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Curcumin (the key active ingredient in turmeric) is fat-soluble, so if you take regular curcumin with just water, you will absorb very little. It is best to take curcumin with a fatty meal that provides about 15 grams of fat or more. Although supplements such as fish oil also provide fat, taking such supplements with curcumin would probably only help a little (if at all) since the amount of fat in a fish oil capsule is only about 1 gram.

This also means that you'll absorb little curcumin if adding turmeric or curcumin to tea or to a fruit or vegetable smoothy containing little fat. Adding whole or reduced-fat milk or yogurt, or vegetable/seed oils, will provide fats that can enhance curcumin absorption.

In addition, curcumin has a short-half life, i.e., it does not stay long in the body. As a result, to keep levels up, it is best to take curcumin twice daily. This is discussed in the Best Way to Take Curcumin and Turmeric section of the Curcumin and Turmeric Supplements and Spices Review.

Formulated curcumin products such NovaSol, CurcuWIN, Meriva, Theracurmin, and products that contain Bioperine (black pepper extract) can increase the half-life and bioavailability of curcumin (see how these compare in the Absorption and Bioavailability section of the Curcumin and Turmeric Supplements Review.)

Be aware that supplements don't always provide what they claim on their labels, so be sure to check our tests of curcumin and turmeric supplements and see our Top Picks based on quality and value.

If you cook with turmeric, be sure to see our tips on how to improve absorption of curcumin from turmeric spice.

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