What is the Difference: Curcumin vs Turmeric?

Cindy Wilson Thumbby Cindy Wilson
BS, Dietetics and Nutrition

​I will give you a detailed description of Curcumin vs. Turmeric to better understand the difference between them.

Turmeric is known as a Super Food because of its million-dollar health benefits. It is heavily produced and consumed in Asia, especially India.​

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What is Curcumin?

Turmeric SpiceCurcumin is a component present in Turmeric. It is essentially a Curcuminoid. Three types of Curcuminoids are present in Turmeric.

  1. Curcuminoids are natural phenols present in Turmeric. Turmeric has a yellow color because of these Curcuminoids. The three Curcuminoids present in Turmeric are Curcumin Demethoxycurcumin, Dihydrocurcumin, and 5’- Methoxycurcumin.
  2. Curcumin Demethoxycurcumin, also known as Curcumin, is the phenol with the maximum health benefits out of the three.
  3. Phenols like Curcumin are seldom produced naturally by plants. These are responsible for protection against bacteria. Plants produce these phenols in response to environmental stress. This anti-bacterial property of curcumin makes them beneficial for health. Curcumin demonstrates anti-oxidant properties having the ability to fight bacteria, viruses, and fungus.

Curcumin is isolated from Turmeric and sold as a health supplement. It is the most bioactive component of Turmeric.

Curcumin shows poor solubility in water and fat. It is advisable to combine curcumin with pepper to increase its bioavailability.

What is Turmeric?

TurmericTurmeric is the underground stem of the plant Curcuma Longa. It is known as a root but is a rhizome. Turmeric and Ginger belong to the same family.

People use Turmeric as a medicine and also as a taste enhancer in their food.

Southeast Asians use Turmeric extensively. History pages indicate that the usage of turmeric began some 4000 years.

Turmeric is used as an Ayurvedic and traditional medicine against skin problems as well. The yellow herb is also a principal spice in the curries made by traditional Indians and Chinese.

Like I have mentioned above, Curcumin is the major component of Turmeric. But, turmeric also has other phytonutrients. It consists of Vitamins and Minerals.

All the components of Turmeric synergistically make it beneficial for good health. It exhibits antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antioxidant properties.

Now you know the fundamental difference between Curcumin and Turmeric. Let me take you through the essential health benefits of these two.

Curcumin Turmeric Health Benefits

Health Benefits of Curcumin

Curcumin is an isolated compound from Turmeric. It is available as a health supplement tablet or capsule and as a powder.

If you buy turmeric in powder form, you can use it in your food preparations regularly. If you want to take it as a medicine for a health issue, go for the tablets or capsules.

Curcumin is found to be super effective against cancer. Some people use it as a natural therapy for cancer. However, please consult an oncologist before taking any step.

Curcumin breaks the cell cycle of tumor cells and inhibits cell growth in cancer. It also acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.

The free radicals in the body hamper DNA transcription. Curcumin destroys the free radicals and protects the body from bacterial and viral infections.

It is also found to be effective against the inflammatory disease known as Arthritis. It decreases the swelling and joint pain significantly.

Other benefits of Curcumin are listed below:

  • To treat Dyspepsia or upset stomach
  • To regulate blood glucose level
  • To treat lousy cholesterol or LDL in the blood
  • Increases insulin sensitivity
  • Treating the pain and soreness related to arthritis
  • Promoting neurological health and function
  • It helps in losing weight

Health Benefits of Turmeric

7 Health Benefits Of Turmeric

Turmeric has uncountable health benefits. I try to include turmeric in my daily diet. You can use Turmeric in different ways. It is available in the form of roots, dried powder, and capsules.

Turmeric is super beneficial for Arthritis pain treatment. It has an anti-inflammatory property. It is helpful for you, especially if you are suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis or Osteoporosis.

Turmeric is found to be efficient in treating skin problems. You can use Turmeric for Acne, dull skin, dark circles, and more.

Additional to the above benefits, turmeric also helps in lowering cholesterol. It reduces the level of LDL from the blood. Other health benefits of Turmeric are listed below:

  • Prevents Cardiovascular diseases
  • Neurological disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Indigestion and abdominal pain
  • Liver and Gallbladder dysfunctions
  • Prevents cold and flu
  • Treats depression
  • Helps recover from Alzheimer’s disease
  • Treats infections and wounds
  • Weight loss

For more details, you can also read 15 Health Benefits of Turmeric. 

If you are specifically looking for weight loss benefits from Turmeric and Curcumin, I will compare the two below:

Curcumin vs. Turmeric for Weight Loss

Turmeric root contains 2-5% of Curcumin. Both Turmeric and Curcumin are effective for weight loss.

Turmeric causes weight loss majorly because of the component Curcumin. Curcumin extract will have more effect on the body as it will be more bioavailable.

Scientists have studied and researched the effect of Turmeric and Curcumin on weight loss. Both of these things follow the same process for weight loss.

They are found to inhibit fat deposition in the adipose tissue. They also burn the fat cells by facilitating the release of an enzyme.

Turmeric and Curcumin are also associated with lowering LDL. LDL is a low-density lipid. It is responsible for the formation of bad cholesterol.

Lousy cholesterol forms due to the oxidation of LDL. So Turmeric and Curcumin help in lowering the LDL level in the blood. LDL is one reason for obesity in people.

They regulate insulin sensitivity in the blood. Turmeric and Curcumin lower down the sugar level in the blood and help to prevent diabetes. Raised blood sugar level causes weight gain along with diabetes.

Nevertheless, researchers conclude that Curcumin is more effective in lowering the LDL in blood than Turmeric. Curcumin supplements show positive results in treating obesity.

Many people choose to follow the Turmeric diet for weight loss. I also prefer the Turmeric diet, not Curcumin. But, you can give it a try as Curcumin is cheaper than Turmeric supplements.

The dosage of Turmeric and Curcumin differ a lot. Curcumin is less soluble than Turmeric. Are you thinking you require less Curcumin for weight loss than Turmeric?

You are correct in a way. The recommended dose for Turmeric to lose weight is 1 to 3 grams. Whereas for Curcumin, the recommended dose is 80 to 400 mg.

But, it would help if you combined black pepper with Curcumin to increase its solubility. If you do not increase the solubility of Curcumin, even 8 to 12 grams is also not enough to lose weight.

For weight loss, specifically for obesity, try to include curcumin powder with black pepper in your weight loss plan. You can make a habit of adding curcumin powder along with black pepper in your stir-fries and soups daily.

Before you go ahead and order Curcumin supplements or powder, go through the side effects of Turmeric and Curcumin. It will help you decide better and be cautious.

Side Effects of Curcumin

Your body can tolerate Curcumin well. Some of you might suffer from minor or significant drug reactions. Some of the adverse or side effects of Curcumin that you may notice are listed below:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset Stomach
  • Gastritis

If you are suffering from a severe medical condition, consult your doctor before having Curcumin.

People with heart disease, diabetes type 2, or any other disease should always consult their physician before trying Curcumin.

Side Effects of Turmeric

Turmeric is safe for your body. Many people take about 1 -2 grams of Turmeric powder daily in their diet. It is harmless until you have an allergy to it.

If your body is allergic to Turmeric, you will notice the below things:

  • Heart Burn
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Topical application causing skin irritation

It is always good to start with minimal doses of Turmeric or Curcumin. You never know what reacts with your body adversely.[/thrive_text_block]

I hope this article interests you and helps you maintain a healthy and better lifestyle. If you like my writing, do not forget to share it with your friends.

You can share your thoughts or queries in the comments below. I will be happy to respond.


About Author

Cindy Wilson Thumb
BS, Nutrition & Food Science | Connect with on LinkedIn
Cindy Wilson

Hello, I am Cindy, and this a website where I inspect everything related to nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. I have a BS in Dietetics and Nutrition (Kansas State University) and have completed a dozen specialty courses related to nutrition, biochemistry, and food science. I am open to learning more, but foremost I would like to share all my knowledge with you.

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