Curcumin vs Turmeric - What’s the Difference?

Turmeric vs. Curcumin: What’s the Difference?

The easiest way to know the difference between turmeric vs. curcumin is to think of turmeric as the source of curcumin. Being one of three bioactive compounds, curcumin is a strong antioxidant and therapeutic anti-inflammatory† with a number of incredible health benefits.

Turmeric in Ancient Indian Ayurvedic Holistic Medicine

Recognized for its therapeutic properties more than 5,000 years ago, turmeric was widely used throughout India, Asia and Central America. Its vibrant amber hue made for the perfect fabric dye and in cooking, it became known as the Golden Spice. As an herbal remedy in Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric offered a number of health benefits. Today, turmeric is regarded as a:

  • Strong, natural anti-inflammatory
  • Powerful antioxidant
  • Supplement for joint health2 

The Roots of the Turmeric Plant

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a root vegetable from the ginger family and the star player in curried dishes and the popular drink, Golden Milk. To obtain the Golden Spice, the root of the turmeric plant is dried and ground to a powder. This is the turmeric you find on the spice rack in the grocery store and in some herbal supplements.

Turmeric is a Rich Source of Curcuminoids

When scientists took a closer look at turmeric, they found three bioactive compounds with health-promoting properties housed within the root of the plant. Known collectively as curcuminoids, these antioxidant compounds include:

  • Curcumin (or diferuloylmethane)
  • Demethoxycurcumin
  • Bisdemethoxycurcumin3

Curcuminoids are natural polyphenols with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.1 Polyphenols occur naturally in plants and contain health-promoting properties to help ward off predators and disease.

As a rich source of anti-inflammatory antioxidants, curcuminoids are a unique group of polyphenols found only in the turmeric plant. But one curcuminoid stands out above the rest and that is curcumin, or diferuloylmethane, offering the biggest health benefits.

Taken as an antioxidant supplement, curcumin can help support an active lifestyle and promote a healthy inflammation response due to physical overexertion.* 

Curcumin can assist in providing relief for swelling and inflammation, helping you to keep moving - even after intense workouts, or during days when your joints ache.*

Curcumin is the Secret to Turmeric Health Benefits

As the primary player in the turmeric powerhouse, curcumin has a lot of benefits and properties that intrigue scientists and researchers around the globe. Countless studies have tested curcumin for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties and found it to be beneficial in promoting good health.

As an anti-inflammatory, curcumin offers a number of health benefits and can

help support healthy inflammation response. This is important if you want to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. As an active compound, curcumin can help promote joint health and is especially helpful as a post-workout recovery aid.

Studies suggest that curcumin may even help relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis such as inflammation and pain.

As an antioxidant, curcumin can help the body fight free radicals. Both antioxidants and free radicals naturally exist in the body and it’s a daily struggle to keep a healthy balance. The body can only produce so many antioxidants in a day to keep free radicals down, and needs to stock up from the food we eat. Powdered turmeric offers only a low concentration of curcumin and passes through the body too quickly for any real health benefit. But a potent curcumin supplement with enhanced absorption will give you maximum therapeutic effect.

How Can I Get Turmeric Curcumin In My Diet?

Although many Indian foods and healthy recipes contain turmeric, there is a huge difference between eating it as a whole food and taking it as a supplement. When eating turmeric as only a spice, your intake is less than 3% curcumin, when taking a turmeric supplement you can receive over 95% of curcumin. 

Another difference between foods naturally containing turmeric and a turmeric supplement is the bioavailability to your body. You may have heard health-conscious friends or seen news articles stating that to get the benefit of curcumin from turmeric you need to be sure you are eating your turmeric combined with fat or black pepper for your body to properly absorb the nutrient. This advice comes because turmeric as a spice has poor bioavailability for your body to get curcumin’s benefits. When taking a turmeric curcumin supplement you don’t have to worry about promoting your body’s absorption because the supplement provides a higher bioavailability than the natural spice.

To best use a turmeric curcumin supplement, follow dosage directions on the bottle and consult your primary care physician with any health questions or concerns. 

Are All Turmeric Curcumin Supplements the Same?

A turmeric curcumin supplement gives you a more concentrated dose of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory† health benefits compared to turmeric powder. But even if all supplements had the same concentration of turmeric curcumin, there are still other factors to analyze. Afterall, how good is a supplement if your body can’t use it?  If you want to receive the maximum therapeutic effect, look for a turmeric curcumin supplement like Qunol Extra Strength Curcumin with water dispersion technology for superior absorption and enhanced bioavailability. It’s your best option for a healthy daily dose of anti-inflammatory† antioxidants.



  1. Panahi Y, Hosseini MS, Khalili N, Naimi E, Majeed M, Sahebkar A. Clin Nutr. 2015 Dec;34(6):1101-8.
  2. Panahi Y, Rahimnia AR, Sharafi M, Alishiri G, Saburi A, Sahebkar A. Phytother Res. 2014 Nov;28(11):1625-31.
  3. Amirhossein Sahebkarab, Maria-Corina Serbanc, Sorin Ursoniuc, Maciej Banach. Journal of Functional Foods Volume 18, Part B, October 2015, Pages 898-909.


May help reduce temporary inflammation associated with physical overexertion or other lifestyle choices. 

This product is not intended to treat, prevent or cure inflammation associated with any disease.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.