In this supplement review article I’ll be sharing my evaluation of Super Bio-Curcumin®, which is Life Extension’s only pure curcumin product amongst the several they’re currently marketing.
I’ll discuss its unique features down in the Ingredients section of the review, as well as share a little of the extensive clinical research evidence this patented turmeric extract recipe has under its belt.
Of particular interest is the turmeric extract used in Life Extension Super Bio Curcumin, which is a unique formula with enhanced absorption ability that’s several times better than regular curcumin extract.
Science resources included
As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science & medical resources, clinical studies, and nutritional data used in this article.
Super Bio-Curcumin® summary
Life Extension’s Super Bio-Curcumin supplement is made with BCM-95®, a unique turmeric extract formula with 75 published clinical research studies conducted with it.
One of the main features of BCM-95 (aka Biocurcumax™) is that it has demonstrated superior absorption in the human body compared to the popular extracts made with curcumin & piperine (black pepper extract.)
BCM-95 also stands apart because it is made up of only turmeric, while other novel extract formulas use synthetic bio-enhancers.
Super Bio-Curcumin is a pure, 100% curcumin-only supplement, unlike the rest of Life Extension’s curcumin product line.
Life Extension’s curcumin products
As I noted, Super Bio-Curcumin® is Life Extension’s only turmeric-only supplement.
They have several other products that contain curcumin along with other supplement-type of ingredients, and I found six of those today while cruising around their website.
I’ll list them below and if their name’s written in blue, then it’s a link to their Amazon product page if you want to check current price or read buyer reviews.
One distinction worth noting is that none of those supplements listed above contain the BCM-95 formula that’s in Super Bio-Curcumin.
They all use a different formula Life Extension created that’s called Curcumin Elite™. which contains an extract made from fenugreek seeds.
From answers they’ve given in response to questions posted on their Super Bio-Curcumin product page, it sounds like they believe more in their Curcumin Elite™ formula:
“While BCM-95® performs at up to 7x greater absorption over a generic 95% curcumin extract, the amount that is free curcuminoids is not specified. However, Curcumin Elite™ is specified to have up to 45.5 x greater bioavailability of free curcuminoids.”
“Although BCM-95® is a great product, the superior bioavailability and the lab verification of the high level of free curcuminoids in the blood have led us to evolve to the Curcumin Elite™.”
“Both product(s) still provide clinically-validated doses of curcumin to support overall general health.”
My 2¢ worth
* BCM-95 is patented & the trademarked name is owned by someone else (Dolcas-Biotech), and you can see the disclosure that’s on the Super Bio-Curcumin bottle pictured below. Additionally, BCM-95 turmeric extract is manufactured & sold by Arjuna Natural (India), who also invented it.
* And so it’s sold & licensed at a cost to whichever supplement maker wants to include it in a product of theirs — like Life Extension is doing with their Super Bio-Curcumin.
* On the other hand, you can see on the Curcumin Elite label on the right that Life Extension has created their own formula (the “Proprietary Blend“). Thus Life Extension doesn’t have to pay to use someone else’s ingredient in their supplement.
Life Extension Super Bio Curcumin vs. Curcumin Elite
In my humble & non-expert opinion, I think the existing research evidence in support of CGM (the formula that Curcumin Elite is built on) is thin & underwhelming compared to BCM-95 at this point.
Life Extension Super Bio Curcumin review
As usual I will be reviewing the health product we’re thinking about buying as well as the company that manufactures it & markets it at us.
Here are the topics I’ll covering in this section of the article:
- Overview of Bio-Curcumin®
- Buyer ratings
- Supplement Facts label
- Dosage strength & side effects
- Third party testing
- Product claims
- Company profile
- Certifications & manufacturing quality
What is Bio-Curcumin®?
Bio-Curcumin® is also known as BCM-95® & Biocurcumax®, and it is a unique, patented formula made with turmeric extract & turmerones** made from turmeric essential oils.
**turmerones – Bioactive compounds found in turmeric oil with benefits of their own, turmerones have demonstrated the ability to significantly increase our bodies’ absorption of curcumin. (1)
Bio-Curcumin/BCM-95 has shown in clinical research trials to have 7 times (700%) greater absorbability than regular 95% turmeric curcumin extracts. (2)
Here’s a 45-second video overview from Life Extension regarding their Super Bio-Curcumin supplement:
What is Super Bio-Curcumin good for?
Some signs of positive health benefits from curcumin supplementation have been shown in published clinical trials in these areas:
- Improve osteoarthritis pain & joint function;
- Reduce inflammation;
- Provide antioxidant protection;
- Reduce major depressive disorder symptoms.
Curcumin’s no wonder drug, but limited effectiveness for certain things has been demonstrated .
There’s research of all sorts that’s been conducted and is being conducted on curcumin & its potential to positively affect various health conditions.
The most significant challenge to getting curcumin supplements to provide benefits to us is the difficulty our bodies have with properly absorbing the beneficial compounds inside turmeric known as curcuminoids.
Super Bio-Curcumin aims to overcome at least some of that poor absorbability issue by using the unique BCM-95 turmeric extract instead of a generic curcumin product.
Super Bio-Curcumin from Life Extension is a very well-liked turmeric supplement according to the ratings & reviews it has been getting.
The ⭐ rating you see below I calculated after collecting all the reviews I could find online, and beyond Amazon that includes people grading it at iHerb, Vitacost, Vitamin Shoppe, & Life Extension’s own website.
Speaking of which — and I did mention this earlier — but Super Bio-Curcumin is the highest-rated among the seven curcumin supplements on their site, with a 4.8⭐ rating from over 500 reviewers.
The % sign you see below I calculate from all online reviews, and it represents the percentage of people who gave Super Bio-Curcumin a 4 or 5-star rating.
Anything over 85% is very good, and 90% & up is super-duper; Super Bio-Curcumin sits at 92%.
You can click on the product name or the pic if you want to check out Amazonian reviewer opinions.
4.8 ⭐ – 92%, 3,100+ online reviews
Bio-Curcumin monthly cost
(By the way…I’m using prices I see today, but since they change so often you may likely see different numbers when you check it out.)
Currently at Amazon it’s $28 for the Super Bio-Curcumin 60-count bottle, $24 if you Subscribe & Save it. So that would be $14/$11 a month if you’re OK with taking just the 380 mg capsule once a day.
I’ll go over this a bit more in the Dosage Strength section, but for now make note that effective clinical doses for BCM-95 research trials started at 1000 mg and went up to 4000 mg. (3)
So you’d need three Super Bio-Curcumins a day to get to the low-end clinical dose of 1000 mg.
That means you’d be going through a bottle and a half per month, to the tune of around 30 bucks a month.
Let’s take a look at Super Bio-Curcumin’s Supplement Facts label:
Though they provide quite a lengthy & detailed descriptor for it, BCM-95 is the only active ingredient in Super Bio-Curcumin.
If you’re unfamiliar with the acronym HPLC, it stands for a very precise measuring & purification process used in laboratories called high-performance liquid chromatography.
Not sure why they’d bother to put that info there, so I’m guessing Life Extension wants us to know that the makers of BCM-95 (Arjuna Natural) are top-quality supplement manufacturers.
Here’s a shot of a Super Bio-Curcumin capsule that I weighed, it comes in at 630 mg:
I weighed an empty capsule too — it was 120 mg — which means there’s 510 milligrams’ worth of ingredients.
We can see that the BCM-95 weighs 400 mg, so that leaves 110 mg for the Other Ingredients.
I’ll talk about BCM-95 in a sec, and here’s a rundown of what those Other Ingredients are.
The capsules are “Veggie Caps”, meaning that they are made from the plant-based byproduct commonly known as cellulose or hypromellose, making them suitable for vegetarians & vegans**.
(** FYI – If you see “gel cap” on a label the odds are good that it is an animal-derived product, typically from beef or pork collagen/gelatin.
Sometimes called by its abbreviation MCC, microcrystalline cellulose is used in supplements as an anti-caking filler and is typically made from wood pulp. (4)
It also shows up in lots of processed foods as a stabilizer, thickener, & emulsifier (meaning it helps things blend). (5)
This is another common ingredient found in supplements, and stearic acid’s purpose is to help the ingredients (in this case, the BCM-95) flow smoothly through the processing machinery that’s building the capsules. (6)
It is a saturated fat that is found in both vegetable & animal sources, including olive oil, coconut oil, & cocoa butter.
Our last “other” ingredient is much like the other “Other ingredients” 😜, in that its inclusion in this supplement is to keep the BCM-95 from sticking together & clumping during manufacturing. (7)
It’s official name is silicon dioxide, but it’s not a scary chemical — it is made from the two most common elements found in planet Earth’s crust: oxygen & silicon. (8)
In crystal form we know it as quartz.
Quick course in BCM-95
Here are a few key points about BCM-95 worth knowing.
*Since late 2018 its had a new name, Curcugreen®, but Arjuna Natural its maker is having a tough time getting all of us to stop calling it BCM-95 (9);
*It is a 100% turmeric product, and thus a 100% natural product too (assuming the supplement maker you’re buying it from hasn’t added any synthetic ingredients to it);
*It consists of two ingredients: turmeric root (rhizome) extract that’s been standardized to 95% curcuminoids, and turmeric oil that’s been naturally concentrated to 45% aromatic (Ar)-turmerones.
(Refresher: Curcuminoids are the bioactive compounds in turmeric, and turmerones are the bioactive compounds in turmeric oil.)
*Curcumin bioavailability in our bloodstream with BCM-95 is seven times greater than 95% standardized curcumin extract. (2)
*Here’s a 1-minute vid from the inventor & manufacturer of BCM-95, Arjuna Natural, that gives a nice, brief overview:
More on BCM-95
If you’re interested in taking a closer look at what BCM-95 is, how it’s made, & the research behind it…
…I’ve written a detailed article here on heydayDo titled (appropriately enough) All About BCM-95…, and that’s a link to it. 😉
Super Bio-Curcumin’s one capsule serving size we looked at earlier supplies 400 mg of BCM-95, which comes out to 380 mg of curcuminoids (400 x 95% = 380).
IMPORTANT NOTE: Be aware that this 400 mg dose is quite a bit lower than the dosages used in human studies where BCM-95 had positive results.
If you’d like to get an idea of what the dosage ranges are for the different health conditions BCM-95 has been tested on, I found a cool (& free) PDF published by the American Botanical Council that provides all that info near the beginning of their report.
Here’s the link: BCM-95®/Curcugreen® Clinical Monograph
Here’s how a Life Extension Super Bio-Curcumin capsule compares in size to a quarter, and to competitor CuraMed’s softgel:
Bio-curcumin side effects
BCM-95 has been around for almost two decades and as mentioned, its been the subject of more research studies than any other patented formula. (10)
And through all of that it has a very clean safety record, and the human studies listed in that American Botanical Council document I shared with you report no adverse events caused by BCM-95. (11)
Mild side effects affected only a very small percentage of people participating in the clinical trials, and include headache, rash, diarrhea, & gastrointestinal discomfort.
A panel of experts make that determination, and it allows the supplement to be exempt from the tougher requirements that food & drug additives are held to. (12)
Manufacturing quality, certifications
Off-topic, sort of related: By the way, Life Extension changed their look on both their bottles & on their website…I think it was back in mid-2019 or so.
I mention this because you’ll still run across products that have the old color scheme, but note below that they state loud & clear on their website that the supplement product contained within is not old. (from their Rebranding FAQ)
Question: I received a white bottle, does that mean I have an older formula?
Definitely not. We would never sell you outdated products. However, during our transition period, products may arrive in either brand packaging. Regardless of packaging, you will always receive premium products backed by our 100%, 1-year, no-hassle satisfaction guarantee.
I’m cool with that: executing a full product line makeover involving newly-designed packaging will invariably leave you with a warehouse of (empty) bottles with the old labels on them.
Filling them up with the intended (& fresh) supplement is probably done on an as needed basis, using a software-driven inventory management system.
Here’s some info regarding the making of Super Bio-Curcumin that I came across, as well as Life Extension’s overall company quality assurance policies they have in place for all of the products they manufacture.
*99% of Life Extension’s products are made here in the U.S.;
*A Certificate of Analysis (COA) is available for every product they make;
*High quality control standards when selecting the raw materials for their products, choosing primarily from American, Japanese, & European sources. (13)
Turmeric product sourcing
Per a reply to a question asked on their Curcumin Elite product page, Life Extension states that
“The country of origin of the turmeric is India. The turmeric is grown in small family operated farms; producing safe and clean turmeric that is harvested by hand.”
Third party testing
Consumer Lab is an independent third-party supplement & vitamin testing company run by a physician, Tod Cooperman, MD.
Products there are analyzed and then given either an Approved or Not Approved rating, based on criteria like:
- dose/serving size accuracy (is it the amount it says it is on the label?);
- purity (free of metals, contaminants, filth, etc.).
Unfortunately, Super Bio-Curcumin wasn’t tested, but…
Super Bio-Curcumin + ginger = Advanced Bio-Curcuminn
Anywho, I was a teeny bit bummed that Super Bio-Curcumin wasn’t among the turmeric supplements ConsumerLab had tested, because I wanted to include a pure BCM-95 product in that 7 Best… article of mine I mentioned.
But lo & behold there was a Life Extension turmeric product there, and it was called Advanced Bio-Curcumin.
And it was made with BCM-95, and Consumer Lab gave it the two thumbs up “APPROVED” rating too.
It is basically Super Bio-Curcumin with ginger added to the product, so I betcha Super Bio-Curcumin will get an Approved rating when it ultimately gets tested.
(I’ve never seen Consumer Lab flunk a Life Extension supplement.)
Here’s Advanced Bio-Curcumin’s Supplement Facts label:
And here’s a pic of what it looked like on Amazon; note the old color scheme**:
** – Looks like Life Extension is fading this one out and replacing it using that Curcumin Elite formula I described earlier…Advanced Bio-Curcumin is not listed on Life Extension’s website.
Here’s where they sent me when I searched for Advanced Bio-Curcumin:
Compared to some of their competitors in the turmeric curcumin supplement market, Life Extension takes a modest approach to touting up their Super Bio-Curcumin.
The only thing they state on the bottle is in reference to one of the original BCM-95 clinical studies that demonstrated BCM-95’s 700% (7x) greater absorbability versus regular curcumin extract.
On their Amazon page Life Extension mentions many of the known benefits curcumin has demonstrated in successful research studies:
- brain support
- heart health
- immune system support
- antioxidant protection
I like that they do it in an assured but restrained manner — unlike some supplement manufacturers who pile on the exaggeration or “truth-bending”.
This isn’t their corporate office, it’s their walk-in nutrition center & health food store.
Life Extension as a manufacturer & seller of supplements has been around for 40 years, since 1980 I do believe. (14)
They’ve been putting out a printed magazine for a few decades too, and I see it’s listed online & downloadable in PDF format too.
It’s free to Life Extension customers, and you can check out the latest issue here:
*They are a 5-time winner (including recently in 2020) of Consumer Lab’s Top-Rated Catalog/Internet Vitamin & Supplement Merchant.
The address listed on Life Extension court docs I found belongs to their corporation’s Registered Agent — not their own offices — which I couldn’t find.
The building you see in the above pic has preventative health services, health food, & supplements for sale, and is located here:
5990 N. Federal Hwy.
Fort Lauderdale, FL • 33308
Here’s a link to their website: LifeExtension.com. It has a wealth of health-related resources to check out in addition to their extensive line of products.
Related turmeric curcumin articles here on heydayDo
I hope that this review article on Life Extension’s Super Bio-Curcumin® is useful to you, and I wish you well on your fitness journey.