Protocol, Spelled Out

I began my curcumin capsule experiment on January 23, 2007, according to my notes. In order not to swallow a million pills at the same time, I divided my dose: one in the morning, one in the afternoon, away from meals. A few months ago, I read the Delano Report (, which examines the possibility that quercetin, a flavonoid found in apples, onions, red grapes, citrus fruits, broccoli and so on, inhibits the sulfotransferase enzymes that render curcumin relatively inactive in the small intestine. I decided to add quercetin to my intake. I took two grams of quercetin about 15-30 minutes before swallowing the curcumin capsules. Each dose consisted of: one gram of quercetin and then four grams of curcumin with bioperine. However, if for some reason I wasn’t at home in the morning or afternoon, I would take one BIG dose once a day, for a total of: two grams of quercetin and eight grams of curcumin. With all those capsules, it was like having a small meal, practically!

On February 12, in order to enhance curcumin bioavailability, I added fish oil capsules, which are very expensive over here. I ran out of fish oil capsules in mid March, and decided to substitute them with black cumin oil (Nigella Sativa) capsules, which contain 500 mg of black cumin oil each. A total of two grams a day. I will be writing about black cumin oil soon, so keep posted. I took the fish oil or black cumin oil capsules at the same time as the curcumin. I also occasionally took some folic acid (starting on February 23) and a multivitamin with iron, but not every day. My main supplement intake was: quercetin, fish oil (later, black cumin oil) and curcumin.

Confession of stupidity. My most recent pet peeve concerns the words serving size written in VERY small print on supplement bottles. My January-April 2007 capsule experiment was not my first experiment with capsules. I had tested them for two months back in September-November 2006, to be precise. However, I hadn’t noticed the tiny print on the back label, which added the information “Serving Size Two Capsules.” There was no mention of per serving on the front label. The front label on my bottle of curcumin capsules reports the following: Turmeric Extract, Curcumin C3 Complex with Bioperine, 1,160 mg. That is IT, apart from minor information such as brand name and number of capsules. So for two months I inadvertently took a half dose of curcumin, four grams instead of my usual eight grams. By the time I discovered my mistake, I had been on four grams of curcumin a day for two whole months! Yikes. Did I feel stupid? Oh yes, indeed! And my blood tests in November 2006 reflected the halving of my daily intake: my IgG count jumped from 26.3 g/L to 32.5 g/L. I immediately switched back to eight grams of curcumin powder taken with a fat. My January 2007 tests were stable, and some MM markers had actually improved. Not my IgG count, though, which had remained at 32.5 g/L. However, it takes much more than that to discourage me (eternal optimist). This simply proved that four grams of curcumin is NOT enough to keep MM down, and I needed more time to give it another good whacking. In January I decided to try curcumin capsules again, this time the full EIGHT grams! Sorry, this is long and perhaps overly detailed, but I thought I should explain what happened. Besides, confessions of stupidity are good lessons in humility. Or so I hope! Yesterday I was just too overwhelmed with happiness to write out a full report. So, a final word of advice: before taking any supplement, check the small print on the back label! Front labels can be SO misleading. Live and learn but best to learn from the mistakes of others. 😉

When yesterday I wrote about not having been careful about my diet during the Xmas holidays, I should have explained that my biggest downfall were my Xmas cookies. Every year, I make HUGE batches of cookies for friends and family, following wonderful U.S. recipes chock-full of butter (REAL butter, never use margarine!) and chocolate and white or brown sugar. Last Xmas, in an attempt to be more health-conscious, I experimented with oatmeal spice cookies to which I also added turmeric. They were yummy (lovely bright yellow colour, too!), even though I know they will never replace my famous chocolate chip ones! Thing is, I had to TRY them first to make sure they were good enough to be given as presents. Right? 🙂


  1. Margaret – Any thought about taking one of the doses before bed, so that the doses are more evenly spaced in the 24-hour period?

  2. FWIW, I have taken rx strength folic acid for 4 years now. It was prescribed to me by Dr. Richardson at Dana-Farber first, and I’ve continued to get it refilled. I take 1 gram/day. Folic acid helps the body make healthy new cells, according to the FAQs. I’ve been really lucky in my 4 years of being treated for MM. I’ve never had problems with anemia or low white count (except after Cytoxan). I wonder if the folic acid has anything to do with this?

  3. Yes, I think it does. There is a form of anemia specifically linked to folic acid deficiency. And that is one of the main reasons I try to remember to take it regularly. I wonder if that is what brought up my ferritin from 11 to 14 more than eating red meat…?

    And I think Don could well be right, and that it might be better (for those of us who have the time) to divide curcumin into three daily dosages. My next experiment! 😉 Although I was told that curcumin is best taken first thing in the morning….

  4. Should I take Sabinsa’s Curcumin C3 Complex with Fish oil? Will Orange juice cause any problems with Curcumin C3 and Fish oil? I always drink orange juice with fish oil, vitamin C and multivitamins. I haven’t purchase Curcumin yet.

  5. This will be old news for you…..about the curcumin label…….but new for me today! I must be taking the same exact brand of curcumin you were taking as described in this 4-20-07 blog- i.e. the same exact dose is on the front of the bottle. I thought I was taking 8 gms per day all this time (4 months now)……and just now- I looked after reading your blog……I checked and YUP! I too have been taking only 4 gms. I have in the past looked at other supplement labels in the back as I know that some DO require 2 capsules, etc….but for some reason I never gave this most important supplement a thought. Just took the front label at face value.

    So you are NOT the only one to have made this error/ assumption/etc. Glad you got it corrected for yourself…..and so long ago. I do pour turmeric/ black pepper/ olive oil (blended in a little, tiny cup just before I eat) over my food 2x per day every day……..but gee oh gee…..wish I was on the 8 gms of curcumin all along as well! Sigh! At least now I will be changing to the proper dose thanks to you putting it out there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *