6 Side Effects of Turmeric and How to Avoid Them

Turmeric is generally considered safe for most people when used as a spice in food. However, it may cause serious side effects when taken in large amounts or over a long period of time.

What are the Possible Side Effects of Taking Too Much Turmeric?

Commonly reported side effects associated with turmeric include:

1. Increased bleeding risk

Taking turmeric may slow blood clotting which increases the risk of abnormal bleeding. So, it’s advised to stop taking turmeric if you are suffering from any bleeding disorders or taking any medications that prevent blood clotting, such as antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs.

Those who are about to undergo surgery should not take turmeric because it might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery.

2. Gallbladder problems

Curcumin has been shown to be useful in preventing gallstone formation due to its ability to cause gallbladder contraction [1, 2]. However, if you have gallstones or a bile duct obstruction, you should avoid taking turmeric because it may worsen the condition.

3. Gastrointestinal problems

Turmeric is slightly acidic in nature and taking too much of it can cause stomach upset. If you have a current history of hyperacidity or indigestion, it is strongly suggested to avoid turmeric in high doses.

4. Iron deficiency

Although turmeric contains iron, it is high in plant compounds like flavonoids and tannins. The plant compounds are believed to inhibit iron absorption.

In fact, clinical trials confirmed that the compounds in turmeric could bind iron and cause iron deficiency in mice. Turmeric supplementation has also been reported to inhibit iron absorption by 20%-90% in humans [3].

If you think you have anemia or iron deficiency, stop eating it until you are cured from the condition.

5. Uterine contractions

Turmeric is known as a uterine stimulant which could cause a pregnant woman to have early contractions, leading to miscarriage. For this reason, pregnant women are advised to avoid turmeric until the baby is born.

6. Allergy reactions

Since turmeric belongs to the ginger family, individuals who have allergy to any member of ginger family may also develop reaction to turmeric. Turmeric can also cause skin outbreaks like rashes and shortness of breath. Reactions can occur from both skin contact and ingestion.

If you are allergic to ginger or other yellow colored agents that include curcumin, it’s best to stay away from turmeric.

How Much Turmeric Can I Take In a Day?

Currently, there is no official recommendation for the amount of turmeric you can take daily. However, there is a daily recommendation for curcumin, which is the active component in turmeric, and is responsible for most of its medicinal benefits.

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) recommends taking up to 3 mg per kg of body weight per day of curcuminoids, which includes curcumin [4]. This equates up to 210 mg of curcumin per day for an adult weighing 70 kg.

For the best effect, you should have turmeric in combination with black pepper. A 2017 reported that piperine found in black pepper can increase the body’s ability to absorb curcumin by 2000% [5].

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