This content is sponsored by Solgar.
You might’ve heard of turmeric, the golden-hued root that’s taken over wellness blogs and beauty brands alike. Perhaps you’ve even tried a turmeric latte or powder at the behest of a local barista or well-meaning Whole Foods employee. But do you know what makes turmeric such a beneficial nutritional supplement? The answer is curcumin.
What Is Curcumin?
Curcumin is the primary active compound found in turmeric, a plant related to ginger and indigenous to India, Asia and Central America (1).
“Turmeric is used as a spice and medicinal herb originating from Southeast Asia,” says Krista King, a Chicago-based dietitian and founder of Composed Nutrition. “It’s what gives curry its yellow color.”
Turmeric, and therefore curcumin, is found in a wide variety of products, including drinks, antiseptics, cosmetics, cheese, butter and chips (2). It is also used as a preservative and a coloring agent.
Curcumin is a polyphenol with antioxidant activity (3).* Curcumin may also be referred to as a curcuminoid, which are compounds found in turmeric (curcumin is the primary curcuminoid in turmeric).
Curcumin is often consumed in capsule form, in tea (such as golden milk tea made with coconut milk, turmeric and other spices), as an extract, or in powdered turmeric, King says.
As with turmeric, curcumin is well-known for its antioxidant properties and ability to scavenge free radicals, King says (2). Free radicals are unstable compounds that can occur naturally in our body and can be caused by pollution, smoking and even the sun. Free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which may damage cells.
How Can I Increase My Curcumin Absorption?
Although it has many healthy benefits, curcumin is unfortunately not absorbed well by the body. Powdered turmeric only has about 3 percent curcumin by weight, King says, and most of an oral dose of curcumin can pass through the gastrointestinal tract unchanged (4).
Increasing your curcumin absorption can help boost the beneficial antioxidant properties of curcumin in the body, King says.
Looking for a supplement formulation that contains micelles (5), which allow the body to better absorb fat-soluble compounds by making them water soluble, can help increase curcumin absorption.* Solgar’s Full Spectrum Curcumin surrounds and encapsulates standardized curcumin extract with micelles to aid in absorption.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.