What happened? Why the change?
Background on Curcumin
I'm generally opposed to taking supplements. I believe I'm better off getting the vitamins and minerals I need from diet, not pills. I make an exception for curcumin; so many studies have demonstrated its powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammationary properties. I'm especially excited to consider its potential to fight Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and other neurological disorders known to involve inflammation.
The big problem with curcumin is its bioavailability -- its ability to penetrate the blood/brain barrier. Curcumin is the active ingredient in the Indian curry spice turmeric, but the spice by itself has little bioavailability.
Even so, Indian peasants who consume lots of turmeric/curcumin in their curries show unusually low rates of Alzheimer's. Researchers note that their curries also include large amounts of black pepper, a common spice shown by studies to increase curcumin's bioavailability.
Many curcumin supplements are available today. With each new variety, manufacturers hype their product's increased bioavailability, citing different features:
- Bioperine from a black pepper extract.
- Longvida developed for curcumin by neuroscientists at UCLA.
- BCM-95 with the essential oils of turmeric.
I got excited again just several weeks ago, when I saw reports that a new product -- CurcuWIN -- ""handily beats the pants off" other products. My enthusiasm came from studies conducted by ConsumerLab.
Fortunately, as I reported the next day, two readers posted comments questioning CurcuWIN... and ConsumerLab itself. In yesterday's post, I shared the appalling details of ConsumerLab's "scientific" investigations. I apologized for my previous positive comments about ConsumerLab's dependability as a dietary supplement info source.
Curcumin Du Jour
So, back to square one. Does CurcuWIN live up to the hype? If not, what's the best version for me?
Odd as it may sound, Amazon.com proved the most enlightening source for information about curcumin.
While on that site, I found the evaluation from "RWM," a consumer advocate attorney in New York City and one of Amazon's top 50 product reviewers. This experience was my first exposure to an intensive Amazon customer review. According to RWM, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of CurcuWIN.
He offers side-by-side ratings of the ten top curcumin supplements. After reviewing his analysis, I'm opting for the Doctor's Best Curcumin C3 Complex with Bioperine. As I reported last year, Dr. Rudy Tanzi -- perhaps our leading Alzheimer's researcher -- selected Doctor's Best's brand of another supplement, ashwagandha. For my money, Tanzi's positive comment about the manufacturer means something.
I need to sign off, since our flight leaves in a few hours for Denver... and a long Labor Day weekend in the Rockies. Back to the blog on Wednesday.