Turmeric is having its main character moment. It’s sipped in golden milk lattes, applied with DIY face masks, and mixed with medicinal mushrooms in wellness shots. Using the spice to reap its potential therapeutic benefits is nothing new—it’s been a standby in ayurvedic medicine for centuries.
What is new(er), however, is turmeric in capsule form. Turmeric supplement manufacturers claim that they can deliver the spice’s anti-inflammatory properties—namely from curcumin, one of its primary chemicals—in the most efficient manner than the spice alone. This may be particularly beneficial for those looking to soothe symptoms of conditions that stem from inflammation.
But which turmeric supplements are the best? After spending hours researching the top-rated turmeric supplements on the market, I tested five popular options and ranked them based on third-party testing/certifications, formula, dosage, price, and ease of consumption. Top options include Thorne Curcumin Phytosome, Pure Encapsulations Curcumin 500 with Bioperine, and Nature Made Curcumin, both of which have superior bioavailability and third-party testing standards. But there are other great options worth considering, too, depending on your budget and health goals.
The Best Turmeric Supplements
Thorne Curcumin Phytosome, Sustained Release 500 mg
- NSF-certified for purity and safety
- Contains curcumin phytosome
- 500 mg curcuminoids per serving
The Evidence Test Score: Healthy
- Highly bioavailable
- Sustained release
- Third-party certified
- Directed use calls for 2x/daily dosage
Thorne’s 500mg Curcumin Phytosome stands out from other turmeric supplements on the market because of its patented phytosome technology. This involves bonding curcumin extract with phospholipids. This fatty substance is easy for human bodies to absorb, so the combination helps deliver curcumin more efficiently than the curcumin alone. In fact, Thorne’s Curcumin Phytosome is the most clinically studied curcumin extract on the market, with a 29 times greater absorption rate than ordinary curcumin extract, according to the brand.
Plus, it’s NSF-certified, which means it’s gone through rigorous testing and meets the highest standards for quality and safety. It contains just curcumin, and no other additives (other than phospholipids and the cellulose that makes up the capsule), so it’s a great option for someone who wants to harness curcumin, and nothing else.
Directed use indicates one to two pills should be taken twice per day. (It’s not totally clear why Thorne asks you to spread it out like this.) That’s four pills total per day if taken as directed. If you don’t like the idea of swallowing that many pills a day, Thorne also sells a 1000mg version of this supplement, which you only have to take once or twice a day.
I can’t attest to the anti-inflammatory or other associated health benefits you may reap from taking this supplement long-term, but I can speak to the experience of taking it. The cellulose capsules are among the smaller pills compared to others I tested, measuring in at just under 1 inch in length. After consuming the pills on an empty stomach, I was pleased to detect no discomfort or aftertaste. Vitamin burps? No, thank you.
Easiest To Take
Pure Encapsulations Curcumin 500 with Bioperine
- NSF-GMP registered
- 500 mg curcuminoids per serving
- Contains black pepper for improved absorption
- No aftertaste
- Instructions include taking up to three pills per day
Pure Encapsulations has a reputation for making high-quality, clinically-developed supplements, and its turmeric supplement formula doesn’t disappoint. It includes piperine, a compound found in black pepper known to increase UMass Chan Medical School Center for Applied Nutrition “Using Black Pepper to Enhance the Anti-Inflammatory effects of Turmeric” View Source , as well as 500mg of curcumin per serving. It also holds an NSF Certification for Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), which ensures that the product is developed using “industry best practices.”
The pills are relatively small and have no vitamin-y aftertaste. Each serving size only includes one pill, which you can take up to three times a day. Pure Encapsulations recommends taking the pills between meals. I found that I needed some food in my stomach—otherwise, I felt a little queasy. With food, though, they go down easily.
Nature Made 500 Mg Turmeric Curcumin Capsules
- USP-certified for purity and safety
- Contains turmeric root powder and extract
- 500 mg curcuminoids and turmeric per serving
The Evidence Test Score: Healthy
- 1 pill per day dosage
- Third-party certified
- May upset stomach if not taken with food
Nature Made 500 Mg Turmeric Curcumin Capsules are a nice choice for those looking for a turmeric supplement on a budget. The standout feature of this pick is the convenience of taking only one pill per day, making it easy to incorporate into a daily supplement routine. It’s also USP-certified for purity and safety.
Nature Made’s formula contains turmeric root powder and extract. Most importantly, it’s a highly affordable option, coming out to about $0.24 per serving.
This formula is made up of turmeric root extract and powder, which only contains about 2-5% curcumin, so a single serving doesn’t contain enough of the compound to achieve therapeutic results. Plus, unlike Thorne’s patented Curcumin Phytosome, the active ingredient in this formula is not paired with phospholipids, which facilitate curcumin’s absorption into the bloodstream. This means that the body may not absorb the curcuminoids through the bloodstream as effectively, which limits the benefits of the supplement.
Still, the brand’s certifications and price make these supplements worth a look. If you, like most people, don’t have any phospholipids on hand, try to take them with a meal that contains black pepper to ensure better absorption.
Other Turmeric Supplements To Consider
Mega Food Turmeric Curcumin Extra Strength, Whole Body
- 475 mg curcuminoids per serving
- Whole food-derived
- Contains black pepper for improved absorption
- Can be taken with or without food
- Uncoated pills
- Third-party testing is unclear
One key feature of this supplement from Mega Food is its inclusion of other complementary ingredients such as ginger and black pepper extract. Though its potency may appear lower than others we tested (475 mg/serving compared to 500 mg/serving), that may not actually be a drawback for someone who wants a less potent dose.
While this brand is known for its commitment to quality, it doesn’t mention NSF or USP third-party testing for this product (and many others).
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a bright yellow, aromatic spice that has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, primarily in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and has been a topic of interest in the medical community for decades.
Similar to other vibrant plant-derived foods, turmeric is abundant in phytonutrients (primarily curcumin) that have the potential to improve general health and wellness by helping protect and detox the body from harmful Johns Hopkins Medicine “Turmeric Benefits” View Source . Some people may be interested in the potential GeroScience “Efficacy of curcumin for age-associated cognitive decline: a narrative review of preclinical and clinical studies” View Source it packs, too.
Turmeric has also become increasingly accessible via a wide range of supplements. While some people use turmeric supplements topically in serums, creams, and oils to improve skin health or alleviate joint pain, they’re most commonly taken orally.
“The turmeric in your spice cabinet is not the same as the turmeric in your medicine cabinet,” explains Victoria Endow, RDN, a dietitian based in New York City. “Turmeric extract, the form typically found in most supplements, contains up to 95% curcumin, while turmeric spice powder contains only about 3% curcumin. Some turmeric supplements are simply turmeric spice powder packaged in a capsule—look for turmeric extract when buying the ingredient in supplement form to get the most for your money.”
Are Turmeric Supplements Worth Taking?
Research supports that turmeric and its supplements may have some potential health benefits. But big claims made by supplement companies should be viewed with a critical eye.
“While curcumin has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties in some studies, it’s crucial to consider that the human body doesn’t absorb it well. This low bioavailability means that the overall effectiveness of turmeric supplements might be limited unless you take it in a form that assists absorption,” says Allyson Brigham, a registered dietitian from Thousand Oaks, California.
Are Turmeric Supplements Healthy?
Turmeric supplements have a done of health-boosting potential—but it’s not entirely clear what that is (yet).
“[Turmeric] is currently being studied to see if it can help prevent or even treat a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease, arthritis, anxiety, certain cancers, and high cholesterol. More research is needed to see if supplements are beneficial for these conditions,” says Jessica Siegel, a registered dietician for Gelson’s, a Southern California special grocer.
A 2018 study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry found that a twice-daily dose of 90mg of curcumin capsules for 18 months improved memory and mood in participants with mild, age-related The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry “Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18-Month Trial” View Source . Other studies have also shown promising anti-inflammation results by relieving some symptoms of BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine “Therapeutic effects of turmeric or curcumin extract on pain and function for individuals with knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review” View Source or Frontiers in Pharmacology “Review of the Effects and Mechanism of Curcumin in the Treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease” View Source , more research is needed to fully understand the effects of curcumin on the human body.
It’s worth noting that turmeric supplements containing curcumin have significantly higher levels of this compound than what one would consume by eating turmeric-rich foods or drinking turmeric-infused beverages. Doses between 500 – 12,000mg have been known to cause side effects like diarrhea, headaches, and Foods “Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health” View Source in a small number of subjects. Most supplements don’t exceed 500 mg of curcuminoids per serving, but it’s important to take them as directed and pay attention to any side effects you experience.
Turmeric supplements also have the potential to interact with The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry “Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18-Month Trial” View Source , including blood thinners, some NSAIDs, and chemotherapy medications. Some supplements may also increase the risk of kidney stones.
Consult with a healthcare provider if you aren’t sure if turmeric supplements are right for you.
When to Take Turmeric Supplements
There’s no right or wrong time of day for a turmeric supplement. However, you might want to to take it with food. “Pairing curcumin with UMass Chan Medical School Center for Applied Nutrition “Using Black Pepper to Enhance the Anti-Inflammatory effects of Turmeric” View Source can improve its bioavailability,” says Endow, “These include black pepper, fats and oils, and bromelain (the digestive enzyme found in pineapple).”
If your turmeric supplement doesn’t already contain these bioavailability-boosing ingredients, take them with a with a meal that contains any of these ingredients. This can optimize absorbability and improve overall efficacy, making the most out of your efforts and your investment. Plus, taking this supplement with food can help minimize the likelihood of an upset stomach.
Can You Take Turmeric Every Day?
Yes, you can consume turmeric every day. (In fact, pretty much every supplement brand recommends it.) Just don’t overdo it.
“In general, turmeric supplements are considered safe when taken in moderation and according to recommended dosages,” explains Brigham.
How We Found The Best Turmeric Supplements
Meet Your Guinea Pig
Talene is a student of exercise science, public health, and nutrition and full-time fitness and nutrition editor. She’s passionate about investigating (and sometimes debunking) wellness trends to contribute to a sustainable, healthy future for people and the planet. She loves cooking for strangers and friends, hunting for a good vintage tee, and her favorite food is popcorn doused in good EVOO and za’atar.
Our Testing Process
For this review, I started with research to develop a list of the top-rated and most-recommended turmeric supplements on the market. Through gathering information on their ingredients, dosage, manufacturer, and customer reviews, I ended up with a list of 12 products. After further research, the selection of supplements to test firsthand was narrowed down to the top five.
These five products were then tested for their formula, dosage, taste, and ease of consumption. Each morning for two weeks, I took a single dose of a given supplement on an empty stomach within 30 minutes of waking up, then waited at least 30 minutes to eat or drink (excluding water) to assess for aftertaste or upset stomach. Each supplement was taken three days in a row. Those that required multiple doses throughout the day were taken with or without food, accordingly.
The Turmeric Buying Guide
Choosing the best turmeric supplement for you can be overwhelming. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping:
- Standardized extract: You want a consistent dose of the active ingredient, curcumin, in each pill, so look for a turmeric supplement that contains a standardized extract. This means that the supplement has been tested and contains a percentage of curcumin indicated on the label.
- Third-party certification: Supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, meaning it’s common for manufacturers to slip in (intentionally or not) fillers, additives, or contaminants. Look for a supplement that is third-party tested and/or NSF- or USP-certified to ensure you’re getting exactly what’s advertised on the bottle
- Dosage: The recommended dosage of turmeric supplements varies depending on the product and your individual needs, but most supplements offer 400-500 mg of curcuminoids per serving. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label or consult with a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate dosage for you, and to never exceed the recommended dose.
- Absorption: It can be hard for the body to absorb turmeric. Some turmeric supplements may contain additional ingredients, such as black pepper extract, which can enhance the absorption and effectiveness of curcumin. Some manufacturers use specialized formulations, such as the patented phytosome technology used in Thorne’s Curcumin Phytosome. This technology bonds the curcumin extract with phospholipids, leading to improved absorption and bioavailability.
- Form: Turmeric supplements are available in various forms, including capsules, powders, and liquids. Capsules are the most common and convenient option, but powders and liquids may be a better choice if you prefer to mix them with food or drinks.