Curcumin is a compound found in the spice turmeric, which is commonly used in Indian cuisine and known for its bright yellow hue. It provides several impressive health benefits.
Curcumin may help decrease inflammation in diabetes, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and cancer, among other conditions (4Trusted Source, 5, 6Trusted Source).
It also appears to be beneficial for reducing inflammation and improving symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).
One randomized controlled trial found that people with metabolic syndrome who took curcumin had significantly reduced levels of the inflammatory markers C-reactive protein (CRP) and malondialdehyde compared with those who received a placebo (9Trusted Source).
In another study, when 80 people with solid cancerous tumors were given 150 mg of curcumin daily for 8 weeks, most of their inflammatory markers decreased much more than those of the control group. Their quality of life scores also increased significantly (10Trusted Source).
While these benefits are possible, curcumin is poorly absorbed into your bloodstream because its bioavailability (the rate at which your body absorbs a substance) is limited (11Trusted Source).
Black pepper — and a component of black pepper called piperine — can significantly boost the absorption of curcumin. For this reason, many curcumin supplements also contain piperine.
When cooking, you can use turmeric and black pepper together to make sure you have optimal absorption of the curcumin.
Up to 500 mg of curcumin per day is safe, but people taking higher doses in studies have reported symptoms including nausea, diarrhea, and headache (12Trusted Source).