Unknown Side Effect of Too Much Intake of Turmeric 

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turmeric powder and roots


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Too much of everything may pose a negative effect on your health. Turmeric is a powerful herb loaded with a lot of health benefits very tempting to avoid.

However, when it has been transformed into a supplement, it may have been adulterated with perhaps a synthetic compound that may not add all the required value to the body as expected.

Consuming turmeric supplements in high amounts may cause symptoms, including stomach upset, and may not be safe to take with certain medications.

Turmeric is a brownish root with bright orange-yellow inside. It’s a popular ingredient in many country cuisines especially Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.

It’s also consumed for its health benefits. Supplements containing turmeric or curcumin — its main active ingredient — are becoming increasingly common.

However, some people are concerned about the possible side effects of high doses of turmeric and curcumin supplements.

This article takes you through the possible side effect of too much intake of turmeric/curcumin supplements.

What is turmeric?

Turmeric, scientifically known as Curcuma longa, found in the ginger family, is an ancient Indian spice, medicinal herb, and food dye.

It is an essential ingredient in Indian curries, with a taste that is often described as bitter and peppery.

Turmeric’s root stalks, called rhizomes, are bright yellow or orange. They’re usually dried and ground into powder.

Turmeric mainly consists of carbs, mostly starch, and fiber. However, like all spices, turmeric contains numerous plant compounds and nutrients.

The root stalks are also rich in plant compounds called curcuminoids. These curcuminoids are the main active compounds in turmeric. They are responsible for turmeric’s orange-yellow color and most of its health benefits.

The most widely studied curcuminoid is curcumin, which may account for around 4% of turmeric.

Commercial turmeric or curcumin powders also usually contain additives. These include silicon dioxide, an anti-caking agent that prevents clumping.

Some cheap turmeric powders may also contain illegal additives that are not listed on the labels.

This is called turmeric adulteration. Let’s discuss this in more detail as you scroll down.

Turmeric or curcumin is used as a dietary supplement in food supplement industries.

What’s Curcumin?

Curcumin is the main active ingredient found in turmeric root which is responsible for most of it health values.

Why do people eat turmeric?

You should consume turmeric for its powerful health value, it adds both flavor and natural color to food.

Almost all of these have been attributed to curcumin, its main active ingredient. The health benefit of whole turmeric and its active ingredient curcumin has been extensively studied by scientists.

Health Benefits of Curcumin Supplement

In terms of supplements, some of the Curcumin supplement’s top five health benefits include the following:

1. Reduced inflammation

    Chronic inflammation is associated with many diseases.

    Studies show that curcumin supplements may reduce levels of inflammatory markers and help treat or reduce symptoms of inflammatory health conditions, like inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, psoriasis, depression, and atherosclerosis.

    Improved antioxidant status. Curcumin and other curcuminoids are powerful antioxidants that may improve your antioxidant status.

    Antioxidants protect against cellular damage from free radicals that are associated with health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

    2. Improved blood vessel function

    Studies suggest that curcumin supplements may promote the dilation (widening) of blood vessels, increasing blood flow and reducing blood pressure.

    3. Reduced Risk of heart attack

    They may also lower the risk of heart attacks, possibly through their anti-inflammatory effects, by improving endothelial function, or by improving cholesterol levels.

    4. Anticancer properties

    Curcumin may help slow cancer cell growth and promote cancer cell death.

    Current research is investigating curcumin’s potential as a treatment for a variety of cancers, including breast, prostate, pancreatic, colorectal, and lung cancers.

    5. Support Neurological health

    Curcumin supplements may improve symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and dementia.

    In addition to using turmeric as a spice and food dye, people eat it for its health benefits, which have been extensively studied.

    Side Effect

    What are the adverse effects of turmeric and curcumin?

    Both turmeric and its main active ingredient, curcumin, are generally considered safe and without any serious side effects.

    However, some people may experience side effects when they take them as supplements in large doses.

    Turmeric Side Effect

    Turmeric contains around 2% oxalate. At high doses, this may contribute to kidney stones in predisposed individuals.

    Additionally, not all commercial turmeric powders are pure. Some are adulterated. This means that cheaper and potentially toxic ingredients have been added and are not listed on the label.

    Studies have revealed that commercial turmeric powders may contain fillers such as cassava starch or barley and wheat or rye flour.

    Eating turmeric that contains wheat, barley, or rye flour can cause adverse symptoms in people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

    Some turmeric powders may also contain questionable food colorants, which are added to improve color when the powder is diluted with flour.

    One food colorant frequently used in India is metanil yellow, also called acid yellow 36. Animal studies show that metanil yellow may cause cancer and neurological damage when consumed in high amounts.

    While the toxic effects of metanil yellow have not been investigated in humans, it’s unlawful to use it in the United States and Europe.

    Some turmeric powders may also be high in lead, a heavy metal that is especially toxic to the nervous system

    Drug interactions

    Dietary turmeric does not significantly influence how your body processes medications.

    However, turmeric’s effects may increase or interfere with the actions of some of the medications you are taking.

    For example, turmeric has an anticoagulation effect, meaning it can interfere with blood clotting.

    Taking curcumin with anticoagulant drugs or blood thinners such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), or warfarin (Jantoven) can increase their effects and may lead to excessive bleeding.

    This turns out to become beneficial for those who find it difficult to have a smooth menstrual flow.

    For example, taking turmeric tea (one turmeric fresh root peeled and washed, sliced into pieces, and boiled with water for 20 minutes) during the menstrual period can help ease the flow.

    Related: How to Make Turmeric Tea: Its Benefits for Immunity.

    Related: What’s Celiac Disease? Causes,& Symptoms

    Turmeric can also lower blood sugar and may enhance the effects of antidiabetic drugs or insulin. Therefore it shouldn’t be taken with antidiabetic drugs.

    However, you may try fermenting turmeric and garlic together to lower your blood sugar level.

    Since turmeric can lower blood pressure, it may have additive effects with antihypertensive drugs.

    Turmeric can aid digestion by increasing stomach acid levels, which may inhibit the effectiveness of antacids

    If you’re considering taking a new supplement, always talk with your doctor first to make sure they are aware and can tell you any possible interactions with medications you’re already taking.

    Curcumin Side Effect

    Curcumin supplements are considered safe and no adverse side effects have been reported at low doses.

    One older study of 10 adults found that taking 490 mg of curcumin daily for a week caused no side effects

    A new review from 2021 also found that taking doses of around 1,000 mg of curcumin per day did not lead to any apparent adverse effects.

    Yet, a small proportion of people may experience some mild side effects at higher doses.

    These may include:

    Digestive issues

    People may experience mild digestive issues such as bloating, acid reflux, flatulence, and diarrhea at daily doses exceeding 1,000 mg.

    Headache and nausea

    Doses of 450 mg or higher may cause headaches and nausea in a small number of people

    Skin rash

    People have reported a skin rash after taking a dose of 8,000 mg of curcumin or more, but this seems to be very rare.

    Extremely high doses of 1,170 mg per pound (2,600 mg/kg) of body weight daily for 13 weeks, or up to 2 years, may cause some serious side effects in rats.

    These include an increase in liver size, stained fur, stomach ulcers, inflammation, and an increased risk of intestinal or liver cancer.

    However, the dose makes the poison. There is currently no evidence that lower amounts of curcumin cause serious side effects in humans when taken over short periods, though human studies on the long-term effects are lacking.

    Drug interactions

    While curcumin has a very good safety profile, some research suggests it may affect how your body processes certain medications, such as:

    • antibiotics
    • anticoagulants
    • antidepressants
    • antihistamines
    • cardiovascular drugs
    • chemotherapeutic agents

    One study suggests that curcumin supplements may induce a gene that can cause decreased levels of certain antidepressant and antipsychotic medications.

    In one animal study, curcumin enhanced the antidepressant effects of fluoxetine.

    It may also increase sulfasalazine (Azulfidine) levels. Sulfasalazine is a disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (DMARD), which may be prescribed to treat ulcerative colitis or rheumatoid arthritis.

    Curcumin may inhibit the anticancer activity of drugs used for chemotherapy, so those undergoing chemotherapy should consult their doctor before taking curcumin.

    Like turmeric, curcumin’s effects on the body may augment or interfere with the actions of some of the medications you are taking.

    Curcumin’s anticoagulation effect may lead to excessive bleeding if taken along with anticoagulant drugs or blood thinners such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), or warfarin (Jantoven).

    Curcumin can also lower blood sugar and may enhance the effects of anti-diabetic drugs or insulin

    Since curcumin can lower blood pressure, it may have additive effects with antihypertensive drugs.

    Curcumin can increase stomach acid levels, which may inhibit the effectiveness of antacids.

    That said, research on possible drug interactions with curcumin is limited and doesn’t provide enough evidence to say with certainty whether taking curcumin supplements interacts with other medications you may be taking.

    If you are taking other medications, consult your physician or another qualified health professional before taking curcumin supplements.

    In a nutshell

    Pure turmeric is considered safe for most people. However, turmeric/curcumin powders may sometimes be adulterated with cheap fillers, such as wheat starch and questionable food colorants. They may even contain lead.

    High doses of curcumin may cause mild side effects in some people, but it is generally considered safe. The scientific evidence of the long-term effects of taking curcumin in humans is presently lacking.

    Curcumin supplements may interact with other medications you are taking. If you are taking other medications, consult your physician before taking curcumin supplements.

    How much is too much?

    As for fresh turmeric, there is no amount scientifically said to be unsafe, and there are no official recommendations for the intake of turmeric, and the maximum tolerable intake level has not been identified scientifically.

    However, as a general rule, you should not exceed the dosage recommendations you find on supplement labels.

    On the other hand, there are some official guidelines for the intake of curcumin.

    The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) set the acceptable dietary intake as 1.4 mg per pound (3 mg/kg) of body weight per day (38).

    For a 178-pound (81-kg) man, this would translate into 239 mg per day.

    However, one older review concluded that doses of 3,600–8,000 mg per day do not cause any serious side effects. Another study showed that single doses of 12,000 mg were well tolerated.

    Try, talking with a doctor before deciding how much of a supplement you should start taking a day.

    How to ensure turmeric powder quality

    Some turmeric powders contain cheap fillers not mentioned on the labels.

    These adulterated powders are difficult to identify without a chemical analysis. Your best bet is to choose turmeric that has been certified by a reputable agency.

    For instance, you could look for turmeric that has been certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or NAFDAC, or any food and drug agency in your city.

    If you are taking turmeric or curcumin supplements, select supplements that have a quality certification by a third party. Several companies provide quality certifications for supplement manufacturers.

    These include NSF International, Informed Choice, and the US Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), etc. identify with those in your country.

    Look for their seal on the packaging of products, or go to their websites to see what supplements they’ve certified.


    Turmeric and curcumin supplements do not seem to have any serious side effects when consumed in moderation at a time.

    However, some people may be prone to mild discomfort, such as headaches or diarrhea, at high doses.

    Keep in mind that low-quality turmeric may be adulterated with cheap fillers, such as wheat starch, which will cause adverse symptoms in people with gluten intolerance.

    Curcumin supplements may interact with other medications you are taking. Consult your physician before taking curcumin supplements if you are currently taking other medications, like blood thinners, insulin, or antihypertensive drugs.

    I hope you get the value worth your time, I appreciate the time you spend with me. Leave a comment below if you find this article helpful and don’t forget to drop your question, opinion or criticism if any. Cheers!


    The content provided in Living Good Blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It’s not intended to provide medical advice or take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal doctor. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Living Good Blog takes no responsibility for possible health consequences of any person(s) reading or following the information in this educational content. Viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medication, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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