What are the side effects of Turmeric (Curcumin)?
Turmeric is a substance that is likely to be safe when taken orally or applied as an ointment to your skin for a period of up to eight months.
Turmeric does not normally result in any significant side effects, yet some people may suffer from nausea, dizziness, diarrhoea or an upset stomach.
There are a few special precautions and warnings that you may need to take into consideration should you have any of the below-mentioned conditions:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding – It is advised that you consult with your doctor if you are considering taking turmeric when pregnant or breastfeeding. Turmeric is likely to be safe when taken in small doses, such as the typical dosage added to food (roughly 1.4 grams). But, if you are taking turmeric for medicinal purposes during pregnancy, then this is not advised as turmeric may stimulate your uterus and result in miscarriage. There is no substantial evidence that notes the side effects of turmeric and breastfeeding, however, some experts may advise against the use of it until the substance is further explored in women who are breastfeeding.
- Gallbladder issues – Turmeric may result in conditions such as bile duct obstruction or gallstones worsening, because of this, the use of turmeric is not recommended if you have any issues with your gallbladder.
- Bleeding issues – Turmeric has been known to slow blood clotting, therefore, it is best that turmeric as a medicinal form of treatment be avoided when the substance is combined with blood thinning medications.
- Diabetes – Curcumin has been known to decrease blood sugar. If you suffer from diabetes, then it is advisable to speak to your doctor before taking turmeric (curcumin) as your blood sugar may drop too low.
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) – Although turmeric may be able to ease some stomach conditions such as indigestion and ulcerative colitis, it may cause stomach upset and nausea in some when taken in high doses. It can also aggravate GERD (chronic acid reflux). Although there are a number of studies that have focused on the benefits of turmeric, there is a lack of research focussing primarily on turmeric and acid reflux. Evidence of the proposed adverse effects of curcumin on the digestive tract is conflicting, as some research has shown that the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin have an effect in lowering acid and pepsin production in the stomach. Without any conclusive findings being available, it is best to err on the side of caution if you suffer from GERD and first discuss taking turmeric based supplements with your doctor.
- Hormone-sensitive disorders – Uterine fibroids, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometriosis may be affected by the medicinal use of turmeric as curcumin can mimic the effects of oestrogen. Bear in mind, turmeric has also been seen to possibly reduce the effects of oestrogen in some cancer cells that are hormone-sensitive. Until there is more known about the condition, it is advised that you use turmeric with caution if you suffer from any conditions that are hormone-sensitive.
- Infertility – Some experts believe that turmeric may lower levels of testosterone and even decrease sperm motility (movement), this may have an impact on fertility for men. If you are trying to conceive then speak to your doctor about the use of turmeric. owever
- Surgery – Due to turmeric’s ability to slow blood clotting, it is advised that you do not use it for at least two weeks before surgery so as to prevent excessive bleeding during and after surgery.
- Iron deficiency – Taking large amounts of turmeric has been noted to possibly prevent the absorption of iron. If you suffer from iron deficiency, then turmeric must be used with caution.
Possible interactions of turmeric
Some doctors advise against the use of turmeric in medicinal forms if you are using any of the below medications without first talking to your healthcare professional.
Medications that may interfere with medicinal forms of turmeric include:
- Blood-thinning drugs – Turmeric is able to raise your risk of bleeding and strengthen the effect of blood thinning medications. Some of these include:
- Clopidogrel (Plavix)
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
- Medications to reduce stomach acid – Turmeric may affect the action of certain drugs used to reduce stomach acid and increase the amount of stomach acid. Some of these drugs include:
- Famotidine (Pepcid)
- Cimetidine (Tagamet)
- Esomeprazole (Nexium)
- Ranitidine (Zantac)
- Lansoprazole (Prevacid)
- Omeprazole (Prilosec)
- Medications for diabetes – Turmeric can strengthen the effect of medications for diabetes and lower blood glucose levels and result in hypoglycaemia.