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What is the Optimal Turmeric Dosage for Inflammation?

optimal dosage

How much turmeric should you take daily for inflammation?

You should intake at least 500 mgs of Turmeric Extract per day to receive a wide spectrum of health benefits, but the optimal dose of Turmeric for inflammation appears to be higher based on a number of independent studies. The amount of Turmeric you should take will vary depending on the reason you are taking it or the type of therapeutic benefit you want. In this article, we'll discuss how much Turmeric you should take daily for inflammatories problems like pain from arthritis.

The last time you visited your favorite Indian restaurant to savor one of their delicious curry entrees, did your chronic knee pain or your nagging back pain mysteriously subside by the time you got home? If so, maybe your relief was initiated by the Turmeric in the curry. Curry, known as garam masala in North Indian cuisine, is a blend of spices with Turmeric playing the lead role. Curry is a mainstay of the Indian diet.

Turmeric contains a group of three active phytochemicals known as curcuminoids, commonly referred to as ‘curcumin’. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests that curcumin has multiple therapeutic benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity[1]. Research also suggests that chronic inflammation is linked to the causes and propagation of many common diseases.

Inflammation is also a component of a broad range of non-infectious diseases; perhaps all of them[2]. It is for this reason that a significant amount of research over the past few decades has been directed toward identifying safe, natural substances that have anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin has been studied extensively, with over 30,000 references to it in the National Institutes of Health PMC database.

Joint Pain and Arthritis

Inflammation is, of course, a key component to joint trauma and degeneration. When we injure a joint, the soft tissues around the joint initiate an inflammatory response. Damaged cells discharge inflammasomes, including cytokines and similar enzymes. These chemical agents cause blood vessels to leak blood into the soft tissues causing swelling. This swelling is the body’s innate ‘splinting’ mechanism, provided by nature as a means to protect the injured joint by stabilizing it.

A 2019 study of 139 osteoarthritis (OA) patients compared the effectiveness and safety of curcumin to the effectiveness and safety of diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) in the treatment of knee OA[3].

Chronic inflammation is a key feature of OA. Subjects were given either 50 mgs of diclofenac twice daily, or 500 mgs of curcumin (standardized 95% Turmeric Extract) three times daily for 28 days.

Patients were evaluated midway through the study and at the study’s conclusion. At days 14 and 28, both groups showed comparable improvement in pain severity levels. The curcumin patients reported no adverse side effects, whereas the diclofenac patients complained of a number of adverse reactions, including stomach acid, with 28% of diclofenac patients requiring H2 acid blockers. The study’s authors concluded:

“Our findings suggest that curcumin three times daily has similar efficacy to, but a better safety profile than diclofenac two times daily among patients with knee OA. Our study results suggest that curcumin with increased bioavailability can be a good alternative treatment option in patients with knee OA who are intolerant to the side effects of NSAIDs.”

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This 2019 study is only the most recent of many similar studies exploring the application of curcumin as an anti-inflammatory agent and analgesic. An earlier 2010 controlled study evaluated the effectiveness of curcumin in 100 OA patients over eight months[4]. In addition to physical evaluators, such as treadmill walking, the patients were also evaluated through serum tests, looking at a series of inflammatory markers.

The results demonstrated significant improvements in all testing scales for curcumin patients compared to the control group. The authors of the study concluded that curcumin should be considered for the long-term management of osteoarthritis.

Turmeric Extract plays an important role in the whole-person approach to managing knee arthritis. You can learn how it can help you by reading this article: Turmeric for knee arthritis

Dosage and Bioavailability

For anyone contemplating the usage of turmeric/curcumin as an anti-inflammatory agent, the question of determining the ideal dosage is a vital one. The first consideration, of course, is safety and potential side effects. The second consideration is how much is required in order to be effective.

With respect to the first consideration, turmeric, and its active ingredient, curcumin, have been studied extensively at high dosages, in both humans and animals, with virtually no adverse side effects being reported. Turmeric is, after all, a food substance.

Determining what is the ideal turmeric dosage for inflammation, is a bit trickier and requires research, some simple math, and drawing the important distinction between turmeric and curcumin. When we refer to turmeric, we are referring to the raw plant powder. But the concentration of curcumin within the raw turmeric powder is only about 3-4%, on average.

In the 2019 study mentioned above, research subjects were given 1500 mgs of curcumin daily. The curcumin is referred to as ‘95% turmeric standardized extract’. What that means is that turmeric’s active component, curcumin, was extracted from turmeric and is now in a ratio of 95% pure curcumin and 5% raw turmeric plant powder.

Since curcumin is only present in the raw, natural turmeric at a concentration of about 3% +/-, the 95% standardized extract is now about 30 times more potent than the raw turmeric plant powder.

In order to achieve the same curcumin dosage level, by taking the raw turmeric plant powder, a person would have to consume over an ounce of turmeric daily or about 60 capsules.

Numerous human studies have concluded that the ideal curcumin dosage level is between 500 mgs and 1500 mgs daily. According to the Arthritis Foundation, 1000 mgs per day of curcumin is the most widely recognized dosage for the treatment of osteoarthritis[5].

One of the most important factors to take into consideration when consuming curcumin is its bioavailability. Oral supplementation utilizes the assimilation of the active components in the gastrointestinal tract. But some molecules, either due to their size or their complexity, are difficult to absorb in the stomach and intestines. Curcumin is one of those molecules. Curcumin supplements need a catalytic agent, like black pepper extract, or ‘BioPerine’, in order to effectively facilitate curcumin’s absorption.

The nutraceutical marketplace is rife with underdosed curcumin supplements. In some cases, they utilize 95% turmeric extract, but the daily recommended serving level is less than 500 mgs, sometimes as low as 50-100 mgs.

In other cases, they use a turmeric extract that is only at a concentration level of 40% or 50% or even lower. Regrettably, some companies sell the turmeric raw plant powder, which contains curcumin at levels too low to be effective as an anti-inflammatory agent.

India, Ayurveda, and Nutraceuticals

Turmeric is derived from the Latin term, terra merita, meaning ‘meritorious earth’. Over a million tons of turmeric are cultivated annually in India alone. The use of turmeric dates back at least 4000 years. Turmeric had reached China by 700 CE, and was enthusiastically chronicled by the famous merchant/traveler, Marco Polo.

Indians still rely on their ancient Ayurvedic medical system as their primary source of medicines. The advent of ‘powdered herbal extracts’ was initiated in India in the mid-twentieth century after Indian scientists began identifying and isolating the active phytochemicals within their traditional herbs.

Once identified, these active components were extracted and then added back into the raw plant powder, creating highly concentrated, potent, plant-based nutraceuticals. In India today, there is little confusion over the difference between their traditional Ayurvedic herbs and their highly-concentrated, powdered herbal extracts.

Active Atoms Turmeric Extract is 15x stronger than many turmeric supplements. One capsule provides 750 mgs of Turmeric Extract making it one of the highest potency Turmeric Extracts on the market today. As a comparison, you would have to take 15 capsules from the top-selling Turmeric supplement on Amazon to get the same amount of extract as one of our capsules.

Try not to be misled when buying a Turmeric supplement. Many brands advertise high potency Turmeric, but they fill their capsules with Turmeric Powder which is less effective than extract. It can be very confusing to know if you are getting the right dose because sometimes these companies hide the amount of Turmeric Extract in a proprietary blend without listing the number of milligrams. You can see how Active Atoms compares to five top-selling Turmeric supplements on Amazon by reading this article: Misleading turmeric claims - 5 examples and how to read labels

The Whole Person Approach

Humans are complex, integrated beings and it is impossible to compartmentalize health issues and ailments. The path to optimal health and well-being necessitates a broad approach that incorporates a battery of life-supportive factors such as a nutritious diet, exercise, recreation, and sufficient sleep.

We should also incorporate measures to help counter-balance the various types of stress we encounter in our lives. It is also advisable to confer with our doctors and health professionals whenever embarking on any treatment regimen, including the usage of nutraceutical extracts as dietary supplements.

To support a healthy inflammatory response in your body, try Active Atoms Turmeric Extract to get the optimal dose of turmeric extract. You can read our testimonials and 5-star reviews on Amazon to see how our high potency formula has helped many other people with inflammatory issues.

About Dr. Marc Robinson, PT, DPT, Cert. MDT