What is curcumin?
Curcumin is a yellow-colored substance found in turmeric root. You might be more familiar with turmeric as the spice that gives many curries their bright-yellow color. Curcumin has been shown to decrease swelling (inflammation) and relieve occasional soreness.*
Should I consider taking a curcumin dietary supplement?
Curcumin appears to offer several health benefits. Research supports its use as an antioxidant.* Curcumin dietary supplements often are used to help relieve occasional aches and soreness.*
Be aware that not all curcumin is well-absorbed. Research suggests that curcumin that is bound to phospholipids, called a phytosome, has enhanced absorption and results in increased blood levels of curcumin. This means you can take less to receive the same benefits.
What are the dietary sources of curcumin?
The plant turmeric, which is used as a spice in cooking and is a constituent of curry powder, is the major source of curcumin. Turmeric powder is about three-percent curcumin, so if you regularly consume curry, you are receiving some of curcumin's health benefits. Higher amounts are available in dietary supplements.
How can curcumin affect my health?
Supplemental curcumin can benefit you in several ways:
- Helps maintain a healthy inflammatory response in various parts of the body*
- Provides antioxidant support*
- Provides support for joint, eye, GI tract, liver, prostate and nerve health*
- Provides relief from occasional soreness*
How much curcumin should I take?
- If you are taking unmodified curcumin, the general recommended amount is 3,000 to 12,000 mg daily (3-12 grams).
- If you are taking curcumin bound to a phytosome such as Meriva, the recommended amount can be 500 to 2,000 mg daily as this form is more easily absorbed.
Are there any side effects from taking a curcumin dietary supplement?
Studies of curcumin generally have shown it to be well-tolerated, even at high doses (up to 8,000 mg a day). However, doses of more than 6,000 milligrams a day can cause mild GI discomfort, such as gas and loose or yellow stools. If you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, stop taking curcumin and seek medical attention.
Is it safe to take a curcumin dietary supplement with other medications?
Curcumin can interact with various medications. It may:
- Increase the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) for individuals on an anti-diabetes drug
- Increase the risk of bleeding if used with a blood-thinning medication (anticoagulant), such as aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) and others
- Interact with the drugs talinolol and sulfasalzine (Azulfidine EN-tabs)
- Interact with certain chemotherapy drugs
If you are considering taking a curcumin dietary supplement, check with your health care professional first, especially if you are pregnant or have a health condition.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
July 26, 2016
See more In-depth
- Turmeric. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed March 9, 2016.
- Nagpal M, et al. Journal of Natural Science Biology and Medicine. 2013;4(1):3.
- Aggarwa B, et al. The International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. 2009;41:40.
- Henrotin Y, et al. SpringPlus. 2013;2:56. http://www.springerplus.com/content/2/1/56. Accessed March 9, 2016.
- Belcaro G, et al. Alternative Medicine Review. 2010;15(4):337.
- Bauer BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., March 21, 2016.
- Di Pierro F. et al. Journal of Pain Research. 2013;6:497.