Turmeric supplements are quickly gaining popularity thanks to this colourful root’s well-known health benefits.
In fact, turmeric may be one of the most effective dietary supplements out there, as it has major benefits for your health and few known side effects.
But not all turmeric supplements are created equal, so we’re focussing on turmeric pills, which are an ideal way to get effective doses of turmeric for all lifestyles.
Although turmeric is often used as a spice to add color and flavor to dishes, it has some powerful health benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is used in all kinds of supplements, from turmeric weight loss pills to turmeric pills for inflammation, but just how effective is it?
The purported benefits of turmeric have led to a massive surge in popularity, and you can find it in everything from turmeric lattes to organic turmeric pills. However, there are still arguments over whether you should take turmeric in its natural form or in concentrated turmeric pills for the best results, so let’s discuss the pros and cons, starting at the beginning.
Turmeric (AKA Curcuma longa) is a flowering plant related to ginger, which is widely used in food, drink, dietary supplements, and traditional medicine. Turmeric is rich in compounds with medicinal benefits known as curcuminoids, but they occur in very small amounts, especially when comparing turmeric pills vs powder.
Curcumin has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits and is the most widely studied curcuminoid, meaning it is widely regarded as turmeric’s most important active ingredient. Some supplements contain pure curcumin – believed to have more powerful health benefits – though most turmeric pills contain turmeric powder in its natural form, especially those labelled organic turmeric pills.
Turmeric and curcumin are well-known for their antioxidant properties and ability to reduce inflammation, and research suggests that turmeric pills for inflammation may support general health and reduce your risk of many chronic diseases. Based on existing medical research, turmeric supplements can support general health, reduce your chances of developing many chronic diseases and even reduce pain levels.
However, most of these studies used high doses of turmeric that would be difficult to take in powder form, making supplements an easier way of enjoying the health benefits when discussing turmeric pills vs powder. For these reasons, we recommend supplementing with turmeric pills, as they allow you to make the most of turmeric’s many health benefits in an easy-to-consume package.
Many studies on turmeric use high doses of curcumin equal to multiple teaspoons of powdered turmeric, as curcumin is not easily absorbed into your bloodstream. Fortunately, dietary supplements like turmeric weight loss pills often contain concentrated doses of the active ingredients in turmeric – like curcumin – so you can easily get a similar dose to those used in medical studies.
Additionally, piperine (found in black pepper) can improve the absorption of turmeric by around 2,000%, so many organic turmeric pills contain added black pepper to improve absorption. In short, supplements are much stronger and more convenient than fresh or powdered turmeric, so we strongly recommend turmeric pills with added piperine when considering turmeric pills vs powder.
Curcumin (which makes up around 3% of turmeric by weight) is the most widely studied component of turmeric, but it is just one of many curcuminoids in turmeric. Many scientists theorise that whole turmeric may provide more holistic health benefits than pure curcumin – as it contains various other curcuminoids – so taking turmeric pills for inflammation may be more effective than curcumin supplements.
Although it is unclear whether whole turmeric pills could be more beneficial than pure curcumin, we go over all the potential pros and cons of both in our turmeric vs curcumin article. In short, available studies show that curcumin has powerful antioxidant effects, but whole turmeric is linked to many other health benefits, thanks to the many active compounds in turmeric.
Supplementing with turmeric has a wide variety of health benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and taking turmeric weight loss pills may help you achieve a healthy weight. Additionally, there is limited evidence that turmeric supplements may help to prevent or reduce the symptoms of many chronic diseases (such as colitis and osteoarthritis) and improve overall health.
Thanks to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, turmeric supplements have many health benefits across various forms, from fresh turmeric to curcumin extracts. While there are many arguments in the turmeric pills vs powder debate, most of turmeric’s health benefits can be enjoyed regardless of the form you take, including:
Taking turmeric weight loss pills may help lower the chances of heart disease – the most common cause of death worldwide – by improving heart function and reducing excess body fat. Curcumin may help to prevent or reverse many steps in the progression of heart disease, notably by improving the function of your endothelium – the lining of your blood vessels.
Your endothelium helps regulate blood pressure and clotting, so enhancing your endothelium function with turmeric pills can help support overall heart health. Additionally, studies on turmeric supplements found that curcumin was as effective as exercise for improving heart health in menopausal women, and taking turmeric pills for inflammation can reduce inflammation and oxidation in your heart tissue.
Although research is limited, supplementing with organic turmeric pills or curcumin may help to treat depression: A controlled trial of 60 people with depression who took Prozac, curcumin, or both found that curcumin supplements were similarly effective as Prozac, and the group who took both saw the biggest improvements.
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Furthermore, there’s some evidence that supplementing with turmeric pills can boost your levels of serotonin, dopamine and BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor). Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitters essential for regulating mood, and BDNF helps maintain brain health, meaning turmeric weight loss pills may support your mental and physical well-being.
Because turmeric is rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds like curcumin, it helps support healthy, glowing skin by reducing inflammation and promoting quick healing. Applying turmeric to your skin helps improve skin health by helping heal wounds and controlling symptoms of skin conditions like psoriasis and acne, and taking turmeric pills for inflammation may support general skin health.
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While there haven’t been many studies on the effects of turmeric pills vs powder for skin health, it stands to reason that the antioxidants should provide holistic benefits for your skin. So, whether you use turmeric pills or topical applications like turmeric face masks, studies show they support skin health and can help reduce the appearance of blemishes, rashes and scratches on your skin.
Studies show that turmeric may promote healthy weight loss by suppressing inflammatory markers and regulating hormones that play a role in obesity, so you may want to add organic turmeric pills to your next diet plan. Although it’s unclear exactly how turmeric affects weight loss, studies show that it may reduce fat tissue growth, improve insulin sensitivity, and increase adiponectin levels, which help regulate metabolism.
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Furthermore, one study found that the curcumin and piperine in turmeric weight loss pills led to significant weight loss and reductions in waist and hip circumference in people who were previously unable to lose weight. However, more human studies are needed to prove that turmeric pills cause weight loss, as much of the existing research relies on test-tube or animal studies.
Inflammation is an important defence mechanism, as it helps fight invading pathogens and repair physical damage, but chronic, low-level inflammation can cause chronic diseases. Fortunately, the effects of turmeric pills for inflammation may help prevent or manage various chronic diseases, such as heart disease, arthritis and cancer.
Additionally, oxidative damage caused by free radicals (highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons is believed to be a major factor in age-related degeneration and many diseases. Turmeric contains many natural antioxidants (regardless of which you prefer when talking about turmeric pills vs powder), which block the action of free radicals and stimulate other antioxidants in your body, meaning that turmeric pills may help prevent chronic diseases caused by inflammation or oxidative damage.
Turmeric is a powerful herbal supplement with many scientifically proven health benefits, such as the potential to improve symptoms of depression and heart health and prevent chronic diseases. However, curcumin – arguably the most important compound in turmeric – has poor bioavailability, so your body may be unable to absorb effective doses from organic turmeric pills.
Fortunately, piperine can increase curcumin absorption by 2,000%, so we recommend searching for turmeric pills with added piperine to make the most of turmeric’s many health benefits. Lastly, you should ask your doctor if turmeric supplements are right for you, especially if you’re dealing with a chronic illness or mental health issue, as while turmeric is generally safe to use, it should not be used instead of traditional medicine.