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Turmeric 101

Most of us know by now that turmeric is the cool kid on the block of holistic anti-inflammatory foods, and its everywhere now. But sprinkling it on just anything by itself doesn't actually do very much.

Think of turmeric as a fancy sports car with all the bells and whistles.
Then think about how good the car is, without its engine.
That is what turmeric is, without being paired with piperine (in black pepper) and fats: a Maserati with no engine: very golden + pretty to look at but no actual function.

There is a lot of misinformation and questions out there about turmeric. While science and research is ever-evolving, we like the facts.

So, because we love you guys, we want to tackle some of the most frequent questions + confusion over our favorite ingredient.

Because you deserve nothing less than to truly #livegolden if you're going to stain your life yellow trying to get on that anti-inflammatory train, right?

*Please note: We are not medical professionals and this is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your doctor before starting any new foods or regimens. We cite published medical research studies + accredited medical websites for our specific information below.

  • I get that it's supposed to be good for me. But what exactly is so great about turmeric?

    • Not to be a Debbie downer, but let's talk about chronic + autoimmune disease first, because it's pretty important.
      Chronic disease (like heart disease, stroke, arthritis, certain cancers, diabetes, epilepsy, and obesity) is a serious problem around the world. Then there are over 26 million Americans with autoimmune diseases, 85% of which are women.
    • And guess what is a common factor in all of these?
      Inflammation. Enter, turmeric.
    • Turmeric has proven to have great anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, cancer-inhibiting benefits, and even Alzheimer-preventative properties [1,5,6,7,8,9]. Soooo yes. Pretty darn incredible for one colorful root, no?

  • Why do I keep hearing how turmeric needs black pepper + fats to absorb?

    • Even though turmeric has proven to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and even cancer-inhibiting properties [1,2], it is still not yet widespread in western medicinal practices because of its poor bioavailability (ability for body to use it) on its own. It metabolizes too quickly in your liver and intestinal wall for your body to reap any of the benefits. BUT paired with piperine, a compound in black pepper, the bioavailability of turmeric increases 2000% by slowing the metabolization of the curcumin [3].
    • Turmeric's nutrients are fat soluble, so it must be paired with some fats for your body to use the nutrients.

  • Does it matter what kind of pepper I use?

    • Yup. The piperine compound comes from black pepper. Pink peppercorns that we've seen used in some turmeric blends, actually come from the mango plant family and their main compound is cardanol, not piperine; therefore, it is not interchangeable for the same benefits.

  • How much turmeric should an average person have? Is it possible to have too much turmeric?

    • It is suggested that adults ingest 1-3 grams from either fresh turmeric root or ground turmeric root per day [6].
    • BUT the percentage of curcumin (the active healing ingredient in turmeric) in turmeric can vary anywhere from 1%-6% from crop to crop [4], depending on growth conditions (soil, sunlight, season, farmer's practices) and processing.
    • The average in commercial ground turmeric tends to be 3%. We source our organic turmeric from growers that keep an average of 4%, and our product serving sizes fall in accordance with recommended guidelines.

  • Are there contraindications with turmeric? Is it possible to have too much turmeric?

    • Yes. Patients with bile duct obstruction, gallstones, and GI disorders including stomach ulcers and hyperacidity disorders should not take this supplement [1]. There is also research correlating turmeric with thinning of blood [5] so it is suggested to use precaution if on blood thinners or have surgery in the next two weeks [6].

 

[1] Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Website
[2NCBI PubMed
[3NCBI PubMed
[4] Nutrition and Cancer Report
[5NCBI PubMed
[6University of Maryland Medical Center
[
7] NCBI PubMed
[8] NCBI PubMed
[9] NCBI PubMed