Report of tainted curcumin…

Yesterday I read a Google Alert concerning a recent report by Consumer Lab (“a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition”) on some tainted curcumin brands. You can read the CNN story here:

Needless to say, I was alarmed by the mention of an incredibly high amount of lead found in a “popular” curcumin brand and by the news that some brands did not provide the amount of curcuminoids stated on the label. Yikes! In order to view the report, I subscribed to Consumer Lab for an entire year. Interesting website. I am now glad I subscribed. I will be checking out other supplements as well.

I cannot publish the curcumin report here, for obvious reasons, but I can tell you (without getting into trouble, I hope!) the following: the “popular” brand reported by Consumer Lab is no longer available. It was the NSI, or Nutraceutical Sciences Institute, Superior Turmeric Curcuma Longa Non-Irradiated (400 mg per capsule). In the beginning, I confused it with the NSI curcumin that I have taken on occasion. Luckily for me, these are two different products. Phew! (I still have quite a bit of this particular brand in my cupboard!)

Another brand that was found to contain an excess amount of lead was Solgar. Surprise.

But my biggest surprise was to see that Ageless Cures Curcumin C3 Complex contained only 49,3% of “claimed curcuminoids.” I have never bought or used this brand, but I know that other curcumin-takers take it. Another brand that did not pass the Consumer Lab test was Physician Formulas, which had a very low content of curcuminoids. And Vibrant Health did not specify the “plant part” used in its product, so it failed the test as well. Never heard of either of these.

I would like to point out that most curcumin brands, of the ones that were tested, passed the Consumer Lab test. About two-thirds. I was very disappointed, though, to see that the brand that I usually take had not been tested. Drat. Oh well…


  1. That lead pops up everywhere. You might want to get tested for lead the next time you get your blood checked….Winnah

  2. The Tiny URL at the end of the first paragraph won’t work for me. Do you know if there is a problem with it?

  3. Thanks, Wally. Quite right. I check some of them, but not all of them! I had to post the full link, which looks odd, but at least it works…(?).
    Margaret 🙂

  4. Margaret, I’m on Solgars Quercetin with ester C and bromelin,
    [quote]”Carefully manufactured by Solgar USA for Solgar UK”
    [end quote].Could you check that for me please?
    Old Bill.
    ps.I can’t log on to your blog.I give the ID and password which
    I have stored in Firefox but it is rejected.When I try to re-register
    I get a message ID (or password) already taken.You haven’t
    plonked your dotty old friend have you? Lead poisoning I can bear
    but this would send me through the bottom line.

  5. Greetings Margaret, Just want you to know how very grateful my husband and I are to you for all that you do for the MM community. I would appreciate the report about curcumin, I’m taking it daily, the Tattiva brand. Thank You, Debi

  6. Dear Margaret, Thanks for this important news. Given that I have been using Vitacosts’ NSI curcumin for a couple of years I found this report alarming and have ask Vitacost how this could happen given they claim independent testing and guaranteed quality. I await their response with interest. Like you I was not using this particular NSI formulation but since other NSI curcumin products were not tested this leaves me wondering whether I should flush the rest? I also joined the Consumer Lab site. Thanks again for the tip.

  7. Last year I read an article online that stated that the State of California had been testing Chinese natural herbal products and found a significant number were contaminated with lead powder. Some of these medicines are rather expensive and it doesn’t take much lead powder mixed in with the light plant matter to significantly cut the amount of actual plant matter needed to meet the total capsule weight. The unscrupulous Chinese at it again. I thought most of the curcumin we use is made in India, but could some it come from China also? But who is to say that some Indian curcumin manufacturers might not be crooked also?
    I believe this is a very serious matter that threatens all of us who take large daily doses of curcumin, and it is no solution for someone taking curcumin to just drop a bad supplier. I have contacted my curcumin supplement suppliers and have insisted they send me a certification of purity for the curcumin I buy from them. I do not expect to get more than some bland reassurance that their products are all tested and are safe. I will threaten to drop them and go to another supplier who will provide such a certification. But can I even find someone who will certify?
    I have another idea for you all to ponder: I use a small business bulk supplier, who I am guessing might be willing to certify purity, under the right circumstances. What if I contact him and indicate that I and a big group of other large curcumin users are willing to place a large order for 900 mg curcumin filled capsules, provided he will give us a certified assay on the curcumin. Of course he gets such an assay on every curcumin powder order he places, and can pass it through to us. What if we get enough curcumin users who would band together and pool our orders and place them through him? It might be not only a safer way to buy our curcumin, but possibly less expensive also, but cost is not the main issue. If this idea is of interest to you, I would be willing to open negotiations with the owner of the bulk business. Would you express your comments or interest in this idea?

  8. Thank you Margaret for your informative report on curcumin.

    Could you check out a resveratrol product I am using of late. I know nothing about it other than one of my favorite vendors does sell it. Also, I first tried it because it was on sale at a local overstock warehouse store. That was certainly a risk, but I’d been wanting to try resveratrol, but so expensive, so I bought a couple of bottles to try. (Note: my visit to an endocrinologist said to definitely keep taking the resveratrol). What I did notice with “Resveratrol Forte”, was only one tablet at a time is what I can tolerate with that brand and not another brand I briefly tried. Two tablets of the Forte brand caused anxiety, although the bottle recommends two tablets a day. I had read that one side effect of resveratrol could be increased energy and not to take at night. But if I take more than one of the Resveratrol Forte brand the increased energy translates to anxiety. If that means its working better I am ok to just take one at a time throughout the day, sometimes only remember about one a day. I also sleep ok on just one tablet (650 mg). More about the brand: Resveratrol Forte. The back of the bottle says it is manufactured by an FDA registered drug establishment for Integrative Therapeutics, Inc.
    Thanks so much for your dedication and if you can help with checking out this brand with the consumerlab. Also enjoyed the funny cat video.

  9. me again, Margaret.
    I just now checked out the Integrative Inc. website that I gave in the previous post and looks like the brand name I gave has been changed to Resveratrol Ultra now. But it is still being sold online as Resveratrol Forte. btw, the website, which I had never checked out before, was impressive.
    thank you

  10. Ciao Margaret, mi chiamo Elena. Ho trovato molto interessante il tuo sito. Mia madre è affetta da anni da mieloma multiplo. Ha fatto un autotrapianto (che non ha funzionato) ed è finora riuscita a tenere sotto controllo la malattia usando talidomide e cortisone associati.
    Purtroppo ora la malattia è in fase di ripresa e i medici hanno deciso di provare un nuovo farmaco: il velcade…speriamo funzioni!
    Ho stampato parte degli articoli sulla curcumina e li ho portati in visione ai medici che stanno seguendo mia madre. Mi farebbe molto piacere poter conoscere più a fondo gli effetti benefici che la curcumina ha nei confronti di questa malattia e poter parlare con chi condivide questo problema. Inoltre il mio inglese è un pò arrugginito, quindi faccio un pò fatica a comprendere nei dettagli tutto ciò che ho letto. Spero di avere una tua risposta e grazie per aver creato un sito che parli del mieloma e di come affrontarlo.

  11. Dear Margaret,
    I would be most plesed if you could check out Naturally Curcu-Gel, distributed by Health Thru Nutrition. I have spent a fortune on these capsules so I hope they aren’t tainted with lead or anything else and of couse contain what that’s stated on the label.

    Thanks in advance!


  12. Ageless Cures is aware of this report and it pertains only to 500mg capsules, not 1000mg Super Curcumin . We have also isolated the issue with that Specific batch of 500mg product manufactured in June 2007. Ageless cures has long since ceased selling this batch stock and have also changed our manufacturing to an FDA certified facility in 2007.

    We are working with Consumer Labs to present all our products for voluntary testing . There seems to be some discrepancies in the various testing methods.

    All Ageless Cures Curcumin products are manufactured in a FDA, GMP, BBB certified facility located in California with their own internal stringent quality control methods. We have also transferred the manufacture of our 500 mg capsules to this facility in 2007. Consumer Labs has agreed to post this information on their website.

    Ageless Cures have also begun testing of every lot manufactured at one of the World’s leading Independent testing Labs. We will start posting these results on our website in the next week and will be updating the test results with every lot.

    We assure you that our Curcumin products has always passed Purity and active content testing. We buy the Purest and most expensive Curcumin raw material (Patented Curcumin C3 Complex) available and is shipped directly to the manufacturing facility.

    In addition Ageless Cures will be voluntarily enclosing the Certificate of Analysis with every order.

  13. Hi folks, let me just say that has a dark history of manipulating data and has been publicly charged for unethical business practices. I do think that we, as consumers, need a watchdog, but we need a watchdog-not, a business that charges $4000 to test products and manipulate results if you pay their price. The watchdog cannot have a profit to gain for the system to work. Do any of you have other sources that you use to check out supplements?

    I have been taking curcumin from Ageless Cures, for example, for almost 2 years now, and I am well past my remission period for prostate cancer and am doing very well. I contacted them and asked for their test results, and they have obliged by making it public and will post it on their website in the next week. They have even disclosed which internationally-recognized lab (based in the United States) that they used, which won’t even tell you which lab they farm their testing out to.

    The results from Ageless Cures has 512 mg of curcuminoids in a 500 mg capsule. This tells you to check the information out yourself, and not buy into’s manipulated data that they even charge customers for! They charge the company to test and report, and the consumer to read the report. Some watchdog they are…

    Please do let me know if you have credible sources which you consult for supplements. Thanks!

  14. I bought some NSI grapeseed extract. Since the curcumin had lead I am afraid to take any of their products and I sent some to my mom.
    If you can tell me antything from consumer reports I would apreciate it. I think grapeseed has revesterol.

  15. Hi!

    It seems to me the question that makes the most sense here is…what brand/s of curcumin is the safest and are the most pure? Does anyone know?


  16. Greeting Margaret:

    Thank you for your report on the lead problem. I just checked my bottle of Solar Turmeric (root extract) and it my have lead.
    I was thinking of starting some type of regiment with turmeric but now I am not sure which brand I should use. I am sorry if you already answered this question. I just discovered your site and I haven’t done much searching. It’s rather late here in Brooklyn, NY and I must force myself to go to bed (I just started my Revllid Dex regiment which keeps me up all night- Dex is the culprit)
    My other concern is that I am taking Warfarin and I am not sure how safe turmeric is (I did ask my doctor: he said, “Go ahead”. I’ve been taking Warfarin two years now, ever since my last transplant.
    A little history here…I’ve had Myeloma since 2000 (age 47) and it’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since. I am presently on Revlimid and DEX for the last 2 years. My main complaint is neuropathy. I am stable but with a price- I am not sure what other complications I may get with Revlimid-Dex and yes, it’s very expensive.

    All the best to you.. love your blog, so please keep up the good work.


  17. I did Warfarin for months with 8000 mg of curcumin per day. It’s not statistically significant I guess but I didn’t have any problem. Curcumin won’t impact the INR measurements as I understand it because the mechanisms by which the two prevent coagulation are different. This may be why your doctor said go ahead. The two should be independently acting, not combined.

    Good that you talked to your doctor though. Whatever your doctor says is what you should do.


  18. Hi margaret, can you say brand came out on top eg. As delivering the most bio available and cleanest tumeric product? I want to start taking it for my severe chronic pain, and can’t afford to subscribe to consumer lab.

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