can say about supplements and alternative medicines on your packaging and marketing, which in some cases may actually be damaging, as the consumer is potentially not equipped to make an informed buying decision.
So let’s dive into some products which are available to purchase in the UK. A quick search, and you will find the following items for sale in this category:
- Turmeric Capsules - 95% Curcuminoids
- Turmeric Capsules
- Turmeric Curcumin Capsules
- Turmeric & Bioperine Capsules
- Turmeric & Black Pepper Capsules
All of the above contain turmeric powder. Not all turmeric powder is the same. A good quality turmeric will have between 3-5% curcumin content. So firstly, I would advise you to purchase capsules which clearly state the curcumin content of the turmeric and also be able to prove it through independent analysis from a certified microbiology lab. Adding fillers and anti-caking agents have also been seen from some unscrupulous sellers, so knowing the provenance of the ingredients is highly recommended.
Which brings us on to those capsules with Curcumin Extract or added Curciminoids. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and the anti-inflammatory and natural antiseptic properties are seen to reside in this curcuminoid (curcumin is one of the curcuminoids in turmeric). It is now possible to extract this curcumin and add it to products to boost its efficacy. However curcumin is a very powerful compound, and the long-term effects of taking curcumin extract in such high doses is not yet clear. Most informed people would recommend only taking this form of supplement if taking it as part of a cancer protocol and certainly only after consulting with your doctor. So for regular health and mobility avoid all turmeric capsules with added curcumin extract or curcuminoids. There is also some evidence to suggest that the other compounds found in turmeric powder are important for its efficacy and just extracting one curcuminoid is potentially losing benefits from the others in the natural form of the product.
The bioavailability of curcumin is poor. So in order to absorb more of the good stuff, you need a number of additional ingredients. Again it has been proven that adding black pepper improves the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%! Piperine is the bio-active compound in black pepper and you only need a little of it to gain massive improvements. There is arguably no need for piperine extract to be used instead of black pepper, as the ayurvedic arguments of consuming the whole form hold true. NB. Bioperine is simply a patented brand of piperine.
Another component used to improve bioavailability is to add an oil. The oil acts as a carrier to bypass the liver, where it would normally be just excreted out of the body, and help the body absorb the curcumin directly into the bloodstream. A healthy oil like coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil is optimal. Unfortunately, due to the nature of capsule design which dissolves in a liquid, it is not possible to add coconut oil to a capsule. However, MCTs are a natural component of coconut oil and are a type of saturated fat which are rapidly digested and absorbed by the body, and in powdered form, delivers a unique and key component missing in the majority of turmeric and black pepper capsule makers and was pioneered by Spice Origin.
In summary, when purchasing turmeric capsules for everyday vitality and mobility look for the following:
- Proven provenance of ingredients
- Indicated proof of curcumin content
- Do NOT buy capsules with added curcumin extract unless following the cancer protocol
- Always buy turmeric capsules with added black pepper
- Source turmeric capsules with an added oil carrier like MCT
..and finally. Consult your doctor prior to taking any supplements.