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The Health Benefits and Side Effects of Turmeric Everyone Should Know

7 minute read


The popularity of turmeric has been on the rise in recent years, and not just because it’s a great tasting spice. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric extract are known to reduce the risk of serious diseases, making it an effective and natural alternative to medications.

Many people opt for more natural treatment options to avoid side effects, which makes turmeric so popular. However, there are some side effects to this spice that not many know about but should.

What Are the Benefits of Turmeric?

As with any treatment option, pharmaceutical or natural, you should always discuss the options with your doctor. There are certain interactions that drugs and even natural supplements can have. There are also certain things you shouldn’t take if you have a particular health condition.

Knowing the potential side effects of any drug or natural supplement is necessary for your health and overall healing.

Just as the turmeric used for food is considered safe, so are high-quality turmeric supplements. What’s important is sticking to the dose your doctor recommends and checking to make sure it doesn’t interact with anything else you are currently taking. Turmeric, when taken at recommended doses, is relatively harmless and provides numerous health benefits.

♦ Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory compound, which can protect you from the chronic inflammation that leads to serious diseases. Heart disease, Alzheimer’s, serious digestive issues, some cancers, and autoimmune conditions are all linked to chronic inflammation, but turmeric can help protect you.

♦ Turmeric also contains antioxidant compounds that work to scavenge free radicals and prevent oxidative damage. These compounds also boost the activity of your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes offering more extensive protection from free radicals.

♦ Turmeric has the ability to boost levels of BDNF, which is a growth hormone that works in your brain. Reduced levels of this hormone have been linked to brain disorders like depression and Alzheimer’s. By increasing the levels of BDNF, turmeric can help delay the onset of brain diseases or even prevent them.

♦ The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of turmeric allow for boosted heart health by protecting from disease. In addition to this, the spice improves the endothelial lining of your blood vessels, which improves circulation. This can help with the regulation of blood pressure levels, blood clotting, and it can protect against heart disease and stroke.

♦ The anti-inflammatory benefits of curcumin allow turmeric to help alleviate pain and swelling in arthritis patients. Several studies have confirmed that turmeric relieves inflammation and pain in most types of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis. With pain relief, you can work to improve joint mobility and strength.

♦ Turmeric may be able to fight cancer, despite there being no true cure. Even though there are many differences between types of cancer, there are also some common characteristics, and this is where turmeric can be effective.

Curcumin supplements can help to reduce tumor growth by reducing blood supply to the cancer cells and tumors. By acting on cancer at a molecular level, turmeric can prevent metastasis and the spread of cancer too.

The ability to control inflammation also allows turmeric to prevent certain cancers, such as colorectal cancer, in the first place.

Little Known Side Effects

Despite its powerful healing properties and the ability to reduce the risk of several serious diseases, turmeric may not be for everyone. Although it’s generally considered safe at the right doses, there are some people that should avoid cooking it or taking it as a supplement.

There are some potential side effects you should be aware of, and if necessary, avoid or stop taking turmeric all together.

Blood-Thinning

Turmeric may slow blood clotting, and it thins your blood, so it should never be combined with anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications. Before taking any turmeric supplements, you should always consult your doctor if you are already taking blood-thinning medications.

Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other common drugs also act as blood thinners, so you should avoid taking turmeric when taking these drugs. There are also other herbal or natural supplements such as angelica, clove, ginger, and ginkgo, that slow blood clotting, so they also should not be taken with turmeric.

It’s recommended that you stop taking turmeric at least two weeks before any surgical procedure because of the blood-thinning properties.

Blood Sugar Complications

Those with diabetes should avoid turmeric because it has the potential to lower blood sugar levels. If you are already taking medications to control and lower your blood sugar, you need to avoid turmeric in your food and as a supplement. The combined effect of the medication and turmeric could drop your blood sugar levels low enough to cause hypoglycemia.

Gallbladder Problems

If you have any conditions associated with your gallbladder, then you need to stay away from turmeric. Studies have found that turmeric can worsen conditions in those that have bile duct obstructions or gallstones. If these conditions are temporary, be sure to discuss with your doctor if and when taking turmeric will be safe again.

| Related: Do You Have a Gallbladder Problem: Signs & Symptoms |

Stomach Issues

Some studies show turmeric to be effective in treating some stomach conditions, but there are others that have found it to aggravate acid reflux. If you have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), or if you suffer from frequent acid reflux, then you should avoid turmeric if you find that it negatively affects you.

Turmeric has also been found to interfere with antacids, and it may result in increased stomach acid production. Consult your doctor if you have stomach issues or are taking any antacid or acid reflux medications.

The Bottom Line

Turmeric has many wonderful healing properties, and it’s been used to treat medical conditions for centuries. As with most therapies, turmeric does have some side effects to be aware of.

The side effects may not appear in everyone, but knowing about them can save you discomfort. Turmeric is amazing for many health conditions, be sure to discuss it with your doctor first, to make sure it will heal you rather than jeopardize your health.

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