Increasingly, however, clinical trials involving humans are demonstrating that enhanced versions of curcumin can cross the blood/brain barrier and achieve the beneficial effects demonstrated in the in-vitro and animal studies. As a result, many curcumin supplements are being marketed with claims of greatly enhanced efficacy. But it's difficult for the consumer to figure out which product is best.
Nearly three years ago, I wrote about one version -- curcumin BCM-95 -- that was endorsed by a well-respected authority. BCM-95 continues to be used in many curcumin products.
Bioperine, a supplement extracted from the fruit of black pepper, also is being used to enhance the bio-availability of curcumin. It has been suggested that the reason peasants in India have the lowest rate of Alzheimer's in the world is that they mix black pepper and turmeric/curcumin as spices in their curry diets.
But how to decide which curcumin product is best?
ConsumerLab's Rating of Curcumin Products
When I want reliable information on a supplement and the versions of it being marketed, the first place I turn is https://www.consumerlab.com/. ConsumerLab does independent testing of over 1,000 herbs, vitamins and supplements.
To access it's review of individual products, you have to become a member. But the $36 a year membership fee is worth it as far as I'm concerned.
They updated their review of curcumin supplements in a report published last November. The study examined 17 turmeric or curcumin supplements asking these questions:
- Does the product really contain the amount stated on the label?
- Does the product contain contaminants?
- Once in your body, will the pill break down properly to release its contents?
- Advanced Physician Formula Curcumin
- Eclectic Institute Turmeric
- Progressive Labs Curcumin BCM-95 (but note: ConsumerLabs says the disapproval was based only on an omission on the label that has now been corrected)
- Curcumin Extreme
- Doctor's Best - Best Curcumin C3 Complex
- Finest Nutrition (Walgreen) Turmeric
- Farrow Formula Curcuminhttp://bit.ly/1sViUol 95
- Life Extension Super-Bio-Curcumin
- Nature Made Turmeric Curcumin
- NOW Curcumin
- Nutrigold Turmeric Curcumin Gold
- Organic India Turmeric Formula
- Planetary Herbal Full Spectrum Turmeric Extract
- Puritan's Pride Turmeric Curcumin
- Solgar Curcumin
- Thomspon Turmeric Curcumin 300
- Vitacost Turmeric
- Nature's Bounty Turmeric 450mg
- Vitamin World Turmeric Curcumin
So which preoducts provided the best value?
Doctor's Best Best Curcumin C3 Complex and NOW Curcumin were each approved products providing 500 mg of curcuminoids at the lowest cost (21 cents). If you are interested in enhanced bioavailability, the Doctor's Best product included Bioperine, which can reportedly more than double the bioavailability. Nutrigold Turmeric Curcumin Gold . , , also included Bioperine. Products that include BCM-95 may have even greater bioavailability (about 7 times than of normal curcumin). Consequently, although more expensive, Life Extension Super-Bio-Curcumin . . . which contains BCM-95 may be a good value. Curcumin Extreme also contained BCM-95 but was higher in cost to obtain curcuminoids . . . although it does include additional ingredients.
In addition to providing good valuem the Doctor's Best, NOW and Life Extension products also provide several hundred milligrams of curcuminoids per pill . . . Some of the other products contain less than 100 mg of curcuminoids per pill, which would require taking many more pills to achieve the same dose of curcuminoids.Bottom Line for Me: I've decided I want a product with BCM-95. Life Extension has both BCM-95 and the extra milligrams of curcuminoids, so I'll go for that . . . for now. New products touting new enhancements are popping up all the time.
Even Better Options Are in the Pipeline
I mentioned in yesterday's post a recent report on a new strategy to deliver a curcumin-like molecule to the brain to treat Alzheimer's. The researchers here have developed an atomizer to generate a curcumin aerosol.
In another recent research project, curcumin powder was mixed with castor oil in a process called nano-emulsion (think vinaigrette salad dressing). This was found to allow curcumin to be more easily absorbed by the gut