Iím pretty sure Iíve never used turmeric in a recipe in my entire life. Iíve heard of the spice, but I certainly couldn't have picked it out of a lineup, let alone guessed what kind of food likes to be treated by this powdery orange substance.

But since I started upping my training distances toward that half marathon goal - it took me a solid two days to recover from my recent 10.5 mile run - Iíve started consuming a lot of it in the form of supplement capsules.

I gave it a go after a recent conversation in which I learned many runners turn to turmeric to fight inflammation and reduce muscle soreness. Since weíve been advised to stay away from anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, Advil and Aleve, I wondered if turmeric was a safe and natural alternative.

This story in Runnerís World confirmed it: https://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition/one-spice-runners-should-use

"The primary compound in turmeric is called curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant. You can thank curcumin for the medicinal benefits of turmeric; its main role is to help decrease inflammation. As runners, we can have a tremendous amount of inflammation. Inflammation is caused by a flux of free radicals in the body and can stem from issues such as diet, lifestyle choices, digestive issues, and chronic conditions, including heart disease or diabetes. Exercise is also a natural cause of free radical production. There are different foods you can incorporate into your diet to manage inflammation, but turmeric is a simple and powerful choice. Start using turmeric and you will notice improvement with stiffness, soreness, and overall well-being.Ē

Ok, so I was sold. But how much turmeric should I take? This story by WellandGood.com suggested up to 1000 mg daily just for "general health and wellness" (https://www.wellandgood.com/good-food/turmeric-anti-inflammatory-dosage/slide/2) and this website recommended up to 2000 mg for some ailments ((https://www.turmericforhealth.com/general-info/ideal-turmeric-dosage-how-much-turmeric-can-you-take-in-a-day).

Since my training takes me beyond ďgeneral health and wellnessĒ needs, Iím going with the maximum dose, taking 1000 mg in the morning and 1000 at night.

But not just any turmeric will do. Turns out, the beneficial component in turmeric - that curcumin - is kind of stubborn. It isnít easily absorbed by the body. The one thing that can whisper sweetly in its ear to coax it into your bloodstream is black pepper. How they found out these two buddies were best friends, I have no idea.

Thankfully, you donít have to sprinkle turmeric and black pepper on every bite you put into your mouth. There are supplements that pair them for you. Just be sure to check the label of anything you buy to make sure black pepper is along for the ride.

I found the perfect pair in the vitamin aisle at Giant Eagle for $8.99 for 120 pills of 500 mg each. (Iím told the store has a buy one, get one half off sale this week, though I havenít been back to check that out for myself.)



The person who recommended the stuff to me swears after two weeks, he noticed significant improvement in some leg and knee pain that heís been struggling with since June.

Iíve only been using the supplement steadily for about a week. It's hard to trust in something that you can't actually test, but I suppose I'll learn soon if it's working. I've got a 9-mile long run coming up this weekend, and a 12-miler next weekend. If my recovery is faster than last week, that may be proof enough.

-- Paula