Curcuma Longa Side Effects

Curcuma Longa Side Effects

Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.


Quick Bite:

Most people are considered to be safe when consuming pure turmeric. Turmeric powders can be adulterated by cheap fillers such as wheat starch or questionable food colors. Lead may be present.

Curcumin is generally safe, even at high doses. Humans are not aware of the long-term effects curcumin can have on them.

You may experience an interaction between curcumin and other medications.

Curcuma Longa is a traditional Asian herb used for its reported anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidants, antimutagenic and anticancer effects. 

What is Curcuma? 

Curcuma, also known as turmeric is a spice with long-standing medicinal properties that is gaining interest in the scientific and medical worlds, as well as culinary enthusiasts. It's the main source of polyphenol curcumin.

It helps in the treatment of oxidative, inflammatory, metabolic syndrome, arthritis and anxiety.

This may also improve recovery and performance for active people by reducing inflammation caused by exercise and muscle pain.

A relatively low dose can also provide health benefits to people who do not have a diagnosed condition.

The majority of these benefits are attributed to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Curcumin is not bioavailable, so it does not provide the health benefits associated with curcumin. This may be due to poor absorption and metabolism as well as rapid elimination. 

Benefits in a Nutshell

Curcumin is gaining worldwide attention due to its many health benefits. These appear to be primarily due its anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Curcumin's bioavailability is increased when combined with other agents, such as piperine.

Curcumin is believed to be beneficial in treating oxidative and inflammation conditions, the metabolic syndrome, arthritis and anxiety.

This may help to reduce the inflammation caused by exercise and soreness in muscles, thereby boosting recovery and performance for active people.

Research shows that a relatively low dose may also provide benefits to people who do not have a diagnosed condition.

Curcuma Longa Side Effects

Curcuminoids have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as "Generally Recognized As Safe" (GRAS), and good tolerability and safety profiles have been shown by clinical trials.

It seems safe even at doses between 4000 and 8000 mg/day and of doses up to 12,000 mg/day of 95% concentration of three curcuminoids: curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin, and demethoxycurcumin.

However, research indicates that it could cause side effects. These may include gastrointestinal distress, complications with liver problems, iron deficiency and blood clotting issues.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Digestive disorders are disorders affecting the gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, gallbladder and pancreas).

These conditions may be functional or structural. The former refers to any illness which alters the normal function of any part of the GI tract, such as peptic ulcer, inflammatory bowel disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease or irritable bowel syndrome.

Functional gastrointestinal disease can result in various symptoms, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and constipation.

Structural GI disease refers to abnormal changes in the structure of part of the GI tract like hernias or colon polyps, leading to abnormalities that result in similar changes - for instance hernias or polyps.

Structural GI disease also leads to acid reflux, intestinal obstruction and malabsorption syndromes among others.

Some negative side effects are reported despite this safety. Seven subjects who received 500-12,000mg in a dose-response study were followed for 72 hours and experienced diarrhea, headaches, rash and yellow stools.

Liver Problems

By the time you begin to experience symptoms of liver disease, it is likely that your liver has already been damaged and scarred. Cirrhosis is the medical term for this.

Cirrhosis symptoms include:

  • Feeling very tired and weak at all times
  • Loss of appetite can lead to weight gain
  • Loss of sexual drive (libido).
  • Yellow skin and whites (jaundice).
  • itchy skin
  • feeling or being sick

Up until 29 June 2016, the TGA had received 18 reports of liver problems associated with products containing Curcuma longa or curcumin.

Following an in-depth safety investigation and consultation on potential regulatory actions (including potential label warning), including possible label warning.

Consumers are reminded that taking any medicinal product containing Curcuma longa/curcumin may present a small but possible risk for liver injury when taken at high doses for prolonged periods.

For their own safety it is advised that they adhere strictly to manufacturer instructions; any concerns should be discussed with their healthcare professional.

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Iron Deficiency

Turmeric is being studied as a natural source of curcumin and its anti-inflammatory and anti-neoplastic properties in many conditions.

You may feel dizzy or a little lightheaded if you have iron-deficiency. It can sometimes cause chest pains, rapid heartbeats, and shortness in breath.

An iron deficiency may cause you to have strange cravings for items other than food, such as dirt, ice or paper.

Turmeric is known to bind with iron in the intestine and cause iron deficiency among mice.

Research shows that turmeric is one of the spices that can reduce iron absorption from humans by 20-90%, depending on its dose. 

A 2009 study shows that curcumin inhibits the synthesis hepcidin (one of the peptides that are involved in iron balance) and can cause iron deficiency when there is a prior subclinical condition of iron deficiency. 

Blood clotting

Blood clotting or coagulation is a process that uses to prevent excessive bleeding after a blood vessel has been injured .

The platelets (a type blood cell) and the proteins in the plasma (liquid part of the blood) combine to stop bleeding by forming an clot.

Turmeric may increase the risk of bleeding by interfering with clotting and decreasing platelet aggregates.

Take caution when taking turmeric or curcumin with medications or supplements that may have anticoagulant (blood-thinning) or antiplatelet effects. 

Does Curcumin Increase Testosterone?

In one particular study involving rats, curcumin did improve testosterone levels among those with high blood pressure.  

Additionally, another animal study (this time using Baladi bucks) saw an increase of semen quality and testosterone levels.

A 2022 study using mice demonstrated that a diet low in carbohydrates led to lower sperm qualities and damaged testicular histology.

Curcumin supplementation may improve impaired sperm or testis function by decreasing oxidative stresses, inflammation and cell death.

However, a 2018 human study, it was demonstrated that curcumin suppresses androgen production. This has benefits for those suffering from prostate cancer.


Turmeric is used in many foods to add flavor and color. It's commonly added to curry powders, butters and mustards. 

This root is used for treating conditions such as inflammation and pain because curcumin, and other chemicals found in turmeric may reduce swelling.

It may be safe for short-term use. Turmeric products containing up to 8 grams curcumin per day seem safe for use for up 2 months. Also, taking up 3 grams of turmeric per day seems safe for up 3 months.

Turmeric rarely causes serious side effects. Mild side effects can include nausea, diarrhea, stomach upset and dizziness.

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