Curcumin, an active substance found in turmeric, could protect important cells in your body. This is due to its powerful antioxidants, which target damaging free radicals in the body. Because of this, turmeric has been used for 4,000 years to treat several health conditions. It's added to food for its flavor and yellowish color and is also available in liquid extract, powder or capsule forms. Before using turmeric to treat any ailments, consult your doctor to determine the correct dosage.
Types of Turmeric Supplements
You can take a turmeric supplement in capsule or tablet form with a glass of water. However, curcumin has a low bioavailability in these forms when taken alone. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that bromelain -- a protein extract -- is often added to turmeric supplements because it helps improve the absorption and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. Black pepper extract or piperine can also increase the bioavailability of curcumin.
Tumeric is also available as a liquid extract or tincture, which is an alcohol extract. These forms of supplementation are quickly absorbed and convenient for those who have trouble swallowing capsules. However, it is not proven to be more effective than other forms of supplementation.
Incorporate in Food for Indigestion
You can sprinkle ground turmeric into food, such as beans, to reduce gas and bloating. Turmeric is traditionally added to Indian curry but could also be added to soups, stir-fry vegetables, salads and eggs. A small study published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences in 2009 reported that when turmeric was added to curry, it increased bowel movements and helped digest carbohydrates. Curcumin in turmeric helps stimulate the gallbladder to secrete bile, which helps some people with digestion, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Combine Turmeric With Other Herbs
You can take turmeric combined with other herbs and minerals for anti-inflammatory benefits. A formula containing winter cherry, boswellia and zinc with turmeric helped relieve pain from osteoarthritis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, because this blend contains several herbs, it's not clear how much of the benefit comes specifically from turmeric. Turmeric formula capsules are available at health food stores. Take capsules with food and water, or as directed by your doctor.
Turmeric is considered safe when added to food. Supplements may interact with other herbs or medication, such as blood thinners; therefore, consult a doctor before using turmeric for medicinal reasons. Large amounts of turmeric could cause stomachaches and ulcers in those vulnerable. Diabetics should seek advice before using turmeric as it can lower blood sugar levels.