Who Shouldn’t Consume Curcumin or Turmeric?

Who Shouldn’t Consume Curcumin or Turmeric?
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Just because something is natural and plant-based doesn’t mean it’s necessarily safe. Those who are pregnant, have gallstones, or are susceptible to kidney stones may want to moderate their turmeric consumption.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Following flax and wheatgrass, turmeric is the third best-selling botanical dietary supplement, racking up $12 million in sales, and increasing at a rate of about 20%.

“Curcumin is…a natural plant product extracted from [turmeric] root,” used commonly as a “food additive popular for its [pleasant] mild aroma and exotic yellow color,” considered “[un]likely to cause side effects.” Just because something is natural, though, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not toxic. Strychnine is natural; cyanide is natural. Lead, mercury, and plutonium are all elements—can’t get more natural than that. But, turmeric is just a plant. Plants can’t be dangerous. Tell that to Socrates.

“In considering the validity of the widely accepted notion that [complementary and alternative medicine] is a safer approach to therapy we must remind ourselves and our patients that a therapy that exerts a biologic[al] effect is, by definition, a drug, and can have toxicity. It cannot be assumed that diet-derived agents will be innocuous when administered as pharmaceutical formulations at doses likely to exceed those consumed in the diet…”

Traditional Indian diets may include as much as a teaspoon of turmeric a day, which is the equivalent of about this much fresh turmeric root. If you look at the doses of turmeric that have been used in human studies, they range from less then a 1/16th of a teaspoon a day, up to about two tablespoons a day, for over a month—whereas the curcumin trials have used up to the amount found in cups of the spice, around 100 times more than what curry lovers have been eating for centuries.

Still, without overt serious side effects in the short-term, at least. But, if you combine both high-dose curcumin with black pepper for that 2,000% bioavailability boost, that could be like consuming the equivalent of 29 cups of turmeric a day. That kind of intake could bring peak blood levels up around here, where you start seeing some significant DNA damage in vitro, at least.

So, just incorporating turmeric into our cooking may be better than taking curcumin supplements, especially during pregnancy. The only other contraindication cited in the most recent review was the potential to trigger gallbladder pain in people with gallstones.

If anything, curcumin may help protect liver function, and help prevent gallstones, by acting as a “cholecystokinetic agent”—meaning it facilitates the pumping action of the gallbladder, to keep the bile from stagnating. In this study, they gave people a small dose of curcumin, about the amount found in like a quarter-teaspoon of turmeric, and using ultrasound, were able to visualize the gallbladder squeezing down in response, with an average change in volume of about 29%.

Optimally, though, you’d want to like squeeze it in half, so they repeated the experiment with different doses. And, it took about 40 milligrams to get a 50% contraction. That’s about a third of a teaspoon of turmeric every day. On one hand, that’s great—totally doable. But, on the other hand, I’m thinking, wow, that’s some incredibly powerful stuff. What if you had a gallbladder obstruction? If you had a stone blocking your bile duct, and you eat something like that, that makes your gallbladder squeeze down hard, that could hurt like heck! So, patients with biliary tract obstruction should be careful about consuming curcumin. But, for everyone else, these results suggest that curcumin can effectively induce the gallbladder to empty, and thereby reduce the risk of gallstone formation in the first place, and ultimately, perhaps, even gallbladder cancer.

Too much turmeric, though, may increase the risk of kidney stones. As I mentioned in a previous video, turmeric is high in soluble oxalates, which can bind to calcium, and form insoluble calcium oxalate, which is responsible for approximately three-quarters of all kidney stones. So, “the consumption of [even] moderate amounts of turmeric would not be recommended for people with a tendency to form kidney stones.” Such folks should “restrict the consumption of total dietary oxalate to less than 40 to 50 mg/day,” which means no more than, at most, a teaspoon of turmeric. So, for example, those with gout are, by definition, it appears, at high risk for kidney stones. And so, if their doctor wanted to treat gout inflammation with high-dose turmeric, then that’s where curcumin supplements might come into play, because to reach high levels of curcumin in turmeric form would incur too much of an oxalate load.

If one is prescribed a supplement, how do you choose? The latest review recommends purchasing from Western suppliers that follow recommended Good Manufacturing Practices, which may decrease the likelihood of our buying an adulterated product.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to SavagecatsViosplatterWallygh-bomb and Cizauskas via flickr, and Andy king50 via Wikimedia. Thanks to Ellen Reid for her image-finding expertise, and Jeff Thomas for his Keynote help.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Following flax and wheatgrass, turmeric is the third best-selling botanical dietary supplement, racking up $12 million in sales, and increasing at a rate of about 20%.

“Curcumin is…a natural plant product extracted from [turmeric] root,” used commonly as a “food additive popular for its [pleasant] mild aroma and exotic yellow color,” considered “[un]likely to cause side effects.” Just because something is natural, though, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not toxic. Strychnine is natural; cyanide is natural. Lead, mercury, and plutonium are all elements—can’t get more natural than that. But, turmeric is just a plant. Plants can’t be dangerous. Tell that to Socrates.

“In considering the validity of the widely accepted notion that [complementary and alternative medicine] is a safer approach to therapy we must remind ourselves and our patients that a therapy that exerts a biologic[al] effect is, by definition, a drug, and can have toxicity. It cannot be assumed that diet-derived agents will be innocuous when administered as pharmaceutical formulations at doses likely to exceed those consumed in the diet…”

Traditional Indian diets may include as much as a teaspoon of turmeric a day, which is the equivalent of about this much fresh turmeric root. If you look at the doses of turmeric that have been used in human studies, they range from less then a 1/16th of a teaspoon a day, up to about two tablespoons a day, for over a month—whereas the curcumin trials have used up to the amount found in cups of the spice, around 100 times more than what curry lovers have been eating for centuries.

Still, without overt serious side effects in the short-term, at least. But, if you combine both high-dose curcumin with black pepper for that 2,000% bioavailability boost, that could be like consuming the equivalent of 29 cups of turmeric a day. That kind of intake could bring peak blood levels up around here, where you start seeing some significant DNA damage in vitro, at least.

So, just incorporating turmeric into our cooking may be better than taking curcumin supplements, especially during pregnancy. The only other contraindication cited in the most recent review was the potential to trigger gallbladder pain in people with gallstones.

If anything, curcumin may help protect liver function, and help prevent gallstones, by acting as a “cholecystokinetic agent”—meaning it facilitates the pumping action of the gallbladder, to keep the bile from stagnating. In this study, they gave people a small dose of curcumin, about the amount found in like a quarter-teaspoon of turmeric, and using ultrasound, were able to visualize the gallbladder squeezing down in response, with an average change in volume of about 29%.

Optimally, though, you’d want to like squeeze it in half, so they repeated the experiment with different doses. And, it took about 40 milligrams to get a 50% contraction. That’s about a third of a teaspoon of turmeric every day. On one hand, that’s great—totally doable. But, on the other hand, I’m thinking, wow, that’s some incredibly powerful stuff. What if you had a gallbladder obstruction? If you had a stone blocking your bile duct, and you eat something like that, that makes your gallbladder squeeze down hard, that could hurt like heck! So, patients with biliary tract obstruction should be careful about consuming curcumin. But, for everyone else, these results suggest that curcumin can effectively induce the gallbladder to empty, and thereby reduce the risk of gallstone formation in the first place, and ultimately, perhaps, even gallbladder cancer.

Too much turmeric, though, may increase the risk of kidney stones. As I mentioned in a previous video, turmeric is high in soluble oxalates, which can bind to calcium, and form insoluble calcium oxalate, which is responsible for approximately three-quarters of all kidney stones. So, “the consumption of [even] moderate amounts of turmeric would not be recommended for people with a tendency to form kidney stones.” Such folks should “restrict the consumption of total dietary oxalate to less than 40 to 50 mg/day,” which means no more than, at most, a teaspoon of turmeric. So, for example, those with gout are, by definition, it appears, at high risk for kidney stones. And so, if their doctor wanted to treat gout inflammation with high-dose turmeric, then that’s where curcumin supplements might come into play, because to reach high levels of curcumin in turmeric form would incur too much of an oxalate load.

If one is prescribed a supplement, how do you choose? The latest review recommends purchasing from Western suppliers that follow recommended Good Manufacturing Practices, which may decrease the likelihood of our buying an adulterated product.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to SavagecatsViosplatterWallygh-bomb and Cizauskas via flickr, and Andy king50 via Wikimedia. Thanks to Ellen Reid for her image-finding expertise, and Jeff Thomas for his Keynote help.

Doctor's Note

This is the last installment of a six-part video series on the power of spices in general, and turmeric in particular. I started out discussing the role spices play in squelching inflammation and free radicals in Which Spices Fight Inflammation? and Spicing Up DNA Protection. Then, out of the lab into the clinic, with attempts to test the ability of turmeric extracts to treat joint inflammation with Turmeric Curcumin & Rheumatoid Arthritis and Turmeric Curcumin & Osteoarthritis. My last video, Boosting the Bioavailability of Curcumin, discussed ways to improve the absorption of these anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.

I wish there were more science on wheatgrass. I just had that one unhelpful anecdote in my video How Much Broccoli Is Too Much? There is good science on flax, though. See:

More on gallbladder health can be found in my video Cholesterol Gallstones. And, those who are susceptible to kidney stones should try to alkalinize their urine by eating lots of dark green leafy vegetables (but then, shouldn’t we all :). See Testing Your Diet with Pee & Purple Cabbage.

Based on this new science on turmeric (lots more to come!), I now try to include it in my family’s daily diet.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

118 responses to “Who Shouldn’t Consume Curcumin or Turmeric?

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  1. Thank you for alerting the masses to this.

    Same goes for LUPUS patients and garlic. Just because it is natural does not mean it is wise to ingest. John Hopkins Lupus Center, from what I am told, advises those with LUPUS to avoid garlic in all shapes and forms. Makes one wonder what else that is natural and used in the diet to spice up food that might actually be causing issues, not just in LUPUS, but in those with other autoimmune diseases/disorders. Potatoes and tomatoes cause me far more joint pain and arthritus then many meat based products. Not a free pass to eat meat and eggs and milk and all, but that little tomato and baked potato are natural, and they seem to naturally cause a lot of people intense pain.




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    1. Funny, because my symptoms of Lupus disappeared with a gluten free diet, also was allergic to eggs. Once I removed these things from the menu my health returned 100%.




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    2. Both tomatoes and potatoes are from the nightshade family and are suggested to be eliminated from the fibromyalgia diet – perhaps this holds true with arthritis as well.




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  2. Now he tells me, right after I ate cheez grits with turmeric and lots of black pepper! :-) I wasn’t aware of the oxalic acid in turmeric (sorry, kidneys). I promise I won’t do this every day.




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    1. I am sure you did no harm, unless you have a propensity for kidney stones, if no, then you do your kidneys no damage, unless of course, you OVERLOAD.




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  3. Should someone who consumes cinnamon in an oats mix in the morning and turmeric in dal for lunch ought to be concerned here? The both are high oxalate. Thanks.




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    1. What Dr Gregor should have mentioned is that calcium oxalate only tend to be problematic in individuals with high consumption of the oxalate and relative low consumption of dietary vitamin C. If you’re eating a whole foods plant diet, you’re likely getting at least 300-400mg of vitamin C daily. This is a strong preventative for the buildup of any calcium oxalate stones.




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  4. Dr. Greger: Having heard that turmeric can prevent memory problems, I eat a lot of turmeric powder in my meals, maybe .25 to .5 teaspoon a day most days each week. I don’t usually cook it. I sprinkle it on after the food is heated up, with ground black peppercorns and cumin. I have no gall or kidney stone issues. You mentioned turmeric is high in oxalates which bind with calcium. I have osteopenia and have been told to limit consumption of foods high in oxalates, such as spinach, as they bind to calcium and prevent absorption of calcium into the blood. Does eating lots of turmeric therefore also contribute to bone loss? After a recent bone density test 2 years after the last one (of 3 over several years), my rate of bone loss significantly accelerated much more than usual. During those 2 years I upped my turmeric intake, and I was also on Lexapro and thought the high rate of bone loss was due to the Lexapro (there are studies that indicate SSRI’s can cause bone loss). But now I wonder if too much turmeric could have caused it. What do you know about turmeric and its oxalates and bone loss? Should I reduce the amount of it that I eat, and if so, to how much? Should I reduce or stop the black peppercorns with the turmeric? And does it matter if the turmeric powder is cooked or not? Thank you!




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    1. It should probably be mentioned that the oxalate is often times already bound to calcium in the food. This is why spinach is considered a “poor” source of calcium despite being high in calcium… it’s all bound to oxalate already. It’s not really leaching it out of your bones or anything.




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      1. I believe you have to consume vitamin c with the spinach in order to absorb the calcium in it. Lemon juice on your salad or mandarin oranges are yummy! God’s Rx for a proper diet is whole food, plant based. Pray & ask Him for guidance & wisdom in caring for your body, His temple




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    2. taking so much turmeric without boiling/cooking has a little use. The stomach can’t digest its hard fiber if taken raw,Half teaspoon as day boiled in milk or food is enough.

      Turmeric grower (Pakistan)




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    3. use magnesium and you’ll be okay ,it is more important than calcium to bone health and always remember “balance”




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    4. Have you looked at information available on FB through Tumeric User Group? I just started making the suggested tumeric ‘paste’. There is a tremendous amount interesting potential if consumed correctly. And be careful not to consume too much curcumin extract as it has been known to lead to kidney stones and liver problems :(. Good luck :)




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    5. Vitamin K2 (NOT K1) is critical to your absorption of calcium and magnesium. The bottom line – vitamin K is the “key” that unlocks the door from your bloodstream to let calcium flow into your bones and bone marrow.* The levels of vitamin D3 may need to be increased as well as magnesium levels. Please check out this link for more information. http://products.mercola.com/vitamin-k/ You can watch the video with Dr. Mercola. This is critical for you.




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    6. Vitamin K2 (NOT K1) is critical to your absorption of calcium and magnesium. The bottom line – vitamin K is the “key” that unlocks the door from your bloodstream to let calcium flow into your bones and bone marrow.* The levels of vitamin D3 may need to be increased as well as magnesium levels. Please check out this link for more information. http://products.mercola.com/vitamin-k/ You can watch the video with Dr. Mercola. This is critical for you.




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  5. After all these videos on turmeric, I wondered if we would find out that it was bad for us. Remember cinnamon and excessive bleeding? I’m glad you covered this topic. Thankfully, I can continue eating curry as often as I want. Thank you for your help.




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    1. I hear that cinnamon should not be consumed but for medicinal purposes only! This means that we should not use it to bake or cook with, and nutmeg can be deadly, it’s an hallucinogen!




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      1. Your body if you have NO gallbladder. I wonder what sort of issues it can cause if you have had gallbladder removed. I always read that if you have gallblader problems not to use turmeric. If you do mot have is it the same issue?




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  6. Thank you so much. I was overdosing a little bit on turmeric (maybe close to a tablespoon a day) for a couple of weeks. I developed loose stools that even woke me up one night and a very itchy rash on different areas of my body. Luckily I spoke to a health conscious friend and then read you writings on Tumeric. Everything cleared up when I let go of the Turmeric.




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  7. Dr. Greger: Having heard that turmeric can prevent memory problems, I eat a lot of turmeric powder in my meals, maybe .25 to .5 teaspoon a day most days each week. I don’t usually cook it. I sprinkle it on after the food is heated up, with ground black peppercorns and cumin. I have no gall or kidney stone issues. You mentioned turmeric is high in oxalates which bind with calcium. I have osteopenia and have been told to limit consumption of foods high in oxalates, such as spinach, as they bind to calcium and prevent absorption of calcium into the blood. Does eating lots of turmeric therefore also contribute to bone loss? After a recent bone density test 2 years after the last one (of 3 over several years), my rate of bone loss significantly accelerated much more than usual. During those 2 years I upped my turmeric intake, and I was also on Lexapro and thought the high rate of bone loss was due to the Lexapro (there are studies that indicate SSRI’s can cause bone loss). But now I wonder if too much turmeric could have caused it. What do you know about turmeric and its oxalates and bone loss? Should I reduce the amount of it that I eat, and if so, to how much? Should I reduce or stop the black peppercorns with the turmeric? And does it matter if the turmeric powder is cooked or not? Thank you!




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    1. Hi,

      So according to various indian specialists on the subject turmeric should actually help prevent osteoporosis. A quick google search revealed that many seem to be reporting this.

      I guess check it out.




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  8. The list of things that contain oxalate is long. One possible solution is to ensure plenty of calcium (green leafies) with every meal. Chew well. The dietary calcium will bind up the oxalate and pass through you, not into you. Of course this means compensating for the the calcium loss by eating a bit more calcium-rich foods.




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  9. Glad you covered this. People who consume a plant-based diet and who are prone to kidney stones need to be especially careful because much of our diet is high in oxalates. Kale, collards, nuts, beans, chocolate, beets, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, black tea, cherries, all the good stuff. Need to offset it with lots of water with lemon added.

    QUESTION- did the video state that for those prone to kidney stones (or gout), supplementation with curcumin is fine but dietary consumption of tumeric needs to be watched? That’s confusing to me. Did I miss something?




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  10. I have a propensity for kidney stones. The first one that I had (or at least
    realized that it was a kidney stone) sent me to the ER. Fortunately it was done and over with within a few hours. (Yes, I did collect the stone,
    so I know that was the problem. It was determined to be of the calcium oxalatevariety.) That was about 12 years ago. Since then, I’ve experienced stoneson average about twice a year. Fortunately, they are way less intense than the “ER” stone event;however, they are longer in duration. Sometimes a day or two.

    At any rate, I started turmeric capsules (one a day) about nine months ago with the understanding that I could increase the frequency or intensity or both of my kidney stones; however, I wanted to see if it could
    help with some joint pain. I know my case is an “n” of one, but I’m happy to report I have had NO stone issues since I’ve started the turmeric. The flare-ups, so far, seem less frequent. I guess every body is different.




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    1. Hi tedster,
      Your diet needs to be alkaline. We need to eat lots of acid
      foods for their many health benefits, but we also need to eat
      plenty of alkaline foods to offset the acid.
      See if you can find an acid/alkaline chart somewhere on the internet, or ask this site for a link.




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      1. Hi Liz-
        I did drop out all processed treats and reduced the processed food in my
        diet about a year ago. In addition, I’ve been adding two big kale
        leaves or a green power to my smoothie every day. Finally, I’m always
        well hydrated. Maybe this tipped the balance toward reducing the kidney
        stones. Apparently enough so that I can tolerate 1 capsule/day of
        turmeric.




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    2. I had the same kind of stones very frequently for a while. Finally, the 5th doc I went to tested a reflex (somewhere around the ankle, I think) that shows if one is magnesium deficient. I was. After beginning supplementing with 500 mg of mag per day, I didn’t have any more stones. To avoid the runs, I use Magnesium Glycinate. When I was having the stones, an acupuncturist provided me with a treatment that helped break them up for easier passage – Standard Process Phosfood (which is just a liquid phosphorus supplement, and half of a Coca Cola (Pepsi won’t work). It helped quickly, every time. If you hate Coke, you can add lemon juice, which cuts the sweetness quite a bit and overshadows the rest of the ick. :-/)




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  11. Apparently curcumin can contribute to the oxidative stress in acute vitiligo and prevent repigmentation. Therefore, dermatologists and other doctors treating patients with this disease are aware of this possible problem. Turmeric is a widely used ingredient in curry, it can contribute to oxidative stress in asian people with vitiligo.




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  12. I’m a healthy person with no known kidney stone issues, and I’d like to put some turmeric in my smoothie every day to take advantage of its beneficial properties. Please tell me if I’ve gleaned the proper guidelines from the articles:
    – Try not to use more than one teaspoon per day of turmeric, to avoid getting too many soluble oxcylates that might promote kidney stones.
    – It’s ok to put in some black pepper in to increase the bioavailability of the curcumin, since doing so does not increase the potentially harmful effects of turmeric.
    Thanks!




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    1. I do one teaspoon of turmeric with a little pepper in my fruit/veggie smoothie. But I heat treat it first. Heat it up in whatever liquid I am using, almond milk or water. Then just cool it down (I put it in the freezer for a few minutes) before putting it in the blender. I also use it as a dressing base in my salads. I add ground up flax and pumpkin seeds to it, mix it up, spread it over my salad.




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  13. Questions (sorry to be off-topic):
    1) Is it true that if one consumes horseradish on top of steamed broccoli, one gets all the benefits of raw broccoli, but without the goitrogens? (ie, the myrosinase in the horseradish will hydrolyze and release the glucosinolates). Or is this wrong?
    2) Is it better and more healthy to use balsamic vinegar on one’s salad or a small amount of oil?
    Many thanks,
    DH




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    1. I’m not sure about horseradish with steamed broccoli–it seems like having a high enough iodine intake would offset any goitrogens from broccoli according to Dr. Greger’s video on raw cruciferous veggies: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/overdosing-on-greens/

      See also: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-best-detox/

      Balsamic vinegar is helpful according to Dr. Greger’s video (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/is-vinegar-good-for-you/). Apparently it slows down or stops a sugar spike after a meal. Taking two teaspoons of it as a dressing should be all it takes.

      As for oil, it looks like nuts are the way to get it. Check out this video: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/extra-virgin-olive-oil-vs-nuts/




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  14. As a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine I use turmeric but it is contraindicated in pregnancy. We put it in a formula. It is never given as a single herb.




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    1. What can I do to even out my body? I had to have my kidney removed because it kept making so many stones, at one point, I had over 30 stones in my right kidney. So far, they have not found that the left one makes stones. But, they already had to remove my gallbladder due to stones back in 1985, and my kidney was removed in 2005. I was trying to eat turmeric a while back because I am having some memory loss problems due to taking Gabapentin for nueropathy problems and neck problems too (nerve problems). Since I cannot really eat the turmeric then what can I eat. I had one nutrition person tell me not to drink any milk and not to eat brocolli. I just do not know what to eat any more.
      Then my kidney doctor said he wants me to limit my intake of fluid per day, to not over work the remaining left kidney. But, then my regular doctor said no, that she wants me to drink 10 glasses of water a day, while the kidney doctor said he wants all liquid counted and he wants me to not drink more than 32 oz per day. I get so confused with all of these doctors and their conflicting advice. Please any advice on what to eat would be very helpful. I am also diabetic but am only on metformin 850X3. last A1c was just under 700.




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  15. Is there less of a problem consuming curcumin supplement 500mg daily…versus the Tumeric? I have Wegeners granulomatosis and am taking for anti inflammatory purposes. No gallbladder and thus far no kidney stones…have had gout in the past prior to going plant based diet.




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    1. One advantage of the curcuminoid extracts that has gone unmentioned is that they will contain almost no oxalic acid (the turmeric compound with kidney stone concerns). The major disadvantage, as far as I can tell, is that there’s relatively little experience with the higher curcumin levels in humans.

      Very high curcumin doses are associated with liver pathologies in animal models (1, 2, 3), but I haven’t seen any case reports in humans. I suspect, like green tea extracts, it acts as a hormetin, so it probably isn’t wise to ingest handfuls of the extract.




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  16. Please let me know if I have missed the proportion of turmeric and black pepper to make my own supplement capsule. I believe this would be a more affordable option. I have read through the discussion and did not see this info. Perhaps I missed. If not, Dr. Greger, please answer. What amount (by teaspoon) per capsule and how many capsules a day for a healthy person? Thank you.




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  17. Thank you for your work of excellence.

    What about someone who only has one kidney? Is there any risks in consuming turmeric mainly through diet?

    Thank you.




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    1. Just learning about this. If I’m suffering from an ulcer I am assuming that turmeric supplements are off limits. Was using it for hip and finger pain. Am I correct in this assumption?




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  18. I would like to know if I should take turmeric,along with black pepper so it is digested?In your previous video you explain that black pepper suppresses the liver converting fat soluble substances into water soluble ones.,I have mercury poisoning and the suppression of liver function doesn’t sound good to me.Please advise.thank you




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  19. Hello there ! First congratulations on your new hires and growth. I hope you get some more than deserved time off soon. My question is about “t-Curcuma extract (sp)”. For really bad knees/pain I read that “2g’s” daily should help. I am hoping you can give me a couple of names (not asking you to endorse any), just want to know they make the real thing. Any and all help is greatly appreciated, in peace, Lynda Whitney




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  20. Dr. Greger, isn’t the association of gout and kidney stones particular only to the case for uric acid stones (5% of stones), which are caused from too many purines and not the majority of stones that are a type due to too much oxalates? If true this would throw off any concern/connection of gout when considering oxalates – since gout like uric acid stones is also caused from too much uric acid production in the body. Or am I wrong? Thanks, Greg




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  21. Dear Dr. Greger,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3voRIi88LtQ#t=2873

    According to the above Youtube video (which is in English of course), flax seed daily consumption causes in the long-term an allergic response, as the human body is not build to sustain such quantities of protein.
    Thus not giving the immune system a rest and developing significant allergies & autoimmune diseases.
    Please watch the attached lecture and revert back with your professional opinion.
    Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.




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  22. Thank you for your work. It’s great. I have been drinking Golden Milk (1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp black pepper, 1/4 tsp ginger and 1 tsp ashwaganda with soy milk, liquid stevia, olive oil and vanilla) daily for 8 months for arthritis. It has completely eliminated arthritic pain in my thumb which comes back only if I stop taking the drink. I had had this arthritic pain for years. Should I take a drug holiday from this mixture occasionally or is it ok to take everyday? I have no other health problems, no kidney or gall bladder stones at 63 years of age. I am vegan and take no meds.




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  23. Dear Dr. Greger,

    So if one has been diagnosed with symptomatic gallstones, should they avoid contracting the gall bladder? Specially, limiting curry and turmeric? Also, I read somewhere that it only takes around 10g of fat (I assume per meal) to make the gall bladder contract, so I would it also be advisable to limit fat per meal below 10g? Or would contracting the gall bladder (assuming one doesn’t have an obstructed bile duct) actually improve the gall bladder health and symptoms over time?

    Thanks a lot and I am enjoying your site.

    Marcus




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  24. I just blundered upon this video regarding turmeric and kidney stones. I had been plagued with kidney stones for over eight years. I have had annual x-rays to monitor them. I have consumed a lot of spinach and turmeric during this time. My stones stayed essentially static in size and numbers despite this consumption. About two years ago I switched to a very compliant whole foods plant based diet. Last month my annual urologist visit revealed only one 3mm stone. I believe that the decline in my kidney stones was due to the elimination of animal products from my diet, and that the consumption of turmeric and spinach had little to no effect.




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  25. Is it better to consume Turmeric Root or Turmeric Powder?
    How much root compares to a teaspoon of powder?
    How much black pepper/say/with a teaspoon of Turmeric?
    How much black pepper with comparable Root?

    Thanks much!!!! Love all your recommendations; Turmeric is a very good “story”.

    All the best,

    DWK




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  26. It sounds like you don’t need an isolated curcumin extract in order to get the max benefits without inducing oxalate buildup. Can’t you simply take the recommended dose (1tsp/day) with black pepper to absorb 20x the amount of curcumin?




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    1. “Those who are pregnant, have gallstones, or are susceptible to kidney stones may want to moderate their turmeric consumption. If you look at the doses of turmeric that have been used in human studies, they range from less then just a 16th of a teaspoon a day up two tablespoons a day for over a month. Whereas the curcumin trials have used up to the amount found in cups of the spice, around 100 times more than what curry lovers have been eating for centuries.” So anywhere from 1tsp-2TBS per day I think is safe pending you are not experiencing the above. Always great to ask your doctor, too.




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      1. Assuming if lets say a person thinks he is normal and he is not aware that he has illness that is not suitable for turmeric comsumption, what is the safest/lowest turmeric dosage that is suitable for him/everyone and not cause harmful effects? Thanks




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  27. I’ve been putting a quarter teaspoon of Amla (Indian Gooseberry) powder and a half to a full teaspoon of ground tumeric in my green tea at 170 degrees. Feeling fine, sleeping well. Very regular digestion.




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  28. Can someone who uses cortsiol substition for addison disease take turmeric? Or would it decrease the cortisol that is artificially taken?

    I read that it can decrease the effects of cortisol, my question is if this is because it reduces cortisol itself?




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  29. So many of you are “slicing, dicing, dissecting and parsing” each of the potential components of diabetes and obesity that Dr. Greger discussed in this video.

    You all need to read “Whole” by eminent biochemist and nutritional scientist Dr. T. Colin Campbell, in which he talks about reductionist scientific “research” – you all are not seeing the forest for the trees; read “Whole”, and you will understand what I am referring to.




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  30. a juice place near me sells 1 oz. “shots” of turmeric juice. I have no idea what this translates to in terms of turmeric powder. Would drinking this daily cause any harm?




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  31. I notice in the comments hear a few people say that turmeric has caused an itchy skin rash. I used to have horrific itchy skin, beat it through diet, went 4 years of ‘normal’ nights (no itching or scratching, normal sleep) and then last year I started to itch and scratch again in isolated areas, no where near to the extent that I used to but enough to interfere with my life. Having read that people connect turmeric with an itchy rash I may just have my answer! I started to use turmeric last year because of it’s famed anti-inflammatory problems. I have a load of food to eat which I prepared last night which DOES contain turmeric. I won’t throw it away because it’s good food which cost me a lot of money and took me a long time to prepare. However, once it is eaten I will try life without turmeric for a few weeks and see if the itchy rash goes away. If it does then I have my answer. But here’s my question, does anyone know WHY turmeric causes this reaction in some people? What is the science behind it? Thanks, Alan




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  32. I have a friend starting on tumeric tabs, he has had kidney stones, it was made up of calcium, is it still safe for him to take, and he’s on statin seeing had a heart attack and had a stint put in, he is going to remove statin tablets (Crestor) once he is on gp. Is there anything he should be aware of?




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  33. From your video, it seems like too much turmeric is not good. What is the lowest dosage that is suitable? I intend to take turmeric tablets, what brand would you recommend? Thanks




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  34. Have there been any studies about the effects of taking turmeric on blood uric acid levels? I have had gout attacks apparently triggered by taking turmeric tablets and I am told of another’s experience with an increase in blood uric acid that seemed to follow from taking turmeric.

    It would seem to be fairly easy to do a clinical study to determine whether this apparent relationship is real in all, or perhaps only a subset of the population.




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  35. Is it recommended to take tumeric if you DO NOT have a gall bladder?

    Or if you are on a medication where there cod be side effects like prograf?

    Thank you!




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  36. Blending tumeric with Calcium supplement in Green Smoothie , might that neutralise some of the oxalate? Find no paper on this topic.




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  37. Could taking turmeric CAUSE gallstones? I have been taking a few capsules a day for the last six months for joint pain (with great success), and suddenly these past two weeks I’ve had horrible nausea and chest pain. I’m headed to the doc this Wednesday. I thought combined with the joint pain it meant I must have lupus, but now that I see this I’m wondering if the turmeric caused problems with my gallbladder! I guess I will find out soon…




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    1. Hi Lauren,

      I was wondering what you found out at your doctor visit. Did you ever find any information that might suggest a correlation between too much turmeric causing problems with your gallbladder?




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  38. Can you please advise me on taking turmeric for my arthritis. I’m 76 yrs old with chronic arthritis, taking tramadol & Paracetemol daily. I also take 100mg levothyroxine as I’ve had 7/8ths thyroidectomy. I had my gallbladder removed 3yrs ago & last year developed Bile Acid Malabsorption & taking Loperamide as needed plus taking Lansoprozole for a hiatus hernia. Thank you




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  39. I hope someone with extensive experience can help. My father (65 years old) has been following this diet for the last 5 years. He is a type 2 diabetic and lost over 40 pounds, dramatically changing his lifestyle. He never drinks, or smokes, and eats a low oil, plant, vegan mostly indian based diet. He takes Vitamin D and B 12. He’s the healthiest guy I know. He stopped taking his diabetes meds.

    Last week he fell and shattered his shoulder and had to get a reverse replacement shoulder surgery. The doctors were all concerned he had stopped the diabetes meds and gave him insulin. He is recovering.

    This week we discovered he has a large amount gall stones and had to remove his gall bladder. Upon doing this the nurse discovered he has NASH. How can this be from a man who eats this diet, exercises and never drinks?!

    Please advise. I am at a loss and could really appreciate understanding why this is happening. Although he suffered testicular cancer back in 1981, the only thought I can think of is exposure to radiation. Upon watching this video I am wondering, he does eat tumeric daily as his diet is comprised of a low oil, low ghee indian diet using a lot of spices and tumeric. Can anyone shed some light on this subject? The doctors slipped him beef broth today to get more protein in, but I am so confused as I thought he was doing everything right to help his diabetes.

    Appreciate the responses, thank you!




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    1. Fatty liver disease can be autoimmune. Newly discovered is also that Type II DM also carries an autoimmune component. I would consider an autoimmune type diet. Is it safe to assume he eats a lot of whole grains, dairy and soy? If so, this is actually not very healthy. These foods put one at risk for increased intestinal permeability as they are hard to digest and promote pathogenic, inflammatory gut flora – activating the immune system in a negative way. These poorly broken down proteins can resemble human tissue on a molecular level and confuse the immune system into attacking your own body. A diet that resembles more of what the hunter/gatherer ate is a much healthier/nutrient dense way to go. I would consider reintroducing healthy pastured/grass fed organic meats and wild seafood as these provide much needed anti-inflammatory benefits by balancing Omega-3 with Omega-6. The omega-3 from plants doesn’t show the same anti-inflammatory and brain boosting benefits that animal sources show in recent studies. Look up autoimmune paleo diet and you will find a mountain of information. Contrary to popular belief dietary saturated fat and cholesterol from healthy sources doesn’t have any adverse effect on blood cholesterol levels. That was a false paradigm thought up decades ago and is now proving very difficult to dispel despite new evidence that it is false. Also he needs to look for underlying infections that may be creating underlying inflammation. My best advice is to seek the adjunctive care of a doctor trained in functional medicine.




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    2. Hi Namita, I’m so sorry about the shock you received learning your father has NASH, which you know stands for Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis. When I was a pathology resident we learned to call the fatty deposits in the liver cells “nutritional changes” which made me wonder – why don’t we change their nutrition? It is how the body protects us from the excess fat and calories we consume. Since your father has Type II diabetes he is technically not that healthy and it is the reason why he has NASH. The good news is, as long as he doesn’t have cirrhosis the liver is extremely good at healing itself and regenerating as long as the assaults do not continue. If you’ve been a student of Dr. Greger’s videos you are familiar with the association between fat in the blood and the increase in insulin resistance of the cells. A plant based diet is good but it is the fat in his diet – including Ghee that is not only making his cells insensitive to insulin as well as stuffing the liver cells giving him a fatty liver. I would urge you to consult Dr. McDougall’s maximum weight loss diet or Dr. Esselstyn’s reversing cardiovascular disease diet books in order to find recipes to not only improve his diabetes but help him recover from his NASH before it progresses to cirrhosis. I hope this is helpful.




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      1. Where did you see the information on “both WebMD and University of Maryland do not recommend the use of turmeric supplements”?

        How to use turmeric with food?

        Thanks




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        1. Thanks for your question Alex,

          I am solely relying on the information provided by both these sources. You can see the links attached on my previous comment.

          Turmeric is commonly used with curry recipes, Indian or Asian.

          Hope this answer helps.




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  40. I have small polyps in my gall bladder. The doctor has told me they are not a great concern but I am scheduling an elective surgery to have the gall bladder taken out. I have painful arthritis in my hands and just bought some turmeric and black pepper capsules. I saw the label warning regarding the gall bladder. Is it unsafe for me to take the capsules? They are the Swanson brand, 600mg of turmeric and 6mg of black pepper in each capsule. Why does turmeric adversely affect the gall bladder and should I wait to take the capsules?




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  41. Here we go again! You read material by experts, you watch videos and you think your doing the rigot thing only to find you make be hurting yourself. THIS is why people give up and just eat what they want. I toOK Dr. Gerber advise in his book and went to a Himalayan market and bought tumeric root. The package says the average serving is 5 grams a day which I eat. I also make sure I grind black pepper with it. Is everyone saying I should stop doing this?




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    1. Hi Ted —
      Glad to hear that you are getting turmeric daily with pepper.

      This video is speaking to people who are pregnant or have gallblader or kidney stones and does not apply to all people.
      Also this video is basically saying to be careful if you take a supplement that you are taking a proper dose.
      That recommendation does not apply to you because you are taking the root.

      Also, this video mentions that being pregnant or prone to gallbladder or kidney stones would lead a person to consider reducing the quantity consumed.
      In the case of kidney stones for example, the recommendation here is to “restrict the consumption of total dietary oxalate to less than 40 to 50 mg/day”
      This advice may not apply to you if you do not have a predisposition to kidney stones.

      Please see this article on NuritionFacts pertaining to turmeric.

      Congrats on maintaining these habits and keeping yourself informed on your health journey.
      To health!




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  42. There does seem to be another contraindication for any substantial dose of tumeric, It is known to be a blood thinner. I’m missing a clotting factor in my blood, and I noticed if I took Tumeric supplements, I started bruising. Sprinkling a little on food seems to be ok.




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  43. My son had a total colectomy 3 years ago, but continues to have other symptoms of UC, including erythema nodosum. According to his GI, he can only take Tylenol, not any anti-inflammatories like Aleve or Advil. Would curcumin help him, and would it have the same contraindications as OTC anti-inflammatories?




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    1. I’ve had good results from turmeric helping to control my ulcerative colitis. Try one capsule a day with food to see if he gets along with it. I use the Sundown brand that doesn’t have the pepper because the pepper upset my stomach. The Sundown brand is pure turmeric and doesn’t bother my stomach. I’m currently taking 4 capsules a day, but approach this level with caution. Each capsule is 500 mg. I also am on the maximum dose of sulfasalazine but that wasn’t enough by itself. I was on Prednisone, but you can’t keep taking it because it does cause “problems” being a steroid. I haven’t experienced any problems with turmeric, but don’t take more than you need to.




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  44. I have been over an hour reading previous advice on this website to see if anyone mentioned the possible problems for anyone who is taking a blood thinner. My Doctor put me on a measured dose of Plavix after I had a stroke in 2012. This was to help avoid another stroke & so far so good. While travelling I received an email on the benefits of using Cinnamon & Honey for arthritic pain. This I did but after noticing an increase in bruising on my arms & legs I asked advice from both a pharmacist & a Naturopath. Both advised me to stop using it as all of the yellow spices can cause blood thinning. Probably why they help with pain by making blood circulation better. MY WARNING – Ask first!




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  45. HI TC. Thanks for your question. I’m a dietitian and volunteer moderator who helps Dr. G answer questions. If you’ve recently had your gallbladder removed you might feel sensitive to digesting fat rich foods. In a WFPBD this might mean you need to be cautious about the quantity of nuts you eat at one time or how much oil/added fats you add in cooking or on foods. However, since it is the liver that produces bile, which aids fat digestion and the gallbladder that stores it, over time your body readjusts to not having this storage depot and in my experience most people can go back to their usual diet. Just be aware and see how you feel, adjusting your diet as needed. Hope this helps!




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  46. it appears there is an error in this video. The 2g of curcumin with piperine only achieved ~0.2 μg/ml. The dose highlighted for toxicity is 10 μg/ml. That’s a difference of 50 fold, meaning one would have to take 100 grams of curcumin with piperine to achieve those levels. The same study that gave curcumin and piperine to humans also gave orders of magnitude higher doses to rats, so it’s possible that the human and rat data are being confused.




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