Turmeric or Curcumin: Plants vs. Pills

Turmeric or Curcumin: Plants vs. Pills
4.6 (92%) 15 votes

Curcumin-free turmeric, from which the so-called active ingredient has been removed, may be as effective or even more potent.

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Supplement manufacturers often fall into the same reductionist trap as the drug companies. Herbs are assumed to have only one main active ingredient; and so, if you can isolate it and purify it into a pill, the thinking goes, you can boost the effects. Curcumin is described as the active ingredient in turmeric, but is it the active ingredient or just an active ingredient? It’s just one of many different components of the whole food spice.

Only limited studies have compared the potential of turmeric with curcumin, but some suggest turmeric, the whole food, may work even better, and not just against colon cancer cells. This group of researchers at the Anderson Cancer Center in Texas pitted curcumin against seven different types of human cancer cells. And also, turmeric.

Curcumin kicks butt against breast cancer cells, but turmeric, the whole food, kicks even more butt. Curcumin against pancreatic cancer; turmeric against pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, multiple myeloma, myelogenous leukemia, and more colorectal cancer. They found that turmeric was more potent compared to curcumin, suggesting that components other than curcumin can also contribute to anti-cancer activities.

Most clinical studies treating diseases in people have used curcumin supplements, as opposed to turmeric. But none have tried using turmeric components other than curcumin. But see, even curcumin-free turmeric exhibits anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities.

Although curcumin is believed to account for most activities of turmeric, research over the past decade has indicated that curcumin-free turmeric—turmeric with the so-called active ingredient removed—is as effective as, or even more effective than, curcumin-containing turmeric. There are turmerones, for example, in turmeric, but processed out of curcumin supplements, which may exhibit both anticancer activities as well as anti-inflammatory activities. So, I assumed this review would conclude, let’s give people turmeric; but instead, they were like, let’s make all sorts of different turmeric-derived supplements!

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to melpomen via 123rf

Supplement manufacturers often fall into the same reductionist trap as the drug companies. Herbs are assumed to have only one main active ingredient; and so, if you can isolate it and purify it into a pill, the thinking goes, you can boost the effects. Curcumin is described as the active ingredient in turmeric, but is it the active ingredient or just an active ingredient? It’s just one of many different components of the whole food spice.

Only limited studies have compared the potential of turmeric with curcumin, but some suggest turmeric, the whole food, may work even better, and not just against colon cancer cells. This group of researchers at the Anderson Cancer Center in Texas pitted curcumin against seven different types of human cancer cells. And also, turmeric.

Curcumin kicks butt against breast cancer cells, but turmeric, the whole food, kicks even more butt. Curcumin against pancreatic cancer; turmeric against pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, multiple myeloma, myelogenous leukemia, and more colorectal cancer. They found that turmeric was more potent compared to curcumin, suggesting that components other than curcumin can also contribute to anti-cancer activities.

Most clinical studies treating diseases in people have used curcumin supplements, as opposed to turmeric. But none have tried using turmeric components other than curcumin. But see, even curcumin-free turmeric exhibits anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities.

Although curcumin is believed to account for most activities of turmeric, research over the past decade has indicated that curcumin-free turmeric—turmeric with the so-called active ingredient removed—is as effective as, or even more effective than, curcumin-containing turmeric. There are turmerones, for example, in turmeric, but processed out of curcumin supplements, which may exhibit both anticancer activities as well as anti-inflammatory activities. So, I assumed this review would conclude, let’s give people turmeric; but instead, they were like, let’s make all sorts of different turmeric-derived supplements!

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to melpomen via 123rf

325 responses to “Turmeric or Curcumin: Plants vs. Pills

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  1. …and you didn’t even mention that turmeric + black pepper has a 1000-fold more powerful effect.

    By the way, I continue to be surprised that it is the most colourful food that is so useful. Isn’t there a reductionist approach to tackle that?




    5
    1. Do you have a reference for your statement that “turmeric + black pepper has a 1000-fold more powerful effect.”?

      As far as I am aware the only studies have been on black pepper (or piperine) boosting the effect of curcumin. The claim that black pepper boosts the effectiveness of turmeric is a quite reasonable inference but I am not sure that it has been specifically demonstrated. This would explain why Dr G does not mention it. Also, I have seen figures that suggest black pepper boosts curcumin bioavailability by 2000% but even that is a far cry from 1000-fold.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9619120

      I would be very happy to be proved wrong if you have a study you can cite.




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      1. Your statement is consistent with my research. From Dr G himself:
        http://nutritionfacts.org/video/boosting-the-bioavailability-of-curcumin/
        From the transcript of that video:
        “If you give people a bunch of turmeric curcumin, within an hour you can see a little bump in the level in their blood stream. The reason we don’t see more is that our liver is actively trying to get rid of it, but what if you suppress that process by taking just a quarter teaspoon’s worth of black pepper? . . . Same amount of curcumin consumed, but the bioavailability shoots up 2000%. Even just a little pinch of pepper—1/20th of a teaspoon—can significantly boost levels. ”

        From another source (Mercola) heating turmeric 10-12 minutes increases bioavailability 12x:
        http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/03/02/curcumin-benefits.aspx?e_cid=1stBestOfNL_art_5&et_cid=DM69198&et_rid=975850192

        So I combine these 2 sources and one of Dr G’s other recommendations to consume legumes and make a variety of bean soups loaded with veggies, turmeric, black whole pepper ground at preperation time, and iodized sea salt. I consume one of these soups every day.

        BTW, Mercola’s advocacy of consuming dead animal flesh is a particular sore spot with me, but I still learn from him in other areas.




        3
        1. While black pepper interferes with the liver’s ability to filter out curcumin, it also interferes with the liver’s ability to filter all sorts of toxins. Are we sure we want that?

          Also while Dr. Mercola may say outrageous things like “saturated fat is OK”, he also advocates minimizing protein to 1/2 g protein/ pound LEAN body weight (fat weight removed). This translates to 40 to 70 g protein daily for most people. Dr. Mercola limits his own animal protein intake to just 3 oz of low mercury fish per day. He consumes beef only once per year. I suspect that he knows the dangers of too much animal protein but wants to retain the following of the “meat eating crowd”.




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          1. I used to get angry at Dr. Greger’s videos because they contradicted my eating habits, my belief system, and life style. But, after a few months, I totally accepted the science that he presents, and now I really like him a lot. At the same time, I was a follower of Mercola and I used to think he hung the moon. Now, I am totally angry at Mercola for making me believe that eating meat, saturated fats, and buying all of his vitamins was the answer to my health issues. I have come to believe that this guy has ripped me off, and he should be held responsible for leading people down the wrong path in their goals of attaining good health. I know agree with my primary care doctor who told me that she thinks Mercola is a quack. When she first told me this I was totally taken back and kept my mouth shut. But, now, I know that she is correct. Anybody that urges people to eat saturated fat is a quack. I no longer have any respect for this man.




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            1. Quite an admission and exactly what keeps most people from heeding the science or worse yet, actively denying it…it’s not convenient for them! Congratulations John!




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            2. I agree Mercola is a total quack, but if you think that he is useless because he advocates eating good quality saturated fats, you need to understand that anyone who knows anything about nutrition also advocates eating good quality organically produced saturated fats, essential for a healthy body.




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              1. Can you explain to me what biological processes in the body are dependent or even just improved by adding extracted and (potentially) refined saturated fats to the small amount of saturated fat present in unprocessed whole foods? If you can’t point to how your health is improved by taking in refined saturated fat rather than just letting you body make as much saturated fat as it need, of the exact type it needs, when it needs it, then I think you have more due diligence to do before you embrace some aspect of diet.

                My reading says that there are only two essential fatty acids, omega-3 ALA and the omega-6 LA, both are polyunsaturated fats. EPA, DHA, and AA are conditionally essential since ALA and LA can be used by the body to make these LCPUFA. So you can get the LCPUFS in your diet by eating animal foods but do not have to unless you are deficient in the two SCPUFAs.

                Also everything I have read says that your body can make all the saturated fatty acids it needs and so there is no need to eat it.




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            3. I understand what you mean as I am totally in the dark on whether coconut oil has any healthful purpose. I think Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. McDougall who say no oil are correct. Dr. Hyman say’s eat fat, get thin. Omega3 from fish oil is considered necessary or not?




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              1. At that point in time, I was a Mercola advocate, and I was upset with Dr. Greger, so I never mentioned Dr. Greger to her. But, when I mentioned Dr. Mercola she got real upset and called him a quack. As the conversation drifted away from Mercola she told me that I should try a whole plant food based diet, which at that time, I was not really familiar with, so, based upon her using that term, I am sure that she would have approved of Dr. Greger. Since my last visit with her about 5 months ago, she has moved on and is now working for a different group of doctors.




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            4. what i see with Dr./ Mercola and most doctors, who support natural medicine and nutrition, they are also in for the big big $$$ money making.. it is pathetic..this also goes to many of the so called people who “healed themselves of cancer,” most of them are there to make tons of $$ from the crisis and disease of people.. I like Dr. G bc he does not do this for business – it is his passion, one contributes if one can and want, and he is not pressing you to do so.. most others, including the so called natural doctors, are all in to make tons and I mean tons of $.. Dr.G loves what he does, he makes it possible with not much money he is a man of integrity spreading the info to help not to make himself wealthy which he could do..




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              1. We don’t know if this is true regarding toxins as you stated above. It reminds me of years ago when certain groups within the health community would say garlic must be bad because it acts as an antibiotic, so if it kills bad bacteria it must kill the good stuff too. But now the science is in and we know that’s not true, it kills the bad and protects the good …. we often see this phenomenon in the plant Kingdom. I would not be surprised if we find the same to be true of black pepper. At the least we need to wait until some studies are done before making any absolutist claims.




                1
                1. Sure, of course we need more studies. For now I’m not chugging down black pepper to increase curcumin absorption. I eat turmeric daily and I grind mixed peppercorns in my dishes for flavor.




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          1. Would be great if you could not spam almost every comment with this. Your inclusion of coconut oil is not supported by nutritionfacts.org.




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            1. I am angry at how Mercola suckered me into taking coconut oil about 3 years ago. I read all of his propaganda on coconut oil, and I would take 3 spoonfuls everyday. As a result I now have plaque built up in my arteries. He also recommended in his articles that I eat meat, egges, and purchase his high protein whey products. And, I followed his advice, and now I am fighting this battle against plaque build up in my arteries. Since I have been following Dr. Greger’s advice ( the real doctor ) by eating a whole plant food diet, and staying away from oils, my blood pressure has stabilized from 160/90 down to 122/70. My total blood cholesterol has dropped from 251 down to 153….Thank you Dr. Greger !!

              I don’t know how Mercola can even sleep at night knowing the thousands of people he led down the wrong path by recommending saturated fats, coconut oil, meats, and all of his vitamins which are probably made in China. I was looking at the label on a bottle of Krill oil that he sells, and the main ingredient isn’t even from krill …. it is from talapia fish which is one one of the contaminated fishes on the planet. Even his followers on his comment section complained that his lyposomol vitamin C was not true lyposomol but a fraud.




              1
              1. Yes, he can be very convincing… and not always wrong, but sometimes I wonder what he thinks on reading the same research I read yet drawing different conclusions… And he is definitely NOT the only one sadly!

                So sorry to hear…I’m glad you have found WFPB now and are reaping the results and preventing further damage if not reversing what is already done.

                Wow that’s sad… but I think the issue is they don’t mean harm, they are just completed fooled and misguided…




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        2. Taking the turmeric mixed with coconut oil has been proven to boost its bioavailability even more, because it slows down the absorption.




          0
            1. Thank you Tom for your thoughtful reply. I always look forward to your scholarly and insightful comments here on Dr. Greger’s forum.




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      2. I think I picked it up from one of Richard Béliveau’s books. I only have the “cook book” here, which is more modest on background because it contains recipes; I don’t have the non-cook book handy though. The “cook book” version says, I translate: “Never forget to us black pepper alongside kurkuma: pepper increases the digestion of kurkuma spectactularly.”

        This is one indirection through a doctor (a cancer researcher, to be precise) and that is the best I can give you — I am not sufficiently aware of the medical context and the full depth of the biology involved to be a reliable interpreter of medical texts. I leave that to the professionals — Dr. Greger, Dr. Béliveau and Dr. Verburgh all say the same sort of things about diet towards health and/or longevity.




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      3. I’m wondering if grapefruit would also have a positive effect on the bioavailability of turmeric? If I remember correctly, it, too, affects how the liver gets rid of certain chemicals.




        0
        1. That was just a study or piperine and curcumin – not black pepper and turmeric, Also, it stated that bioavailability was increased by 2000%. That is a 20-fold increase not a 1,000-fold increase – BIG difference.




          1
        1. Interesting, given the contents of this video, that the study you cite at Pubmed only compared the use of pepper re. curcumin absorption. But it did certainly show a positive effect in the regard. I wonder if anyone is doing a study re. full on turmeric and whether the absorption of any of the other, some presumably useful, compounds in turmeric get a boost with pepper.




          0
        2. Thanks but, as I have already commented, this was just a study of piperine and curcumin – not black pepper and turmeric, Also, it stated that bioavailability was increased by 2000%. That is a 20-fold increase not a 1,000-fold increase.




          0
        1. Thanks Chris but this was just a study or piperine and curcumin – not black pepper and turmeric, Also, it stated that bioavailability was increased by 2000%. That is a 20-fold increase not a 1,000-fold increase.




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    2. Yes about the black pepper making tumeric more effective. It’s also more effective when taken with a oil. Please see my comment explaining how to make your own medicine using Turmeric.




      0
          1. Right. But as an alternative to those who want an oil to absorb the turmeric into in some kind of drink, we could grind up some nuts or seeds in a coffee grinder and use that in place of the oil. Yes, it will be somewhat clumpy, but you just drink with a spoon and mix before every sip. Better then using oil.




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      1. All plant foods contain fat – some are particularly high in fat such as soy, olives, nuts, even oats. I therefore do not see that oil is essential as long as you are taking turmeric with food.




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    3. Maybe Grace Slick was actually a great reductionist re.:

      “One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small
      And the ones that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all”

      Maybe she was trying to tell us that the most colorful pills were useful and the others not so much…




      0
  2. Seems like the daily dozen recommendation should be 1/4″ of turmeric root instead of 1/4 teaspoon of the spice. Is the thinking that the spice is available in every grocery store but the root is only available at high end grocery stores?




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    1. I don’t now but i would think you need more of the root than 1/4 teaspoon. Guess i’ll throw the root instead of the powder in with the rice next time to see what happens.




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    2. Isn’t the spice just the ground up root? Spice is available year round and not expensive, although in general I presume fresh foods are best. I grind up a bit of the root in my smoothies.




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      1. Without heating the root you will be missing the DNA strand protecting benefits of the cooked spice. There is a Dr. Gregor video on it.




        0
          1. Thanks! I’ll copy a portion of the transcript to share with others — it seems that heating was good for preventing DNA damage, while not cooking was better for anti-inflammatory effect!

            “Now why do I suggest cooking with it rather than just like throwing it in a smoothie? Well this effect was found specifically for heat-treated turmeric. Because in practice, many herbs and spices are only consumed after cooking, they tested both turmeric and oregano in both raw and quote unquote cooked forms, and in terms of DNA damage, the results from raw turmeric did not reach statistical significance, though the opposite was found for the anti-inflammatory effects. So maybe we should eat it both ways.”




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        1. I can’t seem to find it. Do you know which video it is? I’d like to learn more. He says in one video that “Another way to boost the absorption of curcumin is to consume it in the whole food, turmeric root (fresh or dried), and powdered as turmeric because natural oils found in turmeric root and turmeric powder can enhance the bioavailability of curcumin 7 to 8 fold. When eaten with fat, curcumin can be directly absorbed into the bloodstream through the lymphatic system thereby in part bypassing the liver.”




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    3. But the spice turmeric is just the dried, ground root…the only thing missing is the water, so you would need quite a bit more fresh than dried.




      0
  3. Reductionist modeling is reaching the limits of its ability to explain complex and chaotic phenomena. The failure of existing theoretical models will by necessity drive paradigm change. Some of you may find the following article interesting, enjoy:
    “Complexity in biology. Exceeding the limits of reductionism and determinism using complexity theory”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2246621/




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    1. Excellent article; thanks for the reference. Funny, though, it also provided me a reminder of the old cliche about being careful what you wish for. As a long time proponent of the types of argument espoused in that paper I found myself somewhat dismayed recently to find pesticide manufacturers using similar arguments to head off regulations, in effect arguing that since it was impossible to completely isolate the effects of any one compound it was unfair to regulate it’s use.




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  4. I still can’t work out what is best. What version of the powder or do we have the fresh root? Also it is much more bioavailable with black pepper and oil.




    0
    1. I believe cooking increases the absorption of fresh, however in making the powder it will probably have some kind of heat treatment, which may be enough (I can’t find exact research, only the processing method, which involves heat). Ways to increase absorption include heating (especially boiling and seeping as in a tea), adding pepper, adding a fat source and adding foods high in quercetin (dark red/blue foods).




      0
  5. I just discovered that you can buy the actual tumeric root in the produce section of my mega grocery store here where I live. I haven’t figured out how to serve it up yet. But, I did buy some. The instructions on the box said to keep it in the refrigerator. I used to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars in the “reductionist” health food stores, but since I have been watching these videos for a year, I am now spending my money in the produce section ( organic section ) of my grocery store. It just makes sense that eating a couple of oranges is going to supply you with a better quality of vitamin C and flavinoids that a vitamin C pill manufactured in China and sold to you at one of the franchised vitamin chain stores. None of our ancestors had health food stores that they could run down to and drop a few hundred dollars to “fix” something in their body. No, they just ate whole plant foods.




    0
    1. John Axsom: Nice story. People often talk about how expensive it is to eat healthy. Stories like yours can show how far more expensive it can be to eat and pill pop the “standard” way.
      .
      re: “I haven’t figured out how to serve it up yet. But, I did buy some.” That made me smile. Been there, done that! With several foods. I remember buying several tubs of tofu, one at a time, and throwing them out spoiled before I actually figured out what to do with it.




      0
        1. I made a similar comment and someone actually told me they don’t get insurance reimbursement for eating healthier! Wow.
          I suppose eating healthy can be expensive, but not buying dead animals frees up lots of cash to let you buy a whole lot of produce and real food, plus you can grow some of your own veggies too. Also, nothing is cheaper than dried beans and whole grains as staples, and your body will thank you instead of needing insurance companies to intervene!




          0
      1. Exactly! When you start adding fancy out of season fruits and vegetables, superfoods, supplements, fancy recipes, special desserts, specialty store products, nut milks/cheeses/yoghurts and other dairy alternatives, and processed meat alternatives a ‘healthy’ diet can seem super expensive when the basics- bulk buy rice and other whole grains, dried beans, potatoes, market in-season bulk or end of week sale produce are the cheapest foods around!




        0
    2. John – I SO agree with you with only a couple of exceptions (B6 for a WFPB diet and, for me, magnesium supplementation which I discovered years ago calms my cardiac arrhythmia, so , no beta blockers for me!!). But I, too, bought some turmeric root (yes, its a root, like ginger) years ago and couldn’t figure out how to work it into my diet. Plain, it was rather, hmmm, . . how do I say, . . nasty. But there must be a way to use it and perhaps the best way is to just use curry. So if you figure something out please be sure to share with us!! :-) I am very interested.

      Thea, my 75 year old friend, who switched to a WFPB diet also wasn’t a fan of tofu. But he figured out that tofu is similar to pasta, for example. You have to add something to it to make it enjoyable. One way is to scramble it, like eggs, low/no oil of course, and add onion, other veggies, etc. Add a little turmeric for color and a little black pepper to potentiate the turmeric and there you have a very healthy meal. Eaten at any time of the day of course, not just breakfast. Easy-breezy.




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      1. Ginger: Yes, I’m also a fan of a good tofu scramble. I like to add a pinch of “black salt” (which has sulfur in it) to make it taste more egg-y.
        .
        Making a diet switch at 75 is pretty awesome. Thanks for sharing that.




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        1. I love black salt too! I had a recipe for a pureed tofu “mayo” that was good, but the addition of the black salt made it awesome! I love shopping in ethnic groceries, especially when you can now find any ingredient on the internet so you know how to use it!




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          1. It’s amazing what a pinch of this or that can do to transform a dish or just take it to the next level. Good idea adding the “black” salt to mayo. I hadn’t thought of that.




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      2. I find if I don’t use too much, it can be ‘hidden’ in most recipes that have a competing strong flavour, such as sweet chilli, pesto, miso, nutritional yeast etc… When you want the flavour, I find it’s pretty good grated in almost any Asian/Indian style dish (curries, stirfries) or fusion recipe, such as lentil burgers, mashed sweet potatoes, chickpea recipes, salad dressings… I also find it quite tasty in green or carrot juices, as a tea with ginger or in a golden latte (with non-dairy milk alternative of course!).

        That’s awesome for your friend switching to WFPB! It is funny I think people forget that most of the foods they are used to eating (meat, processed foods etc…) are HIGHLY seasoned and most eaten plain would be fairly unappetising also!




        0
    3. John Axsom • 2 hours ago
      I just discovered that you can buy the actual tumeric root in the produce section of my mega grocery store here where I live. I haven’t figured out how to serve it up yet.

      Hi John,
      In my quest for good tasting Turmeric, most of the powdered variety I purchased tasted like dirt.. Even the expensive stuff.. I’m fortunate to have a large multi ethnic supermarket by me.. They had Turmeric root in the veg aisle!! Just for “grins” I shaved it fine with my lemon zester.. and yes it tastes a bit like dirt but NOTHING like the powdered spice.. So now I just take a hunk of the root and shave it on what ever I’m eating.. Salads, steamed veg or smoothies….. Along with pepper, and I’m set…. Inexpensive too…
      Tastes way better than the powder.. YMMV
      mitch




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      1. I grow it in the yard and often just toss it into the mini processor with garlic or whatever, to make a paste for easy use.




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    4. John, there’s this thing called “curry powder” which is mostly turmeric. It’s quite delicious, you can put it on almost anything – salads, rice, veggies, eggs, meats (sorry, Dr.Greger, but some people still eat those things)… and there are many recipes on the Internet. Curried this and curried that… just make sure you use the Indian curry and not a turmeric-free curry.




      0
    5. I have been buying the root for a long time. I grate it, about 2 tablespoons of grated root, and pour about 2 cups of boiling water over it and let it sit for a few hours. I add black pepper to it and drink it. I would love some information on how much is actually necessary. I drink a cup or so a day, It makes a big mess of your hands, it takes a while for the yellow to wear off. But it’s pretty quick and easy, and the roots are cheap in Asian stores, which are common here in the Seattle area.




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      1. Nice! In Dr Greger’s daily dozen he suggests 1/4 tsp per day :)

        And yes… I have ruined more than one fresh manicure haha
        Gloves are your friend :)




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    6. Love it! :)

      The taste in general isn’t super overpowering in small amounts so can be ‘hidden’ in most recipes. When you want the flavour, it’s great grated in almost any Asian/Indian style dish (curries, stirfries) or fusion recipe, such as lentil burgers, mashed sweet potatoes, chickpea recipes, salad dressings… it’s pretty versatile in my opinion! Also quite tasty in green or carrot juices, as a tea with ginger or in a golden latte (with non-dairy milk alternative of course!).

      Just a word of warning- gloves and something to cut it on are great as it can stain everything in it’s pathway, from bench tops to a fresh manicure haha




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  6. Just a caution to people that haven’t used turmeric before, that some people are sensitive or allergic to it. I’m one of them and can’t have more than just a few sprinkles or I start to get dizzy and feel really awful. From the (very) little I’ve read about it, people that tend to be sensitive to it are also sensitive to ginger. So just a suggestion to folks new to it that they proceed slowly until they know that they’re good with it.

    Mark G




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  7. Peculiar situations, perhaps someone else has experienced it and can chime in:

    I live in a predominantly French-speaking city. I buy my ‘turmeric’ from a local Persian grocer. I had an interesting discussion with the guy at the spice rack (only in a Persian store would you see a separate, staffed spice rack). The reason for the single-quotes is that all the labels in the store are bilingual, English and French. The bin with the bright yellow/orange powder is labeled ‘Turmeric’ in English, but ‘Curcuma’ in French. When I asked the spice guy which it was, he said they were the same thing. I replied that my understanding was that Turmeric was the whole plant, while Curcumin was an extract. He insisted they were the same thing, according to google translate (which presumably is what they used for translation).

    Anyhow, I wish I’d thought to look it up in front of him on my phone. When I got home and looked it up, I found that google translated ‘Curcumin’ to ‘Curcumine’. The confusing (and I’m guessing likely wrong) google translation for ‘Turmeric’ is ‘Safran des Indes’. Even more confusing, google translated “Turmeric powder’ to ‘poudre de Curcuma”.

    I suspect what they’re selling is Curcumin, not Turmeric, powder.




    0
    1. 100% pure curcumin powder would be very expensive and would not be available in a grocery store. People casually use the words turmeric and cur cumin interchangeably .




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    2. I’m with George and bet that it is ‘Poudre de Curcuma’ that they are selling. If the prices they charge for just a couple dozen refined curcumin pills is any indication, then a big bag of refined curcumin would set you back thousands of dollars. Now of course we know that the snake-oil salesmen of old that used to take a few pennies worth of material and sell it at 100 times mark-up to the rubes have been reincarnated as supplement salesmen, so it is entirely possible that bulk refined curcumin is still dirt cheap and you are just getting a peek behind the curtain of the supplement industry.




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      1. Reason for my suspicion is primarily visual. As the thumbnail for the vid shows, Turmeric is orange, and the powder should be as well. The stuff they sell at the Persian shop as ‘Turmeric’/’Curcuma’ is a fairly bright yellow, which is how Curcumin powder looks. There may be other explanations for the odd colour (excessive processing, mixed with something… perhaps that’s what happens when it sits out too long… who knows).

        Don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer if it was actual Turmeric instead of Curcumin powder.

        As for your comment about the supplement industry scam ,you probably already know that it is. It’s not just Curcumin pills that are ridiculously expensive. Everything from flax seed to garlic – literally among the cheapest foods to buy whole (1lb bag of flax costs 99 cents, 1lb garlic costs 2 bucks where I shop) – go for ridiculous prices when ground down and sold as supplements.




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        1. I believe it’s the opposite… the higher the curcumin content of turmeric (there’s usually a 3.5% and a 6.5% I believe) the darker/more orange the turmeric becomes. Turmeric tends to be more yellow… becoming more orange with higher content of curcumin…




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    3. Interesting discussion regarding Turmeric. Turmeric bioavailability is enhanced by heat, presence of Piperine as Dr. G. has indicated in his other video, presence of fat as it is fat soluble, also in presence of Quercetin . The mechanism is that Quercetin inhibits the sulfotransferase enzyme that inactivates curcumin. Also bicurcumax is available which has curcumin dissolved in fat of 10-15% by weight.
      This website has valuable information regarding Turmeric.

      How to Improve Absorption or Bioavailability of Turmeric?




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    4. I think is the same Turmeric = Curcuma. In Slovenian language (eng) Tumeric = (sl) Kurkuma and (eng) Curcumin = (sl) Kurkumin, very similar, but different.




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    5. I believe turmeric is one of many species from the curcuma family. It seems like, such as in many languages, multiple words mean similar, such as we may say ‘leafy greens’, without specifying the type (so turmeric/curcuma), Safran des Indes- Indian saffron/saffron-like spice, would be similar to say ‘cotton candy grapes’ that taste like cotton candy, without containing any…

      Maybe colour could help distinguish? The higher the curcumin content the darker/more orange the powder I believe.. Also price! The extract curcumin is usually a lot more expensive.




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  8. It makes one wonder if curcumin + Tumeric would be better against cancer than either alone. Since curcumin is in turmeric this would be a a so-called curcumin enriched tumeric.




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    1. In the video Dr. Greger mentioned studies that show turmeric with the curcumin removed was more effective than the whole spice. That would indicate that curcumin might be of less importance than other phytonutrients in the whole food. So perhaps it would be more effective to remove the curcumin first rather than add additional.




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  9. How would we use turmeric root in our daily recipes? Or would we make up a paste or liquid and take it like a supplement? I assume mixing in some ginger root would be helpul as well.




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    1. In small quantities turmeric has no taste, so you can add it to anything you cook (soup, stew, sauce, curry, rice, pasta) and don’t cook (salad dressing). Unless you have gall bladder problems (Dr. Greger has a video on that.) or on blood thinners, in small amounts throughout the day, you don’t need to worry about the exact dose.




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    2. I just sprinkle it in whatever I make for dinner, 1/4 tsp doesn’t mask the flavour of most things. It’s quite refreshing in a green juice, and other tasty drinks such as turmeric/ginger teas, or ‘golden’ lattes (with non-dairy milk alternatives of course!).




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    3. It’s really really easy if you’re the sort of cook who glances at a recipe an then expands from there. One can mix all sorts of things into a bit of rice or potatoes and/or beans as I often do. Last night I had “black beans with tortillas” which doesn’t sound like much, so here’s the full meal deal:

      I had black beans (from a can this time) over El Milagro tortillas (my fave store-bought) with spinach for greenery. I sautéed onions, jalapeño, mushrooms, and garlic in the skillet first. Added the beans, spiced with Hatch, NM chili powder, turmeric, fresh-ground cumin/black pepper/coriander from the mortar and pestle, a pre-mixed salty seasoning, and topped with salsa and a tiny bit of finely chopped fresh-picked habanero. More or less-as I rarely measure, but mix by experience and season to taste.

      I may have left something out, but think I included most. I’m a blur in the kitchen, and I eat flavorful and healthy stuff. (most of the time) I’ve found that a little bit of turmeric can be mixed into many spicy meals without changing the character of the meal that much if at all. It WILL change the color. Enjoy!




      1
        1. Nope, ain’t nobody got time for dat!

          I do try to leave the garlic out of the mix until last (such that it cooks less), but I simply don’t care to time/measure things when I can go by “feel” (i get enough precision in my day job). I also don’t think that this will overly compromise the plantacious benefits bestowed by the garlic.




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  10. You can make your own turmeric medicine in a dose that will actually make a noticeable difference. Gently warm desired amount of powdered turmeric with fresh ground black peppercorns (to increase absorption) in coconut oil to extract the chemicals into the oil. The ratio of pepper to turmeric is only about a quarter of the pepper. Pour the mixture in a flat pan and let cool in the refrigerator. Before mixture is fully hard, score hardening mixture into squares for easy dosing and put back on the refrigerator to fully harden. Break into individual squares and store in a airtight container or bag in the freezer. Experiment with the dose daily. You will notice a positive difference in pain levels and less inflammation.




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      1. 3/4 inch to inch maybe. I chew them up and swallow down with water. It really depends on the dose you want. Like any herb, you have to experiment and find how much to take. The amount that is right for you. :)




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  11. Cautionary note:
    In the references list,most of them contain B.B.Agarwal as a lead or contributing author..
    He has been investigated since 2012 for possible research fraud.
    9 of his papers have been retracted (I have heard 12)

    Highly cited cancer researcher logs 8th, 9th retractions
    http://retractionwatch.com/category/by-author/bharat-aggarwal/

    He has since resigned (fired ?) from MD Anderson
    “MD Anderson Cancer Center confirmed to Retraction Watch that Aggarwal retired from the institute on December 31, 2015”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bharat_Aggarwal




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    1. Oh, patandemma, he would be SERIOUSLY persecuted if he popularized a common food substitute for chemotherapy. I met a doctor once – over 30 years ago) who was doing research to find a cure for cancer. I asked him about his research and listened carefully, but when I told him I was happy because he was going to find “it” – the cure for cancer – he was shocked. He asked, “How do you [a mere mortal, not an MD] know that?” “Because it’s laetrile,” I said – I’d done my own research in my 20s. He was speechless for a good long while and when he could finally speak, he said, “They’ll destroy me!… They’ll destroy me!” It took a bit of patient waiting and repeating “Who? Who will destroy you?” before he could say it… “The AMA… the AMA will destroy me.”

      Yes, dear patandemma, they will destroy anyone who educates the public so that we can prevent disease and bypass the profitable medical-pharmaceutical industry. The irony is, while I was reading books about laetrile, my MD friend had been a member of the committee at the NIH that had banned laetrile… so he knew full well that he would be totally discredited if his research showed that a simple food prevents/cures cancer. Then he described the process they used to outlaw laetrile. Pretty efficient… the head of the committee came in the room, where a small dish of laetrile sat on the big round conference table populated by a team of MDs, ready to go to their labs. He put his finger in his mouth to moisten it, then put his finger in the bowl of laetrile and the laetrile into his mouth – then he SPAT IT OUT… “Cyanide!” he said… and that was the end of the NIH research on laetrile. He should taste chemo drugs… or any number of other drugs… I’m sure he wouldn’t like the taste of any of them.

      What I have determined is that every cancer cure that works contains the bitter flavor and if I just include the bitter flavor in my daily fare, I feel pretty confident that I won’t get cancer. I take two things pretty seriously: 1) My body is a temple and 2) Food is my medicine.




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      1. The last two points are a great place to start for all!

        It is an interesting conversation on ‘big pharma’ ‘business of cancer’ etc… would be great if everyone was exposed to what really happens and can make more informed choices..




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        1. It isn’t “cute” as you derogatorily put it but true! As for citing the US-less cancer institute, you appear to have missed the point of corporate fraud. The most respected cancer researcher the US has ever known, Kanematsu Sugiura had to leave the disgraced Sloan Kettering cancer cure deniers, because he reported that laetrile was the most effective preventative and cure he had ever researched.




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          1. Where is your evidence? Sensational claims are easily made. They are made all the time and who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory? But check the evidence before believing this stuff.
            http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancers-in-general/treatment/complementary-alternative/therapies/laetrile

            If it were true that the AMA and NCI, are somehow conspiring to cover up cancer cures, how come people in other countries like Russia or China or Cuba are not being cured of cancer by these substances? The USA is not the entire world, there are scientists, researchers and entire healthcare systems out there that are beyond the reach of the AMA and Western drug companies. That isn’t the only reason why we should be sceptical, either.
            http://www.crediblehulk.org/index.php/2015/07/02/10-reasons-why-hidden-cancer-cure-conspiracy-theories-fail/




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            1. I see you haven’t addressed the Kanimatsu Sugiura point. Cancer Industries aren’t isolated to the US, that is patently obvious and changes nothing. They are the same corporate cartels that need an endless supply of patients. It is business after all. You don’t think these people are charities! I see from the refs you supply that you enjoy the same sites that the cancer industry sponsors, so no change there.
              Next you’ll be telling us that antineoplastons don’t work either. Meanwhile carry on supporting a corrupt industry that has been fined 6 billion and counting in the last decade for fraud.




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              1. I see you haven’t addressed the “where’s the evidence?” point.

                As for your alleged “Kanimatsu Sugiura point”, all you have done is make a sensational claim. Where is the evidence to substantiate this claim?

                And it is not just a US conspiracy now but a vast global conspiracy that has been operating undetected for many decades? You don’t find that even a trifle improbable?




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        2. Interesting, Tom, that the US ranks 37th in the world in health and countries that rank in the top ten allow laetrile and use it to prevent and reverse cancer. Every cancer treatment that actually works has a bitter flavor. So happy conventional medicine has representatives here… otherwise, people might get carried away with confidence that they can actually control their own health without the help of “experts”. It’s really a simple thing – doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out… as long as the information is available. Thank God for people like Dr.Greger who share how simple health can be. And shane on those who defend a system that obviously doesn’t work all that well. I guess it’s nice to have a job, but I’d like to see you find honest employment. Shame on Rockefeller medicine. Shame on big pharma. Shame on med schools that treat med students disrespectfully and cruelly and inspire them to commit suicide… See Pamela Wible’s book on doctors’ suicide letters.




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          1. Patricia Robinette: The personal attack in your post breaks the rules for posting on this site and that is why your post is being deleted. Please review the rules for posting on this site as explained by the ‘Comment Etiquette’ button at the top of the comments section.




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      2. You apparently have been told that laetrile is used in France and explains why the French healthcare ranking is much higher than the US one. This is completely untrue. Laetrile is not authorised for sale anywhere in the European Union. You really have to be very careful about people pushing these alternative “cancer cures” – veracity is usually not their defining quality, no matter how engaging or shocking their stories may be. Simply put, their claims are not evidence-based. Caveat emptor..

        As the independent and highly regarded Cochrane Collaboration review noted:
        “The claims that laetrile or amygdalin have beneficial effects for cancer patients are not currently supported by sound clinical data. There is a considerable risk of serious adverse effects from cyanide poisoning after laetrile or amygdalin, especially after oral ingestion. The risk–benefit balance of laetrile or amygdalin as a treatment for cancer is therefore unambiguously negative.”
        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005476.pub4/full




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  12. I would like to know whether any of these studies were done in vivo (given orally to reflect effect either on gut tissue for colon cancer or actual absorption in the case of the non-colon cancer studies) rather than in vitro (e.g., dripped onto cells in a petri dish).




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    1. To the right of the video, you can click ‘sources cited’ and read all the research papers the video is derived from :)




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  13. I am always a believer of eating the whole plant food but in the case of turmeric vs. curcumin supplement, I have to go with the pill. In my personal case, I have arthritis and I ate turmeric mixed with black pepper for months but it didn’t work and I got zero relief until I took a good brand of curcumin supplement and it worked instantly within days. The problem has to do with absorption, and no matter how much beneficial substances a food can contain, if they don’t get absorbed by the body then it is of no benefit. It probably depends on each person but we cannot make an universal rule that we should always use whole foods versus pill, or the other way around. What works for you is what matters. Also my supplement contains 500mg of curcumin. I don’t know how much one tablespoon of turmeric powder contain, but one tablespoon of turmeric is what I can tolerate to swallow (I did try 2 tablespoons and sprayed with black pepper and it still does not work).




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    1. Interesting! Thanks for sharing! I wonder then maybe if the curcumin component is more anti-inflammatory as opposed to the compared differences in anti-cancer/anti-tumour properties of curcumin Vs turmeric…

      I’m not sure the accuracy, but this conversion chart suggests 500mg supplement is equivalent to 1-3g turmeric root/powder.. which is interesting as your story exceeds that…




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      1. Renae, believe me, I was “desperate” with my arthritis and I was willing to swallow anything as long as it is natural. So I made a drink with water and up to 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder and I sprinkled with a lot of black pepper to make my “yucky” concoction and I drank it for months without any result. I didn’t heat it up, nor do I add some oil and perhaps that’s my problem not being to absorb what is beneficial inside the turmeric. The pill works for me, one pill popped in my mouth each day and my arthritis was gone within days. A couple of time, the pill broke up in my throat and I can smell the turmeric and the powder came out of my nose when I sneeze. Pretty funny!

        The pill said 500mg of curcuminoid, the beneficial part of curcumin, I think.




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        1. Whe n we heat the turmeric powder as would be done in a typical Indian dish, the anti inflammatory effects are lost but we gain DNA protecting benefits from the cooked spice. But just ingesting the uncooked spice is supposed to have anti-inflammatory benefits. I was thinking maybe if ate a few nuts or seeds with the turmeric that could increase uptake. But here’s another thought i have, i buy the non-irradiated spice. All spices are irradiated unless stated otherwise on the bottle somewhere. Would an irradiated turmeric behave like a cooked turmeric and not give the anti-inflammaory benefits? It probably doesnt matter since the curcumin pills work so well for you. I also have some of those pills. I will try some to see if it helps my pinched nerve pain i have having since memorial day.




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          1. The issue here is the claim that only pepper is needed to facilitate the absorption of turmeric. The curcumin extract supplement people like to make that claim because it allows them to sell curcumin extracts mixed with black pepper extracts (bioperine) and avoid the fact that most of it will not be absorbed. If a person swallows that capsule at a mealtime, they may have enough fat in their gut to permit reasonable absorption of the curcuminoids. But they’re still missing all the other active constituents in the turmeric. And they’re using turmeric (or rather one constituent of it) as a pseudo-drug, rather than as the food that it is. They’re also lining the pockets of the supplement manufacturers by purchasing expensive factory-manufactured products rather than the far less expensive turmeric off the grocery store shelf.

            The cooked form of turmeric paste (often called golden paste) provides the most effective form of turmeric consumption for several reasons. First, it contains both a lipid (oil or fat) and freshly ground black pepper. In addition, the turmeric absorbs water during the cooking process and is more thoroughly broken down (digested) in the stomach. So more of the curcumin and other active constituents are available for absorption. An analogy to more familiar foods might be with tapioca or grits (if grits are something you’re familiar with, lol). Both of those are hard and indigestible unless cooked. The same is true for turmeric. Some of it will still be broken down by stomach acids if it’s consumed uncooked, but the cooked form allows for much more complete digestion. The oil (or ghee or other fat) in the golden paste provides for absorption, and the piperine in the freshly ground pepper slows down its clearance from the body. Chili peppers also inhibit the metabolism of curcumin, though more chili pepper is required for the same metabolic inhibition.

            For science-based data on the use of turmeric, check out the Turmeric User Group on Facebook, the original and still the largest turmeric group, and the originator of the golden paste recipe that is now ubiquitous on the internet. We’re fans of Dr. Greger and support his work.




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  14. Thank you, Dr.Greger, for this very important information. Have you ever taken a look at galanka root? (May be spelled galanga too.) It’s an ingredient in my favorite Thai foods and it spells and tastes very “medicinal”. It always works for me to eat a big bowl of it if and when I feel a “cold” coming on.




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  15. Of course the reductionists want to make and promote/hype isolated pieces/parts because there’s no money in selling whole turmeric. Making a buck is so much more interesting than finding the WHOLE truth.

    What society needs in order to move forward is an understanding that NO THING operates in isolation. That the Scientific Method model of “controlling” one variable at a time, while it gave us a foothold in the realm of scientific understanding, that it is outdated and has to be considered an overly simplistic approach to any question now.

    Now that we have high-speed, high-volume computer power to grind out the big complexities (like DNA sequencing) that simply could not be done by our own nimble fingers and Texas Instruments, we must transition to a “multi-path” sort of method.

    Reductionism got us started, but we must change if we’re going to prevent it from becoming our demise.




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    1. I agree that computer modeling is the tool that will get us away from reductionism. I performed research on computer simulations of complex systems as an occupation for many years. The perfect tool for predicting how complex systems will behave. Of course, one’s mathematical model of the system under study must be accurate or else, “garbage in, garbage out” ;-)




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      1. Yes, just as the “single dimensional” reductionist studies must be framed and conducted properly for valid answers to good questions. Computer modeling studies must also ALWAYS be reviewed in order to verify their accuracy as well as the bias/motives/goals written into them by researchers. Dr. G helps me with that part. (so I don’t have to!)




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    2. Agreed… Reminds me of the beta-carotene mistakes all over again….

      A great quote I heard recently from Dr Klaper was ‘In any natural system, you can’t do one thing!’… Very true!




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    1. Interesting! Would be easy to add some pepper to most dishes with turmeric! Although 1.4g (dose for 70kg person) may be a pretty big serving of pepper!




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  16. I think it is all great to eat the actual spice…however much would you have to consume in order to get the same benfit that you would from a supplement?




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    1. I’m not sure the accuracy, but I found a conversion chart here-

      http://www.turmericforhealth.com/general-info/ideal-turmeric-dosage-how-much-turmeric-can-you-take-in-a-day

      “Turmeric dosages must supply 400 to 600 milligrams of curcumin three times per day to see therapeutic benefits, according to New York University Langone Medical Center. As a dried powdered root, you can take 1 to 3 grams per day, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. If you have the cut root at hand, 1.5 to 3 grams per day is the dose, and if you have a 1-to-1 fluid extract, take 30 to 90 drops per day. For a tincture mixed at a ratio of 1-to-2, take 15 to 30 drops four times per day. A doctor can recommend a supplement type, and an appropriate dosage, to address your health concerns.”




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    2. I don’t hold “study dosages” to be that relevant to my life. I do understand that studies MUST have specific dosages and then therefore can only conclude with regard to those dosages tested. BUT I ALSO understand that some is GREATER than none and that I’m always consuming my turmeric with black pepper and also that my other food choices help my body be a much more fantastic disease/death defying machine-PROBABLY much more than average study participants. So I make it a point to add turmeric to some meals each week and don’t fret the little details.

      Just eating a wide variety of healthy whole plant foods (and spices) is always going to be more important than any one particular substance from any particular one.




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  17. Has Dr. Greger ever considered offering a certification course similar to the eCornell one? The coursework is already on this website, and a comprehensive test could be given proving that we understand the fundamentals and complexities of nutrition. I think this would be highly valued and in demand.




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    1. Cool idea.

      I’ve seen every video and every blog post on this site. But there’s so much information here, I don’t know if I would pass! It’s very hard to remember it all. But I like your idea.




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    2. Agreed, would be cool! As an alternative, I would love to see a certification on interpretation of research papers, as opposed to nutrition itself..




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        1. WFPBRunner: I think understanding statistics is just a small part of being able to properly evaluate research papers. My guess is that the majority of the papers which pass peer review have nothing wrong with the math. It’s more a logic type of problem, which is a subject I know is somewhat covered under statistics. But there’s more too it, especially when understanding nutrition studies. For example, you have to understand how cholesterol naturally goes down a few hours after a meal and then understand the implications of what that means. Once that type of information is understood, you are either using that information to create invalid studies that still are statistically correct and manage to pass (incompetent) peer review, or you use that information to be able to discredit/see through the studies. http://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-the-egg-board-designs-misleading-studies/ I just think that a statistics class does not come close to being able to help someone take a nutrition study and be able to evaluate it’s validity.




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          1. Right. Statistics covers all math plus what makes a good research paper. Numbers of subjects, effect size Etc. A class that discusses the nuances of cholesterol as related to statistics is probably a nutrition class. A research based nutrition class. Which I would hope they all are now. I had a class which all we did was critique research papers.




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            1. WFPBRunner: re: ” I had a class which all we did was critique research papers.” Neat. My statistics class was pretty much just math.




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          2. But more importantly–my pre-run drink was 1/4 teaspoon turmeric (spice), curcumin capsule with pepper (500 mg) 1 Tbs cocoa, banana date and soy milk. Decadent.




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      1. Would you mention it to Dr. Greger and ask what he thinks about it? It could be the biggest thing since Nutritionfacts itself came into existence. Imagine a fleet of people with the Nutritionfacts certification to assist the world.




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    1. The commonly available powdered form of turmeric has long been recommended by Dr. G. He has shared many videos with regard to the various beneficial affects of turmeric as found on the spice aisle.




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  18. I’m going to crack a few myths here. Piperine does not increase absorption by 2000%. It in creases absorption by 200% or twice that of standard curcumin or turmeric. I’m sick of so many people getting it wrong. Also, the blood rentention times are poor limiting its therapeutic effects.

    Also, Dr Greger, when did in vitro studies become so go damn revealing? It’s a Petri dish. The number one problem with curcumin and turmeric is its poor bioavailability. So this study may not be replicated in everyday use.

    Your videos are swaying further and further from solid science everyday and your website is losing its credibility.

    Another example, your Amla video on diabetes claiming that 1 teaspoon Amla powder or 1 Amla berry can reduce blood sugar as much as a leading diabetes drug. If you actually check the study you referenced it was not standard Amla but an Amla extract!

    I used to like this website but your turning in to another mercola or the like.




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        1. ilovephytonutrients: It’s not a waste of time to double-check anyone’s research. Everyone makes mistakes. If Dr. Greger had made a mistake, he would have wanted someone to catch it for him. And if a poster makes a mistake in understanding a research paper, we can politely help them learn the error of their ways as Tom Goff had done. One of the things that people on this forum appreciate about Dr. Greger listing the sources cited, is because access to the sources allows us to double check the research for ourselves. And when many people do that, we can feel comfortable that mistakes have not happened.
          .
          Please note that name calling is not allowed on this site. It would be helpful if you would review the rules for posts on this site. You can find those rules by clicking the green ‘Comment Etiquette’ button at the top of the comments section.
          – Moderator




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    1. Don’t insult Dr. Greger by comparing him to that scam artist Mercola. You clearly have no clue what you’re talking about, and you sound like a meat industry hater. Where do you get your great advice from? Why don’t you offer some alternatives to Greger if you’re so knowledgable?




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  19. Turmeric is rich in manganese and iron which could treat tardive dyskinesia and dementia. it also has B6 which might be able to turn into Phosphorus or Iodine if vitamins can turn into elements via a pathway process. Turmeric has copper in it. Copper is an element that is a foundation of health but can oxidize readily to form unpleasant compounds.




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    1. There is evidence out there pointing to additional benefits of root. For example, more natural bioavailability due to higher Curcumin content and natural oils found in the root. It’s more challenging though to find recipes calling for Root. But you can simply grate it and add it to soups or curries. 1-3 tsp is good or more. I’d always make sure there’s a little extra good fat as in coconut milk and always good black pepper just to be sure you’re maximizing the bioavailability.




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  20. Most annoying self satisfied doctor’s voice ever. But thanks for the Turmeric page, you should have mentioned that the bio availability of Turmeric, which is very low, is increased significantly when eaten with the piperine compound in black pepper; then at least i could have forgiven your nauseating voice.




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  21. This is totally worthless without the information on the dosis of curcumin and turmeric. Should we flavour one meal per day with turmeric or do we need 2 tbsp? Even the studies can be messed up if the had used strange/extreme low/high doses of curcumin and/or turmeric….




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    1. Dr. G has many vids on Turmeric and dosage size examples. I believe if you cook a curry (for 2 servings) including 1TBSP of Organic Turmeric to provide plenty of Curcumin, and 1TBSP Organic Curry powder to add more flavor depth, 1/4 tsp (or more, if you can handle it) of Organic ground peppercorns, 1/3 cup canned Organic Coconut Milk, Organic veggie broth, water, veggies of your choice and Organic Tofu, you’ll enhance the bioavailability and get plenty of Curcumin benefits.




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      1. I am not too sure about the coconut milk. According to Wikipedia:
        “One of the most prominent components of coconut milk is coconut oil, which the United States Food and Drug Administration,[6] World Health Organization,[7] International College of Nutrition,[8] the United States Department of Health and Human Services,[9] American Dietetic Association,[10] American Heart Association,[11] British National Health Service,[12] and Dietitians of Canada[10] recommend against consuming in significant amounts due to its high levels of saturated fat.

        Coconut milk contains a large proportion of lauric acid, a saturated fat that raises total blood cholesterol levels by increasing the amount of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.[13][14]”
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coconut_milk




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    2. I am sorry but I disagree with your comment on so many levels that I hardly know where to begin.

      Suffice to say that the aim of the video was not to recommend a supplement regime but to inform people of the research findings on a particular issue. It succeeded admirably in doing that and I find the video both helpful and informative.




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  22. Thank you so much Doctor Greger. This has been always my question. I have been using Turmeric and not Curcumin capsules because of the price as Turmeric is much cheaper but I was always on the look out for specials on capsules. Now thanks to you I know to continue like I have been doing. Love you Doc!!




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  23. Not sure exactly, but there is evidence out there pointing to additional benefits of root. For example, more natural bioavailability due to higher Curcumin content and natural oils found in the root. It’s more challenging though to find recipes calling for Root. But you can simply grate it and add it to soups or curries. 1-3 tsp is good or more. I’d always make sure there’s a little extra good fat as in coconut milk and always good black pepper just to be sure you’re maximizing the bioavailability.




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  24. Does anyone drink tumeric tea? I drink it. I buy the actual root and then cut it up and place in hot water with a green tea bag. Sometimes I also add ginger root for a “tumeric + ginger + green tea” mixture




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  25. Little observation. The video only focuses on a Single ingredient, yet it makes a global generalization about All foods/supplements as if all foods should behave the same way.




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    1. Did you even read the title? Let alone actually watch the video?
      Anybody who has watched the video knows that your observation is simply incorrect.




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      1. It is in the transcript.

        [QUOTE]Supplement manufacturers often fall into the same reductionist trap as
        the drug companies. Herbs are assumed to have only one main active
        ingredient; and so, if you can isolate it and purify it into a pill, the
        thinking goes, you can boost the effects. Curcumin is described as the
        active ingredient in turmeric[/QUOTE]

        1 generalization: ” supplement manufacturers” (all)
        2 single case: curcumin

        He starts with a global generalization and “proves it” with a single case (curcumin). It is called confirmation bias

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias




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        1. That is like criticising someone for saying water is wet and giving an example of the water used to make your morning cuppa – and then claiming it is confirmation bias. Greger’s statement is nothing to do with confirmation bias. It is a simple statement of fact, accompanied by an illustrative example.

          Or are you claiming that supplement manufacturers do not isolate and purify ingredients from herbs and other plants and put them into a pill? There may conceivably be one or two that only use whole foods but, off-hand, I am not aware of any. Can you provide a single example of a supplement manufacturer that does not isolate and purify ingredients from herbs and other foods and put them into a pill?

          In any case, Greger did not say all supplement manufacturers. You did.

          As I wrote previously, I simply do not understand your comment/reasoning. Anybody who has even glanced art the supplement shelves knows that your criticism is incorrect.




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          1. I think Dr Greger is looking for supporting evidence for the anti reductionism theory from the book title Whole. The message is that all supplements are evil. Naming a single case but omitting many is not enough to prove the theory. It just creates an artificial ideological bubble where people that want to believe meet and agree. So it is more a social phenomena than a scientific one. Nobody can peck in the keyboard for hours explaining everything




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            1. I still do not understand why you find a simple statement of fact so objectionable. Or persist in describing it as merely a generalisation – especially when you are unable to provide a single example of a supplement manufacturer that does not isolate ingredients from food.
              Furthermore, Dr Greger recommends the use of supplements. As does Professor Campbell for that matter.




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              1. I initially said ‘ little observation’ but you reacted as if I was committing a forum crime and forced me to expand with no end. I feel I expressed my views and don’t feel like explaining or justifying further as I see no point to it. Hope you understand.

                Thank you




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      2. ” Herbs are assumed to have only one main active ingredient; and so, if you can isolate it and purify it into a pill, the thinking goes, you can boost the effects.” And that is a simple statement of fact that seems undeniable.”

        Seems undeniable until you recall it is an assumption.




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        1. It is an incorrect assumption. that is the point of the video. what is undeniable is that supplement manufacturers sell products based on this assumption.




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  26. The spice Turmeric is very in oxalates (91%), which appeared to be the primary cause of the greater urinaryoxalate excretion/oxalate absorption from turmeric. The consumption of supplemental doses of turmeric, can significantly increase urinary oxalate levels, thereby increasing risk of kidney stone formation in susceptible individuals.and also damages your kidneys .If you have kidney stones , Gallbladder stones or kidney disease do not take turmeric . Tumeric is over hype, and a multi-billion dollars supplement industry promoting it just like big pharma .Taking turmeric every day will lower your hemoglobin and you become tired and sick , Turmeric chelates iron out of your body . Go to your Doctor and get your Iron levels checked if you take turmeric every day .Too much of o a good thing can make you sick . Life is about balance .So much hype on the internet people selling books and supplements same as big pharma every one wants money !over doing things and you go against mother nature .




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    1. You are correct – to a degree. Indeed, Dr G made a similar point in a previous video
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/who-shouldnt-consume-curcumin-or-turmeric/

      Although I wouldn’t stress too much over it. Eating chocolate every day is worse. Unless you are prone to kidney stones, I doubt whether there is any meaningful risk of kidney stones in healthy people consuming modest amounts daily. India is not exactly ground zero for kidney stones for example. And oxalates are only one risk factor for kidney stones
      http://www.ergo-log.com/turmerickidneystone.html
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2931286/

      Ditto for the iron effects. Unless you are on a low iron diet, have anaemia or are consuming vast quantities of turneric, there doesn’t appear to be a significant problem.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2615657/




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    2. Taking turmeric everyday is damned good advice for the vast majority of people. If you searched the literature/videos here and at large before you spat the dummy you’d know just how stupid you sound.




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  27. Great! Difficult to measure the root, i buy it at our local farmers market, . Roughly, is it 1/2 inch to an inch of the fresh rizome/root to equate a teaspoon?can the moderators chime in..




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  28. While I see there is already some negativity creeping in even here on Dr. Greger’s own site, it gives me the opportunity to ask for some help. I am a member of the Care2 website along with millions of others. Recently Dr. Greger has started posting his usual excellent and positive articles on this site. I noticed at the beginning there were one or two very rude and nasty bloggers that unfortunately caused a wider infection of such negativity against Dr. Greger himself as well as the articles. I wonder if the lovely bloggers here would like to haul over to Care2 and support our good doctor in his efforts to educate and inform us? A few more positive people who appreciate the amazing work Dr. Greger does would be greatly appreciated….and dare I say people who are able to tackle the ‘trolls’ without fear. Thank you sincerely.




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    1. Charma1ne: Some un-asked for advice: The way we keep things (mostly) civil here is that we have written rules about what types of posts are allowed and we enforce those rules through moderating. I don’t know what the Care2 website is, but that seems like the best way to handle things to me. Otherwise, it is always going to be a quick race to the bottom on all sides, with no one learning anything. And working in that type of environment is really draining. I wouldn’t be volunteering on the NutritionFacts site if we allowed the type of comments you see on so many other sites.
      .
      That advice aside, I hope some people are able to help out with your request. Good luck.




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      1. Hello Thea, my good intention may have been misunderstood. I do not want disparity anywhere and I certainly am not advocating anyone be abusive in a blog. Feel free to remove my last comment if it is offensive to anyone or misleading in any way or does not hold with the rules this site. Sincerely, charmaine.




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        1. Charma1ne: Oh no, I think I wasn’t clear in my post. I was not saying there is anything wrong with your post. I was just trying to be helpful to your concern by sharing the formula that I think helps to keep this site going well. I guess I was thinking from the way you worded your post that you might have some authority or maybe just interest enough to advocate for some rules and moderation on the Care2 website so that it becomes a more productive place to begin with (more efficient and pleasant than having to recruit people to “tackle the trolls”). But that was just some advice. I was not saying there is anything wrong with your post. And I really do wish you luck. I don’t like to see abusive behavior anywhere myself.




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          1. Thank you so much for your support Thea! Like you say, the trolls are everywhere and I hate that they poison the well from which we all must drink. I think Dr. Greger is one of the most wonderful and generous humans on the planet today. I can’t begin to thank him enough for the amazing help he has provided my family in our journey to good health. A heartfelt thank you Dr. Greger and all the volunteers who make this possible!




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    1. HI Brian,
      The video is saying that the whole spice, turmeric has beneficial effects beyond the single component curcumin. For that reason it would be better to eat the whole spice. You could buy turmeric powder in the supermarket. Another even more pure source would be to buy the fresh turmeric root and grate it into a recipe or juice it with other vegetables.




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  29. thank you for always posting such amazing information!!! Do you have anything on Sarcomas? or liposarcomas. I have your book and you go into detail on some cancers.. but Sarcomas /liposarcomas there is such little information- what veggies are good .. bc this is an alkaline tumor type cancer.
    thank you yet again and again..




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  30. Hello my name is Peter and I have a question in relation to thiS video, but about H. Pylori. Would it be a good idea to cure or subside H. Pylori with Apple Cider vinegar? Would Dr. Greger have other suggestion…..thank you in advance.




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    1. Thanks for your question Peter.

      I have only found one study relating to your question. Here, the investigators “evaluate the effect of apple cider vinegar plus PPI-based triple therapy on eradication of Helicobacter Pylori (H.pylori) infection”. However, they found “no efficacy of apple cider vinegar in H. pylory eradication treatment”.

      According to the Oxford Handbook of Nutrition and Dietetics (2nd Edition):

      “Oral probiotics may act as a beneficial adjunct to antibiotic eradication therapy. Further studies are needed to clarify optimum dose and population.”. This means that we still need to have more information and studies to make appropriate nutritional recommendations for the treatment and management of H pylori.

      Hope this answer helps!




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  31. I’m not sure if the yellow powder I used to buy at the local market is a whole ground turmeric, or just the curcumin. How to distinguish?




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  32. I am an Indian (South Indian) from India. Our meal consists of rice, mixed with liquids of different tastes, taken along with different vegetables. Substantially following Dr. G. Only difference is that we cannot live without curd (yogurt) mixed with rice. That is the last course in the meal. The liquids that are mixed with rice and the vegetables are all cooked with turmeric as a component. Some have black pepper, and some have green pepper. The turmeric adds flavour and the pepper adds spice (taste). If you want to eat vegetarian food, you should eat the Indian way. There is huge variety, and excellent taste.

    Incidentally, the medication for sore throat followed in most homes is a glass of milk with a pinch of turmeric powder and a smaller pinch of black pepper powder, taken at night.

    The only aspect in which most people (Indians) cannot follow Dr. G is that we cannot do away with milk and yogurt. Cheese, many people do not eat, but cottage cheese is a favorite. Villagers, poor people are strict followers of Dr. G. There are meat eaters, but their consumption of meat is very low.




    1
    1. I know a lot of vegan Indians here in the U.S. Indian food is the best! Minus the dairy but it’s so easy to eat Indian food dairy free. Not sure if you saw it yet, but Dr. Greger has a video on the benefits of cooked turmeric as well, apparently it’s very DNA protective but you get less curcumin so he suggests eating it both cooked and uncooked.




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  33. Does anyone have an idea about what you lose in having Turmeric Juice versus Turmeric root versus Turmeric Powder? I’m thinking of juicing tumeric to make the drink a bit more smoother but just want to get a broad idea if I’ll lose much (e.g. oils, etc).




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    1. I couldn’t tell you that, you’ll get the most out of the whole food though. You could maybe swallow the pulp separately. With the powder, it’s very healthy and that’s where most people get their turmeric, just make sure to get organic so you know it’s not irradiated (among other reasons). Organic is always best. I’d love to try the fresh root but haven’t been able to find it organic. Ground spices are very potent though. I’m sure the juice would be healthy but you would lose some stuff and personally I think the benefits of getting all there is from the root outweigh a smoother feel, plus you get all the fiber.




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  34. Dr. Greger and Staff,
    We’ve seen the study proving taking Piperine (Pepper) with Turmeric increases its potency 2,000 times!
    But Have you checked the literature to see if anybody has done a similar study to see if the same multiplication factor occurs with taking Piperine with Ginger (also a powerful anti-inflammatory)?
    Or does the science in the Turmeric study provide any indication this may also happen?




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    1. Hi JM,
      You’re comparing “apples and oranges”, as the saying goes. Piperine increases the “net potency” of turmeric because it increases *absorption* of turmeric (and probably decreases the breakdown of active turmeric components by the liver), whereas regarding ginger, you’re referring to possible additive or synergistic effects due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the ginger/turmeric combination. Ideally, if one wanted to maximize “anti-inflammation”, one would eat turmeric with black pepper AND ginger! :)




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      1. Sure. But again, the question is: Does Piperine ALSO vastly increase the absorption of Ginger anti-inflammatories and gingerols, etc., thus making it more potent?

        That is the question?
        Just curious if anyone has done such studies? They would be very helpful indeed.




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        1. Oh, now there’s a interesting question and there don’t appear to be any studies published on the matter, at least not that I can find on PubMed….




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        2. Probably. From what I’ve been learning it increases antioxidant absorption from foods in general. I started consuming some pepper with more foods and with my green tea to boost absorption because… why not. My metabolism has been crazy fast (faster than usual it seems) since I introduced a lot of pepper, too.




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        3. Piperine extends the availability of turmeric because the enzyme that helps to metabolize curcumin is inhibited by piperine. I don’t believe that’s the case for any of the active ingredients in ginger.




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  35. I can’t find any menitons of raw turmeric.
    Have there been many studies on the benefits of raw turmeric vs the powdered spice




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    1. get organic ground turmeric, it’s not irradiated so it’s “raw.” There’s a video on here about the separate benefits of cooking with the spice too which gives its own unique DNA protective benefit.




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  36. lol at the end… it’s tragic but so pathetic I have to laugh. Thank you so much for supplying all this info! So brilliant to get the real straight forward info without it being watered down and obscured by agenda. The common sense, overall intelligence, and honestly is SO refreshing and so needed.




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  37. A fellow animal rescuer just contacted me about one of her dogs having been diagnosed with cancer (1 large lymphoma). Needless to say, she is heartbroken. I’m wondering … would a dose of the turmeric-pepper-olive oil mixture be worth a try to help the little man? The vet has given up on him already, but she isn’t ready to do as well. Now having almost cured my old collie girl from a liver failure and stroke with a mixture of diet food and herbal treatment, I’m thinking, might we not try to help the little man in some way too? What are your thoughts please? Gratefully, Babs in Ireland




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    1. BabsIreland: Look up “Golden Paste”, which is a cooked recipe/mixture of turmeric, water, a little oil, and a little peper. There are many people plus a vet giving this stuff to dogs with tumors and seeing those tumors disappear. Some people are doing it internally, others rubbing on external bumps.
      .
      Does it really work? I have *no* idea. But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t hurt to try…
      .
      Hope this helps!




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  38. Is anyone with NutritionFacts.org familiar with this study: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders? It was brought to my attention by The Food Revolution Network and appears very promising for those of us who are vegans to ensure we are getting enough DHA. I’m just curious if Dr. Greger has read this study and what his opinion is on its findings and whether using tumeric alone is sufficient for DHA supplementation vs using another algae DHA supplement.




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    1. Any of the varieties labeled curcuma longa would be good. It’s too bad that they don’t give the specific variety names, but they may not want other people to know exactly what they are, because they’re likely to find them for a lot less money. Avoid the white turmeric if you’re looking for any of the reputed therapeutic benefits, as it doesn’t have anywhere near as much curcumin as the yellow varieties. The white ones are used in cooking and for cosmetic use.




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  39. I recently purchased some turmeric + ginger tea bags (Organic India tea company) in an effort to get more turmeric in my diet. Do we have any sense of whether the dosage from a cup or two of tea would be significant enough to make a difference in our effort to achieve our daily turmeric target intake?




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    1. Healthy Ian,

      You’re going to get some degree of change, however, it would be better to have the tea with some fat at the same time or if your inclined for a higher level of change, to use a supplement. Choose from those that are complexed with a fat and have a smaller size. There is a very lively argument, in the industry, regarding which of the manufacturers curcumin has the largest impact in serum concentrations. The an interesting article, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25994138 you can get a feel for the current debate and mention of some manufacturers. With ginger you will have more significant a dose with the raw ginger or add a bit of fresh grated to your tea. Dr. Alan Kadish Moderator for Dr. Greger




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      1. The supplement route is interesting to consider, but I though Dr. Greger has been pretty adamant that you are far better off consuming turmeric itself in either its powdered form or its raw root form rather than taking curcumin as a supplement. Let me know if I have missed something in the blog posts and the vids.




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    2. Health Ian — I typically put fresh turmeric + pepper (helps with bioavailability of tumeric – see this video: Boosting the Bioavailability of Curcumin
      along with fresh ginger in my smoothies and salads.

      I recently made the transition from powdered turmeric to fresh turmeric and I highly recommend it.

      I see the whole path of nutrition as a process that is continually unfolding.
      Keep taking the next step when the info becomes available and whenever you feel called. Trusting your body along the way.

      To health!




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      1. You inspired me to buy some fresh turmeric. What is the daily amount I should consume? For powdered turmeric is it a teaspoon or tablespoon a day? If I find I’m inconsistent with the fresh and powdered and think I should go with curcumin supplements, what is the dosage I need there? — Thanks!




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        1. Glad to hear you were inspired to try the fresh turmeric.

          I have a smoothie every day with berries, greens (spinach & kale-cruciferous), ginger, turmeric, peppercorns, flaxseeds, a few nuts, and usually some more fruit or whatever I have on hand.

          This smoothie usually covers more than half the Daily Dozen that Dr. Greger recommends and I have enjoyed it by 10am!
          (On a side note, find the Daily Dozen app for Android or iPhone if you have not already!)

          Later in the day, I focus on beans, whole grains, more veggies, teas, etc.

          I love the system I have in place now and I fall off the horse and get back on fairly often — Thanksgiving being such an occasion ;)

          I will respend to the post about turmeric dosing in a separate post.

          be well!




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  40. This might seem an odd question, but I wonder if the good doctor has any recommendations for daily dosage of fresh turmeric root. I often make vegetable juice at some point in my day, (and yes I know that I am removing the fibre, but the rest of my diet is whole food, plant-based). I generally add about one and a half inches of fresh, juiced turmeric root to my juice. Two questions:
    a) how does this quantity measure with recommended turmeric powder consumption?
    b) is white turmeric as potent as yellow turmeric?




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    1. Brian Fulton: I am Christine, a NF volunteer moderator. I do not have any information specific to turmeric, but it is generally true that powdered herbs and spices are more concentrated than fresh. The rule of thumb used by my herbalist friends is that 1 part dried herb is usually equivalent to about 3 parts fresh. Of course, as you point out, the juice does not include much of the fiber, which is present in the powder, and that could be a factor. I do know that turmeric can cause loose stools for some people. If it does not seem to cause any problems for you, then I am not aware of any reason to discontinue what you are doing. If you do have any issues with it, maybe just reduce the amount. I hope that helps!




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    1. Hi, I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. This type of study does not surprise me. In fact, many studies done on individual components of a food fail to show any promising results despite a lot of optimism from researchers prior to the study. This is usually because it is not the specific components of the food that are so beneficial, but rather the synergy of the food–all of the nutrients and phytochemicals working together to produce amazing effects inside the body that cannot be replicated by an individual nutrient. My guess is that this is the case for many studies involving curcumin as well–it is not the same thing as turmeric, and therefore will not offer the health benefits that turmeric has to offer.




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    2. GeminiRat: The question about this study has come up a lot lately. Thank you for posting a quote along with the link so that I had a sense of what the issue was. I did some investigation and found that Dr. Greger will be doing a video on this in the not toooo distant future. (Don’t know exactly when.) So, stay tuned!




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  41. Turmeric and Curcumin Studies Wrong!?

    Dr. Greger and Staff,
    What say you to this recent study, stating that curcumin/tumeric are not a cure-all. In fact, curcumin has properties that trick researchers into misinterpreting results?
    http://pubs.acs.org/doi/ipdf/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00975

    These researchers seems to say that curcumin has properties that trick researches into thinking it has medicinal qualities or effects.
    http://www.nature.com/news/deceptive-curcumin-offers-cautionary-tale-for-chemists-1.21269?WT.ec_id=NEWSDAILY-20170111

    Time for a new video to address this, I think, considering all of the videos that you have touting turmeric/curcumin?

    Thanks for all your work,

    Neil




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  42. I am concerned that a little pepper and turmeric may not be having the impact implied in the videos and blogs. If one is on a low-fat diet, I don’t see evidence that just the oils in turmeric powder are enough to keep enough curcumin in one’s system. Looking over the discussion on turmeric in ConsumerLab’s report, it seems maybe a factor of 6 more absorption with pepper extract not the thousands Dr. Greger claims. This with eating a high fat meal. There are water-soluble formulations that do have a huge impact, but they probably don’t have the other chemicals found in natural turmeric. Maybe the best solution is to take a supplement and season with turmeric. See: Jäger et al. Nutrition Journal 2014, 13:11
    http://www.nutritionj.com/content/13/1/11




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  43. Regarding the article in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, which has been quoted and reprinted numerous times now, it seems evident that the pharmaceutical industry is going after curcumin supplements. It may be a first step toward another attempt to bring all supplements into the category of drugs. That’s been defeated before, but given the current political climate, is vulnerable now again.

    In my opinion, the supplement manufacturers have brought this on themselves with their ever more sensational claims for curcumin’s benefits, for which they toss out a citation here and a reference there. The obvious way to discredit them is to discredit the research. In any case, that does not affect the use of turmeric as a food, which is the best way to use it anyway, even in therapeutic quantities such as in golden paste.




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  44. I make a drink where I cook chopped up ginger and turmeric root. and blends with oats milk and pepper. will this give me the benefits or am i destroying something by cooking it?




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    1. No, you’re not destroying anything. In fact, raw turmeric is so poorly digested that it’s not really worthwhile consuming it. It passes on through the intestinal tract too fast to be broken down. Cooking it breaks down the fiber content so it can be digested more readily, and also softens the starches to allow them to be broken down as well. Your drink doesn’t have enough fat to allow the turmeric to be absorbed, however. And unless you’re using freshly ground black pepper, you’re not getting much–if any–piperine. Piperine is an alkaloid that is readily oxidised on contact with the atmosphere, and pre-ground table pepper is unlikely to still contain any useful amount.




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  45. Hi, I was curious if you knew anything about the Tonka bean. This is a very aromatic bean that was banned by the FDA in 1954- the reasons quoted were that it contains coumarin… “Food containing any added coumarin as such or as a constituent of tonka beans or tonka extract is deemed to be adulterated under the act, based upon an order published in the Federal Register of March 5, 1954”. There are articles online saying that michelin star chefs report FDA agents coming and taking it. I had wanted to make a perfume base with it, but even finding the bean for that purpose was difficult.
    What’s up with this? What’s the magic in this bean?? The issue can not be the coumarin..




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    1. Hi Danielle,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thanks for your question.

      I am not sure how the content of coumarin in tonka beans compares to other foods, but certain foods like cinnamon (especially the cassia type) contain large enough amounts of coumarin that 1 tsp a day is liver toxic to children and possibly adults. Therefore, if the coumarin content of tonka beans is even higher than cassia cinnamon, that perhaps is the reasoning for why it was banned. Check out this video for more on coumarin and cinnamon: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/update-on-cinnamon-for-blood-sugar-control/




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  46. I looked at vegan capsules online in order to put turmeric in them and get my daily dose, but I found that they can contain harmful ingredients. Then I read about making a turmeric tea or adding to milk. I poured myself a glass of almond milk, added 1/4 tsp of turmeric and it was mild and delicious. I now know how I’ll easily get my dose of turmeric each day and thought I’d share in case someone else has the same question.




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    1. You’ll get minimal benefit from consuming turmeric that way. Almond milk doesn’t contain enough fat to permit absorption of the turmeric. Check out the Facebook Turmeric User Group for science-based information on the effective use of turmeric, based on how it was traditionally used for centuries in India.




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    1. The original article focuses on curcumin as a small-molecule target for pharmaceutical drug development, not on the use of whole turmeric as a bioactive food. The article in Time, and similar ones elsewhere, assumed that curcumin isolates are the only beneficial part of turmeric, as the supplement manufacturers have claimed (because it allows them to promote their expensive over-hyped products). These supplements and the articles critical of them are irrelevant to the traditional use of whole turmeric as a food, or its use in culinary-analogous forms such as the now ubiquitous ‘golden paste.’




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      1. Thanks for the response Helene. I have since found the following two responses to the curcumin review article in the Journal of Medical Chemistry:
        http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Experts-hit-back-at-inaccurate-headlines-after-review-questions-curcumin
        http://ceceditore.com/is-curcumin-really-ineffective/?lang=en
        The second one says that
        ” 49 double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have been published and are currently listed on PubMed. Of these, 17 are recent trials demonstrating meaningful efficacy. In addition, 27 clinical trials indicate therapeutic benefits”
        So this contradicts the claim that “No double-blinded, placebo controlled clinical trial of curcumin has been successful.”

        i take your point regarding turmeric as a whole food, but unfortunately most research seemed to have been done on curcumin, not turmeric. Even some of the other videos of Dr Greger are based on curcumin studies rather than for turmeric.




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        1. Research with botanicals is almost always done with isolates, in order to standardize all the components of the trial. That works fine for isolates from plants that a culture is familiar with in their whole food form, in reference to food vs ‘nutraceutical.’ Nobody would suggest that quercetin is preferable to blueberries or that vitamin C is preferable to citrus fruits. We know that whole foods are better for you. But turmeric was practically unknown in the western world except as a dye when the research on turmeric began. So it’s been relatively easy to convince people that popping a curcumin pill is better than using turmeric as a food.




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  47. My husband has been taking turmeric plus pepper supplements, and I was too for awhile. Though this addresses curcurmin supplements, it sounds like turmeric the spice would be better than any supplement, right?




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    1. Turmeric is poorly absorbed unless consumed with some source of fat or oil (it is not soluble in water or water-based liquids like stomach acid). Some curcumin supplements have some kind of added fat, most often a soy phospholipid or sunflower lecithin. But most do not, and even if the supplement does contain a fat, the concentration of curcumin in the extracts is far higher then the body needs or can use. So yes, whole turmeric is almost always going to be a better choice, but it still needs to be consumed in an effective way. Check out the Facebook group Turmeric User Group for science-based data on turmeric and the most beneficial ways to add it to your diet.




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  48. How can I include turmeric in my diet if I don’t eat curries on a regular basis? Please suggest other ways to include this spice in our daily diet.
    Thanks




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    1. You can cook with it, as in the traditional cuisine of India (where curries are not eaten all the time either–turmeric is added to almost everything). Or you can make the cooked turmeric paste called ‘golden paste’ and add that to your food. I personally think it’s easier to just cook Indian food most of the time, but if you don’t care for that, golden paste is a good substitute. It’s not meant to be “taken” like a pill–it’s a food and should be incorporated in food. Add it to egg, pasta or rice dishes, to soups, stews and casseroles, to smoothies and to beverages like coffee, tea and cocoa. Turmeric goes particularly well with tomato-based foods, and some people have it with a glass of V-8 or tomato juice.

      For science-based data on turmeric and the most effective ways to add it to your diet, check out the Facebook




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  49. I understand the recommended dosage of Tumeric supplement is 1000mg and that the whole spice is much better and potent. What would you consider the requirement of fresh Tumeric for recommended dosage?




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    1. I checked out several sources and found the following:
      The general rule of thumb for converting dried herbs or spices to fresh in a recipe is 1-to-3, so 1 teaspoon of dried spice is equal to 3 teaspoons — 1 tablespoon — of fresh. Roughly 2 inches of fresh turmeric root will yield 1 tablespoon of the freshly grated spice
      Another source indicated it would only take 1 inch of the turmeric to make 1 Tbs freshly grated, so it seems you have to consider how large the root is. Once you get 1 Tbs then you can substitute it for 1 tsp ground turmeric




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      1. Doug English, the Australian vet who started the Turmeric User Group on Facebook, grows and dehydrates his own turmeric. He has found that a 5 to 1 ratio is more accurate. The general rule of thumb is indeed 3:1, but that refers to leaves. The turmeric rhizome contains a significant amount of water, and when dehydrated and powdered, the yield is closer to 5:1.




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  50. I am a big believer in Tumeric and take it daily and add it to my plant based soups, salads etc. My concern is the ability to get organic, no pesticide fresh tumeric. I also find the article and videos on this website very helpful but like all of these studies you can never find EXACTLY what supplement they used so you can search out and purchase quality supplements not filled with fillers. So my final comment/question to the group and Dr. on this subject are;
    1. what supplement do you recommend
    2. anyone know a source for getting tumeric ‘tubers’ to grow my own?




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    1. Second question first, depending on where you’re located, you may or may not be able to successfully grow turmeric. It is a tropical plant, and if you’re going to grow it outdoors, you need to be in zone 9 or 10 in the US. If you have room for large pots indoors, you could start the rhizomes (not tubers) in February, set them outside when the temperature is reliably above 50 deg F at night, and then bring them back inside when it falls below that. But these are large plants, 3-4 feet tall, and you need a lot of space and plenty of light if you’re going to bring them to maturity (in December) inside.

      Regarding what supplement to buy, I think that’s exactly what this video was trying to discourage people from doing. Turmeric is a food, not an herbal supplement. It’s best used as a food rather than as a pill. Organic turmeric powder is easily available in the US. And you can find good quality turmeric, whether organic or not, in Indian/Asian markets. Turmeric needs to be combined with some kind of lipid (fat or oil) in order to be absorbed, as it is not water-soluble. It also should be combined with a small amount of freshly ground black pepper (an 8:1 ratio of turmeric to pepper is good). The pepper slows down turmeric’s clearance from the body, which is otherwise rapid.

      The way you describe using turmeric–adding it to soups or other dishes–is better than just popping pills, but still not as effective as making the cooked turmeric paste known as golden paste, and adding it to your foods. It contains all the essential components–turmeric, oil and pepper–in a convenient mixture that you can add to almost anything. Check out the Turmeric User Group on Facebook (the original turmeric group) for science-based information and help :)




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    2. Hi, Terri Whitesel. We are not in the practice, here at NF, of endorsing products such as supplements. You could try clicking the link under the video that says, “SOURCES CITED” to access the articles used in the video. If you can get full-text of the articles, they should state what supplements were used in the studies. To find information on supplement quality, you might want to look into Consumer Lab. They test supplements to see if they are contaminated, and if they contain what is stated on the labels in the amounts listed. I don’t know anything about growing turmeric, but it looks like Helene Wallis does. You might read her posts for more on that. I hope that helps!




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  51. Besides the addition of black pepper to “boost the availability” of the turmeric, I have read, that ideally, the turmeric should be lightly heated with a fat such as coconut oil before consumption. Does anyone know anything about that aspect of the benefits of turmeric? I would like to know if just taking turmeric supplements, or using organic ground turmeric (say, in a smoothie) is doing any good at all. Thank you.




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    1. The addition of black pepper does not ‘boost the availability’ of the turmeric in any direct sense. What it does is to slow down turmeric’s conversion into less effective metabolites, and keeps it active in the bloodstream for a longer period of time. In the traditional cuisines of India, turmeric was combined in a cooked dish with a fat and the liquid from meat and/or vegetables. Sometimes the turmeric powder was added at the beginning, when all the spices were sizzled in oil, but more often it was added with other ground spices when the meat and vegetables were added to the heated spices. Then the whole dish would be simmered until the solid components were cooked and soft. The point of heating turmeric is not just to get it hot, but to cooked it in a liquid. The starches in turmeric are in a rigid matrix that doesn’t break down easily. Cooking the turmeric in water allows the starches to absorb water and soften up considerably. When that mixture hits the stomach, it breaks down (digests) much more completely, making the individual constituents more available for absorption into the bloodstream. So the important part is to cook it in a water-based liquid, not necessarily just to heat it.

      Just adding ground turmeric to a smoothie is minimally effective. It’s better than most supplements, but is still dependent on the amount of fat in your gut at the time you have the smoothie (or the amount that’s in the smoothie). You’ll get some benefit from having the fat present, but still not as much as if you cook the turmeric in water first.

      Check out the Turmeric User Group for additional info on making cooked turmeric paste. It’s easy, can be added to almost any food, and lasts for several weeks in the fridge, so you don’t have to mix it up every day.




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      1. Thank you, Helene. Appreciate your feedback.

        I am a cancer patient, and am trying to do as much as possibly can to increase my chances. Truthfully, I hate the taste of turmeric, so having it in just about any form is very unpalatable and almost repulsive, so it’s always hard for me to fathom those “traditional cultures” using it as such a predominant seasoning. But, that’s me.

        I will try making the paste. Thanks again!

        ck




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    1. The best thing to take is not a pill. That was the whole point of Dr. Greger’s video. The best way to consume turmeric is to use it as the food that it is. It is not an herbal supplement. It is most effective used in one of two ways, first, in the traditional way it was cooked for thousands of years (in a dish containing a fat or oil, plus either black pepper or chili peppers). Second would be as a cooked paste added to other foods, which is an analogue of the traditional way of cooking it. You can find out more about cooked turmeric paste (often called golden paste) in the Facebook Turmeric User Group, the original turmeric group on Facebook.




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    1. 600mg is roughly 1/5 tsp. But bear in mind that most of the supplements that are labeled turmeric are not whole turmeric. They’re only a very concentrated extract of one of the active components of turmeric, with all the others taken out. So you may be missing much of what you would get with the same amount of turmeric powder.




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  52. There is a product called protandim that has turmeric, green tea and a few other ingredients. The USDA has sent them a warning of false advertising saying that protandim cannot bring cures to certain diseases, etc. But from all of the research on turmeric and green tea, I think there is some benefit to be seen in protandim, but the cost is where I wonder about. Is buying turmeric from the store cheaper than protandim? Do we need to buy protandim or can we just save money and buy turmeric, etc from the store?




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    1. Protandim is a problem on so many levels that it’s hard to know where to start. But there are two fundamental issues with it, before you even look at how it’s marketed and the extravagant and illegal claims the manufacturer makes. Sorry, this is going to bring on a rant.

      First, Protandim is not a source of turmeric at all. It doesn’t even contain turmeric. Their website states that it contains a turmeric extract. That’s as forthcoming as they are apparently willing to be—I haven’t found anything more specific than that. But in the absence of more specific language, a turmeric “extract” usually refers to curcumin (or more typically to the three curcuminoids). Turmeric has a wide range of active constituents, but all these are stripped out in curcumin extract products. So Protandim does not contain turmeric, regardless of their claims. At best, it contains one of the active constituents, the curcuminoids.

      Second, a manufactured processed product like this is exactly the opposite of what Dr. Greger’s video was recommending. Whole turmeric (which is a food, not a supplement) has a very long and well-documented history of use, thousands of years, in fact. The ancient Ayurvedic practitioners may not have understood why turmeric (and other botanicals as well) provided good benefits for overall health and for the relief of various symptoms, but they were excellent observers. Over the centuries, their observations were passed around and collated and taught as a specific medical practice. Modern science has now explained how turmeric affects many of the signaling mechanisms in the body, and why consumption along with a fat or oil helps it be taken up into the bloodstream (and why having some kind of metabolic inhibitor along with it—such as freshly ground black pepper or the chili peppers that are ubiquitous in Indian cuisine) keeps it working much longer in the body. Supplemental extracts are the very antithesis of the traditional way of consuming turmeric, and are a poor way of receiving the benefits of a whole food.

      Supplement manufacturers like curcumin because—unlike turmeric, a food—unique formulations of curcumin can be patented (and several have been). In addition, you can make a lot more money out of a supplement than you can from a food. You can claim (or try to claim) specific health benefits for dietary supplements. You can cite studies as “proof” (even if the studies aren’t relevant—most of your readers won’t know the difference anyway). You can guarantee that every instance of your product will be bright and shiny and consumer-spending perfect, with exactly the right verbage and images to entice people to buy it. While your competitors are selling that orange stuff in a bag or pouch, you can supply clean antiseptic looking capsules with the implication that they’re the same as the medications people are taking in similar packaging.

      All that aside, we get to the marketing angle. Protandim is marketed by LifeVantage Corporation, a multi-level marketing company. It’s sold via a pyramid scheme, in other words. Distributors are urged to sign up more distributors in order to profit from their “downline” and those distributors must sign up additional ones in order to profit from theirs. The only people who make any real money out of such schemes are the ones at the very top, who receive a percentage of all the sales below theirs. There is a reason Protandim is outrageously expensive, when you look at what it actually contains. There has to be enough profit in it to pay all those levels of distributors. I have no desire to buy a health product from a company whose primary interest is in pushing its distributors to sign up more distributors.

      So to answer your question, after all this time, if you want turmeric, buy turmeric. It’s easily available in a wide range of sources—grocery stores, health food stores, online, and most easily in Indian/Asian markets where you’ll find it in everything from small pouches to huge bags.
      If you want a pseudo-medication-looking extract of just one of the active constituents of turmeric, in a form that supplies far more than the body needs (or in most cases can use), with bright colorful images and claims of medical benefits (which are indeed illegal and which LifeVantage has been told by the FDA to stop making), if you want to spend waaay more money than necessary, then you’re a good candidate for LifeVantage’s marketing experts.




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    2. Thanks for the great question. I didn’t find anything specific on Protandium from Dr. Greger. I might avoid it if there is no peer reviewed scientific data on it yet. I don’t know the price breakdown, but Dr. Greger definitely recommends both Tumeric and Greed Tea. You might like these videos he has done:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/can-green-tea-help-treat-cancer/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-spices-fight-inflammation/

      Kelly
      Nutritionfacts.org Moderator




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