The supplement industry is full of fraudulent and misleading marketing claims that you, the consumer, are affected and influenced by. In fact, in 2015, the New York Attorney General accused GNC, Walmart, and two other national retailers of selling fraudulent and potentially dangerous herbal supplements and demanded that they remove the products from their shelves.
Turmeric curcumin manufacturers are one of the biggest offenders of these tactics, using some of the most deceitful marketing ploys and confusing buzzwords meant to catch your eye and convince you to pull out your wallet. But, what do those buzzwords really mean and how can you avoid falling prey to them? Let’s dive into some of the most misleading methods that turmeric supplement companies use to confuse and entice consumers to buy their subpar pills.
Popular turmeric formulas that are marketed as "high dosage" curcumin supplements, clamor for your attention with big, bold claims, but what they actually put (or don't put) in their supplement is shocking.
Take this popular drugstore turmeric supplement label above, which touts a 1500 mg dose of curcumin, but when examined closely, a less-than-true claim becomes clear; Only 150 mg of the 1500 mg formula actually contains 95% standardized curcumin. The rest is just generic turmeric.
Practically every bottle of turmeric on the market brags that its turmeric extract contains 95% curcuminiods, but the truth is that it doesn't matter how much of this stuff you take daily, it still isn't going to be absorbed or used by your body. You might as well open up the capsule and use it to spice up your curry.
The only type of curcumin that is worth purchasing is one that is clinically proven by scientific studies as effective, so look for clinically studied turmeric supplements and keep the generic turmeric relegated to your spice rack.
Speaking of turmeric being properly absorbed, it's a scientifically proven fact that ordinary curcumin boasts low bioavailability, meaning that a good portion of it gets eliminated from your body prior to reaching the target tissues.
A 500 mg capsule of generic turmeric powder only contains about 3% (poorly absorbable) curcumin, so many turmeric manufacturers add a black pepper derivative and have you believe that somehow it's now miraculously bioavailable. You might as well just mix up some ground turmeric and ground black pepper in water and call it an elixir, because unfortunately, it won't do much for your health.
Another common buzzword to watch out for when looking for a turmeric supplement is ‘proprietary blend’. The idea behind a proprietary blend is that a company can hide its formula or recipe. Sure, they have to state the ingredients, but not the amounts of each ingredient, which means you will never know what’s actually inside the bottle.
Ingredients in the blend above are listed in order of volume, so the root, aka generic turmeric powder is the first on the list, the 95% curcuminoids is second. Who knows what the ratio is and there isn't one clinically studied or trademarked turmeric ingredient mentioned. That means, move on, nothing to see here.
“Cheaper Isn’t Better”
Have you noticed that some turmeric supplements go for about $40 for a one month supply and you can find some at local drugstores retailing for a little as $6 for a 30-day supply. That’s not because your local drugstore cares about bringing you the best prices on the best quality products and it’s not because the more expensive brands are just ripping you off.
In this case, the companies selling the cheaper turmeric are filling their capsules with generic powders, fillers, and additives. So, if you're wondering why you haven't experienced any remarkable results, it's because what you're taking would be better suited for your spice cabinet. Or, pay a bit more for a clinically tested and proven turmeric supplement and actually feel the power of curcumin.
The Bottom Line
The truth is, there are many turmeric products on the market today that are, not only inferior, but downright dishonest. Take a stroll down Amazon's digital supplement aisle and you will find the 'shelves' littered with fake reviews for products that will never provide you any benefit.
To save you even more time, we've done all the product testing for you. Based on our own extensive research, the metrics provided by our Smarter Reviews Ranking System, and consideration of numerous reviews by Smarter Shoppers just like you, we've compiled a list of the top Turmeric supplements.