Beware Cheap Turmeric

  • July 13, 2018
  • Blog

Turmeric, known for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, is the recent subject of a Botanical Adulterants Bulletin put out by the Botanical Adulterants Protection Program(BAPP). This program is a not-for profit organization whose purpose is to aid raw materials purchasing departments in identifying adulterated botanicals that may be ineffective, or worse, cause harm to consumers. It is a joint venture including the American Botanical Council, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Products Research. The bulletin, like all others they put out, is peer reviewed by 18 industry and academic experts.

Turmeric is the best-selling supplement in the U.S. since 2013. Due to its popularity and high cost, adulteration is a problem with unscrupulous manufacturers. It is relatively easy to adulterate curcumin that is received in powdered form, and not so easy to detect adulteration. Ingredients such as starch, cassava, chalk powder, and synthetic dyes have been found. Colorants such as lead chromate and metanil yellow have been detected. Metanil yellow has been connected with serious conditions such as neurotoxicity, liver cancer, tumor development, negative effects on gastric mucin (protects the lining of the gut), and lymphocytic lymphoma. Certain physical and colorimetric tests can be used to identify adulterants, and HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) can be used to make sure the correct species of turmeric is used.

For these reasons, it is best to use a turmeric supplement that comes from a reputable manufacturer with sophisticated testing equipment and processes. Typically companies that employ these methods have very high quality, but not the lowest prices. Here is a sampling of our best-selling turmeric/curcumin and how the manufacturer ensures quality:

Thorne’s Meriva—Thorne tests every batch of raw materials for identity and purity. It also tests every finished product for identity, potency, and purity. Meriva has been the subject of numerous clinical trials as well.

Gaia Herbs Turmeric Supreme—Whole turmeric rhizome must arrive at their organic processing facility intact to ensure species verification. This eliminates the opportunity for raw materials suppliers to alter product that arrives as a powder. Testing is also done for identity and purity of finished product.

Curamed or Curamin by Terry Naturally—These products use a patented extract of turmeric call BCM 95 made by Arjuna Naturals. Arjuna employs strict testing procedures and the BCM 95 has 33 published clinical studies behind it.

Theracurmin—This turmeric extract was the subject of a recent AARP article. The raw material is made by a company called Theravalues that is ISO and GMP certified in the U.S., and also undergoes the more stringent requirements of Japan’s regulatory agencies for food ingredients.

The bottom line is this: if you are going to use turmeric or the curcumin extracted from it, make sure you use a quality brand. The brands we carry may not be the least expensive ones you can find, but they are safe, effective, and have clinical science behind them.

Please stop by and let us help you choose one that is right for you.