Turmeric is a plant that belongs to the ginger family. A compound in turmeric called curcumin has been widely studied as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
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"Research has shown curcumin can activate your body's health defense systems, improving your circulation, protecting your stem cells, aiding in gut health, protecting your DNA as an antioxidant, reducing inflammation and enhancing immunity," William Li, MD, president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation and author of Eat to Beat Disease, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
Curcumin has been shown to inhibit the inflammatory process for conditions that are pro-inflammatory such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, inflammatory bowel disease and COVID-19, according to a 2021 review in Drug Design, Development, and Therapy.
"Clinical trials of curcumin supplements have shown benefits for high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, skin health and even weight management," Dr. Li adds.
The Best Turmeric Supplements
- Best Overall: Garden of Life mykind Extra Strength Turmeric (From $16, Amazon)
- Best on a Budget: Nature Made Turmeric Curcumin (From $8.79, Amazon)
- Best Gummy: Nordic Naturals Zero Sugar Curcumin Gummies ($24.19, Amazon)
- Best for Athletes: Momentous Turmeric Ultra (From $29.71, Live Momentous)
- Best Allergy-Free: Youtheory Turmeric ($32.99, Youtheory)
- Best for Absorption: Kirkland Signature Turmeric With Black Pepper ($27.99, Costco)
- Best Powder/Spice: McCormick Ground Turmeric ($9.94, Amazon)
How We Chose
First off, we leaned on the expertise of Dr. Li. We also scrutinized the human research on turmeric and how it can help you.
Every supplement recommended has, at a minimum, met the Food & Drug Administration's guidelines for current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs) and has undergone third-party testing to ensure quality and purity.
Beyond that, we used these guidelines:
- Limited filler ingredients
Learn more about how we choose and cover products here.
1. Garden of Life mykind Extra Strength Turmeric
- Third-party tested
- Some people say the capsules are too large
The turmeric supplement that gets the nod for the best overall is Garden of Life's mykind turmeric. This supplement checks all the boxes for what to look for in a supplement: It has been third-party tested and approved by Consumer Lab to contain exactly what is listed on the bottle, including the amount of curcuminoids.
It is USDA organic, vegan and gluten-free. It contains black pepper to increase absorption. As a bonus, it contains two strands of probiotics to aid in digestion.
The price is comparable to other high-quality supplements, so you don't have to worry about breaking the bank to get peace of mind.
2. Nature Made Turmeric Curcumin
- Third-party certified
- Does not contain absorption-enhancing ingredients
Nature Made is a reliable go-to for an inexpensive, quality supplement. This turmeric curcumin supplement is third-party tested by USP and widely available in stores and online.
It is a capsule, gluten-free and provides 47.5 milligrams of curcuminoids in 500 milligrams of turmeric powder.
This supplement does not contain any extra ingredients to enhance absorption, so it would be best to take it with a meal that contains black pepper and a source of fat, such as coconut, olive or canola oil.
3. Nordic Naturals Zero Sugar Curcumin Gummies
- Third-party tested
- Gluten- and sugar-free
- Contains sodium and sugar alcohols
If you prefer a gummy supplement over a capsule, then this one is a good choice for you. Third-party tested and approved by Consumer Lab, Nordic Naturals supplements are vegan, and both gluten- and sugar-free.
They do contain a small amount of sugar alcohols, so be aware if you're watching that.
These gummies also contain 30 milligrams of sodium per serving.
This supplement contains 200 milligrams of Longvida curcumin, which the manufacturer claims has a higher bioavailability. The amount of curcuminoids checked out with testing, so you are getting what is claimed on the bottle.
4. Momentous Turmeric Ultra
- Third-party tested
- Must be taken with food
If you are a serious athlete, then there's no playing around with your supplements. They must be tested to ensure no banned or illegal substances have crept in unannounced. Momentous turmeric has been third-party tested by NSF for Sport, which is the gold standard for supplement testing for athletes.
Momentous uses Meriva curcumin, which the company claims has a higher bioavailability than standard curcumin.
This supplement comes in capsule form, is gluten-free and contains 1,000 milligrams of turmeric.
5. Youtheory Turmeric
- Third-party certified
- Absorbable form
- Higher cost option
Youtheory may not be a brand you've heard of before, but it's one you should be looking at. With this turmeric supplement being their first with the USP seal, you can feel confident that you are getting what's advertised.
This formula has a highly absorbable turmeric blend enhanced with black pepper. It is a vegetarian capsule with a serving size of 2 capsules per day.
It's also free of three common allergens: soy, dairy and gluten.
6. Kirkland Signature Turmeric With Black Pepper
- Third-party certified
- Only available at Costco
Kirkland Signature's turmeric is only available at Costco, so that takes it out of the running for best overall, but it meets all the criteria for a great turmeric supplement. It's USP-certified, inexpensive and contains black pepper, which can help your body absorb the curcumin.
This supplement comes in a capsule form. It's gluten-free, vegetarian and contains 1,000 milligrams of turmeric per capsule. Take this with a meal that contains fat for even higher absorption.
7. McCormick Ground Turmeric
- Widely available
- Requires cooking
If you aren't ready to head to the supplement aisle just yet, but you want to add some turmeric to your diet, you're in luck. McCormick turmeric was tested by Consumer Lab to contain a sufficient level of curcuminoids to be approved.
You can add this spice to your favorite curry dishes, soups or drinks. (Get ideas for how to use turmeric for anti-inflammatory snacks and meals.)
It is widely available in grocery stores and online, so you never have to be without your turmeric.
What to Know Before Buying a Turmeric Supplement
Turmeric, and most notably curcumin, is complicated — it's not absorbed well in the body. "The bioavailability of curcumin is rather low," Dr. Li says. "Combining curcumin with black pepper or its extracts can raise its blood levels."
Many studies have used piperine (black pepper) to help with absorption, and so far so good. Emerging studies have also investigated using turmeric oils in combination with the extract for added absorption.
Turmeric is fat-soluble, according to a March 2020 review in Molecules. So, much like fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin A, our body needs fat to absorb it. This is one of the main reasons that some formulations of supplements use turmeric oils. However, this may not be necessary as long as you are eating a mixed diet that contains healthy fat, like olive oil or avocados.
To be a smart consumer, here are some things you need to know:
- Identify the reasons why you are taking turmeric/curcumin
- Understand how to increase the absorption in your body, aka bioavailability
- Choose a reputable and safe supplement
- Dose correctly
What to Look for in a Turmeric Supplement
1. Third-Party Testing
This is your number one check on your supplement to ensure safety. If it has been third-party tested, that means it has been through an independent lab (not affiliated with the supplement company) to be tested for quality, purity and, most often, any heavy metal contamination.
The three big third-party testers are USP, NSF (also NSF for Sport) and Consumer Lab. There are other third-party labs that a supplement company may choose, so make sure to check the label or the brand's website.
2. Limited Fillers
For each supplement you purchase, carefully read the label to ensure you are taking what you think you're taking.
Sometimes fillers are added as bulking agents. While they are not necessarily harmful to your health, they may be if you have any allergies or intolerances to an ingredient, such as gluten or soy.
If you are vegan, you will want to avoid gelatin, which is often found in softgels.
Curcumin as a supplement is generally regarded as safe and does not have any serious side effects, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. However, it is always a good idea to follow the dosage recommendation on the bottle of your supplement, unless directed differently by your doctor.
Dr. Li advocates for a whole food-first diet as your primary source of nutrients before thinking about supplementation. But he does not note any major safety concerns with turmeric or curcumin supplements.
"If a patient asks about a turmeric or curcumin supplement, I tell them it is fine to take," Dr. Li says. "Clinical trials have shown evidence for many benefits. I tell them to make sure they research the supplement to make sure it is of high quality, since there are many poor quality and even contaminated supplement products out there."
- NIH: "Turmeric"
- Nutrition Today: "Turmeric: Potential Health Benefits"
- Molecules: "Highly Bioavailable Forms of Curcumin and Promising Avenues for Curcumin-Based Research and Application: A Review"
- Drug Design, Development, and Therapy:"Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Curcumin in the Inflammatory Diseases: Status, Limitations and Countermeasures"
- Linus Pauling Institute: "Curcumin"