Curcumin: Not all brands are created equal!

turmeric, root and powder

What is Curcumin? Curcumin is the yellow pigment in the spice turmuric. It’s derived from the root of the plant Curcuma longa, the root of which looks like this: Aside from it’s orange color, it looks almost exactly like another spice you are more familiar with; indeed it is from the plant family Zingiberacea: the Ginger family.

Why we love curcumin
It belongs to a family of molecules called polyphenols, which happen to confer some special health benefits. Polyphenols increase the activity of our bodies’ natural detoxification system (specifically something called Phase II detoxification), and decrease inflammation in the body. The reason I first became interested in curcumin is because it seems to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, which Western Medicine has no useful treatment for (and which my grandfather died from). Take a look at the picture below. On the left is a slice of rat brain with the amyloid plaques from Alzheimer’s disease visible as orange dots. On the right is the brain from a rat treated with curcumin:

As you can see, the amyloid plaques are greatly diminished in the rat treated with curcumin. This is what is so exciting about it’s potential in preventing or even treating Alzheimer’s. Below is another slide, with a view of those same plaques (stained red) along the blood vessels of the brain. Again, as you can see, in the slide on the right, they are greatly diminished after treatment:

And curcumin is a promising treatment for more than just Alzheimer’s. Curcumin fights inflammation, and inflammation is central to many disease processes, cancer among them. In fact, curcumin is able to impact every stage of cancer: the first aberrant cell that starts to multiply out of control, the growing tumor trying to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels to feed itself, and the mass that invades adjacent tissue and metastasizes. Curcumin can impact all of these areas because they are all affected by a transcription factor (something in the cell that binds to DNA) called Nuclear Factor kappa B (or NFkB for short). The picture below shows the various signaling molecules that NFkB impacts which cause the growth and ultimately the metastasis of a tumor:

Curcumin inhibits NFkB, and is thus able to greatly impact cancer progression. Take a look at this CAT scan from a patient with liver cancer who had already failed chemotherapy:


Dillon N, Aggarwal BB, Kurzrock R. Phase II Trial of Curcumin in Patients With Advanced Pancreatic Cancer Clin Cancer Res 2008; 14(14) July 15, 2008

Notice in the slide on the left, the lower left corner has a large round tumor in the liver, which is essentially gone in the slide on the right. That is an amazing result—so why aren’t all cancer patients taking curcumin?? The problem with curcumin is that it’s very poorly absorbed. The patient whose CAT scan you see above had to take 8 grams (not milligrams) a day, which is a massive amount. Most people cannot tolerate that. In fact, the researchers who did the cancer study above are currently working on a formulation for intravenous use. For purposes of daily prevention, though, we need something you can take by mouth. All ‘standard’ curcumin supplements — even by reputable manufacturers– are so poorly absorbed that they aren’t worth taking at all. In a 2004 paper, Garcea et al gave 3.6 grams per day to patients with liver cancer, and concluded:

“The results suggest that doses of curcumin required to furnish levels [in the liver] sufficient to exert pharmacological activity are probably not feasible in humans.”1

The reason is, curcumin’s structure is such that it doesn’t cross the intestinal wall intact… it gets broken down into metabolites first. And yet, it has been noted that in India, curcumin is eaten in greater quantities than in any other population—sometimes more than two grams a day—and people in India have almost negligible rates of Alzheimer’s disease! Is curcumin the reason? And if so, how is it that they are able to absorb it?

One theory is that the way that Indians prepare curcumin– heating with butter or oil– creates “liposomes” of a sort: little capsules of fat that carry the curcumin, which are then able to get across the intestinal wall. There have therefore been a number of attempts to emulate this mechanism (via barber). A few have had some success. In my opinion, Longvida (sold by Verdure Sciences) is the best choice for Alzheimer’s prevention (in addition to all of curcumin’s other benefits), and that is the brand that we are used in the PhysioAge NeuroPack.

Trying to understand whether a particular brand of supplement provides blood levels that are clinically relevant is where things become interesting for me (and generally indecipherable for the typical consumer). Remarkably, in a few instances this process reveals that out of dozens of companies selling a supplement, only one brand may be worth using! In the case of curcumin, at present only one or two have shown evidence of clinical relevance. (Lipoic Acid is another example of a supplement that has many vendors but only one that I am willing to use at present.) Those who would like to know the (somewhat painstaking) details about how we separate hype from reality and decide which brand of a supplement should be used, click on the following questions:



To be clear: Evolved Science has no stake in Longvida or any other supplement company, and neither do I. If Meriva or Curcumall comes out with data showing their superiority, we will happily switch brands for our Supplement Packs. This is precisely why I don’t want to be tied to any one company: we are free to mix and match brands to get the best possible end product!




  • Mike says:

    I’m particularly interest in the anti-cancer/cell growth effects of circumin/turmeric. Would you still suggest the Longvida brand if these effects were the primary reason for taking the supplement?

    • Josh Trutt says:

      I would. You can see a further update on curcumin and Longvida in this post:
      No matter what reason you use it for, I think Longvida has the best proof of absorption, and Meriva is probably second-best. I have seen some human studies using Meriva for ophthalmologic disorders with apparent benefit, which speaks well for its absorption. Ultimately the three “players” in this arena are Longvida, Meriva and BCM-95, but I haven’t seen any human trials on BCM-95 and the absorption studies are less convincing, so I would use the other two for now.

  • The calculations for BCM-95 presented here are incorrect. In the Antony paper, he uses a non-standard dry weight calculation, whereas the other calculations were based on accepted measures of plasma. The Antony result of 300 ng/g dry
    weight converts to a plasma value of no more than 40 ng/ml.

    We have had much better results in potentiating mutant CFTR (cystic fibrosis) with BCM-95 than Longvida.

    • Josh Trutt says:

      I certainly agree that Antony’s numbers look too good to be true– but if you are saying that my calculations are incorrect, please explain. All I can do is use the values they provide in their paper.
      With regard to Cftr potentiation, I assume you mean in rats?
      I try to stick to some very basic principles when it comes to supplements; first and foremost is, use human studies.
      I don’t get paid by Longvida, so I’m happy to use BCM-95 if it works better, but given that we use it in our NeuroPack for the purpose of preventing Alzheimer’s, Longvida is clearly the better choice, since it not only is absorbed, but we have proof that it crosses the blood brain barrier. To see that proof, you can view the webinar I gave which contains an update on Longvida:

      The first 25mins is about multivitamins. Minutes 26-40 are about Longvida, and from minute 41 onward I talk about Vitamin D: what your blood level should be, and why.
      But again, if you can show me a published study showing better absorption or better human outcomes with BCM-95, I am happy to switch. Both Longvida and Meriva at least have human trials; I haven’t seen any on BCM-95. Do you know of any?

  • Ok, i could have finished my point without mentioning that we had better experience with BCM-95. I think they are both good formulations, and I agree that the sooner we get more bioavailable preparations the better.
    Here’s where you went wrong:
    BCM95 1400ng/g= 1.4ug/g= 1.4ug/2mL = 700ug/L= 1.9 uM/L)
    You can’t go from 1.4ug/g = 1.4ug/2mL. You’re converting from dry weight to plasma weight here. It’s more like 1.4ug/g gives you a bit less than 0.2ug/ml, which is roughly in the same ball park as 4g of longvida.

  • The think the confusion arises from the following: plasma, which is 90 percent water, makes up 55 percent of blood volume. Hence our different calculations.

    • Josh Trutt says:

      Well, here is their paper:

      From the Materials and Methods section, where they explain how they prepared each sample:

      Extraction and quantitation of curcumin from plasma:
      “The blood (5 ml) was centrifuged at 2000×g for 10 min and the plasma was carefully drawn and collected in weighed tubes and the weights of plasma was recorded and were frozen till analyzed. Each sample of plasma (2.5 g) was allowed to attain room temperature …”

      So, they stated that (after taking 2000mg of BCM-95) they drew blood samples, spun it down and they got 2.5g plasma from 5mL blood, which they then analyzed via HPLC for ng curcumin/gm plasma. If they got 2.5g plasma from 5mL, then 1g plasma is from 2mL blood. That’s where I got that conversion… So, I don’t think that’s an error?

  • My understanding was that the ng/g weights were measured after taking out the liquid weight from the plasma. It’s the only explanation that made sense to me when I read it. Otherwise their numbers are way off, like you said.

  • KP Lim says:

    How about Theracurmin compared with Longvida? It has better absorption by breaking curcumin into micro particles and than mixed with natural emulsifiers to suspend it in a highly bioavailable mixture before being dried. Seems is also popular now and iherb is selling.

    • Josh Trutt says:

      You’re the second person this week to ask me about Theracurmin– so I just posted something on it, which you can read here. Hope that helps!

  • Kp says:

    Thanks for the comparison!
    Does it mean that theracurmin is able to cross the blood brain barrier as well?

    • Josh Trutt says:

      Good question… what if the phospholipids in Longvida are the trick that allows it to cross the BBB? I haven’t seen any proof yet that Theracurmin crosses the BBB. Doesn’t mean it can’t cross… just means I haven’t seen proof yet.

  • Alex says:

    Why do you not recommend sabinsa curcumin? After all, the study showing before/after picture with the liver tumor was not using longvida curcumin, but sabinsa.

    Actually I found this part of your article misleading, since you do mainly praise longvida, and show this picture in its context.

    And longvida’s main problem is that it loses effectiveness in relation to dosage at dosages higher 2000mg.

    So in my opinion sabinsa seems to be better for the body since higher dosages are more effective, while longvida does cross the bbb and therefore is the option for brain related problems.(sabinsa does not cross the bbb).

    Also sabinsa curcumins bioavailability is often enhanced with bioperine which should increase it’s effectiveness so lower dosages could provide the same result as the 8g without piperine in the study.

    • Josh Trutt says:

      The dose in the cancer study at MD Anderson did use Sabinsa– but it used 8 GRAMS of sabinsa curcumin per day. They were able to achieve a level of about 32ng/mL with that dose, in some of the patients but not all. Taking 16 capsules a day is not practical for most people.

  • Alex says:

    So what you are saying is, since 32ng/mL can be archived with 2g longvida too, it should have the same effects but be less a hassle with only 4 capsules a day? I see.

    There are now 1g sabinsa capsules on the market, meaning “only” 8/day would be needed. But there is another important factor: price. longvida is about twice as expensive compared to sabinsa. So I would say if one’s primary target tissue is not the brain, sabinsa would be more economical, an important factor for people that need to count every dollar.

    IF… they can acutally reach high blood levels with sabinsa, which seems to be highly individual.

    Ok, now I see your point. Is reaching blood levels around 32 ng/mL with longvida more reliable?

  • summer light says:

    Just started hunting around for info about liposomal curcumin when I came onto this blog/ discussion. That said- just speaking from my own experience I have been taking 8 gms of the sabinsa curcumin for several years ( I don’t sell it etc- learned about that brand from Margaret’s Corner back a ways) and researched as much as possible before choosing this curcumin. I use the Doctor’s Best (not involved with that company- don’t sell it etc). I started out taking it to prevent a reoccurrance of cancer (2008) which so far has been successful. I take 8 gms using the 1 gm size caplet. Now meanwhile to add to my story- for years I had undiagnosed Lyme and among other things gone awry, my cognition was greatly impacted as I had brain involvement (proven via a lumbar puncture.) Years of antibiotics (oral) helped me get back to near normal but I still had some cognitive deficits. (presently been off antibiotics for about 8 years). About 2 years into taking the curcumin I was starting to get unsolicited comments from maybe a handful of my more perceptive/ observant close circle of friends/ family all saying with great enthusiasm that my brain seemed to be working much better and they explained their observations. I felt I had improved – cognitively but to get these unsolicited comments was quite validating. When I take my curcumin I ALWAYS take a shot of organic olive oil with it to make it more bioavailable. Today liposomal curcumin triggered my interest and I started to research. Now I am trying to find out if maybe the olive oil is maybe giving the sabsina curcumin a liposomal effect but I am only beginning to research this and I could be way off base. If you know anything about this I sure would like your input. Meanwhile- I only know so far that this curcumin that even MD Anderson uses for research seems like it is good quality and that it has the piperine in it to increase the bioavail. and that I know that olive oil makes it more bioavailable. I rarely write comments on websites/ blogs and I do not have the scientific brain that your discussion seems to reflect – but I was prompted to tell my own story because I saw Alzheimer’s mentioned in the above blog etc. It is an anecdotal story and I can’t prove it but I do think what I am using has helped my brain- an inadvertent “side effect” to the original reason for me using it.

    • Josh Trutt says:

      Hi Summer,
      I’m glad you’re getting good results! Perhaps they are from the curcumin, although if it took two years, it’s hard to say.
      (In case there was any doubt, I don’t get any payment from any brand of curcumin.)

      There is a new Longvida study coming out on cognitive function using just one capsule/day that showed significant improvement in some measures of cognitive function after just 30 days, but that using a computer test and measuring small (but statistically significant) changes– much different from having other people give unsolicited comments that you seem sharper.

      I definitely think the olive oil is a good idea; that has been used in a variety of studies with other supplements and there is reason to believe it helps. I would, however, caution against thinking that MD Anderson sanctions Sabinsa. It doesn’t. It was used by a particular researcher at MD Anderson back when none of these other brands even existed. Nevertheless, they did get good results using 8g/day, so there is at least one well-designed human study that says that what you are doing makes sense!

  • summer light says:

    oops. Just to clarify. I use Doctor’s Best C3 patented formula which they purchase from sabinsa and sell to the public.

  • Frank L says:

    Hi Dr. Tutt,
    Stumbled on your site while researching curcumin and am very happy to see an MD with a keen interest in supplementation.
    I was wondering if you are aware of or have tried any experimentation with home liposomal preparations beyond just tossing it back with a shot of olive oil. For example those who make their own c60 olive oil solutions use magnetic stirrers to properly dissolve the fullerene (it takes several days). I wonder if a similar approach would yield anything with curcumin or whether it dissolves as much as it’s going to right away.
    Keep up the good work!

  • summer light says:

    Thanks Dr. Trutt,
    Thank you for you thoughtful reply.

    I look back and believe that the improvements I had were slowly taking place over the two year period. It was just that the comments came around the two year mark….but I could tell that I was improving.

    I was a REAL cognitive mess from that Lyme which went undiagnosed for a long time. It took many years to get on the antibiotics from onset of Lyme. I sometimes wonder if some diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have Lyme for I surely could have been diagnosed with that for the way my thinking was so impaired. I was so impaired. And as I said in my previous description the antibiotics helped but it was after the treatment stopped and I got that cancer- and got on the Curcumin was when the remainder of my impairment was met with a good deal of improvement.

    I agree with you that MD Anderson doesn’t sanction Sabinsa. I am familiar with the researcher’s work- the one who used that particular curcumin. And it was before all of the other companies came out with curcumin.

    Since I received those comments I’ve added fish oil to my regimen and raised my D level – my bloodwork shows a decent number and I think these supplements will at least help prevent the cancer from returning. I eat lots of anti-angiogenic foods that I learned about from the Angiogenesis Foundation- run by Dr. Li. I have also researched elsewhere on the Web.

    And just to add I think it is a good idea to use a good quality, unadulterated olive oil with a high polyphenol count. I use Organic olive oil that has been tested by several methods. I believe there are many benefits to using a good high polyphoOlive oil from all that I have researched.

    I am looking forward to looking over your entire website more thoroughly. I just happened to come across this particular blog piece and “conversation”.

    Thank you again for your reply.


  • JAH says:

    Hi Dr. Trutt,

    I have inflammatory arthritis and I currently take Enbrel once a week and my Rhuemetologist just put me back on Methotrexate which to me is like rat poison. I am searching for alternatives for my inflammation and I stumbled on your website. It seems that in my research BCM-95 is most recommended for inflammatory arthritis, specifically the Arjuna Natural Extracts brand from India, which I cannot seem to find on the internet to buy. Would the Longvida work also?

    Thanks for all of the wonderful info!

    • Josh Trutt says:

      Arjuna sells BCM-95 thru retailers in the U.S.A.; Life Extension Foundation sells it as “super bio-curcumin” or something like that (LEF loves to prefix everything with “super”), and you can also search CurcuGel Ultra on Amazon; that is BCM-95 as well in a slightly higher dose.
      I think Meriva also has at least one human study on knee arthritis with subjective (i.e. self-reported) improvements. Presumably if those work, Longvida should work too. It certainly does have some improvement in markers of inflammation, but these are likely to be subtle changes compared to sledgehammers like Enbrel.
      Other things you might consider are Low-Dose Naltrexone which has some success in Crohn’s (another auto-inflammatory illness), and this product,

      which is quite expensive but does remarkable things to improve your body’s ability to detoxify itself. They’ve had success in very severe cases of psoriasis, and it would not be crazy to think it would work for inflammatory arthritis too.

  • Sean says:

    What kind of dosage would you be taking if you were in your 30’s and were looking at it as an anti-aging/longevity type of supplement? Obviously here, the fine line is taking enough to be effective, while being able to take it continuously and not go broke.

    • Josh Trutt says:

      Hi Sean,
      1 capsule per day of Longvida has been shown to have effect in changing antioxidant status and in a new human study on cognitive function. That’s what I would use for general “prevention.”

  • Cindy R says:

    Dr Trutt,
    I would appreciate your opinion on which curcumin product you think might be better for my condition.  I have retinitis pigmentosa and cystoid macular adema caused by RP.  I am not a doctor, a scientist of any kind, nor do I understand most of the terminology used when it comes to the different types of curcumin, the different processes used for each one, or how each one is absorbed.  I have read enough about retinitis pigmentosa and possible treatments in the last month to last me a lifetime.  Quite honestly I am currently at a point where the more I read the more confused and frustrated I become.

    In a message to Mike on September 7, 2013 you briefly mentioned that some human studies have been done using Meriva for ophthalmologic disorders. Do you think Longvida curcumin would have the same if not better results than the Meriva?  I want to begin a curcumin regimen very soon but of course want to be sure to take the one that will be more beneficial for my particular condition.  You do prefer Longvida overall and I obviously respect your opinion or I wouldn’t be writing to you now.  Would you advise me on which brand you recommend for my condition?    I would appreciate your opinion very much.

    Thank you for having this forum where we can communicate openly.

    • Josh Trutt says:

      Hi Cindy,

      I can say that I know for sure that Longvida makes it into the retina because we have photos of it doing so. However, I have also seen studies on Meriva for eye disorders, as you mentioned. Beyond that, I can’t pretend to know enough to answer your question definitively. In short, I think based on what little info we have, probably either would be fine.
      Of late I have been getting more “heated” comments about whether this or that brand is the right one for this or that disorder… I guess I should say for the record that we are wayyyyy out on the fringes of evidence-based medicine for all of this: we are talking about the differences between TINY studies which are not easily comparable to one another (i.e. they look at different parameters). The only reason the conversation is worth having at all, is that we are generally talking about diseases that have no good “conventional medicine” treatment available. So, any small benefit we can find may be worth pursuing. Just as long as people understand that if tomorrow someone shows me a more convincing study, I might turn around and say “hey I changed my mind, now Brand X looks better” instead of Brand Y. I think the folks promoting Theracurmin may be planning to send me a little more info, and if that turns out to be a winner, I will be happy to say so. I’m not a biochemist, I’m just reading what I see, and doing the best I can with it. I wish you luck!

  • B. Rabin says:

    Dr. Trutt, you mention that there is only one brand of Alpha-lipoic acid which you consider. Which brand is that (and why)?

    • Josh Trutt says:

      Geronova Research, which is a company focused almost exclusively on Lipoic Acid. Their product is re-sold by as “Super R-Lipoic Acid 300mg”
      The reason why is that their human absorption studies show clear benefit over every other brand. You can see that here:

  • Thanks for the great writeup on the different curcumin brands/technology. This is my go-to page when people ask about which curcumin to use.
    I saw this the other days which is a promising new approach using nanoparticles

  • mike says:

    what do you think of life extensions “super ” bio curcumin and yarrows bcm-95 for cancer treatment?

  • Dave says:

    Dr. Trutt,

    My mother has been diagnosed with stage 3 pancreatic cancer. The oncologist has OKed liposomal circumin (per my inquiry); and I am currently trying to determine exactly what to get.

    A paper at recommends a daily 20 mg/kg dose, three days per week, as being most effective against tumor growth. The liposomal curcumin that I find available for sale is typically in 8 oz. bottles (236 ml). My mother is about 61 kg, so the aforementioned dose appears to me to be nearly five 8 oz. bottles. Hardly practical.

    Could you tell me if I am calculating correctly? Also, is the Longvida product comparable to the liquid forms?

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

    • Josh Trutt says:


      Sorry I didn’t get to this earlier. A month is a long time when you are fighting pancreatic cancer. I don’t have enough hours in the day, and I haven’t reviewed comments in a while. So, I’m sorry.

      The study you linked used mice. It’s a little complicated translating mice weight to humans… partly because I don’t know how to wrote subscripts or superscripts in this blog so I can’t show you the formulas very well.
      But here goes… one fairly accepted method is 3/4 power scaling:

      If we are comparing a 25g lab mouse with a 70kg human: 25g= 0.025 kg, Dose for .025=Dose for 70*(0.025/70)to the 3/4 power, so Dose for .025kg mouse = Dose for 70kg human x (0.0026). So for a mouse dose of 20mg/kg: D.025= .025kg x 20mg/kg = 0.5mg; 0.5mg/0.0026= 192mg for a 70kg human… whereas if you just translated 20mg/kg you’d get a dose of 1400mg!

      However, that study you linked gave it by tail vein injection… that’s an IV dose! Your doc is allowing her to get IV curcumin? Someone else on this blog did point out to me someone in Germany who actually offers that to his patients…

  • Michael says:

    Regarding the Longvida dosing and the study cited:

    If accumulation of free curcumin into the brain (I have likely relapses with an invasive, atypical meningioma – three, tiny new possible growths seen on latest MRI), how should I be reading this study with regard to the 2/3/4g doses?

    When you say “4g of Longvida orally only gives you 0.22uM/L, BARELY enough for clinical effectiveness,” is that with regard to maintaining a threshold in the blood for peripheral issues, or are you saying that level must be reached to pass any real quantity of free curcumin into the brain itself?

    My question really goes to whether dosing 2g of Longvida three times per day at, say, three-hour intervals would result in more rapid accumulation of free curcumin in the brain than a single dose of 2/3/4g, or whether there is some x-hour period during which something akin to saturation takes place, and whether more frequent if smaller dosing might be more valuable for brain accumulation than a single large dose.

    Apologies for resurrecting this thread, but I’ve been watching your site and curcumin discussions in general since my treatment started in 2012, and this is certainly one of the best resources out there. Thank you for any elaboration you can provide, and I understand if you cannot.

    • Josh Trutt says:

      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for your understanding email. I’ve been amazed at the amount of attention these couple of posts have gotten. I feel like the posts raise more questions than answers though. We still don’t have large controlled human studies that show any benefit from any of these products. We have very small studies. None of them knock your socks off. The only reason these things garner so much attention is that the two things they may be used for — cancer and Alzheimer’s– have no other satisfactory treatment available. People email all sorts of questions asking exactly what dose I think they should take for this illness or that illness. No such data exists.

      Your question, however, is to some degree answerable:
      I think large doses once per day are better than small doses spread out. The impression I get from the data is that you want to get past a threshold for absorption. Once it is absorbed, it crosses the BBB so that is not an issue. It seems to accumulate in fatty tissue (brain included), so the Longvida people feel that even though 4g would be needed to get to 0.22uM/L, you don’t need to get that high at each dose, because it builds up over time.
      I don’t think more than twice daily dosing would add anything.

      So, I’m guessing 2g twice a day would be plenty. Do I know this for sure? No.
      Can I swear that this is definitely better than every other brand? No.
      Is this what I would take if I were treating myself, based on my BEST GUESS with the data we have? Yes, it is.
      Could that change if some new info comes out next week? You bet.

      I wish you the best of luck in your journey, and I hope this is of some help.

  • Thank you for your article. I have 3 boys that have Hunter’s Syndrome, and as we do have treatment with Elaprase it doesn’t pass through the BBB. I’m all the time looking for something that will help with their neurological development. I just started them on the Longvida and they have been on genistein for some time. Hoping to see a huge improvement.
    I have been mixing it in with yogurt once a day. Would it be better to space it out a couple times a day and taken with saturated fat, coconut oil is what I’d be giving them? Or is one a day in yogurt just as effective. Thank you.


    • Josh Trutt says:

      If you are using Longvida, you don’t have to mix it with fat. The phospholipids in the formulation do the trick. It seems to build up over time, and it is better to take it once a day than spread out, to maximize absorption.

  • Charlie Blake says:

    Dr. Trutt,

    I wish to augment my supplements with Curcumin for the anti-inflammatory effect it is purported to have. However I am a gastric bypass patient (RNY) and understand that I do not absorb oil based vitamins well, if at all, so am wondering if I will receive any benefit to using curcumin since it sounds like it is best absorbed with oil (or a chemical “trick” of some sort).
    Please help. Am I wasting my money in my situation? Would it help to emulsify it in my Vitamix blender with olive or coconut oil? Will even absorbing a small amount be beneficial?

    I am looking for relief from the ache and stiffness in my hands.

    • Josh Trutt says:

      Hi Mr. Blake,

      I wish I knew enough to tell you the answer, but I don’t (regarding absorption of curcumin in roux-en-Y patients). However, I can suggest another product which I think may have impressive anti-inflammatory effect and is not oil-based. EnduraCell broccoli sprout powder has some impressive data behind it. I’ve seen patients with psoriasis take that as well as GliSODin (both of which ramp up internal detox enzymes) and have the psoriasis resolve. I’m starting to look into that myself; you may want to try that.

  • David Kern says:

    Tracked into the curcumin thread, after reading your response to the recent NY Times story on testosterone, with WorldLink Medical. Dr. Rozier’s name caught my eye after your post and your response to him. Studied with him over the past 7 years and noticed in your responses on curcumin a similar quality of communication. Congratulations on your patience, compassion and willingness to take time to respond, after what I’m sure are very full and busy days.

    David Kern, ND

  • Kate Ande says:

    I have a daughter (17 years old) who is having a hard time recovering from concussions (non-sports related, just unfortunate incidents).
    She obviously still has swelling on her brain a year later. She is being treated by top neurologists, as well as taking natural supplements to reduce inflammation. How much of a dose of the curcumin would you recommend?


    • Josh Trutt says:

      I would probably lean more toward vinpocetine (20mg twice a day) for that, as it improves cerebral circulation and metabolism.
      As much as people email all the time asking what dose of curcumin for this or that ailment, the reality is: no one knows. My best guess is that Longvida 2 capsules a day should be adequate since it seems to build up over time in brain tissue. But just to be clear, no one knows whether curcumin is of benefit for post-concussive syndrome.

  • Katie says:

    Dr. Tutt,
    My son has PANDAS. An autoimmune disease related to strep. He is on curcumin and many other supps for inflammation of the brain (PANDAS acts on the brain the way Rhuematic Fevers acts on the heart). When his brain swells his behavior worsens, as well as focus, tics, and fine motors skills. We have tried a brand of curcumin ($$) for about 18 months and what seems to be a huge amount ends up in his stool. I’d like to find something that he can absorb and will help him with inflammation consistently. Is Longvida a good option for this type of inflammation?


    • Josh Trutt says:

      Hi Katie,
      I can appreciate how much effort you as a parent must be investing to try to find help for your son. I get many, many emails asking about the “dose” of a given brand for particular diseases. In general, people are greatly misunderstanding how little data is available. All my posts are trying to say is that Longvida seems to absorb as well or better than other brands, and is known to cross the blood-brain-barrier (and bind to Alzheimer’s plaques). So, I can’t speak to whether it will help your son specifically, but it should absorb better than most brands rather than just being excreted. I wish you luck!

  • Tefferro says:

    Hi Dr. Trutt,
    I have read, with great interest, all of the info you have posted on Curcumin. There is, however a question that has me confused. The Curcumin + fat formula, that seems best suited to cross the BBB, makes sense for Alzheimer’s, but for other issues that deal with the digestive system (like the Colon)…….wouldn’t it be preferable to take “Plain” Curcumin tablets? I ask this b/c it seems the greater concentration of the Curcumin would reside in the Colon (where it is most needed).

    • Josh Trutt says:

      I agree with you, that is certainly logical, and may in fact be the case. Similarly, would Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis patients benefit more from a form that is less well absorbed and makes it all the way to the colon? I haven’t seen the specific studies to answer this.
      In general, many commenters ask detailed questions on what form to use for what purpose, and I think what gets lost in the shuffle is that in most cases, we simply don’t know. The studies have not been done.

  • Sam says:

    Dr. Trutt,

    I was diagnosed with a sacral chordoma in 2011. The tumor along with S2 and below were completely resected, negative margins were achieved. I also had pre and post operative proton/photon radiation therapy. The hospital where my procedure was done, MGH, boasts no recurrences using their protocol. My doctors were simply amazing, all brilliant but equally as humble.

    My question to you if you have a moment, what dosage curcumin do you suggest I take? I have access to highly discounted Longvida btw.Or do you suggest C3 over Longvida ? Or perhaps both Longvida and C3?

    I also take (Every other day) SGS (Sulforaphane Glucosinolate) infused Green Tea manufactured by Brassica Protection Products from Johns Hopkins. Do you have any opinion on the aforementioned? I’m wondering if Broccoli sprout powder (Enduracell) would be better?

    Thank you so much for your time.

    • Josh Trutt says:

      Hi Sam,
      First of all, congratulations on your great outcome!
      Sulforaphane glucosinolate is a marketing term used instead of “Glucoraphanin.” It’s NOT the same as sulforaphane. So, yes, I do think Enduracell would be better. I would also add GliSODin, which can be had cheaply from Vitacost.
      With regard to Curcumin, I would not take C3 because you’d have to take so much of it. I’d still take Longvida.

      • Marie says:

        I am confused by the info. on broccoli sprouts products.
        For example, Thorne states the following about their product, Crucera:
        “CRUCERA-SGS is sulforaphane glucosinolate (SGS)
        Sulforaphane glucosinolate is the precursor of sulforaphane…” I thought that Glucoraphanin is the precursor of Sulforaphane? Also, the enzyme myrosinase is needed to convert Glucoraphanin to sulforaphane, therefore, would’nt it be better to simply take a sulforaphane product, since some people lack the enzymes needed to make certain conversions? Lastly, I linked a study below which explains the generation of free radicals by Glucoraphanin. I take Crucera for its chemopreventive benefits, however, I am uncertain about how to select the best product based on the data. I hope you and others share your thoughts.

        Thanks, Marie

        • Josh Trutt says:

          “Sulforaphane glucosinolate” is a marketing term used in place of glucoraphanin, because they know that people want to see the word “sulforaphane.” Broccoli “extracts” do not contain myrosinase. You are right that extracts depend on your gut flora being able to provide the enzymatic conversion to sulforaphane. I recommend taking a broccoli whole sprouts product optimized to maintain myrosinase activity. The one I generally recommend is Enduracell by Cell Logic.

  • Gerry says:

    Hi Dr. Trutt,
    I have read, with great interest, all of the info you have posted on Curcumin.
    About the brand that you recommended is Longvida RD.
    However, when I saw in the Internet, there are many brands or laboratories that sell curcumin pills with the name of longvida RD.
    Longvida RD by Complementary Prescrptions.
    Longvida RD by VByotics
    Longvida RD by Phytosensia
    Longvida RD by Nutrivene
    Longvida RD by Vitamin Research Products. (this one, there are no longer sell in the web page of VRP).
    So, could you tell me which brand of Longvida RD is that you indicates in the article? or you recommend me?



    • Josh Trutt says:

      I’m not sure about the “RD” suffix, but indeed the company that makes it (Verdure Sciences) re-sells it under many brands. I am familiar with Nutrivene and with VRP but I’m sure there are others… Complementary Prescriptions is generally a reliable brand as well.

  • richard kessler says:

    I’m wondering if infusing longvida with any of the oils( olive coconut) would help to absorb curcumin in the system?

    • Josh Trutt says:

      I doubt it… the phosphatidylcholine in the product itself goes beyond what benefit you might get by mixing it with a fatty meal…

  • Julie says:

    I’ve been “shopping” for a curcumin supplement for my father who has cancer. After reading the info on your site I was going to go with the Longvida.

    However the sources I found all included either dextrin or maltodextrin as “other ingredients”. I am looking for something without any kind of sugar; mainly because of the cancer, which feeds on sugar, but also because he is diabetic. Do you know of any forms of Longvida that do not have any sugars? (Or other chemical additives, for that matter.)

    Also, I understand how lipids enable absorption (the ability to enter the bloodstream). Once in the bloodstream, can you explain what makes it bioavailable?

    I’ve also read that the more bioavailable it is, the shorter the half life. That said, is Longvida sustained-released?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Josh Trutt says:

      This one threw me… maltodextrin?? I went to my cabinet to look at the bottles in there; I have a couple of bottles of Nutrivene brand Longvida, and there is definitely no maltodextrin. So, I’m not sure where you are seeing that, but it is readily available without maltodextrin. With regard to your question about bioavailability: the definition of “bioavailability” is the fraction of an administered substance that reaches the systemic circulation– thus, any medication given intravenously is by definition 100% bioavailable. So, your question answers itself: it is the lipids enabling absorption that make it bioavailable.
      “Sustained release” is a function of the capsule or tablet that the medication is put into (i.e. if it dissolves slowly, some of the medication may be released later). So, if some company chose to put it in a sustained-release capsule, Longvida COULD be sustained release, but I have not seen that. (Not a bad idea though; I could get the compounding pharmacy we work with to do that for us, I suppose.) The half-life of Longvida is about 8 hours:

      …so twice-daily dosing is probably ideal.

  • Anne says:

    Hi there – just wondering if LongVida would be your recommendation for general inflammation? I have been having lot of problems with face rashes, allergies, swelling in my foot from a surgery 8 months ago…just kind of mis directed inflammatory responses…and I want to try a Tumeric supplement. Deciding between Longvida and the Doctors Best – and wondering why the Longvida does not contain the pepper extract everyone says is needed for absorption? Any thoughts /opinions would be appreciated! thanks

    • Josh Trutt says:

      Doctor’s Best is Sabinsa C3. That is the one used in the photo showing the liver tumor resolving– but it took 8 grams per day to do so. Longvida doesn’t contain piperine because the “improved absorption” with piperine is trivial compared to what is achieved with phospholipids (which is why Meriva and Theracurmin don’t use piperine either). I have received dozens of emails asking what dose and brand I would use for this or that particular malady… there are no comparison studies between the “high absorption” brands vs particular ailments. For now, I use Longvida mainly for neuroprotection, and I expect sooner or later I will switch to an intravenous form when the data becomes more clear…

  • Steve Ellis says:

    Dr. Trutt, I see there are several brands that have Longvida. Is there a reason to pick one of these over another?

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