Does Turmeric Have Negative Side Effects? Supplement Pros & Cons
7 minute read
What is turmeric? The most common response is that bright and flavorful spice you add to curries and other meals. But, there is more to turmeric than spicing up your meal.
Turmeric has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat many common health conditions. While it is safer to use than many prescribed medications, there could still be potential side effects you should know about before you start treatment.
Turmeric and Your Health
The turmeric you find on the spice rack is made from the ground up the root of the turmeric plant, which is mostly found in Asia and Central America. The active ingredient in turmeric that has been found to contain health benefits is curcumin.
The biological properties of this compound make it possible for turmeric to treat inflammatory-related illnesses and disease.
After centuries of success in traditional medicine practice, turmeric is now used in Western medicine as an alternative to prescription medications and drugs. You can choose to add turmeric to your meals, but the small amounts are not as effective unless you also have a carrier such as pepper to help its absorption.
For this reason, turmeric (curcumin) supplements are available and are recommended for several health conditions.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, and its ability to reduce and control inflammation is the main reason it is used in medicine. Several studies have found that turmeric therapy successfully reduced inflammation associated with conditions such as arthritis, asthma, and heart disease.
Along with fighting inflammation, there are a number of benefits you can enjoy by adding turmeric to your life.
The neurons in your brain are capable of multiplying and forming a new connection long past childhood. Many brain diseases are linked to reduced levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a hormone responsible for that activity.
Curcumin has been found to boost levels of BDNF, which can, therefore, protect your brain from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
The reduction in inflammation and oxidative damage by turmeric helps to protect your heart. In addition to this, curcumin improves the function of your blood vessels, which reduces your risk of heart disease.
The uncontrollable growth of cells (cancer) is what makes the disease so unpredictable and a challenge to treat. As a natural alternative, turmeric has been used successfully to inhibit the growth of cancer cells at a molecular level.
This super spice can also reduce the metastasis of current cancer cells, which prevents cancer from spreading to different parts of the body.
Through the control of inflammation, turmeric supplements can help to relieve pain for inflammatory-related conditions such as arthritis.
Inflamed joints are difficult and painful to move, but turmeric therapy has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve mobility in those with rheumatoid arthritis. In some cases, turmeric relieves pain more effectively than the leading anti-inflammatory medications.
Improved Liver Function
The antioxidant properties of turmeric allow it to prevent oxidative damage to your cells and tissues. Because your liver is the organ most often exposed to toxins, because of its detoxification roles, oxidative damage is a major problem.
Turmeric helps to protect your liver from this damage, which ultimately improves its performance.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of turmeric allow it to protect your digestive system and promote healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. Inflammation is the main cause of increased gut permeability, which allows toxins to easily pass into the bloodstream.
In preventing this, turmeric helps to protect your body from the chronic inflammation that can result from these wandering toxins.
Enhanced Mental Health
Turmeric has been known to help with the treatment of depression, with improvement reported similar to those provided by leading antidepressants.
Because some antidepressants can come with unpleasant side effects, the use of turmeric may be a more beneficial approach to treating mental health diseases.
Fight Age-Related Diseases
Turmeric can improve your longevity because it can help to prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cancer. Your risk for these diseases increases as you get older, and the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric help to combat this.
For this reason, many have turned to turmeric as an anti-aging supplement.
The Negative Side of Turmeric
As beneficial as turmeric can be for your health, there are potential side effects that can be unpleasant. This is true for any treatment option or medication, but it is believed that turmeric is less dangerous than many prescriptions on the market.
Natural treatment supplements like turmeric carry less risk, but it is still important to be aware of the possible negative side effects.
The compounds within turmeric that help to aid digestion can also cause an upset stomach in certain individuals. Turmeric stimulates your stomach to produce more digestive acids so in large amounts can cause negative side effects for digestion.
The purifying properties of turmeric can cause you to bleed more easily, although scientists are not quite certain why this happens. Because turmeric is beneficial for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, it is important to be aware of the possibility of blood-thinning as well.
For those already taking blood-thinning medications, turmeric should be avoided unless your doctor has approved its use.
For pregnant women, large doses of turmeric can stimulate contractions. Combined with the blood-thinning effects, these early contractions could be problematic for pregnant women.
It is advised for those who are pregnant to avoid the larger doses of turmeric found in supplements and to opt for adding a little spice to your meals instead.
The Bottom Line
Turmeric has been proven to provide many health benefits. With regular supplements, you can boost your immune system, prevent chronic inflammation, support healthy digestion, and relieve pain naturally.
Along with the benefits, there can be negative side effects for some people, so you should always take care and consult your doctor if you wish to take turmeric for any health condition.