January 24, 2017

Best Turmeric Supplements

updated May 2016

There is a saying that goes, “A teaspoon of turmeric a day keeps cancer at bay!”

This Indian spice is one of nature’s most powerful healers. 

The medicinal properties of turmeric have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease…and even Lupus.

turmeric the wonder herbTurmeric is also used to treat digestive and liver conditions, arthritis pain, irregular menstrual periods, heartburn, stomach ulcers and gallstones. It has natural anti-inflammatory qualities as well as blood-thinning properties that help rebuild brain cells and repair stroke damage.

Many uses of turmeric relate to the antioxidant or anti-inflammatory activities of curcumin, the primary active compound in turmeric.

This wonder herb can:

  • Help relieve indigestion
  • Prevent ulcerative colitis from intensifying
  • Help reduce joint pain swelling, morning stiffness and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Treat psoriasis
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduce the proliferation of a wide variety of cancers, especially pancreatic and colon cancer
  • Improve blood sugar levels by boosting the activity of insulin secreting cells in the pancreas. This lowers the chance that pre-diabetes will lead to diabetes
  • Improve mental functioning in Alzheimer’s patients

However, curcumin capsules or turmeric supplements vary in quality, strength, and purity. So, in choosing the best turmeric capsule, read the label carefully. Look for products standardized for 95% curcuminoids.

The standardization process ensures manufacturing consistency in the amount of curcumin from bottle to bottle. In other words, you won’t be shortchanged on the amount of this key ingredient. This is a significant factor in that many clinical trials and medical studies have shown the best results with turmeric supplementation in dosages containing 95% curcumin.

Products lacking the expected curcuminoids that are NOT recommended for consumption are:

  • Advanced Physician Formulas Curcumin – less than 10% of labeled amounts
  • Paradise Herbs and Essentials Turmeric – contains only 14.7% of labeled curcuminoids

The Best of Turmeric

Top turmeric supplementsThe choice of which turmeric brand to buy can be daunting. Do you go for quality, price, brand recognition, or all of the above?

These turmeric products provide the best value (providing 500mg of curcuminoids at the lowest cost):

  • Doctors Best® Best Curcumin C3 Complex®
  • NOW® Curcumin

If you are interested in bioavailability, these turmeric supplements are recommended with bioperine (black pepper) to enhance absorption:

  • Nutrigold® Turmeric Curcumin Gold®
  • Life Extension SuperCurcumin with Bioperine

New research also shows that products that include BCM-95 may have even greater bioavailability (about 7 times of normal curcumin). Though more expensive, supplements with BCM-95 are a good value:

  • Life Extension® Super Bio-Curcumin®
  • Curcumin Extreme

The good thing is that there are already a lot of curcumin supplements available in the market. These supplements have enhanced curcumin in them, which means your body will be able to absorb them better and keep them where they’re needed for a longer time. These are our favorite supplements that will help your body get the most benefit out of curcumin.

Turmeric and CurcuminHere are the remaining 11 best turmeric supplements according to an independent lab testing company that are safe for consumption according to quality, price and label accuracy:

  • Finest Nutrition Turmeric
  • Jarrow Formulas® Curcumin 95
  • Nature Made® Turmeric Curcumin
  • Nutrigold Turmeric Curcumin Gold
  • Organic India® Turmeric Formula
  • Planetary Herbals Full Spectrum Turmeric Extract
  • Progressive Labs Curcumin BCM-95®
  • Puritan’s Pride® Turmeric Curcumin
  • Solar® Turmeric
  • Thompson® Turmeric Curcmin 300 mg
  • Vitacost Turmeric

Take 400 to 600 milligrams of turmeric, three times per day or as directed on the product label.

Curcumin or turmeric taken orally is best absorbed when taken with black pepper or piperine, a constituent of black pepper responsible for its pungency. When shopping for the best turmeric supplements, we recommend that the one you choose contains bioperine or piperine. Be patient when taking turmeric supplements: the full benefits may not be apparent for eight weeks.

Cooking with Turmeric

If you’re cooking with turmeric, be sure to add some black pepper to the food. Ways to eat it: one of the easiest, fastest ways to get your daily turmeric is just to mix a small spoonful of the powder with some warm water, stir briskly, and drink. Yes, it actually tastes quite good, especially once you get used to it.

Or, sprinkle a spoonful or two on your cauliflower or broccoli, in your soups, seafood or meat. Almost any combination works with this amazingly tasty and healthy spice. To help you get on board with this trendy superfood, we’ve provided recipes on how to cook with turmeric so you can be sure to use it.

Turmeric is one of the world’s great antioxidants. Plus, nothing is more important than maintaining a healthy inflammatory response — and this spice helps your body do just that. It’s a great defense mechanism against cancer, joint pain, Alzheimer’s and Lupus….and so much more!

Taken in normal doses, turmeric should be safe for most people. But as with nearly any powerful herb, taking doses that are too high can produce ill-effects.

We are discovering that more and more disease processes appear to depend on inflammation to wreak their havoc on our brains, arteries and joints. The best turmeric supplements offer us a natural, safe and effective anti-inflammatory agent to help ward off and treat these diseases.

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The Vitamin Secret Even Nutritionists Don’t Know

by Dr. Scott Saunders

One of the biggest issues over the past hundred years since the discovery that specific nutrient deficiencies can cause disease is whether we should be taking vitamins every day.  The word “vitamin” indicates a substance that is essential to life.  These are substances we don’t make in our bodies, and therefore need to eat them in order to live – or live well.

In the past, doctors commonly dealt with vitamin deficiencies because people didn’t have access to fresh foods all the time, or their diets were very limited.

  • Only eating white rice, for example lead to beriberi, a B vitamin deficiency.
  • Sailors on ships had “hard tack” and dried meat, neither of which had vitamin C.  Scurvy, as a result, was common aboard ships, sometimes taking the lives of half the sailors on a voyage.
  • During the industrial revolution, Rickets became a common illness because people moved their work and play indoors and didn’t spend time in the sun to get vitamin D.

Doctors also treated, unsuccessfully, cases of enlarged thyroid (goiter) with all sorts of concoctions until it was discovered that iodine deficiency was the cause.  In 1924, iodine was added to salt to prevent this.  However, most of our “designer salts” such as Himalayan salt, sea salt, and kosher salt, as well as the salt used for canning, processing, and cooking in restaurants and packaged food contains no iodine.  Goiter, and other iodine deficiency disease are still common in the United States, and in the world.

One comment in The Lancet journal described the problem:

According to WHO, in 2007, nearly 2 billion individuals had insufficient iodine intake, a third being of school age…  Thus iodine deficiency, as the single greatest preventable cause of mental retardation, is an important public-health problem. (1)

In modern times, doctors are taught that vitamin deficiencies are rare, and are not taught about diagnosis and treatment.  However, we still see lots of “rickets,” but since it is mild and found in older people we have changed the name to “osteoporosis.”  It’s extremely common in the modern world, but instead of giving vitamin D as in times past, we use drugs to kill the bone cells.  We surgically remove goiters, or irradiate them, when all that is needed is iodine supplements.

Can I take too much vitamins?

The FDA is making a huge effort to keep people from taking vitamins.  This comes in two forms:

  1. Questioning the safety of vitamins.
  2. Wasting your money on vitamins that don’t help anything.

The safety of vitamins is unquestionable.  The 2010 annual report of The Poison Control Centers found not one single death from vitamin overdose, in spite of the fact that well over half the population takes them. (2)

By contrast, there are more than 125,000 deaths per year from properly prescribed drugs; and drug overdose has become the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. (3)

Doctors will also tell you, “You’re just wasting your money buying all those vitamins.”  They told us in medical school that taking vitamins just made “expensive urine” because the body gets rid of what it doesn’t need.  This has been an effective campaign, but is it true?

It is an important fact just in order to get into the urine, the vitamins have to be absorbed, get into the blood and bathe all the cells first.  In other words:

  • regular vitamin useThe cells are able to take what they need, and the kidney will get rid of the leftovers.
  • Each cell has mechanisms to take up the nutrients it needs.
  • Not all cells need the same vitamins and minerals at the same time, but must be available at the time they are needed.
  • Thus, regular use of vitamins is important for your cells to function well.
  • Those cells that don’t get what they need can create disease, such as those noted above, as well as cancer.
    • In one study, a multivitamin, Centrum Silver (made by Pfizer, a drug company) was shown to decrease cancer by 9% in men.
    • Studies on vitamin D have shown up to a 77% decrease in cancer.(4)
    • Many other studies on anti-oxidant vitamins have shown remarkable results on cancer and disease prevention.

Even if the statistics were half as good, it would be worth taking vitamins. So, since they aren’t toxic, and they often help, it’s definitely a good idea to take your vitamins.

Which do I need?

Hilda was a spry woman in her eighties who came to me with two shopping bags full of bottles.  “I want you to tell me which of these vitamins I need to take.”  She was a “member” of an anti-aging group that sent her a catalog of vitamins with articles on why people need them.

Every time she read an article about how important a vitamin was, she bought it.  Now, she spent all her time reading about vitamins, organizing her vitamins, taking her vitamins, and buying her vitamins.  The problem wasn’t that she was overwhelmed by all the vitamins, it was that she was spending over $300 per month on them, and could no longer afford it.  She had a hard time letting go, even after I recommended discarding most of them.

A big question people ask me is, “Which vitamins should I take?”  The answer is, [am4show guest_error=’noaccess’ ] “The ones you need!”

Now, it gets a little tricky.  There are tests to determine which vitamins may be deficient, but these are not always accessible.  I do lots of these tests, and I find most people who eat the American diet have certain nutrient deficiencies, so I always recommend to start supplementing with the common vitamins and minerals:

  • Magnesium
  • Iodine
  • Vitamin D
  • Selenium
  • Chromium
  • Zinc

Lest you should get overwhelmed, the majority of these are minerals that could be found in any common supplement.  Note: Vitamin D is most often under-dosed, so I recommend much more than is found in a multi-vitamin.

What is the best way to get vitamins?

The way we take vitamins, concentrated, in a pill form, may not be the best way to get them.  I would cite the clear example of Dr. Terry Wahls, MD who had Multiple Sclerosis, and found that taking vitamins helped, but it wasn’t until she committed herself to getting all those vitamins from her food that she cured her illness.(5)

She states that there may be hundreds, if not thousands, of nutrients in the food that are not found in the vitamin pills. 

The best way to get your vitamins is in food.  Hands-down. Click to Tweet.

Much of the problem with nutrition is that we eat so many calories, we cannot get enough anti-oxidants from our food to prevent damage to our mitochondria.  Therefore, we are told we must supplement.  Well, the truth is, if you eat low-calorie-and-high-nutrient foods, you need less!

The worst foods to eat are:

  • Pizza
  • Hamburgers
  • Fries/chips
  • Sweets
  • Flavored drinks
  • Baked goods (cookies, donuts, cake…)
  • Pasta
  • Breakfast cereal

These contain loads of calories, in sugar, starch, fat, and protein, but very little nutrition.  They tear-down the energy-producing mitochondria without providing anything to build them up or protect them from damage.

The chemical reactions that go on in our cells all day long require these vitamins, so if you eat fewer calories, you need less vitamins and are less likely to be deficient.

The best foods to eat are:

  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Anything green (except the green M&M’s) 
  • Squash
  • Cauliflower
  • Whole fruit (not juice)

Kale and broccoli are singled-out, even though they are green, because they are so nutritious.  These two go above-and-beyond the call of duty to protect, preserve, and build your energy supplying mitochondriaFood is clearly the best way to nourish your body.  However, it is very hard to get all you need in food.  Therefore, it would be wise to supplement.

Less is More

Since nutritionists are taught only about deficiencies, they are rarely aware that one of the best ways to get enough nutrients is to eat less calories.  Now that we know how less calories gives us better nutrition, the next part is really incredible!

What few people, except the scientists themselves, know is that less nutrients is beneficial, as well!

inhibiting nutrients

We were always taught to take our “daily vitamin,” but few people know that is just a marketing plan, not a health plan.  The truth is when we take a vitamin every day, we get resistant to it, we absorb less, and we don’t use it efficiently.  Moreover, when we take large amounts of one nutrient, we inhibit others.  Here are a few examples:

  • Zinc supplements inhibit magnesium and copper from being absorbed. (6)
  • Selenium inhibits chromium absorption.
  • The absorption of magnesium decreases as you take more supplements. (7)
  • Vitamin C in high doses over a long period decreases the action of SOD (superoxide dismutase), an enzyme that protects your mitochondria from damage. (8)

The answer to the vitamin dilemma

We hear so much conflicting information about taking vitamins, how can we be sure we get enough without getting too much?  This is a terrible question that is essential to answer, because, as Dr. Wahls found out, if you don’t have your health, it doesn’t matter what else you have.

The answer lies in how the body functions.  All of life is in a constant rhythm, or state of flux.

  • We need constant variability.
  • We need to sleep, and be awake.
  • We need to feast, and fast.
  • We need hot and cold.
  • We need good and evil.
  • We need the contrast of all there is in order to function at all.

If everything were the same color, we might as well be blind!  If everything made the same sound, we might as well be deaf.

We need the symphony of different sounds, sights, and feelings to live and function.  Our nutrients are no different. Click to Tweet.

When we get a constant level of any nutrient, our bodies automatically down-regulate the absorption and utilization of it.  By the same token, when we are deficient, our bodies increase absorption and use of any nutrient.  Therefore, in order to be efficient, and effective, we need periods of having a lot, and then of having none.

Vitamin pills are concentrated, high-dose (relative to food) nutrients that should be taken on an intermittent basis.  In other words, if you take your vitamin pill twice per week you may get more out of it!

Now, how many problems does this solve!?

  • Lower cost — now you can afford to get a good quality vitamin – and still spend less!
  • Avoid nutrient interaction.
  • You can have your magnesium, and zinc too!
  • You will have enough, but not too much for every nutrient, every time.

In doing this, you put your trust in your body to regulate the nutrients.  This is what the digestive system is set up to do.  Believe me, it works!

Hilda, the above example, was very worried that she wouldn’t get enough of some vitamins, and wouldn’t throw away any of the ones she had already paid for. So, we came to a great solution!  We poured all of her leftover supplements into a large bottle, shook them up, and she takes one per day.  She will not get the same supplement every day; the pill she takes on any one day is random!  This way she gets all the nutrients she needs, in the most efficient and effective way.  There will be no interactions among them.

I don’t think everyone has to do this, but it isn’t a bad idea for those who need lots of different nutrients, and want to get the most out of them.

Specific recommendations:

daily supplementsBased on testing of hundreds of people, I have come up with a reasonable supplementation schedule:

  • Vitamin D3 – 50,000 IU once per week for adults and 20,000 IU for children
  • Iodine – 12.5mg once per week for adults and children
  • Omega-3 oil – 3 grams twice per week with a meal
  • Trace mineral supplement once per week with a meal

I would also add a multivitamin twice per week.  You may need to add specific other nutrients, depending on your personal needs, but you should still take them irregularly.

So, eat good food, that which is low in calories and high in nutrients, and take your supplements on an intermittent basis.  This is the secret to perfect nutrition! Click to Tweet.

Dr. Scott SaundersDr. Scott D. Saunders, M.D. (Ask-an-MD) is a practicing physician, specializing in preventative health care, who utilizes eclectic health care for the whole family, including conventional, orthomolecular and natural medicine. He is also the medical director of The Integrative Medical Center of Santa Barbara in Lompoc, CA. He went to UCLA medical school and is board certified in family medicine. View natural remedies with Dr. Saunders at: http://drsaundersmd.com

 

 

(1)    “Iodine deficiency—way to go yet”. The Lancet 372 (9633): 88
(2)  http://www.aapcc.org/dnn/Portals/0/2010%20NPDS%20Annual%20Report.pdf
(3)  http://wonder.cdc.gov/mortsql.html
(4)  http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/6/1586.abstract
(5)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc
(6)  http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/magnesium/
(7)  http://ckj.oxfordjournals.org/content/5/Suppl_1/i15.full
(8)  http://circres.ahajournals.org/content/83/9/916.full

 

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Dr. Saunders Parkinson’s Protection Plan

By Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

At age 68 Sally was living alone, and enjoying it.  She had two daughters who lived nearby and she loved to visit her grandchildren.  Her daughter brought her into my office because she had developed a tremor in her lip and left hand, difficulty walking, problems sleeping and stiffness of the muscles.  She was worried that she would no longer be able to live in her apartment where she enjoyed the environment and her friends.

Parkinson’s is not really a disease, it’s a syndrome, or a collection of symptoms.  It happens when there is not enough dopamine being created in the brain, and can have many causes.  Generally it is due to toxic insults to the brain, but Parkinson’s can be caused by hardening of the arteries, inflammation, or even genes.

Parkinson's disease symptoms

Sally had most of the symptoms typical of Parkinson’s disease

The diagnosis is made by symptoms.  It is not an exact science, so the typical Parkinson’s symptoms is all that is necessary.  These include:

  • Stiffness in the muscles
  • Tremors, usually only while resting.  If the tremor happens while using the muscle it is more often a different problem.
  • Flat affect, or lack of emotion in the face due to lack of facial muscle tone
  • Difficulty getting started, as in walking, but once started continuing is easier
  • Shuffling gait
  • Sleep problems
  • Dementia

Parkinson’s is not deadly, but rather a progressively disabling problem.  It can have either rapid or slow progression, depending on the cause.

“How did I get Parkinson’s disease?”

Sally is active, thin, she eats well, and takes care of herself.  Her daughter works in a vitamin store and makes sure she gets her vitamins.  She was curious as to how she could come down with such an illness.  One of the problems is that it often takes some investigation to find the Parkinson’s cause because there are so many.  Moreover, there may be multiple factors such as genetics, toxins, and a lack of nutrients.  Any one of them may not have produced Parkinson’s symptoms, but the three together do.

Genetics

Although the large majority of cases are not genetic, there are clearly some known genes that pre-dispose to Parkinson’s.

Environmental toxins

  • environmental toxins cause Parkinson'sCarbon disulfide, and organophosphate pesticides
  • Manganese – an essential mineral that becomes toxic in large amounts
  • Heavy metals such as lead and mercury damage neurons
  • Carbon monoxide prevents oxygen from getting to the brain
  • Medications such as antipsychotics used to treat schizophrenia, paranoia, sleep disorders, and depression
  • Parkinson’s medications including L-dopa cause oxidation and damage the Substantia Nigra in the brain, causing progression of the disease
  • MPTP, a heroin contaminant that may be found in street drugs

Atherosclerosis and stroke

If a stroke causes damage to the areas of the brain that co-ordinate activity, then symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may result.

Inflammation

Some of the toxins produce oxidative stress, but other sources of inflammation may also produce Parkinson’s symptomsGeneral metabolism, or the normal production of energy in the nerve cells, produces oxygen free-radicals so a lack of anti-oxidants may lead to brain cell damage.

Deficiencies

Vitamins and minerals protect the brain from harm by blocking free-radical production, and allowing normal energy flow.  When there isn’t enough, there may be either damage directly to neurons, or indirectly by allowing toxins to cause more damage.

Because there are so many different causes of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and the treatment is substantially different for each, it is imperative to know the cause before seeking treatment.

“How can I treat it?”

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Natural Treatments for Eye Problems

Pat had no health problems until she started having trouble reading at night.  She went to her eye doctor who told her she had “retinopathy,” a condition associated with diabetes.  Tests showed that she did indeed have diabetes type 2.  She was told she needed laser surgery on her retinas, but before they could do it, they would have to remove her cataracts.  She had each cataract removed separately, then the laser surgery, but her eyesight still didn’t improve.

We worked with her for many months getting her weight down, keeping her sugar under control and giving her lots of anti-oxidant foods and supplements.  The only fruit she ate was berries.  She had to give up all her favorite foods because she had a sweet-tooth and loved breads and cereals.  She ate lots (6 cups per day) of vegetables of all colors – she said she thought she would turn into a rabbit!  However, she gradually increased her vision to near-normal and was able to read again at night.

It’s not uncommon for people to find the complications of diabetes before they even know they have it.  This is because a person can go for many years without the typical symptoms of high blood sugar: thirsty all the time, having to urinate frequently, getting up at night several times with a full bladder and so forth.  Eye problems are very common with diabetics.  Since diabetes is associated with both cataracts and retinopathy, or damage to the retina of the eye, it illustrates well both prevention and natural treatment of these eye disorders.

Cataracts

When I was in medical school, we were taught to wait until something got really bad before treating it.  For example, if a test was done that showed a 50% blockage of an artery in the heart, we were then to tell the patient to wait until it got to 80% and then treat it.

The same was true of cataracts in the eyes.  If the clouding of the lens was minimal, we were supposed to wait until it limited their vision before we were to have the patient treated.  One eye doctor I worked with told me, “The worse the cataract, the better. That way, they don’t mind the problems of the implanted lens.”

Orthodox medicine doesn’t keep up with science – it takes thirty to fifty years for medical schools to begin teaching the current knowledge so most doctors have a whole career without ever-changing their practice.  For example, it took fifty years and thousands of sailors’ deaths before the British navy required lime juice on every ship to prevent scurvy.

Simulated Cataract Vision

Well, we no longer have to wait for near-blindness to have a surgery – nor do we have to live with artificial lenses.  There are several studies that show a pair of amino acids can stop – and even reverse cataracts.

Carnosine is a natural dipeptide (protein) that is found abundantly in muscles and brain.  It has three effects on the eyes:

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