Is Your Turmeric Pure and Natural?

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

Maybe not?

Based on this new analysis of commercial turmeric supplement published last month – almost 2/3rds of all products analyzed (59%) showed signs of including synthetic curcumin – and almost 3/4ths of products (71%) showed toxic solvent residues.

Turmeric “can be” a very healthy supplement for benefits for brain, gut, inflammation, pain, etc – BUT, you need to make sure you’re buying your turmeric from a trusted company with proper quality control procedures.


Curcuminoid Content and Safety-Related Markers of Quality of Turmeric Dietary Supplements Sold in an Urban Retail Marketplace in the United States.


SCOPE: Turmeric is a top selling dietary supplement (DS) in the United States with rapidly expanding usage. Therefore, turmeric DS formulations available for sale in an urban US retail marketplace were analyzed, and point of sale information was related to measures of quality relevant to safety.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Eighty-seven unique turmeric DS were identified; a majority (94%) contained turmeric-derived curcuminoid extracts (TD-CE), which were combined with other bioactives in 47% of products, including piperine (24%), an additive that could alter the metabolism of concurrent medications. While curcuminoid content was within 80% of anticipated for a majority of products analyzed (n = 35), curcuminoid composition (% curcumin) did not meet USP criteria for TD-CE in 59% and was suggestive of possible unlabeled use of synthetic curcumin in some. Lead content was associated with inclusion of turmeric root and exceeded USP limits in one product. Residues of toxic class 1 or 2 solvents, which are not needed for TD-CE isolation, were present in 71% of products, although quantified levels were within USP-specified limits.

CONCLUSION: Assessment of turmeric DS quality at point of sale is difficult for consumers and may best be managed in partnership with knowledgeable health care professionals.

About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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