Health

Tumeric & Curcumin Supplements Fail Quality Tests

| by ConsumerLab

WHITE PLAINS, NY -- Supplements containing the herb turmeric or its key compound, curcumin, have become popular in the U.S.  ConsumerLab.com cautioned today that two out of ten turmeric products recently selected for quality testing were found to provide only 7.7% and 14.7%, respectively, of expected curcuminoid compounds. Unlike some turmeric supplements tested in the past, however, none of the recently tested products exceeded strict limits for lead and cadmium contamination.

Turmeric has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activities. Recent research has focused on curcuminoids, the specific compounds in turmeric including curcumin which give turmeric its orange-yellow color. Studies suggest a role for curcuminoids in the treatment of a range of diseases including ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic anterior uveitis (an autoimmune disease of the eye), as well as for indigestion. According to Nutrition Business Journal, sales of turmeric and curcumin supplements grew to $59 million in 2009, up from $43 million in 2008.

“Consumers need to select turmeric or curcumin supplements carefully to be sure they are getting a quality product. The products that failed our testing would deliver only a small fraction of the doses expected from their labels. In addition, because curcumin is poorly absorbed, certain specially formulated products may offer greater bioavailability,” said Tod Cooperman, M.D., President of ConsumerLab.com. To help consumers get the best value from a supplement, ConsumerLab.com calculated the cost to obtain a 500 mg dose of curcuminoids, which ranged from 13 cents to 52 cents among products that passed testing, some of which included bioavailability enhancers. For the two products that failed testing, the costs were $3.44 and $7.88, due to the small amounts of curcuminoids that they actually contained.

The ConsumerLab.com report is available at http://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/turmeric-curcumin-supplements-review/turmeric/. Included are findings for ten products selected by ConsumerLab.com as well six that passed ConsumerLab.com's Voluntary Certification Program. Products reviewed are Advance Physician Formulas Curcumin, Doctor’s Best Curcumin C3 Complex with Bioperine, Doctors Purest Ageless Cures Curcumin C3 Complex, Douglas Laboratories Ayur-Curcumin, GNC Herbals Plus Standardized Curcumin, Jarrow Formulas Curcumin 95, Life Extension Super Curcumin with Bioperine, Natural Factors Turmeric and Bromelain, Naturally Enhanced Absorption Curcu-Gel and Curcu-Gel Ultra, Nature’s Life Turmeric Ginger Joint Ease, Nature’s Way Turmeric, Paradise Herbs & Essentials Turmeric, Solgar Turmeric Root Extract, Swanson Superior Herbs Curcumin, and Vitamin Shoppe Standardized Herbs Turmeric Extract.

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The report also provides information about the use of turmeric and curcumin supplements, including suggested dosages, bioavailability issues, and potential side effects.