Pros and Cons of Turmeric: Is It as Great as You Have Heard?


Consuming turmeric has pros and cons, but the cons are typically in the form of turmeric supplements. Touted for its healing properties and antimicrobial effects, this golden spice provides a flavorful punch. 

From flavoring foods to fighting inflammation and improving some health conditions, including turmeric in your eating pattern can promote wellness. 

But turmeric also has side effects when used in excess, especially in supplement form. For people with certain health issues or who are on specific medications, caution should be taken. 

Pros and Cons of Turmeric Supplements


  1. Provides some vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, many of which are antioxidants that protect us from free-radical damage. The curcumin in turmeric can scavenge many different free radicals that harm our bodies.
  1. Fights inflammation that aids in the development of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. Curcumin has been shown to conquer this inflammation.
  1. Provides cancer benefits by slowing cancer growth and spread and also promoting cancer cell death.
  1. Relieves pain from knee osteoarthritis. A set dosage is unknown for this condition. In an investigation of ten studies totaling 1237 participants, 340 men, and 897 women, turmeric therapies ranged from 93.34 mg per day to 2 g per day. The average age of the subjects was 57 years.
  1. Lowered LDL (the bad one) cholesterol levels and triglycerides in some studies reviewed in a meta-analysis. Still, more research is needed to make a definite statement about its value. Again, the form of turmeric and dosage amounts need to be clarified.
  1. Contributes to relieving muscle soreness from exercising, facilitating recovery. 


  1. May cause iron deficiency. Despite containing iron, taking large amounts of turmeric may lead to iron deficiency because it binds to iron in the digestive tract and keeps it from being absorbed.

This concern has been observed in laboratory mice and in a personal account of a physician who took large amounts of supplemental turmeric (6 caplets daily) for osteoarthritis pain.

  1. Its blood thinning effect enhances the action of medications such as aspirin or coumadin, making it potentially unsafe for people who take them.
  1. Turmeric and curcumin supplements are unsafe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
  1. Stimulates bile production, making supplemental turmeric unadvisable for someone with gallstones. 

We advise checking with your healthcare provider before taking any supplement to ensure it is safe and you do not have any medical reason to avoid it. 

Consuming turmeric supplements can help increase antioxidant and polyphenol intake, promoting a decrease in inflammation and pain associated with osteoarthritis. 

Adding fresh or powdered turmeric spice to your foods is a safe delivery method. Due to its strong flavor, it’s unlikely excessive amounts will be consumed. 

pros and cons of turmeric infographic

A turmeric supplement study shows no side effects in healthy participants 

A 90-day study of 20 healthy people taking a supplement containing about 380 mg curcuminoids showed no adverse effects on their liver function tests at the conclusion of the trial. 

Note that this short-term study used a small dose of turmeric and excluded anyone with a health condition. This study doesn’t show any consequences of someone taking a turmeric supplement with a health condition. 

To learn more about the effect of turmeric supplements, a more extended trial period with more participants and varying supplement levels could prove beneficial. 

Effects for people with one or more chronic health conditions or who may take the supplement for a longer duration may differ. 

Who should not take turmeric supplements

Individuals who should avoid taking turmeric supplements include those on certain medications, including blood thinning agents like coumadin (warfarin) and aspirin. 

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid taking turmeric in supplement form because its safety in these populations has not been established. 

Those with gallstones should not take supplemental turmeric because it stimulates bile production. Caution should be taken for any disease that is present.

How much turmeric should you take?

Curcumin is usually found in turmeric supplements. According to the Joint United Nations and World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives and The European Food Safety Authority, Adequate Daily Intake or ADI of curcumin is considered 0-3 mg/kg of body weight.

For someone weighing 150 pounds taking 3 mg per kg, this would be 150/2.2 = 68 kg x 3 mg = 205 mg. 

Pros and Cons of Culinary Turmeric 

Turmeric enhances food flavors with an earthy taste. The intense flavor adds zest to tea, beans, rice, tuna, chicken, tofu, or egg salad. Depending on your tastebuds, the pungency of turmeric can be off-putting. 

This powder colors food with its yellow-orange hue, making it desirable in certain dishes. Using turmeric may help you avoid artificial food coloring or lower your sodium intake.

This golden spice exhibits some preservative and antimicrobial effects on breads, meats, and beans helping keep food safe to eat.

How to consume turmeric daily 

Curcumin is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) when used in commercial and home preparations. Various foods and beverages pair well with a sprinkle of turmeric powder or grated turmeric root. 

●     Soups

●     Teas

●     Milk

●     Salads

●     Deviled eggs

●     Bread

●     Casseroles

●     Smoothies

●     Main dishes

●     Sauces

○     Curry

○     Mustard

○     Mayonnaise

Further, this promising health-promoting pigment is labeled to be GRAS at amounts up to 20 mg of curcumin per serving. Adverse effects, though rare, can be observed in parts upwards of 8-12 grams/day.

What is turmeric made from? 

Turmeric (Curcuma longa L) comes from a naturally grown spice in the ginger family. Some know it as Indian saffron because of its golden color. The substance giving turmeric its health-healing prowess is curcumin, a polyphenol and bright orange plant pigment

Turmeric contains unstable oils, zingiberene, and turmerone, which have antispasmodic and antibacterial effects. This rhizomatic root spice also contains curcumin, which has antiplatelet and anti-inflammatory actions. 

How do you maximize the benefits of turmeric?

Because this spice’s bioavailability (ability to be absorbed into the bloodstream to reap value) is limited, absorption is increased by using turmeric with fat and black pepper. An ingredient in black pepper called piperine aids with absorption

Turmeric contains various vitamins and minerals; however, the amounts compared to our needs are negligible in quantities typically consumed. 

Because the curcumin in turmeric is fat soluble, enjoying this golden spice with fat helps with absorption too! 


The curcumin in turmeric does show promise of being beneficial for lowering cholesterol levels, pain relief from knee osteoarthritis, fighting inflammation, and several other health issues.  

The dosage and form of turmeric or curcumin used in studies varied and the type and amount needed for benefit remains unknown. If you enjoy turmeric, use it to flavor your food. Adding black pepper and oil to the dish will improve absorption. The small amount needed for flavoring is safe. 

Turmeric is safe to use in cooking, and if not taken excessively, curcumin is safe for most people in supplemental form.

+ posts

Stephanie Turkel is a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Texas. She has 30 plus years of experience in the nutrition field. She now takes her gained knowledge and shares it with you to explain science articles into easy-to-understand information.

+ posts

Grace Rivers, RDN, CDCES

Grace is a registered dietitian nutritionist residing in Texas. She has over 30 years of experience in nutrition. Grace loves translating science articles into easy-to-understand information for you.


error: Content is protected !!
Scroll to Top