The 6 Best Turmeric Supplements, According to a Dietitian

Thorne Meriva 500-SF is our top pick for people looking to reduce inflammation

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The Best Turmeric Supplements, According to a Dietitian

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that has also become popular for its possible medicinal benefits. These benefits are connected to the active compound in turmeric, known as curcumin. “Turmeric may be helpful for people with disease linked to chronic inflammation including arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease,” says Anya Rosen, MS, RD, LD, CPT, INFCP.

Although turmeric supplements have been studied extensively, their benefits are still not well-established in humans. Turmeric supplements are known to interact with certain medications and can make some health problems worse, so be sure to review medications and other supplements with a healthcare provider before starting a supplement. 

“Turmeric is poorly absorbed on its own, but addition of black pepper greatly increases its absorption,” says Marie Murphy, MS, RDN, CLT. That’s why consuming a supplement that also contains piperine (the active compound in black pepper) can be helpful. We also recommend seeking out a supplement that is made by a reputable brand, supplies an appropriate dosage, and has a third-party verification of safety from USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab. Curcumin is fat-soluble, so taking it with food that contains fat may also enhance absorption.

Verywell Fit Approved Turmeric Supplements

  • Best Overall: Thorne Meriva 500-SF provides a dose of curcumin that is known to be well absorbed by the body and may reduce joint pain in people with arthritis. 
  • Best for Joint Pain: Life Extension Super Bio Curcumin Turmeric Extract contains BCM-95, a formula that is potentially seven times more available to the body as curcumin alone and six times more available than curcumin combined with piperine.

Always speak with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your individual needs and which dosage to take.

Are Turmeric Supplements Beneficial?

Turmeric and its active compound curcumin are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and may help manage symptoms of some inflammation-related conditions. Many studies have shown promise in reducing inflammation and symptoms of inflammatory diseases, though more research is needed on the best form and dose since our ability to absorb curcumin in supplement form is relatively low.

In addition, much of the research on turmeric and curcumin has either been done in vitro (in petri dishes) or in animals, and human studies have been inconclusive. 

That said, turmeric supplements may be helpful for the following people: 

  • People with inflammatory bowel disease: A 2018 study showed that taking an 80-milligram curcumin supplement three times a day for four weeks reduced the frequency of urgent bathroom visits among people with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis (UC). Another very small study suggests that taking curcumin along with melamine (a common medication used to treat UC) may improve symptoms more than just medication alone.
  • People with other digestive problems: Turmeric has been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat digestive problems for hundreds of years. Emerging research suggests that curcumin is just as effective as omeprazole after four weeks of treatment for relieving digestive symptoms of bloating, stomach pains, and gas. However, Rosen notes, “individuals with acid reflux or indigestion should not take turmeric because it can aggravate symptoms."
  • People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA): One of the most promising areas for the use of turmeric is in people with joint pain related to rheumatoid arthritis. Studies suggest that 1000 milligrams of turmeric supplementation can alleviate joint pain. However, more research is needed to draw a definitive conclusion. It’s been shown to reduce swelling, pain, and tenderness, as well as inflammatory markers typical of RA such as C-reactive protein. Benefits appear to start with 250 milligrams per day, and efficacy may increase at 500 milligrams alongside 50 milligrams of the RA medication diclofenac sodium. With these variations in effective dosing, more research is needed to determine the best dose for patients with or without medications. Of note, turmeric may not be any better than traditional pain medication.
  • People with knee osteoarthritis: The research on the benefits for people with osteoarthritis is not quite as compelling as those with RA; however, it may still help some people in conjunction with other treatments. Recent studies suggest that curcumin supplements may reduce pain, but they don’t seem to help with joint stiffness or improve the ability to participate in activities. However, these studies were done in patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis, and curcumin may not be as effective for patients with more severe cases. Additionally, there have been other studies that showed no benefit. Further studies with more participants and longer trial times are needed to determine true benefits and, if so, the best dose and form.

Turmeric is being explored as a treatment for many other inflammatory-related conditions including Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (including cholesterol management). While some small studies have shown promise in these areas, the research is conflicting and there isn’t enough evidence to support supplementation as a treatment option right now.

That said, it’s always best to discuss the potential benefits (and drawbacks) of adding a supplement like turmeric to your regimen with a healthcare provider as it may be worth trying if the risks are low.

Who May Not Benefit From Turmeric Supplements

The amount of turmeric in food or even in a cup of tea is safe for most people since the amount of curcumin actually absorbed is quite small. However, curcumin dietary supplements may be problematic or even unsafe for some people.

  • People taking blood thinners: “Due to its potential blood-thinning properties, people taking blood-thinning medications should not take turmeric supplements,” Murphy says.
  • People taking diabetes medications: Although it’s not yet established if, when, and how much turmeric can help treat diabetes, it has been shown that as little as 180 milligrams of curcumin can lower blood sugar in some people. For comparison, doses used for OA and RA treatments exceed 500 milligrams of curcumin per day. Therefore, people taking other blood sugar-lowering medications or those who use insulin should avoid turmeric supplements as your blood sugar could drop too low.
  • People undergoing cancer treatment or on anti-cancer drugs: Turmeric supplements may interact with certain cancer treatments, and, in some cases, could make them less effective. However, other research suggests potential benefits in cancer treatment, so it’s best to work closely with a healthcare provider to determine if a turmeric supplement is safe for your specific situation.
  • People prone to kidney stones: Turmeric is an oxalate that can bind to calcium, which can contribute to kidney stones. If you’re prone to kidney stones, you may want to avoid taking turmeric supplements. Also, if your diet is low in calcium, it may further increase your risk for kidney stones.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding people: There is not enough evidence to support the safety of turmeric supplements while pregnant or breastfeeding, so it’s recommended to avoid supplements if you are in this stage of life. The amount found in food is safe.

Best Overall: Thorne Research Meriva SF

Thorne Research Meriva SF

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • More absorbable form

  • NSF certified for Sport

  • ConsumerLab approved

Cons
  • Expensive

  • High dose

What do buyers say? 92% of 1,400+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

We’re fans of many Thorne supplements, and their Meriva 500 SF is no exception. It gets a double thumbs up from two of our preferred third-party testing agencies, ConsumerLab and NSF certified for sport, whose tests show that it contains what the label says without harmful contaminants. 

One gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free tablet contains 500 milligrams of curcumin phytosome, which is curcumin attached to a phospholipid (a type of fat that has fat-loving and water-loving properties) to create a complex known as Meriva. Some studies suggest that it may be easier for your body to absorb Meriva than supplements that don’t contain this phospholipid attachment.

Thorne Meriva 500 SF may be a good choice for people with joint pain. Two studies have shown that this particular formulation reduced joint pain at similar levels to acetaminophen (Tylenol). Doses as high as 2 grams per day may be required for these results, so discuss safety of this level with a healthcare provider. Since it’s NSF certified for sport, Thorne’s Meriva 500 SF may be a good choice for athletes who experience joint pain and want to try an alternative treatment.

A note on dosing

It’s important to note that the label suggests a serving size of two capsules, which is equal to 1 gram of curcumin. Most of the research tests doses of either 250 or 500 milligrams twice or three times per day, which would add up to 0.5 to 1.5 grams in total, so a 1 gram dose is likely a safe amount. However, it may be best to start lower.

“I recommend starting with 250-500 milligrams per day to gauge your response,” Murphy says. “If you notice any adverse effects, such as stomach upset or cramping, lower the dose or discontinue. If no side effects are noted, you can increase to 500 milligrams twice per day. It’s best to take in divided doses, since absorption is limited.”

Dose: 1 g | Servings per container: 60 | Form: Capsule  | Active ingredients: Curcumin Phytosome |  Gluten-free: Yes  | Other allergy notes: Dairy-free, soy-free

Best Budget: Nature Made Turmeric 500 mg Capsules

Nature Made Turmeric Curcumin
Pros
  • USP verified

  • Affordable

  • Free of preservatives and artificial colors

Cons
  • Not vegan

Turmeric supplements can cost a pretty penny—especially those that are third party tested and contain quality ingredients. But Nature Made makes curcumin supplements at a much more accessible price point than other producers. It’s USP verified, so you know you’re getting what’s on the label. 

Each 500 milligram capsule provides 450 milligrams of turmeric root powder and 50 milligrams of turmeric root extract, which is about 47.5 milligrams of curcuminoids. This is a reasonable dose, though lower than some other supplements and how much your body will actually absorb is not well established. To enhance the amount you absorb, take your supplement with a meal that contains both fat and some black pepper.

Take note that the capsule is made using gelatin, which is made from animal products, so this supplement is not vegetarian or vegan.

Dose: 500 mg | Servings per container: 120 | Form: Capsule  | Active ingredients: Turmeric root powder and extract | Gluten-free: Yes, not certified | Other allergy notes: Not listed

Best Organic: Garden of Life mykind Organics Maximum Strength Turmeric

mykind Organics Maximum Strength Turmeric

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • ConsumerLab approved

  • Contains black pepper for better absorption

  • Contains ginger

Cons
  • Contains probiotics

If purchasing organic and non-GMO is important to you, the Garden of Life mykind Organics maximum strength turmeric is a good choice. We like this supplement for both its formulation and the fact that it’s tested and approved by ConsumerLab, so we can trust that it contains what the label says. 

The 500 milligrams of curcuminoids (from a 630-milligram blend of turmeric root and turmeric root extract) is paired with black pepper fruit to enhance absorption. It also includes ginger root, another anti-inflammatory compound that may reduce joint pain and support healthy digestion. Similar to turmeric, ginger may act as a blood thinner, so should not be taken with other blood-thinning medications.

This supplement contains some probiotics, which may help some people with digestive disorders but can be problematic for others. The amount found in this supplement is relatively low, but it’s something to be aware of if you are prone to digestive symptoms or notice any gastrointestinal-related side effects.

Dose: 630 mg | Servings per container: 30 | Form: Tablet  | Active ingredients: Turmeric root extract, turmeric root powder, black pepper fruit extract, fermented ginger root | Gluten-free: Yes, NSF certified | Other allergy notes: Not listed

Best for Joint Pain: Life Extension Super Bio Curcumin Turmeric Extract

Life Extension Super Bio Curcumin Turmeric Extract

Life Extension

Pros
  • More absorbable formulation

  • ConsumerLab approved

  • Non-GMO

Cons
  • Not vegan

Life Extension Super Bio Curcumin Turmeric Extract contains BCM-95, a formula that has been shown to be nearly seven times more usable by our bodies than curcumin alone and up to six time more usable than a combination of turmeric and piperine. Studies have also shown that this form may improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and other joint pain.

Each capsule contains 400 milligrams of the BCM-95 complex, which contains 380 milligrams of curcuminoids (the active compound) from the root extract along with turmeric rhizome essential oils that Life Extension says help enhance absorption. 

Life Extension Super Bio Curcumin Turmeric Extract is ConsumerLab approved, non-GMO, and gluten-free. 

Dose: 400 mg | Servings per container: 60 | Form: Capsule  | Active ingredients: Turmeric extract, curcuminoids, essential oils of turmeric rhizome | Gluten-free: Yes | Other allergy notes: Not listed

Best for Athletes: Momentus Turmeric Ultra

Momentus Turmeric Ultra

Momentus

Pros
  • NSF certified for sport

  • Bioavailable formulation

Cons
  • Pricey

For competitive athletes looking to reduce inflammation, the Momentous Turmeric Ultra is a good bet. It’s NSF certified for sport, a rigorous third-party certification that ensures the supplement contains what the label says (with no hidden extras) and doesn’t contain any substances that are banned by sport. It’s also certified by Informed Sport, another third-party testing company that tests for over 250 substances banned by sport. 

Momentous Turmeric Ultra is made with Meriva, one of the more bioavailable forms of turmeric, so you’re more likely to reap the benefits of the supplement.

Similar to Thorne Meriva 500-SF, it’s also a 1-gram dose found in two capsules, so you may want to start with 500 milligrams (one capsule) to be sure you tolerate it before taking the full dose of one capsule twice per day. 

Important note for athletes

While reducing inflammation may support muscle recovery, there hasn’t been any conclusive evidence to suggest that turmeric supplements are helpful for exercise recovery. The few studies that have shown promise have been done in mice, and we currently don’t have good evidence in humans. However, as long as you don’t have a health condition that could worsen with turmeric or take a medication that interacts with turmeric supplements, it’s likely a safe supplement to try. Just make sure you choose one that is third party verified by a reputable sports organization like NSF certified for sport. 

Dose: 1,000 mg | Servings per container: 30 | Form: Capsule  | Active ingredients: Turmeric Rhizomes Extract | Gluten-free: Yes | Other allergy notes: Not listed

Best Gummy: Nordic Naturals Zero Sugar Turmeric Gummies

Nordic Naturals Zero Sugar Turmeric Gummies

Nordic Naturals 

A quality gummy supplement can be hard to find, but Nordic Naturals Zero Sugar Cucumin Gummies is a good option for those that prefer a chewable option. It’s ConsumerLab approved and goes through Nordic Naturals own third-party testing to ensure potency, purity, and freshness. 

There are two important considerations when it comes to gummies. First is that they are sweetened, either with sugar or with a no calorie sugar alternative. These particular gummies don’t contain any added sugar, which may be preferable if you have a condition where you need to watch your blood sugar. However, they are sweetened with xylitol, a sugar alcohol which has been shown to cause digestive symptoms like nausea, gas, and bloating in some people.

In addition, gummies typically contain a lower dose of nutrients, and this supplement is no exception with only 200 milligrams of curcumin per two gummies. However, they do contain Longvida®, which is a form of curcumin that has been shown to be more easily absorbed and possibly effective at reducing knee pain in people with osteoarthritis.

Dose: 200mg | Servings per container: 30 | Form: Gummy | Active ingredients: Curcumin Extract |  Gluten-free: Yes, not certified | Other allergy notes: Contains soy

Final Verdict

For a quality turmeric supplement that is well absorbed by your body, we recommend Thorne Meriva 500-SF. It contains a research-backed formulation that is more likely to support your needs than some other forms of turmeric. 

Another great option is the Life Extension Super Bio Curcumin, which contains BCM-95, a formula that includes both curcumin extract and piperine to boost absorption rates.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here

We support supplements that are evidence-based and rooted in science. We value certain product attributes that we find to be associated with the highest quality products. We prioritize products that are third-party tested and certified by one of three independent, third-party certifiers: USP, NSF, or ConsumerLab. 

It's important to note that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they go to market. Our team of experts has created a detailed, science-backed methodology to choose the supplements we recommend.

What to Look for In Turmeric Supplements

Third-Party Testing

Supplements that are third-party tested are sent to a lab where they are tested to ensure they contain what they say they contain and are not contaminated with specific high-risk, common contaminants. However, it’s important to note:

  • Third-party testing does not test to see if a product is effective or safe for everyone, and it does not ensure the supplement will not interact with other supplements or medications.
  • Not all third-party testing is created equal. It is not uncommon for supplement companies to pay labs for certificates after conducting minimal to no testing. 
  • The third-party certifications we can trust are: ConsumerLab, NSF, and USP. However, these certifications are difficult to obtain and/or expensive for manufacturers, so many companies choose not to get their products tested by one of these three organizations. 
  • Sometimes products tested by these three companies are more expensive to try to offset the cost they pay for certification.
  • Just because a supplement is not tested by one of these three companies does not mean it’s a bad product. We recommend doing some research on the reputability of the manufacturer, and calling up the manufacturer and its testing lab to determine their protocols and decide if you feel comfortable consuming the supplement.

Turmeric root is grown in the ground, which makes it susceptible to containing heavy metals like lead, cadmium, and arsenic. There have been a very small number of cases of lead poisoning related to turmeric supplements in children. It’s also not uncommon for turmeric supplements to contain less of the active curcumin extract than the label says, according to ConsumerLab testing. For these reasons, it’s especially important to choose a turmeric supplement that is third-party verified.

Form

Turmeric supplements come in a number of different forms. Some are paired with other ingredients to enhance absorption and accessibility by the body. Three formulations that have been tested for superior absorption and used in products we recommend include Meriva, BCM-95, and Longvida®. While there may be other forms of curcumin that offer similar benefits, it’s important to note that the bioavailability (the ability of our body to absorb and use the supplement) is relatively low for turmeric root, which is why these formulations exist. 

Ingredients and Potential Interactions

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included, relative to the recommended daily value of that ingredient. Please bring the supplement label to a healthcare provider to review the different ingredients contained in the supplement and any potential interactions between these ingredients and other supplements and medications you are taking.

Turmeric Dosage

There are a number of ways you can consume turmeric powder, including as a spice in food, in tea, and in supplements. However, the amount you consume via food or drinks is extremely small compared to the dose that can be found in supplements and has been shown in research to possibly provide health benefits.

While there is no established recommended amount for turmeric supplements, most of the research tests either 250 or 500 milligrams two to three times per day. Some studies have tested higher amounts and larger doses may be warranted depending on the individual.

How Much Is Too Much?

Similar to there not being an established recommended dose for turmeric, there is also no specific upper limit. The safe amount is also likely dependent on the form of turmeric or curcumin and the presence of other ingredients that may enhance bioavailability.  However, because most studies test between 1,000 to 1,500 milligrams per day, unless recommended by a healthcare provider, it’s best to keep doses to under 1,500 milligrams per day. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How should I take turmeric?

    Turmeric is a fat-soluble nutrient and is better absorbed when consumed with fat. Therefore, it’s recommended you take turmeric with meals that contain some fat like oils, nuts, seeds, or avocado. If your supplement doesn’t contain black pepper, adding some black pepper to your meal may also enhance absorption.

  • How do I make turmeric tea?

    You can make turmeric tea with either fresh or dried turmeric. If using the fresh root, cut a 1-inch piece of turmeric into slices or pieces and add it to a cup of boiling water. Let sit for three to five minutes, then strain out the turmeric, and enjoy. 

    To make it with dried turmeric, whisk together half a teaspoon of the spice with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Let sit for three to five minutes and enjoy.

    You can also add dried or fresh ginger to the tea for additional benefits and flavor.

  • What does turmeric taste like?

    Turmeric has an earthy yet slightly citrusy flavor. On its own, it’s quite bitter and pungent, so it’s best paired with other herbs, spices, and flavors in cooking or even in tea. It blends well with other Indian, Moroccan, and Middle-Eastern spices such as curry powder, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, and cumin. 

  • Does turmeric help with weight loss?

    In general, supplements are not an effective tool for sustainable or significant weight loss. Some short and small studies have linked turmeric supplementation to small reductions in weight (around two to three pounds), but these studies do not look at whether the weight loss is sustained for longer than the trial period, which is typically 30-120 days.

    These small weight reductions could be related to a reduction in inflammation since inflammation may promote fat storage. However, because of the small sample size and short duration of these studies, there isn’t enough evidence to support recommending turmeric supplements for weight loss. 

    The best way to find a healthy, sustainable weight for you is to eat a well-balanced diet, strive for regular movement, get adequate sleep, and manage stress. And if you’re hoping to get the benefits of turmeric, try adding the spice to food or sipping on tea. All of these things can also support overall health and lower chronic inflammation. 

  • Is curcumin the same as turmeric?

    Turmeric is a spice that is used in cooking and teas and is often used as a food dye because of its bright yellow color. It’s made from the rhizome turmeric root (fresh turmeric), which is bright orange-yellow on the inside but otherwise looks similar to ginger root. Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric that may offer health benefits. Sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably on marketing materials or supplement labels, but they are not the same thing.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Sarah Anzlovar, MS, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian with her master's degree in nutrition communication from the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She owns a private practice in the suburbs of Boston, where she helps her clients ditch diets and learn to eat foods that help them feel their best and achieve optimal health. Sarah is also a freelance writer, where she lends her expertise in translating the research on a wide variety of nutrition topics into relatable and approachable recommendations for consumers.

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