When taking herbs for pain and inflammation, people are confused if they should take turmeric or curcumin.
Do you have chronic pain or tightness in your muscles? Do you struggle with inflammatory problems in your back, knees, or other parts of the body? It might be time to start using turmeric. Or, you might want to use curcumin. This is your turmeric vs curcumin guide.
Turmeric vs Curcumin
These are two well-known inflammation supplements that many people all over the world use to heal their pain. They're easy to incorporate into your regular diet and routine, and they do wonders to soothe the symptoms of inflammation.
But the question is, which of the two should you buy the next time you go grocery shopping? Keep reading to learn more about each one and make the turmeric vs. curcumin decision much easier on you!
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice that comes from a root plant in the same family as ginger. This spice has a bit of a kick to it and a bright golden look. It's used to make standard American mustard and different kinds of curry, and its part of various natural healing regimens.
In addition to anti-inflammatory benefits, turmeric has been used to treat laryngitis, bronchitis, and diabetes. Many people use it to help their digestive system and to fight off the common cold, too.
Turmeric Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Turmeric fights inflammation in the joints and muscles. It can help those who have bad knee pain, chronic back pain, and even soothe different arthritis symptoms. People with diabetes can also benefit from taking turmeric to fight inflammation.
The most interesting inflammatory benefit of all, though, is the claim that turmeric can help prevent Alzheimer's. This condition begins as inflammation in the brain, and there's no cure for it as of now. Some people have speculated that foods high in anti-inflammatory powers can help offset a person's chances of falling ill to it.
Ways to Take Turmeric
Although the Alzheimer's claim may sound a little out there, the pain relief available from turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties is very real. But, the best way to use turmeric to fight inflammation is as a supplement, not a whole food.
In other words, you have to do more than spice your food with ground turmeric if you want to get the most out of this powerful substance. It's much better to take a concentrated dose of it in pill or liquid form. There are some turmeric powders that have been created specifically for pain and inflammation purposes. These should not be confused with standard turmeric spice.
Additionally, it could be worth exploring topical turmeric treatments like lotions, balms, and essential oils. Such an approach will allow you to target your pain from the outside in. It's a way to easily fight inflammation anywhere, anytime, without having to worry about whether or not you took your supplements that morning. Topical solutions can also do wonders for your skin.
What Is Curcumin?
Here's an interesting fact regarding the turmeric vs. curcumin debate: curcumin is actually part of turmeric. It's the main active ingredient in this spice, making up about 6% of turmeric. This substance can also be found in ginger, but not as concentrated.
Curcumin is basically what gives turmeric its anti-inflammatory abilities. It's the key ingredient that allows turmeric to relieve pain and fight irritations caused by poor digestion or muscle stiffness. Taking Curcumin in the pure form allows you to take less of the supplement while getting better results.
Curcumin Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Curcumin has the same anti-inflammatory benefits as standard turmeric supplements can offer - plus a few more.
In addition to treating digestive issues, joint pain, muscle pain, and chronic conditions, curcumin is said to support cancer prevention efforts. This has only been tested on animals and there's not enough research yet to support the claim for humans, but it is a possible benefit worth keeping in mind.
Other Curcumin benefits include:
Help to fight foreign invaders
Help breaking down bacteria
Replace traditional anti-inflammatory drugs
Fighting low-level inflammation*
Low-level inflammation is a co-occurring condition of many diseases. It's often written off as a symptom and nothing more, but it is something to be concerned about. It's worth using curcumin to treat it even if you don't think much of your inflammation. Better to take care of it now than to let it develop into a bigger problem!
Ways to Take Curcumin
The main difference between using turmeric and curcumin for inflammation and other conditions is digestion. The body cannot break down curcumin in the same way that it can turmeric. You’ll need to take a synergistic supplement with curcumin for your body to fully absorb it, while turmeric can be taken on its own (but will need to be taken in larger quantities to achieve the same benefits).
Curcumin supplements are available in liquid and pill form. They're concentrated extracts that are either 100% curcumin, or a blend of curcumin with essential vitamins and fats. When curcumin is mixed with other substances it can be easier to digest. It might be better for you to buy 100% pure curcumin and take it with your own digestive-supporting foods. I use Curcumin daily and take it with Bioperine, which is a supplement made from black pepper. It helps the body absorb Curcumin and to do its pain relieving thing. Black pepper makes it easier for your stomach to break down curcumin and start to benefit from everything it offers.
Turmeric vs. Curcumin: What Will You Use?
You can go back and forth between turmeric vs. curcumin all day, but at some point, you have to take action to fight off the inflammation you've been feeling.
Ideally, curcumin would be the way to go. Taking a concentrated form of curcumin will give you all the benefits of turmeric at a higher potency than standard turmeric supplements can do. You do have to keep in mind that the proper digestion of curcumin is key.
Pay attention to how your body reacts when you start taking this supplement. The anti-inflammatory benefits should be clear. If not, it might be worth exploring other options.