Turmeric is about 5% curcumins by weight, or it takes about 20 grams of turmeric to get 1 gram of curcumins.
But you can’t go eating it by the spoonful because: 1) that’s nasty; 2) it’s messy and stains everything yellow; and 3) it’s not bioavailable, like, at all.
2g curcumin vs. 2g curcumin + 20mg piperine:
Fortunately, bioavailability is drastically increased by black pepper &/or dietary fat. For this reason, most curcumin supps contain either piperine or some sort of lipids. I’m not a big fan of piperine because it seems to non-selectively increase the absorption of tons of things – and there are some things we don’t absorb for a reason: they’re toxic… so I’d rather just use a little pepper and take it with some seafood.
It’s very safe (eg, Chainani-Wu et al., 2003) and there seems to be nothing curcumin can’t do…
Why turmeric & seafood?
Synergistic anti-inflammatory effect (Saw et al., 2010). Also, being rich in fat, seafood should increase curcumin bioavailability.
And most importantly,
Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders (Wu et al., 2015)! It does this by actually increasing the enzymes involved in converting alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) into DHA. Normally, this conversion is poor: in the figure below, feeding ALA alone had no effect on brain DHA, but combined with curcumin caused a 50% increase!
Curcumin also inhibits lipid peroxidation. Win-win.
My advice (since I generally assume most people are DHA deficient) (sorry): add some turmeric & pepper to your mayonnaise or salad dressing or something. Due to the synergistic nature, it doesn’t have to be a lot*.
*actual dose? I don’t know. If taken consistently, with black pepper & dietary fat, with meals, might be just a few grams.
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