In this article, we will inform you about potential side effects of turmeric and how much is the maximum tolerable intake level.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric, also known by the scientific name Curcuma longa, is an ancient Indian spice, medicinal herb and food dye in the ginger family.
Its root stalks, called rhizomes, are bright yellow or orange. They’re usually dried and ground into a powder and are rich in curcuminoids, plant compounds that are responsible for turmeric’s characteristic color.
Turmeric is an essential ingredient in Indian curries, with its taste described as bitter and peppery. Nearly all of the world’s turmeric is grown and consumed in India.
It mainly consists of carbs, mostly starch and fiber. However, like all spices, turmeric contains numerous plant compounds and nutrients.
The main active compounds in turmeric are the curcuminoids. They are responsible for turmeric’s orange-yellow color and most of its health benefits.
The most widely studied curcuminoid is curcumin, which may constitute around 3% of turmeric.
Additionally, commercial turmeric or curcumin powders 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. Turmeric adulteration is discussed in more detail below.
Why Do People Eat Turmeric?
Turmeric is used as a spice and food dye, adding both flavor and color to food.
But it has also been consumed for its health benefits, all of which have been attributed to curcumin, its main active ingredient.
Curcumin supplements have the following benefits, to name a few:
- Reduced inflammation: Chronic inflammation is associated with many diseases. Studies show that curcumin supplements may reduce the levels of inflammatory markers.
- Improved antioxidant status: Curcumin and other curcuminoids are powerful antioxidants that may improve your antioxidant status.
- Improved blood vessel function: Studies suggest that curcumin supplements may promote the dilation of blood vessels, increasing blood flow and reducing blood pressure.
- Reduced heart attack risk: They may also lower the risk of heart attacks, possibly through their anti-inflammatory effects.
Five Side Effects Of Turmeric
1. Upset stomach
Turmeric or Haldi is known to heat your body and cause inflammation in your stomach that may lead to abdominal pain and cramps.
2. Risk of developing kidney stones
Turmeric contains oxalates that may increase the risk of developing kidney stones. These oxalates bind the calcium to form insoluble calcium oxalate that is a primary cause of kidney stones.
3. May cause nausea and diarrhea
Curcumin, the active compound found in turmeric, tends to trouble the gastrointestinal tract, which causes diarrhea and nausea with excess consumption.
4. May cause an allergic reaction
You may be allergic to certain compounds present in turmeric which can cause rashes, outbreaks and even shortness of breath. Allergic reactions can occur from both ingestion and skin contact.
5. Iron deficiency
Excess turmeric consumption may inhibit the absorption of iron. Therefore, people with iron deficiency should be careful not to add too much turmeric in their daily meals, as it could decrease the body’s ability to absorb iron.
How Much Is Too Much?
There are no official recommendations for the intake of turmeric, and the maximum tolerable intake level has not been identified.
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.
For a 178-pound (81-kg) man, this would translate into 239 mg per day.
However, one 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.
How to Ensure Turmeric 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 US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
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). Look for their seal on the packaging of products, or go to their websites to see what supplements they’ve certified.
Conclusion: As we see from the text there are some side effects of consuming turmeric so before adding to your diet be aware of these health dangers and avoid consuming it especially if you are allergic or you have an iron deficiency.