Life Extension Super Bio-Curcumin Review: Ingredients & Benefits

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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.

Of particular interest is the turmeric extract used in Super Bio-Curcumin, which is a unique formula with enhanced absorption ability that’s several times better than regular curcumin extract.

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.

 

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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 nearly 70 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 snooping 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.

Curcumin Elite™ Turmeric Extract

Advanced Curcumin Elite™ Turmeric Extract

Black Cumin Seed Oil & Curcumin Elite™

Arthro-Immune Joint Support

7-Keto® DHEA Metabolite

DHEA Complete

 

None of these use BCM-95

One distinction to be aware of: None of those “curcumin combos” listed above use the BCM-95 formula that is in Super Bio-Curcumin.

They all use a different, new formula Life Extension calls Curcumin Elite™, which itself is not a pure curcumin product either because its formula 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’re going all-in with their Curcumin Elite formula.

Here’s an indication of how they’re angling this newer curcumin product line:

“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.”

 

And again:

“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™.”

 

And finally, a conciliatory “don’t throw it totally under the bus” sentiment, or perhaps remembering that Super Bio-Curcumin® with BCM-95 is Life Extension’s best-selling, most-reviewed, and arguably highest-rated curcumin product both on Amazon & on their own website 😉:

“Both product(s) still provide clinically-validated doses of curcumin to support overall general health.”

 

 

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My 2¢ worth

When in doubt, follow the money.

 

* 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 in those six newer Curcumin Elite products I listed above, Life Extension doesn’t have to pay to use someone else’s ingredient in their supplement.

Super Bio-Curcumin vs Curcumin Elite supplement facts labels

 

 

 

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Super Bio-Curcumin vs. Curcumin Elite

In my humble though jaded non-expert opinion, I think the existing research evidence in support of CGM (the formula that Curcumin Elite is built on) is thin & underwhelming.

 

Unless I missed something during my research into its research. 😄

You can look at all the published research on CGM (which is basically combining the extracts of curcumin and fenugreek seeds) here in our National Library of Medicine’s Database.

I searched through there trying a few different keywords: curcumin, fenugreek, CGM, galactomannan (that’s where the “G” in CGM comes from).

PubMed search for CGM published research studies - heydayDo image

 

 

Not feeling totally pumped up after reading through those studies’ abstracts, I tried looking for clinical research currently being conducted on it, which you can do by visiting ClinicalTrials.gov and banging around in their database.

I came up empty-handed:

Current studies search for CGM curcumin at ClinicalTrials - heydayDo image

 


 

The research on Super Bio-Curcumin’s BCM-95

I discuss this in more detail in the Ingredients section of the review, but for now just know that BCM-95 has nearly 70 published research studies across a wide range of health applications.

Published studies: 8 for CGM vs. 68 for BCM-95;

In process studies: 0 for CGM vs. 20 for BCM-95 (14 BCM-95 + 5 Bio-Curcumin + 1 Biocurcumax).

 

Bottom line for me: I hope Life Extension doesn’t phase out Super Bio-Curcumin (with BCM-95) in favor of a version using CGM instead…

…like they did to Advanced Bio-Curcumin (it was BCM-95 + ginger), which is now Advanced Curcumin Elite.

 

 

 

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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
  • Pricing
  • Supplement Facts label
  • Ingredients
  • 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?

Positive health benefit results from curcumin supplementation have been shown multiple times in the following areas:

That’s not a complete list by any means.

There’s research of all sorts that’s been conducted and is being conducted on curcumin & its potential to positively affect various health conditions.

(I found 16,000+ published studies on curcumin and 239 in-process studies when checking with the National Library of Medicine.)

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.

 

 

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Buyer ratings

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 300 reviewers.

The % sign you see I calculate from all of the 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.

You can click on the product name or the pic if you want to check out Amazonian reviewer opinions.

 

Life Extension Super Bio-Curcumin

4.7 – 91%, 2,500+ online reviews 

 

 

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Bio-Curcumin monthly cost

Note: If you’re thinking of buying Super Bio-Curcumin on Amazon, be careful that you’re choosing the right product when you’re on the Super Bio-Curcumin product page.

I mention that because that Life Extension put a Curcumin Elite price link right next to the Super Bio-Curcumin price link without telling you it’s a different product entirely.

Teasing you with a lower price tag too (it ought to, since it has 1/2 the curcumin Super Bio-Curcumin has):

Curcumin Elite price link put on Super Bio-Curcumin page - heydayDo image

 

Anyways, the 22 bucks for the Super Bio-Curcumin gets you a 60-count bottle, so that would be $11 a month if you’re OK with taking just the 380 mg capsule once a day.

(By the way…I’m using prices I see today, but since they change so often you may see different numbers when you check it out.)

Super Bio-Curcumin serving size of 380 mg - heydayDo image

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.

Check current price on Amazon

 

Cost comparison to CuraMed

I’m guessing that Terry Naturally’s CuraMed® is the best selling BCM-95 product on the market these days: it certainly has the most reviews (I found 6,500+ across the internet.)

And I think Life Extension’s Super Bio-Curcumin is the 2nd most popular BCM-95 supplement out there, and figured it’d be nice to compare the two of them in terms of cost & potency.

 

CuraMed

Their 60-count bottle sells for about $49 today, so that’d be 24-25 bucks a month if you’re taking one softgel per day.

CuraMed’s softgel delivers 500 mg of curcuminoids, which is 32% more than Super Bio-Curcumin has in its capsule (380 mg).

But the monthly cost of CuraMed is more than twice that of Super Bio-Curcumin ($24.38 vs. $10.97).

 

(If you’re interested in learning more about CuraMed, I wrote up an in-depth evaluation of it in my article “CuraMed Review: Ingredients = Advantages”  that you can check out here on heydayDo.)

 

 

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Supplement Facts

Let’s take a look at Super Bio-Curcumin’s Supplement Facts label:

Life Extension Super Bio-Curcumin supplement facts - heydayDo image

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:

Life Extension Super Bio-Curcumin capsule weight - heydayDo image

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.

 

Ingredients

I’ll talk about BCM-95 in a sec, and here’s a rundown of what those Other Ingredients are.

 

Capsule

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. 

 

Microcrystalline cellulose

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)

 

Stearic acid

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.

 

Silica

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.

 

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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. 😉

 

 

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Dosage strength

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

 

Capsule size

Here’s how a Life Extension Super Bio-Curcumin capsule compares in size to a quarter, and to competitor CuraMed’s softgel:

Life Extension Super Bio-Curcumin capsule size vs a quarter and CuraMed softgel - heydayDo image

 

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.

Further, the FDA issued a “No Questions” letter regarding BCM-95 to its trademark holder, and granted BCM-95 the coveted self-affirmed GRAS designation (Generally Recognized ASafe).

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)

 

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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.

Comparison of old and new labels of Life Extension supplements - heydayDo image

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.”

 

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Third party testing

When I was doing background research on Super Bio-Curcumin for another article I wrote (7 Best Curcumin Supplements…), I checked up on it on ConsumerLab.com.

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?);
  • potency;
  • 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:

Advanced Bio-Curcumin supplement facts label - heydayDo image

 

And here’s a pic of what it looked like on Amazon; note the old color scheme**:

Old Life Extension Advanced Bio-Curcumin bottle - heydayDo image

** – 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:

Advanced Bio-Curcumin search on Life Extension website - heydayDo image

 

 

Product claims

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.

Life Extension Super Bio-Curcumin bottle front label - heydayDo image

 

On their Amazon page Life Extension mentions many of the known benefits curcumin has demonstrated in successful research studies:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • 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”.

 

 

Company profile

Life Extension Nutrition Center - heydayDo image

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.

 

Contact info

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

(954) 766-8144

 

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.

 

 

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Wrapping Up

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Related turmeric curcumin articles here on heydayDo

All About BCM-95

7 Best Curcumin Supplements with the Curcuminoids We Need

 

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.

Let’s go.

– greg

January 2021

 

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About heydayDo

heydayDo author Greg Simon
Hi I’m Greg Simon. Fitness training & nutrition researching since 1982. Organic food & wine grower. Surfer. Congenital heart disease survivor (so far). Read more…
heydayDo is my “fitness after 50” website that’s about embracing the physically active lifestyle as we get older.
 
I write about the fitness and health research I’ve found concerning the quality of life benefits that exercise and good nutrition provide.
 
When I get curious about something, I’ll dig into whatever sports science & medical facts there are on the topic to learn what’s real & what’s only hype. I also post my experiences product-testing & evaluating home gym equipment & fitness supplements.
 
 It’s an information-sharing, personal opinion blog of mine.
 
So if you’re looking for medical or nutritional advice, please consult with your doctor or health professional for that, since heydayDo does not provide medical advice.