Turmeric is perhaps the most researched dietary supplement in modern science. This powder maintained prominence for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine as a holistic approach to healing common ailments, while bringing very few side effects in the process.
Evidence continues to emerge, demonstrating that our ancestors may have been correct about the numerous health benefits of turmeric. Study after study has verified a wide variety of claims. As a result, we’ve witnessed the rapid emergence of turmeric supplements on store shelves worldwide.
What is the recommended turmeric dosage, and how much should you take per day to achieve maximum benefits? This article will explore daily dosing recommendations, safety, and more.
What is Turmeric Curcumin?
Turmeric powder is the primary spice in the Indian dish, curry. This powder derives from the ground-up roots of a species of ginger plant known as Curcuma longa. The curcumin content within turmeric provides the bright orange color as well as the majority of turmeric’s benefits. (1)
The problem is that turmeric powder only contains about 3% curcumin, which is the potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. When you’re buying a supplement, it should contain at least 150-250 mg of curcuminoids per serving to have any real positive effect. (2)
Another issue with turmeric is the poor bioavailability (absorption) into the bloodstream. The body struggles to make use of turmeric by itself without the help of bioavailability enhancers, such as piperine (black pepper). Piperine, usually in the form of trademarked ingredient BioPerine, significantly increases the absorption of turmeric.
Turmeric Benefits and Uses
Why do people use turmeric, and what are the health benefits? Curcumin’s therapeutic properties offer numerous practical uses in daily life. Here are several of the proven benefits.
- It Lowers Inflammation: Turmeric is an excellent all-natural anti-inflammatory. It helps reduce chronic inflammation associated with arthritis and joint pain, and skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. It also acts as an antihistamine and reduces asthma flare-ups, and may help manage back pain.
- It’s a Potent Antioxidant: Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that has demonstrated an ability to reduce oxidative stress throughout the body. Turmeric’s disease-fighting potential has shown promise as a complementary treatment for fibromyalgia symptoms and cancer.
- It’s Good for Heart Health: Studies show that curcumin can enhance vascular endothelial function, which typically declines with age. This attribute improves blood flow, which has shown beneficial effects for regulating blood pressure and lowering cholesterol levels.
- It Manages Weight: Researchers have discovered that turmeric has an innate ability to improve metabolic disorders by increasing insulin sensitivity and enhancing lipid metabolism. Thus, curcumin may be useful for people with diabetes or individuals trying to lose weight.
- It Enhances Brain Function: Curcumin has shown that it can preserve brain function in those with Alzheimer’s or dementia and also slow the progression of these diseases. Additional research shows that turmeric can improve brain health and even reduce symptoms of depression.
- It Supports Liver Health: The liver is the body’s central filtration system and is responsible for dispelling toxins from the body. Studies show that turmeric can assist the liver in its detoxification process, helping to cleanse the body of foreign substances.
- It Improves Digestion: Turmeric can also aid digestion if you struggle with certain inflammatory disorders. Curcumin can diminish uncomfortable symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, and constipation associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
How much turmeric should you take per day? Most studies use a turmeric dosage between 500-2,000 mg of curcumin per day. This dose comes in the form of an extract, which contains much higher concentrations of curcumin that you’d find in turmeric root powder or food.
Studies have shown that short term dosages as high as 8 grams are non-toxic to humans in clinical trials. While higher dosages may be useful, we do not recommend them for long-term use. Currently, there is not have enough data available to confirm safety or tolerability of such high dosages for extended periods.
The World Health Organization (WHO) deems 1.4 mg per pound (0–3 mg/kg) of body weight to be the recommended allowable daily intake (ADI) for curcumin. This amount should be a safe and tolerable dosage for the vast majority of users looking to reduce arthritis pain, lower inflammation, or improve overall health. (3)
Popular turmeric supplements often contain a mixture of 150-250 mg of curcumin per serving, with the rest of the capsule filled with turmeric root powder. Any product within this dosing range should be acceptable for daily use.
If you are looking for an encapsulated product for health benefits, keep the following tips in mind:
- Do not buy pure turmeric root powder unless the label discloses the exact curcumin content. Otherwise, you may not be getting enough curcumin to experience the full range of benefits.
- Do not buy a turmeric supplement unless it contains some form of black pepper extract to increase absorption and bioavailability.
How long does it take for turmeric to work?
How long do you need to take turmeric before noticing results? The answer depends on the reason you’re using a curcumin supplement. For example, turmeric starts to work almost immediately after taking it for improving overall health and providing temporary pain relief.
However, if you’re dealing with chronic inflammation or arthritis and joint pain, you need to stay consistent. It may take 2-4 weeks before noticing any improvement in the arthritic condition. To achieve maximum benefits, you need to remain on a steady dosing schedule for 4-8 weeks.
The results achieved also depend on many other factors, including activity levels, age, body mass, other medications, and the severity of the condition. Turmeric works well, but it’s essential to give curcumin time to build up in your system so it can reduce systemic inflammation.
Precautions and Adverse Effects
The side effects of turmeric are quite rare and usually moderate. Keep the following in mind when deciding on whether or not curcumin is right for you.
- Turmeric is a blood thinner which can increase the risk of bruising or bleeding. Discontinue use of curcumin at least two weeks before any surgery or if you are using anticoagulants.
- Be extra careful if you’re using turmeric for diabetes as it may cause blood sugar to drop too low.
- Turmeric may inhibit iron absorption. If you have an iron deficiency, you may want to avoid curcumin.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not use turmeric. There is not enough reliable evidence to confirm the safety of curcumin during pregnancy.
- Curcumin may also increase the risk of kidney stone formation and can worsen symptomology associated with gallbladder disease.
- In a small number of individuals using higher dosages, turmeric may cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, allergic reactions, or constipation.
Final Thoughts on Turmeric Curcumin Dosage Recommendations
The recommended turmeric dosage is between 500-2,000 mg of curcumin per day. This daily dose should be enough to yield significant health benefits to those who remain consistent with the supplement.
If you’re struggling with arthritis, inflammation, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or any other number of issues, turmeric may be able to help. Contact your doctor or primary care physician to see if curcumin can improve your condition.