In recent years turmeric supplements have been touted to offer a number of health benefits, and the market has really exploded. It is quite easy to get sucked into all the hype, but deciding if they are really worth it isn’t so easy. There is a lot to chose from, a lot of variation, and a lot of health claims (some of which may not be true). There are 2 main types of turmeric supplements available – whole turmeric root, and curcumin (which is a concentrated extract of the turmeric). To understand the differences between the two, you can read this article.
Essentially, whole turmeric root is taken to support general health and help control inflammation to a small extent. Curcumin supplements on the other hand are primarily taken to fight chronic inflammation.
There is a wealth of research supporting both of these claims (which you can read in a little more detail here). The effects of curcumin supplements in particular is easily measurable, and is certainly worth it. Curcumin reduces inflammation very effectively, and is considered to be healthier than taking regular over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs. The effects of curcumin are very easy to measure, and are quite quick. If you want a curcumin supplement to fight inflammation, the curcumin is worth it!
Whole turmeric root is harder to measure though. Its impact on mild inflammation like sore joints is noticeable in many people (although for very sore joints like arthritis sufferers, it has very little impact). However, its main purpose is to improve overall health and help prevent disease. This is quite hard to measure, and so deciding if it is worth buying and taking isn’t so easy. There are many things you can do to improve your general health – go for a walk, eat less processed food, eat more vegetables etc. These things may have a greater impact on your health than taking turmeric. On the other hand, it is very easy to take turmeric capsules, whereas going for a walk takes time (and the right weather). It is up to you to decide if the cost of turmeric is worth the long term benefits. For many people, it is an easy and convenient way to improve their nutritional intake.