With turmeric supplement use on the rise in holistic medicine, one of the less considered but important details is the medium in which they are taken. As with virtually any supplement, there are multiple ways you can introduce them into your system. Turmeric is no exception to this rule as there are all kinds of forms such as turmeric powder, capsules from the store, and even specially brewed shots, all designed to maximize the impact of the turmeric as it enters your system.
It can sometimes be overwhelming to figure out the best way to get a supplement running through your system, especially with so many options. We hope to help you better understand the pros and cons of the different kinds of turmeric supplements and which you would be better off pursuing.
Turmeric's health benefits are tied to a specific compound found within the Curcuma longafamily of roots, called curcumin. The entire point of taking turmeric supplements is to give your body curcumin. The most common method to get the curcumin to the forefront is to refine the root into a powder for use in various ways. As a health supplement, turmeric powder can be used in the process of cooking, baking, or even just stirring it into soup or beverages to gain a beneficial health effect.
To that end, relying on turmeric powder is a more time-consuming investment, requiring planning and preparing the supplement ahead of time before getting on with your day. The easiest method to take turmeric powder is to add a few teaspoons of it to a warm beverage of some kind, such as coffee and the like so that it can melt into the beverage and you can get the full effect. However, powdered turmeric does have some negative traits that might make it less appealing for consumption.
To maintain a fair balance, we will be evaluating the different variants of turmeric supplements with four distinct conditions. To start, we'll talk about the cost of powdered turmeric. Powdered turmeric is available from multiple retailers both for general product distribution and more specialized stores aimed towards the sale of supplements:
On Amazon, purchasing a 1 lb. bag of pure turmeric powder will cost you $11.99 from various bulk sellers. At the same time, purchasing directly from a store that primarily sells supplements will charge you $10.99 for a 7.5 oz bag of turmeric powder that allegedly comes from India directly. Buying pure, raw turmeric powder is relatively cost-effective, all things considered.
The next field to consider is the longevity of the turmeric powder you have elected to purchase. Many products in circulation today have an expiration date, after which their efficacy drops, they spoil, or they become unsafe or ineffective. The benefit of turmeric powder is that it has no shelf life and will never technically expire. Therefore, you will likely never suffer negative consequences from consuming turmeric that has passed its "best by" date so long as it has been appropriately stored.
However, this is not advised solely because the potency of the turmeric will begin to deteriorate after its expiration date. Various natural compounds within the root will oxidize and break down when exposed to air, and the spice will lose potency over time. As a result, it will cease flavoring food as intended and will produce diminishing returns until the health benefits it provides cease to function. This puts ground turmeric on equal footing with natural turmeric regarding expiration. Ordinarily, this shelf-life tends to range anywhere between 3 to 4 years.
However, this begs the question of proper storage for powdered turmeric. How can you keep your powdered turmeric viable for as long as possible and reduce the risk of premature deterioration of the spice? The best way to store it involves sealing it in an airtight jar in a cool, dark cabinet in which it will be shielded from heat and sunlight. Doing so should ensure that you do not risk causing your turmeric to begin expiring ahead of time.
While turmeric powder does offer a wide array of benefits and is equally viable as a choice for your supplement needs, it does come with a few disadvantages unique to it. For starters, the curcumin concentration, which is the point of any turmeric supplement, in powder is comparatively low to other mediums. On average, powdered turmeric has a concentration of 3.14% curcumin. Unfortunately, this means it might not provide as much potential health benefit as other, more concentrated forms.
Another issue with turmeric powder is the rampant adulteration issue found in many Indian-based turmeric products. The high demand for turmeric has led to vendors cutting lesser yields with lead chromate and other substances to give the illusion of pure turmeric while introducing potentially lethal toxins into your system. Add on to this the extremely bitter taste from the powder, and this avenue of turmeric supplementation becomes less viable than before. Fortunately, there are other mediums through which you can get your turmeric fix.
Turmeric supplements also come in capsule form, allowing you to get your daily dose of curcumin in one nutritional pill. This gives you the ability to take your supplement on the go instead of taking a beat and preparing your supplement by mixing it into a beverage or cooking it into a meal. This might make taking capsules a more appealing alternative if you are an "on the go" sort of person with less free time than others. However, capsules are by no means the perfect medium and will be subjected to the same criteria as the powder form for our analysis.
When it comes to the cost of turmeric capsules, they are moderately more expensive than the powder that is available across multiple storefronts. If you were to purchase the average brand supplements from your local Walgreens pharmacy, you would be spending $23.99 on a generic supplement. Alternatively, we at NuVitality offer a supplement for purchase on our digital storefront. The cost for our supplement is $29.97 a bottle. Why is ours more expensive? They aren't just turmeric. Studies have shown that piperine, a chemical in black pepper, can enhance the health benefits of curcumin. So, our turmeric supplement includes both turmeric and piperine for a more effective supplement, ounce for ounce. No matter how you cut it, quality capsules will inevitably be more expensive than the powdered turmeric available for purchase.
Like powdered turmeric, however, capsules are subject to the same shelf-life restrictions. While you are not liable to suffer any ill side effects from a supplement that has surpassed its "best by" date, you will likely not see any viable results from them either. And, like the powder, your supplements have an average shelf-life of between 3 to 4 years from their date of manufacture.
Like, turmeric powder, you should keep your capsules stored in their original container and out of direct sunlight and heat to preserve their integrity between doses. While this similarity might not endear the capsules to you, you are less likely to meet that expiration since you will be able to take your supplements with you, so you do not have to forgo your daily dose.
Finally, the capsules themselves are subject to their unique advantages and disadvantages that might not be seen in other supplement types like the powder. The biggest issue with capsules is that, well, they're capsules. Some people are physically incapable of swallowing them due to medical issues that prevent the full functionality of their throats and mouths. Others merely find it unpleasant and distasteful.
When it comes to the curcumin content, that is something unique to the brand you choose. However, the average content of a turmeric supplement capsule will usually see a maximum of 53%, leaps, and bounds above the meager 3.14% concentration found in the powders. This makes capsules vastly more effective than simple powder.
Turmeric shots are, in all honesty, the most time-consuming method available. What are they? We're not talking about shots with a needle here. Rather, they are liquid turmeric shots you can brew in your home. They are more akin to smoothies than actual shots that you might expect from your local bar. You can also find them at grocery stores that specialize in healthy foods.
The cost of a pre-made turmeric shot from Kor is $2.79 from local grocery stores that stock things of that nature. This is for a single serving shot; not very cost-effective.
You can also purchase the ingredients to make your own at home, which will likely save you money in the long run since you will be able to brew multiple doses at once rather than shelling out $2.79 for every 1.7 oz. shot. All you need to buy is turmeric, black pepper, orange juice, and water to make the shots yourself. Combining the $11.99 for the turmeric powder, the $3.99 for the orange juice, and the $3.79 for the black pepper, you are looking at less than $20.00 to brew multiple doses yourself rather than the $60.00 plus you would spend on buying multipacks online or at grocery stores.
Of course, recipes vary. You can also choose to add turmeric to warm milk to make golden milk or add some to coffee for an energy-boosting turmeric shot. The options are as varied as you want them to be.
Turmeric shots suffer from a major disadvantage compared to the other supplements we have listed in this article. While the other supplements enjoyed a 3 to 4-year shelf-life, the shots must be consumed shortly after they are brewed as they will spoil within 4 to 5 days due to the nature of the ingredients. This means you should avoid preemptively brewing the shots and instead make them as you need them. Store-bought turmeric shots have the same issue, which makes buying them in bulk inadvisable. In extreme cases, juice-based shots can even be harmful to consume due to bacteria growing in the sugar-rich environment.
The storage requirements for shots are also comparatively unique since they will need to be refrigerated before consumption to avoid a greater risk of spoiling. In addition, juices and other liquid supplements are more sensitive due to this need for refrigeration to protect against the elements.
So, like the other supplements, the liquid has its ups and downs that can be associated with the shots alone. Most notably is the lack of longevity of the shots when compared to dry supplements. However, it has also been found the liquid supplements can have greater concentrations of curcumin than powders, meaning you could get more bang for your buck when taking a liquid shot over a dry supplement such as powders. This is because liquids increase the bioavailability of curcumin and enhance the body's ability to absorb it, potentially reaching a 98% concentration.
Making a Decision
Ultimately, the type of turmeric supplement you elect to consume for your health is a matter of preference rather than science. While it is true that the capsules offer more mobility than the powder, not everyone is as willing to swallow a pill every day if it can be avoided. The powder is more malleable when compared to the pills but offers far less curcumin per dose and is a pain to clean up if it spills. Shots are effective and have the potential to be better tasting but require you to either spend a great deal of time brewing them or spend a lot of money buying them.
The simple reality is that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to your turmeric supplement, and you should make the decision based on your needs. For example, do you need to be able to take them on the go? Did you want to add it into your cooking to make it seamless? How you answer that question should provide the answer to how you choose to add the supplements to your diet.
The only genuine criticism would come in using the turmeric powder due to the low concentration of curcumin in the powders making the health benefits virtually negligible. Turmeric powder is great as a spice, but there are more effective forms for a supplement. Capsules, in general, are our recommended choice as an effective supplement with a minimal hassle attached. Give them a try today!