Nothing beats taking whole turmeric or turmeric root powder in its natural form. This is how nature intended for you to consume turmeric, and there is little doubt that whole turmeric is good for you.
The epidemiological studies that look at dietary levels of turmeric in populations that normally ingest it, all look at people who are consuming relatively small amounts of whole turmeric in their food. And yet there is benefit seen at these levels of total turmeric intake on every day inflammation levels and on disease incidence.
The thing is, most studies on turmeric have actually studied curcumin, which is an active component of turmeric. There are over 5,600 studies on curcumin, while there are only a handful of studies on whole turmeric. This is because curcumin was initially thought to be the main active component of turmeric, a notion that is no longer supported by the latest studies.
The latest studies are showing that there are over 300 different components in turmeric, and they all work together to bring about the beneficial effects of turmeric in its whole natural form. Curcumin may be good, but whole turmeric is better.
I know of one study that compared the effectiveness of isolated curcumin vs. whole turmeric in inhibiting growth of cancer cells. Whole turmeric was found to be twice as effective as curcumin on its own. However, the problem with this study is it used a small amount of curcumin, and a large amount of turmeric that contained an equivalent amount of curcumin. The turmeric used in this study contained about 7.9% curcumin, so they used 70 μg/mL of turmeric, and only 5 μg/mL of curcumin. Had they used 5 μg/mL of curcumin and 5 μg/mL turmeric, I’m pretty sure the curcumin would have won hands down.
So, though taking large amounts of whole turmeric may be ideal, if you want quick and potent results, and don’t fancy downing boat-loads of turmeric every day, you may be better off taking a supplement that contains isolated curcumin.
And hey, why not do both? Increase turmeric in your diet, and take a turmeric curcumin supplement to reap the benefits of both worlds.
Taking a supplement is just plain convenient. Taking a turmeric curcumin supplement will save you the time and hassle of preparing turmeric and using it in your cooking. Turmeric tastes disgusting by itself, and unless you know how to cook a good Indian curry containing turmeric, just sprinkling turmeric powder to your food is likely to ruin your meal. I tried for a while to drink turmeric down with a glass of water twice a day, but boiling the water and turmeric, waiting for it to cool, then chugging down a glass of the most horrible drink you can think of, isn’t something I could keep up for very long.
So now I recommend taking turmeric curcumin supplements, and they’ve worked well for me.
It’s so much more convenient to simply pop a pill, than to worry about various different turmeric recipes, or heating a boiling mixture for 10 minutes.