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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018 May 29:e1800143. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201800143. [Epub ahead of print]

Curcuminoid Content and Safety-Related Markers of Quality of Turmeric Dietary Supplements Sold in an Urban Retail Marketplace in the United States.

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College of Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, 85724, AZ, USA.
Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Department of Health Promotion Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, 85724, AZ, USA.
School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, 37232, TN, USA.
Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.



Turmeric is a top selling dietary supplement (DS) in the United States with rapidly expanding usage. Therefore, turmeric DS formulations available for sale in an urban US retail marketplace are analyzed, and point of sale information is related to measures of quality relevant to safety.


Eighty-seven unique turmeric DS are identified; a majority (94%) contained turmeric-derived curcuminoid extracts (TD-CE), which are combined with other bioactives in 47% of products, including piperine (24%), an additive that could alter the metabolism of concurrent medications. While curcuminoid content is within 80% of anticipated for a majority of products analyzed (n = 35), curcuminoid composition (% curcumin) did not meet US Pharmacopeia (USP) criteria for TD-CE in 59% and is suggestive of possible unlabeled use of synthetic curcumin in some. Lead content is associated with the inclusion of turmeric root and exceeded USP limits in one product. Residues of toxic class 1 or 2 solvents, which are not needed for TD-CE isolation, are present in 71% of products, although quantified levels were within USP-specified limits.


Assessment of turmeric DS quality at point of sale is difficult for consumers and may best be managed in partnership with knowledgeable healthcare professionals.


curcumin; curcuminoids; dietary supplements; lead; solvents; turmeric

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