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Turmeric Vs Curcumin

Turmeric Vs Curcumin

Turmeric is one of the top superfoods in the modern world. This spice is hailed as the king of anti-inflammatory foods. Most people believe that turmeric's benefits are all because of one single compound known as curcumin.

But we have looked into the research of turmeric and curcumin. The truth is a very different story to what many may believe.


What is curcumin?

Curcumin is a compound found in the rhizome turmeric. It is classed as a curcumoid. Health experts tend to emphasise curcumin as the main therapeutic compound found in turmeric.

Curcumin is only found in supplement form, as it is an extract from a wholefood.


What is turmeric?

Turmeric is a rhizome that is used as a spice in cooking. It's commonly used in Asian and Indian dishes. However, since its anti-inflammatory benefits have become known, more people are using it for therapeutic benefits, rather than taste.

Turmeric is usually used as a wholefood. However, it can also be found in supplement form. We offer a wholefood turmeric supplement at Turmeric Vitality.


The Difference

So we know the difference between the two in a general sense. But when you need to know which is better, it's important to look at the science. We've done the research for you. So here we will discuss the key difference between curcumin and turmeric as therapeutic compounds.


Curcumin is only one compound

When it comes to staying healthy, you want a variety of beneficial foods to be your very best. If you only focused on one nutrient, such as vitamin C, you would find yourself unwell very quickly. Our bodies are designed to utilise different nutrients, antioxidants and compounds together.

Research suggests that curcumin is a beneficial compound. But it is only one compound in isolation. This means that it is unlikely to work at its best. In fact, curcumin has a poor bio-availability by itself – it is poorly absorbed by the digestive tract.

Wholefoods contain nutrients and other compounds that are 'synergistic' – this means they work together for maximum benefit. But curcumin cannot do this if it is extracted and isolated.


The difficulties with curcumin in research

There's been a lot of uproar in the news recently about how effective curcumin really is. Recent research suggests that curcumin is not a good choice for isolation. Researchers have struggled to work with the difficult compound, claiming it to be unstable, reactive and a poor option for drug development. This has led to claims that 'turmeric is not therapeutic'.

But the real problem is that they are studying curcumin by itself. There are still many compounds that have therapeutic properties. It may be that like many things, turmeric works best as a whole.


Turmeric is a whole complex superfood

Unlike curcumin, turmeric is a wholefood with many different components. It contains proteins and other nutrients, antioxidants and oils. These all work together in synergy.


Other beneficial compounds in turmeric

Did you know that turmeric contains more than just curcumin? Other compounds found in turmeric that could benefit your health include:

  • Demethoxycurcumin
  • Bisdemethoxycurcumin
  • Tetrahydrocurcumin
  • Turmerone
  • Urmerin
  • Elemene
  • Furanodiene
  • Curdione
  • Bisacurone
  • Cyclocurcumin
  • Calebin A
  • Germacrone

 There may be many other compounds that are therapeutic in turmeric. Research is still being conducted every day, and a new compound could come to light.


Benefits of Curcumoids

Curcumin is one of several curcumoids found in turmeric. But research suggests that all of the curcumoids have benefits – not just curcumin.


Some of the benefits of different curcumoids include:


Many of these are the same benefits that curcumin is famous for. It seems clear that there are more benefits from a combination of curcumoids, rather than just focusing on one. The best way to get a variety of curcumoids is by using turmeric over curcumin.


Benefits of Other Turmeric Compounds

It's not just all about the curcumoids when it comes to turmeric. Research supports other compounds found in turmeric for different health benefits. Some of these include:

  • Turmerone is beneficial for depression and mood
  • Turmerin may help to reduce blood sugar levels naturally
  • Germacrone has anti-cancer properties
  • Elemene can help to treat stomach cancer
  • Bisacurone has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties


All of these are compounds that are found in whole turmeric. You cannot get any of them from a pure curcumin extract. So by using curcumin over turmeric, you may be throwing away a lot of the therapeutic benefits of turmeric.


Turmeric Vs Curcumin: Which Is Better?

So now it's time to get down to the answer to the original question. Which is more beneficial for your health: whole turmeric or curcumin?

We believe that there is much more evidence for using turmeric as a wholefood, rather than using only one constituent. It makes sense that turmeric, like any other food, works better as a whole.

The combination of beneficial compounds is more likely to benefit your health than just one by itself! That's why we use turmeric supplements, not curcumin supplements.


The research supports our thoughts about turmeric and curcumin.

  • One article found that turmeric was preferable for immunity, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Another study showed that turmeric contained more antioxidant activity compared to standardised curcumin
  • One study showed that curcumin-free turmeric exhibited anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity, showing that there is more to turmeric than just curcumin.


This shows that even the science is starting to suggest that wholefoods are better than extracts from wholefoods.

 So if you're looking for health benefits including:

  • Anti-inflammatory activity
  • Antioxidant activity
  • Anti-cancer activity
  • Brain protective activity
  • Immunity boosting properties
  • And more…


Make sure you choose turmeric for your supplements. After all, whole turmeric is the natural choice – and now, the science-supported logical choice – to make.

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