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Turmeric vs Curcumin: What’s the difference?


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Turmeric is the rhizome of a herb used as a medicinal and culinary spice. Rhizome’s are a continuously growing horizontal underground stem. 

Use of turmeric back to nearly 4000 years in India. Sanskrit has at least 53 names for turmeric, including names that translate to words and phrases like “prosperous,” “one that wins over diseases,” and “generous.”

Turmeric and the isolated curcuminoids have been well researched. There have been in fact over 3000 research articles published on turmeric and curcumin in the last 25 years. 

Turmeric vs. Curcumin 

The most well-known and well studied phytochemical in turmeric is a curcuminoid called curcumin.

There are other major curcuminoids in turmeric which are demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin. 

In short, turmeric refers the the rhizome root itself with all the compounds within it, while curcumin refers to just the one isolated curcuinoid – curcumin.

Both turmeric and curcumin have important uses. Turmeric is poorly absorbed, however in being poorly absorbed it is able to be nourishing due to it’s impact on gut microbes (acts as food for helpful gut microbes).

However, if you are after the anti-inflammatory impact of curcumin and it’s research on reducing inflammatory pathways – you’ll want to use Curcumin alone. 

There are many different formulations of curcumin – for IBD – one of the few with efficacy that has good absorption is the meriva curcumin formulation. You can find one HERE. Please note that this is a link to our Fullscript so you’ll need to set up a free account to access this list, however you’ll get a discount applied as well as access to all future discounts that are ran.

Make sure to talk to your health care provider & IBD dietitian before implementing a supplement protocol. Keep in mind – herbal support is only as good as getting the appropriate quality and dose which is something that requires individualized guidance. If you’d like to become a patient, please schedule a call HERE