Turmeric is a popular yellow spice originating from southern Asia. It’s a necessary ingredient in numerous Indian dishes. It’s also taken in for its health advantages. Supplements of turmeric, or curcumin — its main active ingredient — are ending up being increasingly typical.
Nevertheless, some people are worried about the possible adverse effects of high-dose turmeric and curcumin supplements. This review checks out the proof.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric, also understood by the scientific name Curcuma longa, is an ancient Indian spice, medicinal herb and food color in the ginger family.
Its root stalks, called rhizomes, are brilliant yellow or orange. They’re generally dried and ground into powder, and are rich in curcuminoids, plant substances that are responsible for turmeric’s particular color.
Turmeric is an important ingredient in Indian curries, with its taste referred to as bitter and peppery. Almost all of the world’s turmeric is grown and consumed in India.
It generally consists of carbs, mainly starch and fiber. Nevertheless, like all spices, turmeric consists of various plant compounds and nutrients.
The primary active substances in turmeric are the curcuminoids. They are accountable for turmeric’s orange-yellow color and the majority of its health benefits.
The most extensively studied curcuminoid is curcumin, which might constitute around 3% of turmeric.
In addition, business turmeric or curcumin powders usually consist of additives. These include silicon dioxide, an anti-caking agent that avoids clumping.
Some low-cost turmeric powders might also include illegal ingredients that are not noted on the labels. Turmeric adulteration is gone over in more detail below.
Why Do People Eat Turmeric?
Turmeric is utilized as a spice and food color, adding both flavor and color to food.
But it has actually also been taken in for its health benefits, all of which have actually been attributed to curcumin, its main active component.
Curcumin supplements have the following benefits, among others:
- Decreased swelling: Chronic swelling is associated with many diseases. Studies reveal that curcumin supplements may decrease the levels of inflammatory markers.
- Improved antioxidant status: Curcumin and other curcuminoids are powerful antioxidants that might enhance your antioxidant status.
- Enhanced capillary function: Studies recommend that curcumin supplements might promote the dilation of blood vessels, increasing blood circulation and lowering high blood pressure.
- Reduced cardiovascular disease risk: They might also reduce the risk of heart attacks, perhaps through their anti-inflammatory effects.
This article includes more info about the health benefits of turmeric.
Unfavorable Effects of Turmeric and Curcumin
Both turmeric and curcumin, its primary active ingredient, are generally considered safe and without any serious side impacts.
Yet, some people may experience adverse effects when they take them in large doses as supplements.
Turmeric consists of around 2% oxalate. At high dosages, this may add to kidney stones in predisposed individuals.
In addition, not all commercial turmeric powders are pure. Some are adulterated with more affordable and possibly harmful active ingredients not noted on the label.
Research studies have actually revealed that commercial turmeric powders might contain fillers such as cassava starch or barley, wheat or rye flour.
Consuming turmeric that contains wheat, barley or rye flour will cause unfavorable signs in people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
Some turmeric powders may likewise contain questionable food colorants, which are included to improve color when turmeric powders are watered down with flour.
One food colorant often utilized in India is metanil yellow, likewise called acid yellow 36. Animal studies show that metanil yellow might trigger cancer and neurological damage when consumed in high amounts.
While the hazardous results of metanil yellow have actually not been examined in people, it’s unlawful to utilize in the United States and Europe.
Some turmeric powders may also be high in lead, a heavy metal that is particularly hazardous to the nerve system.
Curcumin supplements are thought about safe and no unfavorable adverse effects have been reported at low doses.
One research study in 10 adults found that taking 490 mg of curcumin daily for a week caused no adverse effects.
Other research studies revealed that taking dosages of 1,200 — 2,100 mg of curcumin per day for 2 — 6 weeks didn’t result in any evident adverse impacts.
Yet, a little percentage of people may experience some moderate side effects at greater doses. These may include:
- Digestive issues: People might experience mild digestion problems such as bloating, acid reflux, flatulence and diarrhea at day-to-day doses going beyond 1,000 mg.
- Headache and queasiness: Doses of 450 mg or greater may cause headache and nausea in a little number of individuals.
- Skin rash: People have actually reported a skin rash after taking a dosage of 8,000 mg of curcumin or more, but this seems to be extremely uncommon.
Incredibly high dosages of 1,170 mg per pound (2,600 mg/kg) of body weight daily for 13 weeks, or approximately two years, may cause some serious adverse effects in rats.
These included a boost in liver size, stained fur, stomach ulcers, inflammation and an increased threat of intestinal or liver cancer.
However, the dosage makes the toxin. There is presently no evidence that lower amounts of curcumin cause serious adverse effects in people when taken control of brief periods, though human research studies on the long-lasting results are lacking.
Just How Much Is Too Much?
There are no official suggestions for the consumption of turmeric, and the optimum tolerable intake level has not been recognized.
Nevertheless, as a general rule, you ought to not surpass the dosage recommendations you discover on supplement labels.
On the other hand, there are some main guidelines for the intake of curcumin.
The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) set the appropriate dietary intake as 1.4 mg per pound (3 mg/kg) of body weight each day.
For a 178-pound (81-kg) male, this would equate into 239 mg each day.
Nevertheless, one review concluded that dosages of 3,600 — 8,000 mg each day do not trigger any severe negative effects. Another study revealed that single dosages of 12,000 mg were well tolerated.
How to Ensure Turmeric Quality
Some turmeric powders consist of low-cost fillers not pointed out on the labels.
These adulterated powders are challenging to identify without a chemical analysis. Your best option is to select turmeric that has been licensed by a respectable agency.
For example, you might look for turmeric that has been licensed organic by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
If you are taking turmeric or curcumin supplements, choose supplements that have a quality accreditation by a 3rd party. A number of business provide quality accreditations for supplement makers.
These consist of NSF International, Informed Choice and the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP). Try to find their seal on the packaging of items, or go to their websites to see what supplements they’ve accredited.