Essential Golf: A passion for the Game

Healthcare Professionals’ Perspective: Why Curcumin Belongs in the Golfer’s Game

Turmeric powder and curcumin capsules on a clay plate. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

This feature on “Why Curcumin Belongs in the Golfer’s Game” is brought to you by Jordan Leasure, BA, DC, CCWP, Lauren Martin, MS, CNS, and Corey Schuler, RN, MS, CNS, DC.

23.8 million. According to the US Golf Economy Report, that is number of individuals who were participating in golf facilities in 2016.[1]And while golf continues to be a highlighted sport, what is often not talked about is the number of times golfers leave the course with pain+as a result of the game.*

In our practices, we’ve seen numerous complaints in our patients who golf. There are several steps that can be considered if occasional pain+on the golf course does occur.

Occasional Discomfort on the Golf Course

If you’ve ever experienced discomfort on the golf course, a thorough examination by your physician will determine the cause and therefore the best course of action. Our approach to each case is as individualized as the patient, but they all include a multifactorial approach that can consists of chiropractic manipulations, physical therapy, cold laser therapy, nutritional counseling, and nutritional supplementation. Do not fall into the “I thought it would go away” trap and ignore your body. Rest if you can, ice the area, self-massage, and consider manual therapy such as Graston technique.

Many golfers find relief in over the counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen,ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen sodium. Some patients even make it a point to carry these in their golf bag! If you find yourself in this category, we implore you to look at the cautions and side effects of these medications.

In clinical studies, curcumin has been shown to relieve occasional pain due to overexertion, strain, or exercise.* But what is curcumin exactly and how can it help golfers who experience pain+on the course?* Let’s explore what curcumin is and what it is not.

Curcumin vs. Turmeric

Let’s start by breaking the perception that turmeric and curcumin are the same thing. In fact, these two terms are not interchangeable.

Turmeric is a distinctive spice known for its vibrant yellow hue. It is a part of the ginger family and has been used for thousands of years in Southeast Asia, China, and India for cooking.2,3 Although the traditional uses of turmeric are still used today, advances in modern research have revealed curcumin to be the key component responsible for the activities and therapeutic properties of turmeric.*4

Curcumin is a small, potent, and important part of turmeric is the compound for which most studies have been done. In fact, curcumin is the part of turmeric which provides the health benefits, including occasional pain relief+and cardiovascular benefits.Pure turmeric powder averages about 2-5% curcumin by weight. However, simply comparing mass alone of curcumin or turmeric products isn’t the right way to go about selecting a curcumin supplement and not all are created equal.

How to Select Your Curcumin Supplement

There are three key areas to look for when selecting a curcumin supplement.

  1. cGMP Certified Facilities: it is important to look for a reputable product from a cGMP certified facility. NSF International is an independent, not-for-profit organization that ensures cGMP compliance of regulatory standards through onsite audits and inspections.The curcumin product should be tested by the manufacturer regularly.
  2. Bioavailability: find a product that can back up its bioavailability claims with research. Curcumin is not well absorbed by the body on its own, which means the health benefits may be missed. In vivo studies have found the bioavailability of curcumin in humans and animals to be low.4, 5 Some brands add black pepper (bioperine) to boost absorption. Black pepper’s interaction with medication remains inconclusive. To avoid this, look for a curcumin supplement which is water-dispersible. Water dispersion will allow the curcumin to dissolve quickly and maintains solubility over time, thereby improving curcumin’s overall absorption. Try this easy at home test, open the curcumin capsule into a glass of water. If the powder floats on top of the water, it’s likely not being adequately absorbed by your body.
  3. Clinically-Studied: the product should contain clinically studied ingredients. There are a lot of companies quick to launch curcumin supplements. If you are interested in the health benefits, stick with a clinically-studied option.

Theracurmin® HP

A curcumin supplement that meets these criteria: Integrative Therapeutics Theracurmin HP. Integrative Therapeutics is a clinician-developed supplement line which has a cGMP certified facility. Their formulations are based on established ingredient research, and include ingredients at relevant levels of dosing.

Theracurmin HP has been the feature of over a dozen clinical studies, including those performed at UCLA and MD Anderson. Theracurmin is water-dispersible and has been proven via human clinical trials to be better absorbed than standard curcumin extracts – 27x more.Two capsules of Theracurmin HP provide the clinically studied dose of 180mg of curcumin and should be taken regularly, rather than only when needed, to achieve the health benefits.*

A friendly reminder, always check with your healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medication or nutritional supplement.

Overall, your body requires the same care you take with your swing on the course. You wouldn’t practice a new technique during tournament play. Approach the maintenance on your body the same way. Take small steps daily.

About Jordan Leasure, BA, DC, CCWP, Lauren Martin, MS, CNS, and Corey Schuler, RN, MS, CNS, DC

Dr. Jordan Leasureis the Founding Physician of North Shore Pro-Active Health, a state of the art wellness clinic in the northern Chicago Suburbs. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with a distinction in Functional Medicine and has been nominated one of Illinois Healthiest Employers.

She is a passionate speaker, educator, and serial wellness entrepreneur. Her goal is to make wellness approachable, achievable and implementable for all.

Lauren Martin is a Certified Nutrition Specialist who earned a Master of Science in Human Nutrition from Columbia University. She co-founded Martin Family Style, a lifestyle, food and nutrition blog. Lauren is the lead author of the blog’s nutrition section. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Oklahoma State University.

Corey Schuler is the Director of Clinical Affairs for Integrative Therapeutics. He is a Certified Nutrition Specialist, licensed nutritionist, registered nurse, chiropractic physician board-certified in clinical nutrition, and assistant professor of clinical nutrition.


[1]TEConomy Partners, LLC. The 2016 U.S. Golf Economy Report. 2016; 4.
2. Sokmen M, Akram Khan M. The antioxidant activity of some curcuminoids and
chalcones. Inflammopharmacology. Jun 2016;24(2-3):81-6.
3. Asher GN, Spelman K. Clinical utility of curcumin extract. Altern Ther Health Med. 2013 Mar-Apr;19(2):20-2.
4.Lee W-H, Loo C-Y, Bebawy M, Luk F, Mason RS, Rohanizadeh R. Curcumin and its derivatives: their application in neuropharmacology and neuroscience in the 21st century. Current neuropharmacology. 2013;11(4):338-378.
5. Sunagawa Y, Hirano S, Katanasaka Y, et al. Colloidal submicron-particle curcumin exhibits high absorption efficiency-a double-blind, 3-way crossover study. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2015;61(1):37-44.
6. Sasaki H, Sunagawa Y, Takahashi K, et al. Innovative preparation of curcumin for improved oral bioavailability. Biol Pharm Bull 2011;34:660-5.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

+Occasional pain due to overexertion, strain, or exercise.

THERACURMIN® is a registered trademark of Theravalues Corporation, used under license by Schwabe North America, Inc.

See Also: 

The Health Benefits of Golf for the Brain

Destined to Be Great: Interview with Bernhard Langer