6 Side Effects of Turmeric and How to Avoid Them

Although turmeric provides many health benefits, but high doses or prolong use of turmeric may cause certain side effects.

There are no official recommendations for the intake of turmeric, and the maximum tolerable intake level has not been identified. However, a typical dose of standardized curcumin is 400 to 600 mg three times per day.

If you are taking aspirin, consult with your doctor before taking turmeric, as it is an anti-platelet agent (prevent clot formation). Those who are about to undergo surgery should stop taking turmeric because it might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery.

What are Possible Side Effects of Taking Turmeric?

Commonly reported side effects associated with turmeric include:

1. Increased bleeding risk

Taking turmeric may slow blood clothing so it can lead to bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.

Stop taking turmeric if you are suffering from any bleeding disorders or are on any medication that prevent blood clothing such as antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs.

2. Gallbladder problems

A study conducted in 1998 showed that curcumin appears to induce gallbladder contraction.

In the study, 12 healthy individuals were given 20mg curcumin or placebo. An ultrasound was performed periodically for up to 2 hours to measure the gall-bladder volume.

Within 30 minutes after curcumin administration, a reduction of gallbladder volume was approximately 11% and the peak reduction in gallbladder volume in 2 hours observation period was 29.3%.

A follow up, randomized, crossover trial was conducted in the same groups to determine the dose needed to increase gallbladder contraction by 50%. The researchers concluded that a dose of 40mg curcumin is capable of bringing about a 50% reduction in gallbladder volume.

This contraction is beneficial in prevention of gallstones. However, if you already have gallstones or have bile duct obstruction then this may cause serious pain and spasms. It’s better to avoid taking turmeric if you have any type of gallbladder issues.

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, lab studies designed to stimulate conditions in the digestive tract confirm that the compounds in turmeric do bind to iron and this could decrease the body’s ability to absorb iron from foods.

Further animal studies also suggest that curcumin could cause anemia in people who already have iron-deficiency.

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.

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