September 23, 2022

Which Should You Choose, Turmeric Or Curcumin?

Which Should You Choose, Turmeric Or Curcumin?
Quick Links

Turmeric is an Asian ingredient when it comes to curries and stews. The bright spice is known as ‘Indian Saffron’ due to its color and fragrance.

Widely used in the olden days therapeutically, evidence also seems to confirm its healing properties, particularly involving curcumin, the primary enzyme present in turmeric.

We will now discuss the prominent differences between turmeric and curcumin, their supplement dosages, and their properties below.

What Are Curcumin And Turmeric?

Turmeric belongs to the same family as ginger. Its scientific name is Curcuma longa. Turmeric root is quite similar to a ginger root in terms of appearance. It ranges from bright yellow to a goldish tinge.

The ancient medicine of India, Ayurveda, prescribes this root for various disorders from dermatological and digestive problems to pain.

Turmeric has a collection of substances, and curcuminoids in specific exhibit the most therapeutic properties. Of all the curcuminoids, curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin are the most prominent. Curcumin, however, seems to be superior to the other two when it comes to aiding health.

Products of turmeric are composed of only 2-8% of curcumin. Curcumin is the enzyme that gives turmeric its iconic color and earthy taste.

Curcumin is medically used for its antioxidants, anti-cancer properties, and ability to fight off inflammation.

Turmeric indeed has healing abilities, a major of them coming from one enzyme it contains, curcumin.

Similar Benefits Turmeric And Curcumin Provide

Turmeric and curcumin alike share an array of health benefits. Some of the areas they are scientifically known to benefit are:

  1. Liver: The abundance of antioxidants that turmeric and curcumin contain was able to combat liver damage when tested on rats.
  2. Cardiac Health: Turmeric and curcumin may help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL), decreasing the risk of heart disease.
  3. Cancer: Although further research is still required, turmeric and curcumin may cease the activity of cancer cells in colorectal cancer and possibly other types of cancer as well.
  4. Diabetes: Both components may assist in regulating blood sugar levels, benefitting diabetics.
  5. Knee Pain: Inflammation is a pivotal cause of swelling in osteoarthritis. Turmeric and curcumin help reverse such symptoms.
  6. Fungal Infections: Turmeric and curcumin can complement antifungal medication. They appear to break down the cell membranes of fungi, resisting their attack.
  7. Bacterial Infections: Evidence has shown that turmeric and curcumin can be effective against several bacteria, disrupting their growth.
  8. Obesity: Both turmeric and curcumin may aid in regulating body fat, reducing markers of inflammation.

Health Benefits Of Turmeric, Not Considering Curcumin

This natural product has earned its place in the medical world. Its various plant enzymes assist in protecting the body.

Not only does it fight inflammation in osteoarthritis, but it also exhibits a protective effect on brain health, improving Parkinson’s.

Seven enzymes of turmeric can ward off fungal infections, including curcumin. Curdione is the most powerful for inhibiting fungi and has a better effect when combined with the rest of the enzymes. While curcumin can fight fungal infections alone, turmeric and all its enzymes intact are more effective.

In comparison, turmeric is better at halting the spread of cancerous cells than curcumin.

The fact that curcumin is a part of turmeric may be the underlying cause for its potent effects. We need more comparative studies to establish if turmeric is better than curcumin.

Certain Conditions Benefit More From Curcumin Than Turmeric

Curcumin separated from turmeric was tested to determine whether it exhibits therapeutic properties alone. It is rich in antioxidants, fights inflammation, and showcases a positive effect on healing injuries.

Turmeric and curcumin have a similar effect in reducing blood glucose levels in diabetics, but curcumin is more effective than turmeric.

Factors like TNF (tumor necrosis factor) and IL-6 (interleukin 6) that contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes may get reduced by curcumin.

As per research involving rats, turmeric fortified with curcumin-like substances could strengthen their bones, while usual amounts had no effect whatsoever.

One downside of curcumin is that it gets excreted from our body, undigested, and absorbed poorly. The absorption can be enhanced by a whopping 2,000% with the addition of piperine (black pepper), though.

So, Which Is Better?

There is still a lack of evidence to determine which of the two is better, and further research is required.

Several studies have shown beneficial effects from turmeric enriched with extra curcumin or just curcumin alone. For supplementation, it is vital to note whether it has been tested and absorbs well.

Extracts of turmeric with a gram of curcumin, taken every day for 8-12 weeks, had a beneficial effect on arthritis.

Consumption of 700 mg of turmeric twice everyday showed a possibility of reducing cholesterol levels. As per an 8-week study, turmeric consumed with nigella seeds reduced waist size, cholesterol, and inflammation.

Although opinions are varying, three distributed doses of curcumin (6gm) and piperine (60mg) helped with muscle damage post-exercise. High doses of curcumin, as much as 12 grams a day, have been tested with acceptable tolerance. Gastric issues like discomfort and nausea arise for higher dosage.


All these years, we have been consuming and celebrating turmeric for its healing abilities, whether it’s inflammation, arthritis, cancer, cardiac issues, etc.

Curcumin is the most active ingredient present in turmeric, but whether it is potent by itself is still up for discussion. Most studies use turmeric with extra curcumin or curcumin by itself.

Turmeric and curcumin both exhibit similar properties therapeutically. The diverse number of diseases they benefit from is large, making them a sensible addition to your diet or supplements.

Adding black pepper for better absorption and checking with a physician before taking curcumin or turmeric supplements is recommended.

Share this article

Livest Health's assurance

crossmenuchevron-down-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram