05 December 2016


Turmeric is the well-known culinary herb that in more recent times has been developing a formidable reputation due to its many well-researched therapeutic benefits.

But how much is enough? How much do we need to take to get the benefits and what about the various additives or adjuvants that claim to increase its potency and effectiveness? Are they for real? And if so, which of those is best?

This week, the answers. In the last post, How much turmeric?, we covered the theory – that curcumin is the main active ingredient of turmeric and that some adjuvants do have demonstrated positive benefits.

So now we convert the theory into powder and tablets, and share a great turmeric recipe for a concentrated, therapeutic spread and then reveal what I do myself, but first

Thought for the day

And now I’m going behind
this page, but not disappearing.
I’ll dive into clear air
like a swimmer in the sky,
and then get back to growing
till one day I’m so small
that the wind will take me away
and I won’t know my own name
and I won’t be there when I wake.

Then I will sing in the silence.

Pablo Neruda

I am not into caveats or waivers or cop-outs. I am of the view that it is best to speak the truth as you know it and leave others to make of it what they can. However, in this instance, it may well be useful to be clear re what I have written about turmeric. 

I have been looking into this turmeric question for some time and researched it a reasonable amount. But I have not done a PhD on it and do not claim to have done a full literature search. What I am presenting here is based on what I understand to be useful information and what I do with turmeric myself - I am taking it for a while myself.

Truth is, the best way to take turmeric therapeutically would be to consult a qualified health professional – a good herbalist would be the obvious choice – and to have them prescribe in response to your individual needs.

Yet I know many will take turmeric anyway, so what follows is offered as something of a guide. Also to be clear, I have no financial interests in any of the products mentioned. Will be interested to learn what you and others might be doing...

1. Turmeric contains 3% curcumin

2. Research studies indicate the therapeutic dose of curcumin is around 1 - 6gms/day. The lower levels seem to demonstrate effectiveness for “simpler things” like arthritis, the higher levels for conditions like cancer.

3. For the lower dose, 1gm of curcumin is equivalent to a bit over 42gms or around 10.5 teaspoons of turmeric powder. For the higher dose, 6gms of curcumin is equivalent to 250 gms or 62.5 teaspoons of turmeric powder.

4. Black pepper increases the efficacy of turmeric 20 fold.

5. The amount of black pepper required is about 5% by weight of the turmeric.

5. The adjuvant BioPerine increases the efficacy of turmeric by 30 fold, as well as increasing the uptake of several other supplements.

6. The adjuvant Longvida increases the efficacy of turmeric by 65 fold.

The first question is whether to take natural turmeric or a supplement?

Personally, I am a big fan of natural herbs as compared to extracts. If we take turmeric whole, we get the curcumin along with all sorts of lesser known, lesser studied compounds that actually may be quite important.

Problem is, to achieve therapeutic levels, the amount we need to take of the fresh herb or the powder on its own is impractical. Here is the problem :

1. Take turmeric on its own
Based on what we know, for the lower therapeutic dose, if we take turmeric on its own, we would
need to take around 10.5 teaspoons of the powder daily.

For the higher dose, it would be around 62.5 teaspoons.

Obviously this is not practical, but the good news is that adjuvants do work.

There are 3 worth considering.

2. Take turmeric with an adjuvant
a) Go natural - Turmeric and black pepper
Going on basic theory, fresh turmeric may be slightly better than the powder, but as yet there is no evidence on this.

To achieve the lower therapeutic levels, we would need half a teaspoon of turmeric and .025 teaspoon (which is about .1 gram) of black pepper. We could do this quite easily using the turmeric paste recipe below.

For the higher levels, we would need 62.5 teaspoons divided by 20, which is the equivalent of a bit over 3 teaspoons of turmeric powder plus .15 teaspoons of black pepper. This may not be so practical, and for these higher levels, another form of adjuvant/supplement probably makes better sense. Read on…

b) Take a supplement
If you do choose to take a supplement, there is a real need to read the labels and be clear on what you are getting.

For example, you can buy organic turmeric in capsules. One brand offers capsules containing 800 mgm turmeric on its own. Remember, the lower therapeutic dose is 42gms; so if we divide this by 800mgm, you would need the equivalent of 70 capsules per day. You could take these capsules with 5% pepper that you add yourself, and then only need to take 70 divided by 20, or 3.5 capsules per day.

This same brand offers another formulation with 607mgm turmeric, 3mgm black pepper and 50mgm ginger. Problem is you need 5% black pepper to be effective. Five percent of 607 is 30.35, so they have only one tenth of the black pepper needed.

Supplements worth considering
i) BioPerine 
This patented formulation has been researched in clinical trials to validate its safety and efficacy. It has been shown to increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 30 fold, and many other nutrients to a significant degree, including CoEnzyme Q10, Selenium, Vitamin C and Beta-carotene, along with resveratrol, numerous other water and fat soluble vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids.

BioPerine is used in many supplement formulations for this reason and while useful, it seems Longvida makes more sense.

BioPerine - best recommendation

Turmeric Curcumin Premium 1,000mgm capsules

Ingredients : Curcuma longa (root) extract with 95% Curcuminoids 1000mg and BioPerine (Piperine
Extract) 20mg

Recommended dose : For adults : take 2 capsules a day, 30 minutes before meals with an 8oz glass of water.

Cost : The regular list price for a single bottle is $48, however, discounts are available for multiple purchases.

ii) Longvida
Longvida claims to increase curcumin bioavailability by 65 times; making it the highest of the 3 we have examined.

Also, Longvida is the only form or formulation of turmeric or curcumin that has published research demonstrating its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and bind amyloid plaques. While others may do this, Longvida is the only one with published evidence.

Longvida - best recommendation


Ingredients : Longvida Optimized Curcumin Extract [from Curcuma longa (Turmeric) Root] (Rhizome) (min. 20% Curcuminoids)

What I understand of this is that Curcubrain contains 20% of 400mgm curcuminoids – which is 80mgm. The Longvida increases the efficacy by 65 fold making this the equivalent of 2.8gms of curcuminoids. Remember, the therapeutic dose for curcuminoids ranges from 1 to 6 gms daily.

Recommended dose : From the manufacturer : Take one capsule daily. This is the equivalent of 2,8gms of curcuminoids.

However, while that would satisfy the minimum therapeutic dose we have been speaking of, for the maximum dose, we would need to take 1 capsule, 2 or even 3 times daily.

50 capsules per bottle. Recommended retail $39.99. Seem elsewhere for $25.48, making it 50cents to a dollar a day.

Store in a cool, dry place after opening.
Caution: For adults only. Keep out of reach of children.
Consult physician if pregnant/nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition (including liver dysfunction, gall bladder or gastrointestinal problems).
Do not eat freshness packet. Keep in Bottle.

FINALLY - just eat it...

According to the WHO, in 2014 Australia had an Alzheimers/dementia death rate of 25.91 deaths per 100,000 people (age standardized). That was the 12th worst in the world. Finland was top at 53.77. India had only 0.46 per 100,000.

It may be that India’s high dietary use of turmeric has something to do with this. We do know that
quite a few herbs have therapeutic benefits when taken just in the common amounts for cooking. Some speculate that turmeric, maybe eaten along with some pepper, is helping the health of people in India generally, and in avoiding Alzheimers specifically.

So perhaps just eating more fresh or powdered turmeric along with a little black pepper is a good idea anyway.

Now for the turmeric paste recipe
To one full teaspoon of turmeric powder, add 6 – 8 freshly ground black pepper corns and 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika.

Mix with enough Olive oil or Flaxseed oil to make a fluid paste.

Place in a pan and GENTLY warm while swirling over heat. Do not place on direct heat and do not overheat – just make warm.

Finely grate 2 large garlic cloves and leave them to sit for 10 – 15 minutes.

Once the paste is cool, mix in the garlic.

Serve on toast or use your imagination…

What is BCM -15 and Meriva?
Just in case you were wondering, they are other supplements – details CLICK HERE

I am interested in the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and the possibility that Curcubrain can remove brain plaques related to Alzheimers – if they happen to be there.

Currently I am taking 1x Curcubrain daily, and balancing this with a piece of toast with the paste on it every second day or so. And we use fresh turmeric from time to time in cooking; sometimes the powder too.

Turmeric is a tropical plant. Have tried to grow it in our garden, and in pots, but in the Yarra Valley, get some leaves, but B-all new rhizomes. Anyone got some tricks???

Please feel free to add your comments below.


How much Turmeric - Part 1


Meditation in the Forest
The annual Pre-Easter retreat amidst the natural peace and tranquility of the Upper Yarra Valley.

Looking for meaning, clarity and purpose in life?

Need a break? Some time to stand back from the busyness of life, to re-assess, to regenerate, to regain some balance once more? A new clarity...

This year, as well as taking time out to deepen our experience of the stillness of meditation, we will practise together simple yet profound methods of contemplation - the direct path to a calm and clear mind that provides the real prospect of major insights...

Dates           4 pm Friday 7th April until 2 pm Thursday 13th April 2017.
Venue          The Yarra Valley Living Centre, 55 Rayner Court, Yarra Junction, Victoria, Australia 
Bookings     The Gawler Foundation: +61 (3) 5967 1730 

For more details and to book CLICK HERE


  1. Hi Ian
    Very interesting to read - I didn't realise the dosage requirements - thanks. I have a tip that may (or not) be relevant to this. I make a pulp of vegetables which is the same as a juice but with the fibre left in. A simple wizz in a blender. I include some olive oil (about 30g) in the mix and let it sit about 10 min before drinking. As an organic chemist, the theory goes like this - the molecules from the vegetables will mainly be in the water part (aqueous phase) of the pulp. Having olive oil present provides an organic phase (oil part) and a lot of the oil soluble molecules from the pulp will move into the oil graduall (hence 10 min wait). I have read and heard around the traps (no reference) that this increases the bioavailability of the oil-soluble molecules. One example I remember is the use of olive oil in bruschetta where the good oil-soluble parts of the tomatoe move into the olive oil making them more available for absorption by the body. I am basing what I do on theory only - (it makes sense from an organic chemistry view-point). I have no evidence for it, but I figure a bit of olive oil is not a bad thing eh? Cheers Michael

    1. Hello Ian, I have been looking at the 'fillers' in vitamin tablets. I only take Solgar
      Vit B12, D Max Vit D 3 (which was recommended when I attended the 10 day course at TGF) and just this week, CurcuBrain. The fillers mannitol, stearic acid (from palm oil), magnesium stearate, microctystalline (wood pulp), silica. From my investigations (not indepth): stearic acid can contribute to: heart disease,
      metastatics, increased breast cancer; magnesium stearate is in soaps, cosmetics; microstystalline - is wood pulp a dangerous additive?; silica - lung cancer. CurcuBrain contains: silica, stearic acid (vegetable), magnesium stearate (vegetable). CAN YOU HELP PLEASE? Trying to do my best but seem to be hitting the wall at times with the many 'fillers' which appear to be harmful.
      PS Merry Christmas to you and Ruth. Namaste

    2. Dear Dorothy, I am looking into this interesting question and will advise when I have an informed answer...

    3. Speaking only to the silica issue, it causes lung cancer when silica dust is inhaled. This isn't so much of a problem when ingested.

  2. Thanks for your advice on tumeric and other herbal supplements.

  3. Hi Ian, sounds good, I do find it hard to have a significant quantity in my diet! By the way, is Product B still part of your regime? I still take some daily but wondering if the above is a good substitute? Penny

  4. Product B is touted as being able to support telomere function and as such does a different job to turmeric, and yes I would recommend both in the right circumstances.