Beware Fake Curcumin

Curcumin Fraud

There are well over 6,000 studies on the benefits of turmeric … it’s truly one of the most beneficial natural substances you can give your dog. But while consumer demand for curcumin is skyrocketing, the demand comes at an unfortunate price.

Economic Adulteration

Back in 2010, there was a shortage in curcumin supply and curcumin shortages are a very real risk today.  To meet demand, curcumin suppliers adulterate their curcumin by adding synthetic curcumin. This is normally made with petrochemicals (petroleum waste). Turmeric can also be adulterated with cassava, talc and chalk powder. To fool consumers and manufacturers, the adulterated curcumin is dyed with colors like lead chromate. These imposters are also much cheaper than pure turmeric and curcumin. While pure curcumin can cost up to $150/kg, synthetic curcumin can be as little as $60/kg. Both the pet and human supplement industry shop by price, but aren’t aware of the risk of adulterated product.

Purity Testing Issues

The biggest problem with synthetic curcumin is that curcumin makers have become very good at hiding their synthetic ingredients. Even DNA testing can’t determine whether curcumin is natural or synthetic.  Mohamed Rafi PhD, founder and CEO of Bioactives American Corp explains, “Natural turmeric-derived samples usually contain a mixture of curcumin (about 75%–80%), demethoxycurcumin (about 15%–20%), and didemethoxycurcumin-also known as bisdemethoxycurcumin (below 5%). Together, these three curcuminoids comprise curcumin’s key active constituents. This standard mixture is commonly known in the industry as “curcumin 95%.” These three curcuminoids register as specific peaks when tested using liquid chromatography. But adulterated products can create the same three peaks.

How Common Is Fake Curcumin?

The Global Curcumin Association (GCA) has begun testing products for the presence of synthetic curcuminoids. Over 50% of batches in both 2018 and 2020 were found to contain synthetic curcumin.

Lead In Turmeric

There was a recent internet buzz about curcumin products testing high in lead. This adulteration wasn’t found in natural curcumin, but was due to the lead chromate found in synthetic products. Lead chromate gives synthetic turmeric and curcumin the same bright yellow color as natural curcumin. The (not so) funny thing about lead chromate is that it’s heavy … so it allows manufacturers to charge more for synthetic products since curcumin is purchased by the kg.

Better Testing

Recently, carbon dating has been found to be a much more reliable method of detecting adulterated curcumin. Natural curcumin contains carbon-14 (or radiocarbon), while synthetic curcumin doesn’t.  So testing for carbon-14 (called C14 testing) has become the gold standard for curcumin quality. It can even pick up product that contains a mixture of both natural and synthetic curcumin, which is a common issue.  Both pet owners and manufacturers are reluctant to spend more money for what often appears to be the same product. But low priced products come with the risk of adulteration.  Make sure your dog’s curcumin is carbon-14 tested to be genuine and unadulterated. It should contain 95% curcuminoids, like all natural curcumin does. Also, make sure your curcumin is 3rd party tested to be low in lead, heavy metals and pesticides.

Rotate Foods For Safety

Is it true you shouldn’t you give your dog the same food every day? Well, first, eating the same food every day would be really boring for your dog. Meal time is an important time of day, so why not make it more exciting! But rotating your dog’s food isn’t just to break up the monotony … it’s important for your dog’s safetey too!

Why Rotate Dog Foods?

Most pet food makers use the same vitamin premix in every line of food. These vitamin premixes are often behind dog food recalls – and sick dogs. Synthetic vitamins can create toxicity in your dog, especially vitamin D. Every year, dog foods are recalled for vitamin D excesses after dogs develop kidney disease from vitamin D toxicity.  Copper excess is also a common issue with pet foods and is an often overlooked cause of chronic liver disease in dogs.  So don’t just feed a different protein from the same manufacturer because the vitamin premix will still likely be the same. Make sure you rotate your dog’s food with another manufacturers food for the utmost in safety.

Rotating Proteins

Rotating proteins is just as important as rotating brands. Your dog will be less likely to develop food sensitivities if he eats foods from a wide variety of animals. This will also prevent digestive upset when you switch foods.  With that said, if your dog is used to eating just one food, switch to the new food gradually to avoid digestive upset. Start by mixing some of the new food with the old … and increase the new food as his digestive system adapts! His body will soon get used to the variety and you’ll feel good knowing you’re avoiding potential vitamin or mineral toxicities.