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turmeric's side effects

Side Effects

Side Effects

Many websites talk about turmeric side effects. Please be aware that they are often referring to the side effects of consuming turmeric’s main active ingredient, curcumin, in high doses.

At Turmeric Life we suggest ingesting turmeric as a whole food either via the Turmeric Golden Paste recipe or by taking turmeric capsules that contain turmeric powder, NOT just curcumin (an extract of turmeric).

We strongly suggest if consuming curcumin concentrate capsules that whole turmeric in golden paste or in the turmeric bites and bars made with whole foods are consumed at the same time.

Good turmeric powder contains around 3% curcumin on average, and yet this can be extremely effective when fed as recommended. You will find a list of businesses that sell turmeric products that we are happy to endorse here on our list of trusted suppliers.

In the article below, Liz Wallis (LW), a trusted Administrator of the Turmeric User Group on Facebook, addresses the list of turmeric side effects that you will see posted on many health websites and discusses what you should be aware of before consuming turmeric on a regular basis. Liz basis her knowledge on her own extensive medical background and the anecdotal evidence (personal stories) from people on the TUG group that have been using turmeric in their, and their pets, everyday diet for many years. Since 2013 the TUG group has seen a long list of positive results from the consumption of turmeric on a daily basis.

Please note that whilst we advocate the use of turmeric for humans and animals we must stress that if you or your animals are on any medication, or suffering from any acute illnesses or conditions, you MUST check with your medical practitioner prior to embarking upon a course of Turmeric.

Bleeding & Surgery

Typical warning: Taking turmeric might slow blood clotting. This might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders. It might cause extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using turmeric at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.¹

“Turmeric has an antiplatelet action about on a level with aspirin or ibuprofen. Few people are told they can’t have those painkillers for two weeks before surgery. 48 hours is plenty of time in most cases. But do let your doctor(s) know that turmeric is part of your diet.” LW

Dr Doug English (vet) also adds “Turmeric added to food has minimal effects and I don’t worry pre-surgery. Things like aspirin, ibuprofen, alcohol, sugar have far more potent effects. Most vet practices use a NSAID as a pain killer during surgery without any thoughts on blood clotting and these have a much greater effect! Remember that the majority of the Indian population have a daily intake of turmeric and nobody worries there.”

Click HERE for an article, written by a sceptical New York Surgeon, whose patient was taking homemade turmeric capsules while in hospital.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding

Typical warning: During pregnancy and while breast-feeding, turmeric is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts commonly found in food. However, turmeric is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts during pregnancy. It might promote a menstrual period or stimulate the uterus, putting the pregnancy at risk. Do not take medicinal amounts of turmeric if you are pregnant. There is not enough information to rate the safety of medicinal amounts of turmeric during breast-feeding. It is best not to use it.¹

“We agree that it’s not a good idea to start having turmeric if you’re already pregnant. That is not because turmeric is bad during pregnancy, but because your body is quite likely to be unused to having it. India’s birth rate hasn’t been affected by their very high consumption of turmeric, pregnant or not. But if you’re not used to it, don’t start it if your already pregnant. It’s fine to use during breastfeeding as it can increase milk production and have beneficial effects to the baby ” LW

Gallbladder problems

Typical warning: Turmeric can make gallbladder pain worse. Do not use turmeric if you have gallstones or a bile duct obstruction.¹

“This is very good advice.” LW

Dr Doug English also adds: “Turmeric acts by making the gallbladder contract and causes pain. However, it does not cause gallstones and there is no problem if you have had the gallbladder removed.”


Typical warning: Curcumin, a chemical in turmeric, might decrease blood sugar in people with diabetes. Use with caution in people with diabetes as it might make blood sugar too low.¹

“Diabetics shouldn’t change anything in their usual eating patterns without paying attention to their blood glucose. Any diabetic who doesn’t test their blood sugar regularly is playing with fire. Check it regularly and it’s easy to adjust insulin and/or food intake to accommodate turmeric.” LW


Typical warning: Turmeric can cause stomach upset in some people. It might make stomach problems such as GERD worse. Do not take turmeric if it worsens symptoms of GERD.¹

“Some people with GERD have had great relief after starting the Golden Paste. Others have not. There are multiple factors in the cause of GERD, so all you can do is try and see if it helps. Don’t exceed the recommended starting amount of 1/4 teaspoon, and you can start with even less, if you prefer.” LW

Estrogen and turmeric

Typical warning: Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, which might act like the hormone estrogen. In theory, turmeric might make hormone-sensitive conditions worse. However, some research shows that turmeric reduces the effects of estrogen in some hormone-sensitive cancer cells. Therefore, turmeric might have beneficial effects on hormone-sensitive conditions. Until more is known, use cautiously if you have a condition that might be made worse by exposure to hormones.¹

“Turmeric binds to estrogen receptors, and because of that, some early researchers assumed that it would act the same way as estrogen. Later clinical research did not bear out that belief. In fact, it appears that turmeric may inhibit the action of estrogen, since it prevents estrogen from binding to those same receptors” LW

Iron deficiency

Typical warning: Taking high amounts of turmeric might prevent the absorption of iron. Turmeric should be used with caution in people with iron deficiency.¹

“Turmeric is an iron chelator. But it also contains iron. Some people with iron-deficiency anemia have found that turmeric made them worse, but some have actually experienced an increase in iron. Like so many other things, iron deficiency is a complex set of causes and results. So yes, do use turmeric with caution, but don’t assume that you can’t have it.” LW


Typical warning: Turmeric might lower testosterone levels and decrease sperm movement when taken by mouth by men. This might reduce fertility. Turmeric should be used cautiously by people trying to have a baby.¹

“Turmeric has been shown to be an effective spermicide. That means it kills sperm on contact in the vagina. Not when men take it orally.” LW

Dr Doug English also adds: “It actually increases fertility and numerous incidences prove this:  eg 30% increases in egg production in chickens, men reporting increase in libido, stallions having increased libido, increased hatchability in reptile eggs, larger litter sizes in dogs with improved vigour and health of puppies.”


    1. Web MD: Turmeric  Side Effects & Safety.

Remember, if you have doubts or questions, then don’t add turmeric to your regimen until you are sure that it is the right, safe thing to do for you specifically and that may require consulting your healthcare provider.

If you have any more questions regarding turmeric or would like to join a supportive turmeric group check out our Turmeric User Group on Facebook.


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