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The turmeric absorption power trio: Curcumin, pepper & fat

Turmeric smoothie in glass with black pepper, honey and jug of milk

A natural antioxidant and powerful anti-inflammatory, with the potential to help prevent chronic disease? That’s turmeric for you! With all the turmeric hype around, you might be tempted to start sprinkling this super spice here-there-and-everywhere. But first, you need to get clued-up on one very important topic: turmeric absorption.

But first, what is turmeric?

You probably know turmeric as the yellow spice that sits in your spice rack, occasionally gets chucked into your curries and stains your hands for days to come (sigh). But this unassuming kitchen spice has much more to offer than earthy flavour and a culinary-colour-boost. 

Turmeric is a plant from the ginger family (you could call it ginger’s cousin!), which is native to Southeast Asia. While its superfood status has exploded in the Western world in recent years, turmeric is actually old news. It’s long been used Ayurvedic (ancient Indian) medicine—for over 4000 years, in fact—to treat everything from rheumatoid arthritis to digestive disorders.

Curcumin, a vivid yellow polyphenol produced by the turmeric plant, is the most active ingredient in turmeric. It boasts potent anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour and antioxidant properties and is what gives turmeric most of its health-boosting power.

Turmeric benefits: So what’s all the hype about?

It’s only recently that modern medicine has begun to recognise turmeric and curcumin’s importance. A 2013 report claims that it has ‘promising effects’ for a long list of ailments and health issues.

Here are just a few of turmeric/curcumin’s key benefits:

  • Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory: During trials, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory power has matched the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Curcumin is a potent antioxidant: Curcumin can neutralise free radicals, which are a key driver of chronic disease
  • Curcumin has proven anti-cancer properties: Studies suggest that curcumin has protective effects against pancreatic, prostate and skin cancer
  • Curcumin can improve the symptoms of depression: Research suggests that taking curcumin daily can reduce depression symptoms
  • Curcumin is an effective arthritis treatment: During trials, curcumin was more effective at treating arthritis than anti-inflammatory drugs

And that’s not all! From improving the symptoms of skin conditions such as acne and eczema, to helping to lower blood insulin levels in people with type-2 diabetes, turmeric has countless more scientifically-proven health benefits.

How to increase turmeric absorption

Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is poorly absorbed by the body. Research shows that as little as 1% of curcumin is actually absorbed by the digestive system.

That’s because turmeric (and curcumin) has low bioavailability. Bioavailability is the measure of how well a substance (whether that’s a natural ingredient or a pharmaceutical drug) can be absorbed by the body. Taken on its own, turmeric has minimal impact on blood levels, which is where it needs to go in order for curcumin to take effect and deliver on the impressive health benefits listed above. 

In India, turmeric is often prepared with a touch of black pepper and some form of fat, like coconut or olive oil. Why? Well, this traditional practice isn’t for taste. It’s actually a simple and highly effective way of increasing turmeric absorption. With that said, you can make the most of all this healthy spice has to offer with what we call the turmeric absorption power trio: turmeric, black pepper and fat.

Here’s how to increase turmeric absorption with black pepper & fat (and why it works).

Hands holding turmeric smoothie in glass with bowl of yellow powder and fresh ginger and turmeric – on wooden plank

Turmeric and black pepper

Turmeric and black pepper…a match made in health heaven? We think so! Piperine, the main active ingredient in black pepper (like curcumin is to turmeric), can dramatically improve turmeric absorption.

Studies show that the bioavailability of curcumin is increased by a whopping 2000% when administered with piperine, with no adverse effects. This is because piperine slows down the breakdown of curcumin by the liver and therefore increases the amount of curcumin that is able to enter the bloodstream.

If that’s not enough to convince you of this perfect pairing, know that sharp and spicy black pepper has potent, science-backed antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties benefits in its own right. Double the spice, double the benefits? It’s a winner.

But there’s a way to increase turmeric absorption even further…

Turmeric and fat

New research has introduced a way of increasing curcumin’s bioavailability even more: pairing turmeric and black pepper with fat.

Curcumin is fat-soluble, which means it dissolves in fats. When turmeric is eaten with a source of fat, the curcuminoids attach to the fats. This makes them more easily absorbed by the gut. For this reason, consuming curcumin with a fatty meal can significantly enhance turmeric absorption.

The bottom line? Turmeric, plus black pepper, plus fat is the best way to increase turmeric absorption and reap the full benefits of this golden super spice!

Maximise turmeric absorption with Purition

If you lead a busy lifestyle, incorporating the power trio of turmeric, black pepper and fat into your daily diet might feel like too much of a faff. Instead, why not enjoy the health benefits of turmeric without minimal prep or fuss with Purition’s Golden Milk wholefood blend?

We’ve packed every serving with 800mg of curcumin and 30mg of piperine (black pepper). Purition is made with seeds, nuts and coconut, which are all great sources of natural, healthy fats for maximum bioavailability (absorption) of curcumin.

You can have Purition daily for breakfast, as a small meal when you don’t have time or as a high-protein snack to fuel an active lifestyle. Low in sugar and starchy carbs, but high in protein, fibre and quality fats from seeds and nuts, it’s made from 100% natural whole food ingredients to support your healthy eating goals.

All you need to do is blend Purition Golden Milk with 200ml milk or nut milk for a satisfying and protein-packed turmeric-infused shake. Or, if you’d prefer, stir into a serving of yoghurt or porridge or combine with a dash of coconut milk to make your own health-packed turmeric protein balls!

Glass of Purition Golden Milk and 500g bag

Really love Purition and just had to write a review about the new Golden Milk flavour. Incredible! Was really unsure at first but I am so glad I tried it, it’s delicious and a great way to get the Turmeric that I need for my joints and muscles. Really love this new flavour!

- Josie Jo, Verified Purition Customer

So pleased I gave the Golden Milk a go! I suffer from osteoarthritis and exercise a lot so this really meets my needs in terms of protein for post exercise recovery and anti-inflammatory. I can genuinely feel a difference. Tastes great too.

- Lorraine, Verified Purition Customer

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