Friday 1 March 2019

Supplement of the year: turmeric

On 9 February 2019 it was finally time for the National Health Trade Fair. During this enormous event, turmeric, also known as yellow root or curcuma longa, was named the supplement of the year. 

Visitors to the trade fair were given the chance to vote for their favourite supplement and had the opportunity to explain why. It was found that people use turmeric “to follow a healthy lifestyle”, “to help improve the immune system” and “for stronger bones, to improve bowel movements or to improve the memory” (Supplementeninfo, 2019).

Versatile spice

Curcuminoids, including curcumin, are turmeric’s active components. Scientific studies have revealed that particularly these components bring about health benefits. For example, cholesterol levels in the blood could possibly be reduced and it can be used for good memory and concentration span. 

Herbal formula against depression

In Chinese medicine, curcumin is used to treat depression. In both animal studies and clinical trials, it has been proven that curcumin significantly reduces depressive behaviour. Curcumin possibly inhibits the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO) and increases the activity of serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine in the areas of the brain that are important for emotion, motivation, learning and memory (Xu, 2005 & Ng et al. 2017).


Turmeric also possibly supports the immune system and it has anti-inflammatory properties.  For example, curcumin deactivates TNF-α, therefore suppressing the NF-kB signalling pathway. NF-kB has an important key role in evoking and maintaining inflammatory processes. In scientific research, activation of NF-kB is associated with numerous health problems, such as asthma, allergies, atherosclerosis, heart failure, auto-immune illnesses, AIDS, septic shock, sarcoidosis, COPD, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. (Chainani-Wu et al., 2003 & Shehzad et al., 2011 & Li et al. 2019). 

Why supplements?

The intake of the spice from food is low, which is why it is increasingly administered as a supplement. Nowadays, it is given as part of treatments for, for example, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, COPD and other inflammatory conditions.


Acquire more knowledge 

For more information about the function and indications of curcuma longa, please see the Natura Foundation’s monograph.

As well as turmeric, vitamin D and magnesium were also voted for. In the past two years, both supplements were voted the supplement of the year. Fish oil and multivitamins were also in the top five (Supplementeninfo, 2019). All of these are used as part of basic supplementation to prevent deficiencies. We explain ‘how and why’ in the Basic Supplementation White Paper, which you can download from the Natura Foundation’s website.  



[1] Chainani-Wu N. (2003). Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of tumeric (Curcuma longa). J Altern Complement Med. 9(1):161-8

[2] Li, H., Sureda, A., Devkota, H.P., Pittalà, V., Barreca, D., Silva, A.S., Tewari, D., Xu, S., Nabavi, S.M. (2019). Curcumin, the golden spice in treating cardiovascular diseases. Biotechnol Adv. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2019.01.010

[3] Natura Foundation (z.d.) Curcuma longa. Consulted from: 

[4] Ng, Q.X., Koh, S.S.H., Chan, H.W., Ho, C.Y.X. (2017). Clinical Use of Curcumin in Depression: A Meta-Analysis. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 18 (6):503-508. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2016.12.071

[5] Shehzad, A. Ha, T., Subhan, F., Lee, Y.S. (2011). New mechanisms and the anti-inflammatory role of curcumin in obesity and obesity-related metabolic diseases. Eur J Nutr. 50 (3):151-61. doi: 10.1007/s00394-011-0188-1 

[6] Supplementeninfo (2019). Kurkuma supplement van het jaar 2019. Consulted from: 

[7] Xu Y, Ku BS, Yao HY et al. The effects of curcumin on depressive-like behaviors in mice. Eur J Pharmacol. 2005;518(1):40-6