How much turmeric can you take a day?

raw turmeric slices

Turmeric supplements are becoming a popular choice for athletes and people with joint conditions. The amount you take will depend on how well your body reacts to the active ingredient, curcumin.

Turmeric is a popular spice and folk remedy. It contains curcumin, a natural phenol that is now recognised as a powerful anti-inflammatory with a range of benefits .

Turmeric is well tolerated by humans and is safe when taken as a food supplement. However, it is known to cause minor side effects for some people, most commonly an upset stomach.

When you are deciding on a dose, it is important to balance the possibility of side effects with the potential benefits of turmeric.

How much is too much?

There is a difference between food supplements and pharmaceutical drugs that are available on prescription or over-the-counter.

In the EU, pharmaceutical drugs are defined as “any substance or combination of substances which may be used in or administered to human beings either with a view to restoring, correcting or modifying physiological functions by exerting a pharmacological, immunological or metabolic action, or to making a medical diagnosis." They usually contain high dosages of the active ingredient, and are produced synthetically to ensure that they have a particular effect.

Supplements contain active ingredients that can be obtained from your diet, in smaller amounts, and are usually produced using natural ingredients – that means the effects are more likely to vary. Supplements produced by reputable companies will have been through clinical trials and studies, but supplements are typically formulated using a less rigorous process than pharmaceuticals.

Every person is different. Your body will metabolise some compounds very well, and may struggle with others. For this reason, finding the right dose of a supplement is not an exact science.

You should begin by taking the recommended dose of your chosen turmeric supplement. If you do not experience side effects or benefits, you could try increasing the dose to see if this makes a positive difference.

If you experience unwanted side effects when taking turmeric, you should stop immediately and talk to your doctor or pharmacist before resuming.

Maximising absorption

It is important to choose a turmeric supplement that is highly bioavailable. This ensures that more of the beneficial curcumin can be absorbed – note that curcumin is notoriously difficult to absorb, and that the only way to obtain benefits is by ensuring that it can reach your bloodstream. It also means that you can achieve positive effects with less turmeric, while reducing the chances of experiencing side effects.

Did you know?

Thousands of research papers have been published on the health effects of turmeric.