Many turmeric supplements fall short

Q. I heard somewhere that turmeric is an anti-inflammatory agent. I cannot find a reference for the dosage. I am wondering which turmeric to try. I am a 52-year-old female runner with a persistently sore glute muscle.

A. Turmeric is a spice made from the root of a tropical plant, Curcuma longa. This rhizome somewhat resembles ginger root, but it is bright yellow or orange in color. As a spice, it is dried and powdered.

Both fresh and ground turmeric have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, attributed to the active ingredient curcumin. Readers tell us that turmeric or curcumin helps ease sore joints, psoriasis and leg cramps. Some report it also helps control blood sugar.

The usual dosage recommendation for using turmeric as an anti-inflammatory is 500 mg two or three times a day. just did an analysis of turmeric products and found that many products fall short of their labeled dose. The most cost-effective of those that passed the test were NOW Curcumin and Doctor’s Best Curcumin C3.

The testers also found that turmeric sold as a spice for kitchen use was often contaminated with insect parts. Organic turmeric powders were especially prone to this problem. The best of the tested ground turmeric powder was The Spice Hunter India Turmeric Ground.

Q. Could you please send me remedies that work for acid stomach? I now take Prilosec and Zantac, but I would prefer to deal with this problem naturally.

A. There are a number of natural approaches to easing indigestion. Here is one suggestion from another reader: “Plain yellow mustard works well, even though it sounds counterintuitive to take something spicy for heartburn. Whenever I have a problem at work and don’t have any Rolaids, I just go to the lunchroom and get a packet of mustard from the condiments bin.”

The Guide to Digestive Disorders we are sending you offers many other options to treat these symptoms, as well as advice on how to get off drugs like Prilosec or Prevacid without suffering rebound acidity.

Q. I am a 53-year-old man. When I turned 50, I developed severe rosacea. I tried everything, and nothing helped.

I just returned from a two-week vacation in the South Pacific. I learned to snorkel and scuba dive and was in the ocean every day. By the time I left, all signs of rosacea were completely gone.

I don’t know why salt water works to clear up the skin, but it’s almost miraculous.

A. Thank you for sharing your great results. For those who may not have the opportunity to go snorkeling, other readers have suggested some unconventional ways of calming rosacea. Use trial and error to determine if any of these remedies might help:

Selsun Blue dandruff shampoo with selenium sulfide. Apply it in the morning and leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse it off.

Milk of magnesia. Dab it on the affected areas morning and night, let it dry and apply the usual moisturizer.

Elimination diet. Several readers report that eliminating gluten or sugar or all carbs makes rosacea disappear.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of this newspaper or email them via their Web site: Their newest book is “Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them.”

2013 King Features Syndicate Inc.

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