Understanding the Differences Among Turmeric Curcumin Supplements

Superfood Science Understanding the differences among Turmeric Curcumin Supplements

If you have ever been in the market for turmeric supplements, you know they come in all kinds of forms and price points. On Amazon.com, you can find over 5000 turmeric supplements in the USA marketplace alone. It can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to the supplement world. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is a natural aid to joints, muscles, immunity, skin, heart, brain, respiratory, vision, metabolism, mood, kidney, and liver health. (1)(2)(6)(7) So it's no surprise that many people are turning to this supplement as a way to improve their health. Here, we will break down the differences among turmeric curcumin supplements so you can decide which one is best for you.

The difference between Turmeric and Curcumin

Before diving into the differences among turmeric curcumin supplements, let's start with the basics. Consumers often think that turmeric and curcumin are the same thing. Turmeric and curcumin are related, but they refer to different things. Turmeric is a plant (Curcuma longa) that belongs to the ginger family and is commonly used as a spice in many cuisines, especially in Indian cuisine. A bright yellow-orange rhizome (underground stem) gives curry its characteristic color.

Curcumin, on the other hand, is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in turmeric. It gives turmeric its yellow color and is also responsible for many potential health benefits. Curcumin is one of the active ingredients in turmeric. Still, turmeric contains other compounds, such as turmerones and curcuminoids.

The difference between Turmerones and Curcuminoids

Curcuminoids and turmerones are two distinct classes of compounds found in the turmeric plant (Curcuma longa), and they contribute to the various biological activities and potential health benefits associated with turmeric. Here are the primary differences between curcuminoids and turmerones(6):

Chemical Structure:

Curcuminoids: These polyphenolic compounds include curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. (4) Curcumin is the most well-known and extensively studied curcuminoid.

Turmerones: These are sesquiterpenes, a type of compound derived from terpenes. The main turmerones found in turmeric are ar-turmerone, α-turmerone, and β-turmerone. (6)

Properties and Functions:

Curcuminoids: Curcuminoids, especially curcumin, are well-known for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cellular health properties. They are often credited with many of the health benefits associated with turmeric.

Turmerones: Turmerones are less studied than curcuminoids, but research suggests they may also have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and potentially neuroprotective effects. Some studies have explored the role of turmerones in supporting cognitive function and neurological health.


Curcuminoids: One challenge with curcuminoids, particularly curcumin, is their low bioavailability, meaning that the body has difficulty absorbing and utilizing them effectively. This challenge has led to the development of various formulations and supplements to improve curcumin absorption.

Turmerones: The bioavailability of turmerones is less extensively studied than curcuminoids, but they may have better absorption in certain contexts.

Contribution to Turmeric's Aroma:

Curcuminoids: They do not significantly contribute to the aroma of turmeric.

Turmerones: Turmerones are responsible for the distinctive fragrance of turmeric. They contribute to the aromatic and spicy notes associated with the spice. (8)


Bioavailability Differences

Curcumin has poor bioavailability, meaning the body does not easily absorb it. To combat this issue, some supplements will include black pepper extract, which increases curcumin absorption by up to 2000%. Other forms of turmeric supplements, like liposomal and nanoparticle, have been specifically designed to improve bioavailability. While these supplements may be more expensive, they may be worth the investment for those looking for maximum absorption.

Over the years, researchers worked on improving curcumin bioavailability. A 2023 research report by Hedge et al. reported three generations of curcumin formulations for different bioavailability. (3)


Curcumin Ingredient Names

Main Features


  • Curcumin Piperine

  • BCM-95

  • Curcumin Starch

  • Enhanced bioavailability than pure curcumin

  • Formulated with piperine, turmeric fiber, matrix and oil, and fish oil


  • Meriva

  • Nano-curcumin

  • Theracumin

  • HydroCurc

  • LipoCurc

  • Enhanced bioavailability than pure curcumin

  • Formulated with synthetic emulsifiers


  • CurcuWin Ultra+

  • Longvida

  • CurQfen

  • Superior bioavailability and cellular uptake

  • Formulated without synthetic emulsifiers

For example, Jager et al. found 46 times more total curcuminoids, including Curcumin, Demethoxycurcumin, Bisdemethoxycurcumin, and tetrahydrocurcumin, on plasma concentration time-curve with CurcuWin® (3rd generation turmeric extract) when compared to Sabinsa’s turmeric curcumin supplement, the foremost clinically studied turmeric extract. (5) This research data lead Superfood Science to select CurcuWin® for the highly praised Vitality Rescue capsule formula.


The dosage of curcuminoids in a supplement will vary from product to product. It's important to read the label carefully and follow the recommended dosage. Due to bioavailability differences among turmeric supplements, you must take more capsules of certain products than others. Start with a low dosage and gradually increase until you find what works best for your body. If you’re allergic to turmeric, it may cause a rash, hives, or abdominal pain.(1)(2)

Turmeric Supplements and Drug Interactions(1)(2)(8)

Turmeric supplements, particularly those containing concentrated curcumin, may interact with certain medications. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional before adding turmeric supplements to your routine, especially if you are taking prescription medications. Here are some potential drug interactions with turmeric:

  1. Anticoagulants/Antiplatelet Drugs:

    • Turmeric has antiplatelet and anticoagulant properties, and combining it with drugs like aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), or other blood-thinning medications may increase the risk of bleeding. It's crucial to monitor blood clotting parameters regularly.

  2. Antiplatelet/Anticoagulant Herbs and Supplements:

    • Concurrent use of turmeric supplements with other herbs or supplements with blood-thinning properties, such as garlic, ginger, ginkgo biloba, and fish oil, may enhance the anticoagulant effects.

  3. Anti-diabetic Medications:

    • Turmeric may lower blood sugar levels. When combined with medications for diabetes, it could lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Monitoring blood sugar levels closely and adjusting medication doses under medical supervision is essential.

  4. Gastrointestinal Medications:

    • Turmeric may increase stomach acid production. Combining it with medications that reduce stomach acid, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or H2 blockers, could potentially diminish the effectiveness of the acid-reducing medications.

  5. Drugs Metabolized by Cytochrome P450 Enzymes:

    • Curcumin, a component of turmeric, may affect the activity of certain enzymes in the liver that metabolize drugs. It could impact the effectiveness of drugs metabolized by cytochrome P450 enzymes.

  6. Iron Absorption:

    • Turmeric may inhibit the absorption of iron. Suppose you are taking iron supplements or medications for iron deficiency. In that case, it is advisable to take them at a time different from turmeric supplements.

  7. Pregnancy and Lactation:

    • While dietary turmeric used in cooking is generally considered safe during pregnancy, the safety of turmeric supplements during pregnancy and lactation is not well-established. Pregnant or nursing women should consult their healthcare provider before using turmeric supplements.

Turmeric curcumin supplements can be an excellent addition to your health regimen. Still, it's crucial to choose the right one for your needs. When choosing a supplement, consider the type of active compounds, quality, bioavailability, dosage, and drug interactions. Look for high-quality bioavailable turmeric supplements made from third-generation turmeric extract ingredients that contain all three curcuminoids for maximum benefits. Always follow the recommended dosage and consult your healthcare provider before adding any new supplement to your routine.



  1. Brown, M. E. Turmeric Benefits. www.Hopkinsmedicine.org. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/turmeric-benefits

  2. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (2020, April 30). Turmeric. Https://www.Nccih.nih.gov. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/turmeric#:~:text=Today%2C%20turmeric%20is%20promoted%20as,major%20ingredient%20in%20curry%20powder

  3. Hegde, M. et al. (2023). Curcumin Formulations for Better Bioavailability: What We Learned from Clinical Trials Thus Far? ACS Omega, 8(12), 10713–10746. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsomega.2c07326

  4. Stohs, S. J. et al. (2020). Highly Bioavailable Forms of Curcumin and Promising Avenues for Curcumin-Based Research and Application: A Review. Molecules, 25(6), 1397. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25061397

  5. Jäger, R. et al. (2014). Comparative absorption of curcumin formulations. Nutrition Journal, 13(11). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-13-11 f

  6. Amalraj, A.et al. (2017). Biological activities of curcuminoids, other biomolecules from turmeric and their derivatives – A review. Journal of Traditional Complementary Medicine, 7(2), 205-233. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcme.2016.05.005

  7. Hewlings, S. J. et al. (2017). Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health. Foods, 6(10), 92. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods6100092

  8. OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT (ChatGPT 3.5) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com

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