Turmeric Supplement

Turmeric Supplement: Uses, Side Effects, Benefits and Warnings

Turmeric Supplement: Introduction

Turmeric, a spice used in Asian cooking, is also known for its medicinal properties. The root of the turmeric plant is used to make supplements. It is known as a curcumin-rich substance. Yellow colored compound curcumin gives turmeric its distinctive color. Turmeric products have been used for medicinal properties in both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Turmeric has also been used for making supplements that tackle joint pain, inflammation, heartburn, ulcers, gallstones, wounds, and eczemas. Turmeric can also aid in digestion and curb menstruation problems. Turmeric is a perennial plant cultivated through India, China, and Asia. The plant ranges from half to 1.5m.

Know More About Turmeric

The turmeric plant, also known as Curcuma longa, is a herb associated with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  Turmeric is rich in the following nutrients:

  • Beta carotene
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Calcium
  • Fiber
  • Niacin
  • Iron
  • Flavonoids
  • Pottasium
  • Zinc
  • Curcumin

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, curcumin-rich turmeric has a potential for curing diseases.


For Digestive Health

Turmeric supplements have been found to be beneficial in the treatment of peptic ulcers. Initial evidence suggests turmeric supplements could also manage pain, upset stomach or dyspepsia and high lipid in the bloodstream or hyperlipidemia. Used as an enema for people with IBS or other inflammatory bowel diseases, turmeric supplements contain anti-inflammatory curcumin which diminishes internal swelling and aids in digestion.

Helps Combat Cancer

Turmeric Helps Combat Cancer
Photo By: Anuandraj/ CC BY

Turmeric supplements could not only prevent, but also treat cancer. In one study published in 2011, scientists found that curcumin interfered with cell signals that drive the metastasis of cranial or neck cancer. Research evidence also suggests that topical application of turmeric can relieve skin cancer symptoms such as irritation and itching.

Cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis

An experiment showed that curcumin in turmeric supplements can also ease joint swelling from rheumatoid arthritis. Turmeric extracts were given before and after rheumatoid arthritis symptoms were activated, in animal studies. Certain extracts containing curcumin, a turmeric supplement constituent were found effective in treating the symptoms.Research shows that taking turmeric supplements alone or in combination with herbal ingredients can reduce pain and improve functioning in persons who have osteoarthritis.

Cut Down On High Cholesterol

Taking turmeric supplement orally has been found to reduce bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides in people exceeding a certain weight and combating obesity.

Stop the Itching

Research indicates that turmeric supplements also reduce itching severity and improve the chronic itching caused by allergies and sensitivities.

Conditions Turmeric Is Used For

  • Stomach pain
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Bypass Surgery
  • Hemorrhage
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal disorders
  • Bloating of Stomach
  • Appetite Loss
  • Jaundice
  • Liver
  • Bacterial infection H. pylori
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Headaches
  • Bronchitis
  • Cold
  • Lung infection
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Leprosy
  • Fever
  • Menstrual Problems
  • Itchy Skin
  • Recovery after surgery
  • Cancer
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Gall bladder disorders
  • High cholesterol
  • Lichens Planus
  • Skin inflammation
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Swelling in the middle of the eye (anterior uveitis)
  • Worms
  • Diabetes
  • Water retention
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Lupus
  • TB
  • Kidney problems
  • Skin issues such as ringworm, swelling, bruising and acne as well as mouth soreness, infected wounds, and gum disease
  • Hepatitis
  • Diarrhea.

Turmeric has a warm yet bitter taste and a food flavoring and a colorant, Apart from this traditional and ethnobotanical uses, turmeric is also used for treating chronic neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.


Ayurvedic practices have long used turmeric as a medicinal herb. It is used for everything now from cuts and burns to dietary supplements. Active ingredients such as curcumin possess properties which give turmeric supplements their health benefits.

Turmeric supplements are:

  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antibacterial
  • Soothing benefits for the circulatory system and stomach

Antioxidant Effects

These are found in superfoods and leading health supplements including turmeric. Antioxidants help to protect the cells of the body by fending off free radicals. These radicals attack the cell walls. This is what causes the aging of the human body. Cell walls are worn down and the nucleus undergoes damage DNA damage. Damaged cells result in imperfect cells that cause numerous diseases such as cancer. Eating turmeric supplements reduces the number of free radicals and helps to combat old age and cell damage associated autoimmune disorders.


Turmeric supplements are also powerful for lowering off histamine levels and creating allergies.

Positive Impact on the Brain

Turmeric can also be used for the impact it creates on the brain. Turmeric supplements have been clinically demonstrated to possess nootropic properties, affecting the brain in a way that improves human cognitive abilities. This happens because the supplement encourages the strengthening of the transmitting of electrical signals across synapses in the neurons that the brain communicates via. Through the reduction of swelling, it also prevents the occurrence of amyloid plaques and tangle. These are the accumulation of neuron proteins that trigger the death of cells. Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory which is used to prevent immature neuron death. Cell death is the basis of dementia and disorders such as and disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Age-linked cognitive decline can be negated through turmeric supplements.

Anticlotting, Blood thinning Agent

The herb also caused the blood to become thinner and lowers the ability to form clots. This is critical for lowering blood pressure or bad cholesterol. This can also ward off heart attacks as well as strokes.

Protecting from Toxins

Turmeric protects the liver from toxins such as alcohol. It also stimulates the flow of bile and aids in digestion. Turmeric supplements help the liver and aid in fending off bacterial infections and cataracts.

Rich in Bioactive Compound Curcumin

Curcumin is a potent bioactive compound found in turmeric supplements. The amount of curcumin in raw or powdered turmeric is far lower. This is why turmeric supplements can be beneficial in getting benefits such as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Turmeric supplements ensure that the body is able to absorb them better when they are needed for a longer time. Supplements help in benefitting curcumin absorption in the body.

Precautions and Warnings

Turmeric supplements are readily available for prescription. Several factors need to be considered while choosing the right supplement, though.

The first point to consider is whether the turmeric supplement you are purchasing is effective or not. The supplement should have 95% curcumin in it.

Another point is that you should consider whether the supplement contains ordinary curcumin or that which has enhanced availability. Bioavailability is high when the substance gets ingested and used by the body rather than being eliminated from them.

Thirdly, the claims on the labels should be supported by clinical trials and medical evidence.

You should also ensure it is compatible with your preexisting medical conditions.

A Word of Caution

Curcumin is a substance which can bind to metal ions and alter its chemical composition. Curcumin may have heavy metal traces in it as a result because it is a metal chelator. With harmful additions on account of an extraction process that uses solvents, which get trapped in the curcumin crystals, you cannot be sure that the turmeric supplement you are using does not have harmful solvents.

Turmeric Supplements and Safety

Turmeric Supplements and Safety
Photo By: Kesavan Muthuval/ CC BY

Turmeric is safe when taken orally or applied to the skin for close to 8 months. Turmeric supplements could be safe as an enema in the short term. Some people taking these supplements may suffer stomach upset, dizziness, nausea and diarrhea.

According to one report, a person who took large amounts of turmeric supplement of more than 15 thousand mg per day twice, experienced abnormal heart beats.

Who Should Avoid Turmeric Supplements?

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: At the time of pregnancy and while breastfeeding, turmeric is safe when taken in foods, such as gravies and dishes. However, if it is taken as a medicinal supplement, turmeric supplement is unsafe. It can stimulate the uterine movements or create menstruation and create problems for expecting mothers. Enough information is not present to conclude if turmeric is safe for breastfeeding mothers.

Gallbladder issues: Turmeric can even exacerbate gallbladder issues. Avoid turmeric supplementation if you have been diagnosed with bile duct obstruction or gallstones.

Tendency to bleed easily:  Taking turmeric can slow down blood clotting. This can be a real problem for coping with people suffering from bleeding disorders.

Diabetes: Curcumin is a turmeric supplement might low blood glucose levels in those with diabetes. Ensure that diabetics use turmeric supplements with caution as it makes blood sugar excessively below normal.

GERD/gastroesophageal reflux disease: Turmeric supplements can make GERD worse. Do not take these supplements if the condition of those suffering from this disorder worsens.

Those with hormonal issues: Patients suffering from ovarian/breast/uterine cancer, endometriosis or uterine fibroids can also suffer due to turmeric supplementation. This is because curcumin is said to act like estrogen in the human body. Turmeric supplementation also lowers effects of estrogen in cancer cells which are hormone sensitive.

Infertility: Turmeric supplements lower testosterone levels and reduce the sperm count. This can impact fertility negatively.

Iron Deficiency: High amounts of turmeric can prevent the absorption of iron. This supplement should be used with caution if you have a deficiency in iron.

Surgery: Turmeric can slow down blood clotting and there is extensive bleeding after surgery. This is why turmeric supplementation should be stopped at least 2 weeks before a surgery that has been scheduled.

Side Effects

Stomach Discomfort

Short-term treatment with turmeric supplements does not usually lead to side effects that are noticeable. But University of Maryland’s medical center researchers have stated that stomach discomfort was experienced by those who consumed more supplementation than the recommended dosage of 400 mg to 3 g.  Stomach related problems may also develop such as nausea, indigestion, and flatulence. Excessive use of turmeric supplementation can increase the risk of a stomach ulcer. This can lead to chronic stomach pain or heavy bleeding internally

Skin Rash

Allergic skin reactions may be developed after consuming excessive turmeric supplementation. Small patches of irritated and inflamed red skin may develop across your body. Allergic reactions may also increase in severity and not subside.

Drug Interactions

It is impossible to discuss the medications you may be taking before embarking on a course of turmeric supplementation. This is because turmeric supplements can increase stomach acids and cause the drug to lower in efficacy. It is contraindicated to use turmeric supplements with blood thinners or diabetic drugs.

When Turmeric is Unsafe

When Turmeric is Unsafe
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Turmeric is safe for most when it is consumed in small amounts as part of everyday diet. But anything taken in excess is not good and this holds true for turmeric supplementation. Certain supplements contain more than the recommended dosage and high doses lower blood glucose or blood pressure levels. People taking diabetes or blood pressure medication should be careful about turmeric supplements too. Turmeric increases the risk of bleeding and influences how the liver functions.

Blood thinners interact with big doses of turmeric supplements. This is because these drugs reduce blood clotting. This can lead to bleeding or bruises if aspirin. warfarin, NSAIDS like ibuprofen and anti platelet drugs are combined with turmeric supplementation. Even certain herbal remedies like clove, ginger, garlic, angelica, ginkgo Biloba, panax ginseng, red clover and willow should never be paired with turmeric because it increases their capacity to cause blood thinning.


Turmeric should not be consumed more than 3 grams in a day. Excessive turmeric supplements can be detrimental to your health and create a real problem. Turmeric capsules or supplements can make a lot of difference to the treatment and prevention of certain medical diseases and conditions if taken in the right proportion.

Maggie Martin is Ph.D. in Cell Biology. She is very passionate about healthy living and has been writing some great and informative blogs about Food and Healthy Lifestyles. When she is not busy, she takes interest in a variety of things such as lifestyle, food, health, herbal medicine, and the benefits of turmeric. Visit MefirstLiving.com.

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