Okay, so lately there has been lot of confusion on how much turmeric one can take in a day and how many times one should take it.
The primary reason for the confusion on “how much” arises from the fact that one can take turmeric (and thus its active ingredient) in so many ways:
- Fresh turmeric root
- Turmeric dried root powder
- Supplement with various % of curcumin present
- Fluid extract
Now the key difference in each of them is the quantity of curcumin. So how much of these one can take in a day?
I also found that people have different opinion on the dosage of turmeric. Thus, I have relied upon some authetic sources only for the research here.
Here is what I found from various sources.
How much turmeric can I take in a Day?
Rather than using one source, I tried collecting info from multiple reliable sources.
According to University of Maryland Medical Center
The permissible dosages of various forms of turmeric (for adults):
- Cut root: 1.5 – 3 g per day
- Dried, powdered root: 1 – 3 g per day
- Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 – 600 mg, 3 times per day
- Fluid extract (1:1) 30 – 90 drops a day
- Tincture (1:2): 15 – 30 drops, 4 times per day
Both fluid extracts and Tinctures are not commonly used, so I will concentrate on the rest of the three and what they mean:
- Cut root: This is basically fresh turmeric, it will have moisture too in it. Cut root is great to make pickles and adding to salads.
- Dried root: This is the most common way of using turmeric. This is how turmeric spice / powder is made – by drying cut root and then making a powder. Drying will cause loss of moisture and maybe of some beneficial aspects of turmeric, but no serious damage is done.
- Standardized powder (curcumin): This is basically what we call as supplements. Supplement manufacturers extract curcumin from turmeric and then concentrate it to make standardized powders. These are then sold as turmeric supplements in the market. Based on the brand the concentration may change.
According to WebMD:
- For upset stomach (dyspepsia): 500 mg of turmeric four times daily.
- For osteoarthritis: 500 mg twice daily of a specific turmeric extract (Meriva, Indena); 500 mg four times daily of a non-commercial product has also been used.
- For rheumatoid arthritis (RA): 500mg twice daily of a specific formulation of the turmeric constituent, curcumin (BCM-95®, Arjuna Natural Extracts, India), has been used.
The first two are related to normal turmeric powder and the third one – BCM-95®, Arjuna Natural Extracts – with a 95% standardized powder.
As you can see the dosage is within 2g range.
According to Dr Weil:
One can take 400mg – 600 mg supercritical extracts 3 times a day. This of course he is talking about supplements (standardized powder).
Summary of info from the above 3 sources
(WebMd and Dr Weil fall under the range specified by University of Maryland Medical Center, thus dosages by University of Maryland Medical Center represent all the three.
If you are using powder I would like to mention that you can take 1 tsp of powder on a daily basis without any issues. In terms of gms, the figures are mentioned below:
These are very conservative figures and taking upto 4-5 gms per day is also fine.
In terms of tsp – ideal turmeric dosage is thus around 1 tsp per day.
But then why some research study use high dosages?
While researching over dosages I found a very interesting thing and looking back and thinking about it, I am just wondering why a thing so simple and logical did not strike me!
While I was researching over dosages, I came across studies where researchers were giving dosages as high as 8 g per day to patients. This I observed in several studies. But then why University of Maryland Medical Center and others suggest such a small dosage?
The answer may lie in the fact that the dosages are high when we need them i.e. when we are not well. For example, if you have back pain, you may want to take a high dosage for a day or two and get well. But once you do, you come to the normal “preventive” dosage.
Thus, in my opinion there are two kinds of turmeric dosages we can take:
- Preventive – which are low and which we can continue for lifetime
- Curative – required when we have some issues. For example, some of the studies mentioned high dosages to cancer patients and it makes all the sense to do so as we need quick action here.
So when you are suffering for say arthritis pain and you take large dosages, it acts like a strong painkiller and helps you. This can go on for some time and then one should get back to preventive dosage as soon as our body is back in shape.
Turmeric dose – what experience tells us
Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years. Millions of people take milk with turmeric on a daily basis and it is included in almost every curry / vegetable we make.
Thus, experience tells that taking even 1 tsp turmeric a day will not have any issues. Of course if you are new to it, start small – maybe 1/4 tsp and then increase.
So, 1 tsp good quality turmeric powder (check for recommended brands here) should not have any issues at all.
Possible side effects – large dosage for long time
There is no side effects when you use turmeric as spice, why? Because the dosage is always limited. But things may be different when you take supplements or large amounts of turmeric powder for a long period of time.
It is important to understand that the side effects occur when you take them for long period of time and not immediately. Thus we can always take curative dosages whenever we require and shift to preventive ones when fine. Also when the preventive dosage limit says 3.0 g per day, I am very sure nothing wrong is going to happen if you take 6-8 g per day. Most of the times the dosages mentioned are on a much safer side.
Typical side effects are related to digestive system – stomach upset, diarrhea, ulcers. The side effects may also vary from person to person too. I was not able to find any “very” serious side effects though except ulcers.
Again, I would not like to create a panic here and thus would like to highlight that turmeric is very very safe, only its very high dosage for very long period of time is known to cause issues.
Key take aways
- It is safe to take upto 1 tsp good quality turmeric powder a day
- There are indeed some limits of turmeric usage on a daily basis if you are taking a preventive dose. (see details above). Regarding turmeric powder (and not supplements) – you can exceed them to a certain extent with no issues at all.
- In case of disorder, a curative dosage can be as high as 8-10g per day (note – this is not prescribed dosage, but I found this to be highest quantity among all the used dosage in research studies I analyzed).
- Turmeric (powder) is very safe to use and side effects only occur when high dosages are taken for long duration of time
What do you think? does this make sense, do let me know your views. Stay Healthy!