Dietary supplements are targeted to improve health, provide more energy and fill gaps in nutrition. At least that’s what most claim. With a massive variety of different products on the market, and more and more new supplements becoming available, one of the most important questions is — What should you be looking for?
The supplement facts panel can be your guide.
For this blog post, let’s focus on the effectiveness of turmeric. It is one of the most popular supplements on the market these days. Turmeric is known for its studied benefits on inflammation, and that it is a potent antioxidant. This can be misleading when you are expecting an outcome from an ingredient. See below for the importance of standardization of bioactive compounds.
Turmeric contains bioactive compounds called curcuminoids. When you hear or read about turmeric health benefits, these are primarily coming from the curcumin contained within turmeric.
As by nature, actual raw turmeric alone does not contain a significant amount curcumin by weight.
So if you are anticipating or wanting the benefits of turmeric, you need to review the standardization percentage of curcuminoids on the supplement facts panel. This way you will know the supplement has the active compound you are looking for, and exactly how much is included in the supplement.
One note, turmeric and curcumin are not very bioavailable (absorbable) in the body. Typically, these will be seen combined with black pepper or black pepper extract (piperine) to enhance their bioavailability.
Below are some examples of supplement facts panels. I will walk through what each of these mean so you can be informed, and feel more confident next time you are making a purchase.
This first example is a basic turmeric supplement. 500mg of turmeric root per 1 capsule serving. But how much of the active curcuminoids compound are you getting in this serving? Maybe a little, maybe none at all. Unfortunately, you have no idea because it has not been standardized to contain a particular amount.
This second sample is much clearer and transparent on what you are getting and ingesting. 500mg of tumeric standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids. This means that 95% of the 500mg dose contains curcuminoids, and not only that, but it contains black pepper extract to improve absorption. Compared to the first example, this is a more defined label. You have more insight into what you are paying for, and ultimately what you are putting in your body.
In this third example things start to get interesting. It also contains curcumin, except this time it is in a patented trademark form, known as Longvida®. Longvida® is advertised to increase the absorption over standard curcumin significantly. Trademark supplements are often verified by clinical data to provide health, performance or other substantiated outcomes. Depending on your goals and desired benefits, this could be the best choice.
Trademark ingredients also typically come from a single manufacturer. Coming from a single trusted, verified and tested source can lead to greater confidence that you are receiving a quality product that is free of unwanted contaminants.
This is just one example of a trademarked version of curcumin, there are many available from various ingredient manufacturers that focus on different benefits.
The three products above could have substantial differences in quality, performance and the way they make you feel. Which is why it is important to understand ingredient standardization, and how to read the supplement facts panel to know exactly what you are getting with your supplement. Don't just listen to the fancy packaging or claims. Look for the actual facts.
We are working on future blog posts such as a more in-depth review on the benefits of turmeric, trademark ingredients, and more!
Longvida® is a registered trademark of Verdure Sciences.
The information and statements contained in this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.