For thousands of years, turmeric has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. In the last couple decades, research has begun to verify the health benefits of turmeric, and companies have been turning spice into nutritional supplements. However, because of some difficulties turmeric presents—namely the low concentration and solubility of the health promoting compounds—these supplements can vary widely in their effectiveness. Kirkman® has developed a turmeric supplement that addresses both problems.
Before turmeric is dried and ground to a powder, it is virtually indistinguishable from ginger root. The two are close relatives, and each has a knobby, fibrous exterior. Cut them open, though, and you will see turmeric’s orange flesh—in contrast to ginger’s almost white interior. Dried and ground to a powder, as turmeric is often sold, it’s this orange pigment that often gives curries their vivid color.
The compounds that provide this color are called “curcuminoids.” They are natural phenols that provide several health benefits. Research has indicated curcuminoids help regulate blood sugar,1 increase antioxidant activity2 and provide neurochemical benefits.3
However, simply eating turmeric is unlikely to provide much benefit. For one thing, turmeric actually has a fairly low concentration of curcuminoids—around only five percent. Curcuminoids also naturally have low solubility in acidic water (such as that in the human stomach), so the human body has difficulty absorbing it.
The solution to the first problem seems obvious, and it’s what supplement manufacturers do when they create a turmeric/curcumin supplement: they extract the curcuminoids, condense them and put them in a capsule. The results of such processing can vary widely, however. Some supplements, despite all the effort, end up having an extremely low curcuminoid concentration. A consumer testing lab found some supplements provided less than 15 percent of the curcuminoid content claimed on the product labels4. (That’s not a 15 percent curcuminoid content—that’s 15 percent of what the company claimed was present.)
Kirkman’s curcumin/turmeric blend addresses both solubility and the concentration issues.
First, Kirkman’s Curcumin/Turmeric Root Extract 275 mg (#0530-060) is standardized to have a minimum curcuminoid concentration of 20 percent. So when the label says you’ll get 275 mg, that’s what you will get.
To solve the issue of low absorbability, the curcuminoids in Kirkman’s Curcumin/Turmeric Root Extract 275 mg (#5530-060). have been subjected to a process that alters their solubility. This process involves grinding the dried curcuminoid extract into an extremely fine powder, then combining it with a water-soluble, cellulose-based carrier. When completed, this process yields curcuminoids that are approximately 46 times more absorbable than in standard curcumin.
1. Effect of curcumin supplementation on blood glucose, plasma insulin, and glucose homeostasis related enzyme activities in diabetic db/db mice. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2008 Sep;52(9):995-1004. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200700184.
2. Antioxidant and radical scavenging properties of curcumin. Chem Biol Interact. 2008 Jul 10;174(1):27-37. doi: 10.1016/j.cbi.2008.05.003. Epub 2008 May 7.
3. Neuroprotectice effects of curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007; 595: 197–212. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-46401-5_8
4. Some turmeric and curcumin supplements fail quality review. Accessed 8/15/15 from: https://www.consumerlab.com/news/turmeric-cucumin-supplements-review/02_16_2011/