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Are There Long-Term Effects From Curcumin or Turmeric Supplements?

Question:
Is it safe to take curcumin or turmeric supplements for a long period of time?

Answer:
Formal, long-term safety studies have not been conducted with curcumin or turmeric supplements. While smaller efficacy studies using fairly high doses have generally not shown toxicity in most people, abnormal liver function has been reported in a small percentage of people taking turmeric/curcumin supplements for longer than one month, even at typical dosages. Also be aware that other side-effects can occur. Additionally, bioavailability enhancers found in some curcumin supplements can interfere with certain medications and medical conditions. For more details, see the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Curcumin and Turmeric Supplements and Spices Review >>

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Learn More About Turmeric:



I recently read that turmeric is only effective if it is combined with black pepper. Is this true? >>

How does turmeric spice compare to turmeric (curcumin) in supplements? I sprinkle it on my foods and wonder if that's equivalent to taking a supplement. >>

Is it true that taking turmeric/curcumin with food can reduce iron absorption from food? >>

Does turmeric/curcumin help for osteoarthritis in dogs and cats? Is it safe? >>

What are the effects of curcumin on the liver? >>

What are the side effects of curcumin and turmeric? >>



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Linda 16457   February 16, 2018
I'm grateful for your site.
I've been using Tumeric spice for some time. However knowledge of the filth found in spice is quite distasteful. I have a nearly new pack of Vitacost All Natural and Pure Ground Tumeric. I hope you can test it for filth sometime soon.

ConsumerLab.com   February 16, 2018
Hi Linda - Thank you for your kind words, we will keep your suggestion in mind for future tests.

Rupert15943   October 23, 2017
Having twice had a colon re-section due to cancerous or pre-cancerous polyps, I started about four years ago to take curcumin with each meal. Curcumin powder is mixed with a little piperine in coconut oil. The oil is mixed in slowly until a paste is formed. I take it on the tip of a knife (about 1g) at each meal. There is no need to refrigerate the paste.
I have had no side effects and especially no polyps. I buy the powder from Bulk Supplements. Prior to that, I used Doctor's Best Curcumin with Bioperine as capsules.

Richard16469   February 19, 2018
I have been taking Curcumin (1330 mg/day) and Quercetin (800 mg/day) capsules for 10 years and seen my number of polyps decrease from over 20/year to close to zero.

Jennifer13953   April 24, 2017
I too use the Organic -Wise turmeric powder. I add black pepper and mix a cup of boiling water w a 1/2 cup of turmeric powder to make a paste which I refrigerate, and then consume approx 2 tsp of my paste twice a day w coconut milk and add a little fat via nuts, avocado or coconut oil. I used to take ibuprofen 800mg w tylenol 1000mg 2-3 times a day every day to keep my inflammation and arthritis pain away. Since using Turmeric for the past 2 years, I haven't needed to take ibuprofen or tylenol for my arthritis at all. I have taken NatureWise Curcumin capsule w good results but find the powder/paste is superior to all capsule supplements.

ConsumerLab.com   April 25, 2017
Hi Jennifer - Thanks for sharing your experience. We have not tested this specific product, but will keep it in mind for possible testing in a future review.

Susie15387   August 13, 2017
Hi Jennifer, about how much black pepper do you add. I want to make sure I don't have too little. Thanks, Coleen

Jeff13942   April 22, 2017
I am currently consuming one half teaspoon of organic-wise turmeric powder per day. It claims to have 6.5% curcumin content. I believe they are correct in their claim. It comes from India. Is this a product that consumer labs could test some day?

ConsumerLab.com   April 22, 2017
Hi Jeff - We'll keep that brand in mind for a future review, but we can't guarantee it. Be sure to take our readers survey in November, which is when we ask what products our readers use. This largely guides our product selection for the following year's testing.

debbie13927   April 21, 2017
I like to add turmeric and coconut oil to my home made chicken soup. It gives it a wonderful flavor and a great way to use the supplements

ConsumerLab.com   April 21, 2017
Interesting idea, Debbie. The fats naturally in the soup should also help with absorption. Probably best to add the turmeric after the soup has cooled a bit.

michael11334   October 12, 2016
I took a curcumin supplement for about 3 weeks, then stopped because I developed a kidney stone (an experience I'd rather forget). Obviously I cannot be sure the kidney stone was brought on because of the curcumin, but I never had a problem previously.

ConsumerLab.com   October 12, 2016
Hi Michael - Thank you for sharing your experience. Turmeric (which contains curcumin) may increase urinary oxalate levels and the risk of kidney stones in certain people, as noted in the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Turmeric/Curcumin Review: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/_/turmeric/#cautions

r11308   September 28, 2016
The more I've read the whole curcumin review, the more confusing the whole question of which one is the best, and how much to take. I used to stick with Now brand, 665mg regular curcumin until I found their Curcumin Phytosome, which has Mervia (Standardized to min. Curcuminoids - 90 mg)... So, am I taking 90 mg?
To confuse maters, I found Life Extension Super Bio-Curcumin 400 mg BCM-95 which works very well, but I'm wondering if it's a matter of conversion. Would I have to 3-4 Now brand to equal 1 Life Extension?
This is really very important to me so I hope you have the answer...

ConsumerLab.com   November 9, 2016

louise11183   August 21, 2016
Would 800 mg 2 times a day be a considered a safe dosage of turmeric in capsule form? It is PuritanPride, and the label says it contains naturally occurring Curcumin. I've been taking it as directed for about 3 months now, and I can really tell the difference in the way my joints feel.

ConsumerLab.com   September 22, 2016
Hi Louise - Thank you for sharing your experience with using turmeric. Turmeric products are believed to be safe for short periods of time at doses as high as eight grams (8,000 mg) per day of curcumin, although they can cause side effects in some people and should not be taken by people with certain conditions or who are taking certain medications (see the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Turmeric/Curcumin Review for more abouth this: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/_/turmeric/#cautions).

You can also find more information about dosage for specific uses, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, in the "What to Consider When Using and Buying" section of the Review: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/_/turmeric/#buying.

Kathleen8585   March 31, 2016
I read that Tumeric/Curcumin supplements may increase the risk of kidney stones. My naturopath had me on Curcumin supplements for about 9 months and I ended up with a kidney stone. I'm not sure if the supplement caused it but I quit taking it as soon as I read that. I wanted to avoid that pain at all costs!

ConsumerLab.com   April 4, 2016
Thank you for sharing this, Kathleen. We've added information about this to the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements and Spices Review: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/_/turmeric/#cautions

Kannan8577   March 31, 2016
I dont know about supplements that have been processed, but Turmeric is a part of Indian cuisine, and powder of the root goes into everyday food ! So I have been consuming for over 50 years now as part of the usual condiments used in food. Never fell seriously ill. Standard procedure at home if there is a flu going around is to take a bit of turmeric powder (not processed supplement) and mix it with milk, buttermilk or just water. Hope this helps.

ConsumerLab.com   March 31, 2016
Thanks for posting your experience with turmeric spice, Kannan. As explained in the Turmeric/Curcumin Review (https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/_/turmeric/#buying), extracts used in turmeric/curcumin supplements have as much as 30 times the amount of curcuminoid compounds per gram as turmeric spice. In addition, some supplements include bioavailability enhancers, so you absorb even more of the compounds. Consequently, although a spice may be safe when used as a food, this is not always the case when taken as a concentrated extract of that same spice.

Tara8571   March 29, 2016
I like to add whole foods to my every day foods like NANCY. I get nervous about supplements because more of a good thing is not always better. Just look at the negative impact on the thryroid of over doing it with green juices.
So one way I add turmeric to my diet is by making a homemade coffee creamer. I take organic half and half, cinnamon, fresh turmeric root, black pepper and maple syrup or agave. I toast the spices first and then add them to the half and half, heat it all together with the sweetener. Make a lovely morning coffee concoction :)

ConsumerLab.com   March 31, 2016
Hi Tara - Regarding the effect of green vegetables on the thyroid, it's true that cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.) contain compounds called glucosinolates which may be anti-thyroidal, and when these kinds of vegetables are eaten raw and in very large quantities (in one reported case, 2 pounds of raw bok choy consumed daily for several months) (http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc0911005) may interfere with thyroid function. However, cooking these types of vegetables appears inactivate these compounds (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17343774).

Chris8562   March 27, 2016
Just a personal experience, but I developed a sensitivity to turmeric after taking the extract form 3 times a day for 2 years. I enjoyed the benefits for a long time, but eventually my stomach was hurting really bad all the time. Now I don't touch turmeric at all, as it hurts to eat it now.

NANCY B8559   March 27, 2016
I find a mixture of equal parts: Turmeric, Garlic Powder, & Black Pepper,put into an empty spice bottle w holes in top & sprinkled on various dishes during the day (eggs, fish, meat), a good & tasty way to get a daily dose of curcumin. NM

This CL Answer initially posted on 3/26/2016. Last updated 9/19/2018.

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