Following flax and wheatgrass, turmeric is the third best-selling botanical dietary supplement, racking up $12 million in sales. Currently, sales are increasing at a rate of 20%.
Curcumin is a natural plant product extracted from the turmeric root and is used commonly as a food additive popular for its pleasant mild aroma and exotic yellow color. It is widely considered unlikely to cause side effects. However, just because something is natural doesn’t 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. Surely 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 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. Doses of turmeric that have been used in human studies range from less than just a 16th of a teaspoon a day to two tablespoons a day for over a month. On the other hand, 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.
Below is a video that explains the importance of knowing how much turmeric and curcumin you should be consuming. While both of these spices are extremely beneficial to our bodies as they have anti-inflammatory properties and help with the removal of toxins, too much of these spices does more harm than it does good.
Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin
Curcumin refers to the active compound that’s found in turmeric. This compound contains various medicinal properties that aid our body in various ways.
Turmeric has also been found to prevent depression and Alzheimer’s disease. This is because the compounds in turmeric stimulate neurotransmitters in the brain keeping the brain active and helping with the growth of new neurons. This activity in the brain also improves memory and can make you smarter.
How much turmeric should I take?
Turmeric and curcumin are safe to consume but it’s important to keep track of how much of it you are adding to your diet. While eating turmeric is widely known to have a number of health benefits, consuming this root should be done in moderation.
Curcumin can trigger gall-bladder pain if you have too much of it. And consuming too much turmeric can induce the development of kidney stones. Even moderate amounts of turmeric can increase kidney stones in those who are prone to developing them.
In Dr. Greger’s video below, he lists the amount of turmeric you should have in your diet. You should always be wary that too much of a good thing can quickly turn into a bad thing. This is very true for curcumin and turmeric.
In addition, it is always important to be aware of specific medical conditions and how they might influence your diet. Having said this, if you are unsure about how much turmeric is good for you, you should consult this with your doctor and see if you might have a condition that could prevent you from consuming this spice.