13 Turmeric Side Effects & How To Avoid It

by John Staughton last updated -

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Turmeric, the ancient spice superfood, has powerful health benefits and is used in healing drinks like golden milk which is popular all over the world. However, people can suffer from turmeric side effects due to several reasons, like adulteration of the spice or allergies to it. Also, the market is flooded with turmeric supplements and capsules, an excess of which can cause health problems.

Turmeric Side Effects

When you consume too much turmeric, or when you have an allergic reaction to this spice, it can result in nausea, low blood pressure, headaches, or even cause gastrointestinal problems. Let us look at the turmeric side effects in detail.

Pregnancy

The stimulant nature of this spice can cause uterine contractions, which can be dangerous in the early months of pregnancy, and could also induce labor in the later months, so it is best to avoid this spice while pregnant or nursing. This is confirmed through a 2015 study published in the Complementary Therapies in Medicine journal.

GERD

If you have already been diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), studies have shown that taking this spice or supplement in large amounts can make the problem worse.

Gallbladder Problems

If you have gallstones or bile duct obstruction, it is unwise to take this supplemental spice, as it can worsen these problems.

Turmeric side effects include stomach upset and nausea

Risk of Bleeding

The active ingredients in this spice are able to prevent blood clotting, which can be dangerous for people with bleeding disorders. It could also interfere with blood thinning medications like warfarin, according to a study done at Purdue University, Indianapolis, US.

Stomach Issues

Since some turmeric powder supplements are made with filler products, such as cassava starch or wheat flour, it is possible that people with gluten intolerance or Celiac disease will have a negative gastrointestinal reaction to the supplements.

Blood Pressure

This spice is known to lower the blood pressure, making it great for people with cardiovascular problems. However, when used in conjunction with hypotension medicine, it can cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

Kidney Stones

Roughly 2% of turmeric is composed of oxalate, and at high levels, this can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. If you are already having kidney problems or a history of kidney stones, excessive use of this spice or supplement can make the issue worse.

Allergic Reactions

Topical inflammation and internal allergic reactions are possible turmeric side effects, especially when it is consumed in large quantities. These can include itchy skin, redness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, cramping, and excess flatulence. It is best to use turmeric substitutes when you are cooking if you are allergic to it.

Infertility

When taken orally in supplements, turmeric can cause a reduction in testosterone and low sperm motility, making it more difficult to conceive a child.

Iron Deficiency

When too much turmeric (and thus, curcumin) is in the body, it may suppress iron absorption in the gut, leading to anemia and other unwanted side effects.

Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you should use this spice with caution, as it is known to lower blood sugar in a measurable way. For diabetics who want to keep a stable glucose level, excessive supplementation with turmeric can be very dangerous.

Surgery

Due to the anti-blood clotting properties of turmeric, it is unwise to take this supplement or spice prior to undergoing surgery, as it can result in complications and excessive bleeding.

Headaches

High doses of turmeric have been known to cause headaches in some people, particularly after extended periods of using more than 500 milligrams per day.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a spice known for its medicinal and healing benefits. It is extracted from the turmeric plant, a perennial plant that belongs to the ginger family. The spice provides a distinct yellow color to curries and is a recognizable part of certain culinary traditions. Turmeric has an impressive antioxidant content due to the presence of an active ingredient called curcumin that has been linked to a lower risk of cancer, a reduction in inflammation, soothing upset stomachs, and even preventing neurodegenerative diseases.

Reasons for Turmeric Side Effects

Some turmeric brands may contain the carcinogenic metanil yellow or may be adulterated with illegal additives. A 2016 study by Sagar Dhakal et al. from Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Laboratory, USDA showed that turmeric powder has been subject to hazardous adulteration due to its high demand in trade internationally. For instance, sometimes, silicon dioxide is added to the spice to prevent clumping. This is why it is best to buy organic turmeric or from well-known stores.

Also, an excess of turmeric supplements can create havoc in the body. So, while there is a long list of turmeric’s health benefits, there are some turmeric side effects that one must be aware of, particularly if they are taking an excessive amount of turmeric on a daily basis. It is best to be informed about possible turmeric side effects and have the correct dosage, with the doctor’s approval.

An excess of turmeric supplements can create havoc in the body

Precautions

Before using turmeric, it is important to take a few precautions, namely testing yourself for allergic reactions and speaking with your doctor about pre-existing conditions.

  • Allergic Reactions: Some people may not react to turmeric in their food, but in a concentrated form, a negative reaction is possible. Before making this supplement or topical remedy a regular practice, test with small amounts on your skin or when taken internally, and monitor how your body reacts.
  • Pre-Existing Conditions: If you have bleeding disorders or hypotension, as well as gallstones or diabetes, turmeric can exacerbate these conditions, or interfere with the medications you’ve been prescribed.
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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