Turmeric – A Powerful Weapon Against Kidney Disorders

I received several emails and messages to discuss if turmeric can be of benefit to Kidneys. It for sure took me time to get back but here it is.

Most of us take risk of kidney disorders lightly.

Thus, before I go ahead and discuss turmeric benefits. I just want to present a few facts regarding kidney disorders.

I am using stats on America as they are easily available. But the motive is to present the fact that kidney disorders are not common but indeed widespread.

  • 1 in 3 Americans are currently at risk of developing some kidney disorder
  • 26 million American adults have some or other kidney disorder.
  • Approximately 450,000 Americans are on dialysis and approximately 185,000 live with a functioning kidney transplant.
  • Of more than 123,000 Americans currently on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ transplant, over 101,000 need a kidney. Fewer than 17,000 people receive one each year.

Why Kidney is so Important?

Human body derives energy from the food, oxygen and other supplements introduced in the system. As by-product waste materials are produced which require to be eliminated from the body.

Kidneys play a vital role in excretion. These organs are found below the abdominal cavity and they excrete urine through the bladder.

Excretion is their prime function but the other activities that the kidneys influence are:

  • Absorption of nutrients: Apart from excreting wastes, the kidneys filter the blood and reabsorb certain molecules like glucose and ions such as sodium, calcium and potassium.
  • Blood pressure regulation: By absorbing sodium and influencing its concentration in the system, kidneys indirectly regulate blood pressure.
  • Maintaining pH levels of blood
  • Secretion of hormones

Just like every other organ, kidney is susceptible to infection, damage or failure. Kidney disorders can be present in an individual by birth such as polycystic kidney disease or can be acquired over time either due to an infection or as a result of another metabolic disease such as diabetes.

Humans can survive with just one kidney which makes it possible to transplant kidneys to those who require well functioning renal tissue. Dialysis, medications, kidney transplant are few of the treatment options available for kidney disorders.

Turmeric as an alternative therapy for kidney disorders

Turmeric is a famous Indian spice that has been revered in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda as a herb to treat almost all disorders.

Curcuminoids are a class of compounds that are found in turmeric powder which impart the yellow color to the herb and are powerful antioxidants. Curcumin is the principal curcuminoid that contributes to most of turmeric’s pharmacological properties.

Compounds found in the volatile oil fraction of turmeric also possess therapeutic properties. The research studies mentioned below explain as to how turmeric can help treat kidney disorders.

Turmeric for Kidney diseases

Study 1

Inflammation plays a very important role in progression of kidney disease leading to kidney failure. Inflammation is characterized by production of pro-inflammatory chemicals and migration of white blood cells to the site of injury or infection.

Tumor necrosis factor- alpha (TNF-alpha) is the principal inflammatory mediator that activates a group of proteins called nuclear factor-kappaB. NF-kappaB regulates the inflammation process.

TNF-alpha decreases the expression of protein Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG) and this further accelerates inflammation.

An experimental study was conducted to evaluate the role of curcumin in treating inflammation in kidney failure. A rat model of chronic renal failure was prepared by surgical removal of kidneys in rats. The animals were divided into three groups: untreated, curcumin treated and enalapril treated groups.

Enalapril is a drug used to treat blood pressure by modulating factors controlled by the kidney. It is also used to treat conditions caused by chronic renal failure.

Elevated blood urea nitrogen, plasma creatinine and other parameters was seen in untreated group indicating chronic renal failure. These conditions were ameliorated by curcumin and enalapril treatment.

Curcumin reduced the levels of TNF-alpha, prevented activation of NF-kappaB and also antagonized the TNF-alpha mediated decrease in PPARG.

What it means: Curcumin was found to be as effective as enalapril in treating chronic renal failure however unlike enalapril it could not improve blood pressure. However its low toxicity makes it a suitable drug to treat kidney disease alone or in combination with other drugs.

Study 2

Nitrilotriacetate (NTA) is an iron chelating agent found in laundry detergents which causes toxicity and tumors in kidney.

To prepare experimental conditions iron-NTA was injected in mice and it caused oxidative stress (imbalance between pro-oxidant and anti-oxidant agents), lipid peroxidation (oxidation of fats found in cell membrane by free radicals) and modification of DNA bases.

These mice were fed a diet supplemented with either curcumin or tetrahydrocurcumin(THU), a metabolite derived from curcumin.

Oxidative stress was controlled by the curcuminoids by scavenging free radical species and increasing the production of antioxidant enzymes.

THU controlled oxidative stress more effectively than curcumin and was also found to be better absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract than curcumin.

What it means: These findings suggest that antioxidant properties of curcuminoids make then potential chemopreventive agents against renal tumors.

Study 3

Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder that leads to formation of multiple cysts in the kidney. These cysts are filled with fluid and they cause massive swelling of the kidney.

A study was organized to evaluate the inhibitory effect of curcumin on renal cyst formation.

Two different cell lines were used in the experiment. Curcumin was found to inhibit cyst development and at maximum dose it showed 62% inhibition.

Curcumin slowed down cyst enlargement in both the cell lines. Curcumin did not cause any toxicity or cell death at low concentrations.

Curcumin brought about these effects by influencing the production of proteins involved in cell growth.

What it means: These results indicate that curcumin can inhibit cyst formation and enlargement and thus prove to be a suitable drug to treat polycystic kidney disease.

Study 4

Glomerulonephritis is a group of kidney diseases that affect the blood vessels or glomeruli that filter the blood. It can be caused by improper responses from the immune system which cause inflammation in the glomeruli and damage other tissues of the kidney.

Immune complex is a unit in which antigen binds to antibody and sometimes this unit is too small in size to be eliminated from the system. In such cases the immune complex causes inflammation.

An animal model was prepared to study the effectiveness of curcumin on immune complex mediated glomerulonephritis. Curcumin was provided at a dose of 30mg/kg and it reduced glomerulonephritis and improved kidney function.

It brought about a decrease in concentration of complexes in the blood serum. Also mice treated with curcumin showed significant reduction in immune cells and other factors which promote inflammation.

What it means: Overall the researchers concluded that curcumin could serve to be a therapeutic agent for immune complex mediated glomerulonephritis.

Study 5

Diabetic nephropathy is kidney damage caused by long standing diabetes. When glucose level in blood rises above the capacity of the kidney to filter it, the renal function is disturbed and volume of urine excreted increases. This disease is marked by oxidative stress in renal tissue.

A research study was designed to study curcumin’s effect on renal function in experimentally induced diabetes in rats. The rats were divided into four experimental groups in which two groups were treated with curcumin at a dose of 15 and 30 mg/kg for 2 weeks.

In 6 weeks, diabetic rats showed renal dysfunction by reduced elimination of wastes from the blood and oxidative stress was evidenced by occurrence of lipid peroxidation and reduced activity of antioxidant enzymes.

What it means: Curcumin significantly attenuated both renal dysfunction and oxidative stress, thereby presenting its potential to treat diabetic nephropathy.

Study 6

Kidney stone is an aggregate of minerals found in the kidney. If small in size, they pass out of the body through urine but large kidney stones can block the ureter and cause pain.

Curcumin in combination with a chemical isolated from natural source is reported to prevent and treat kidney stones. Calcium is a common component found in kidney stones.

Experimental conditions were designed to induce kidney stones in rats. Elevated levels of calcium and oxalate were seen in the urine which was prevented by curcumin treatment (60mg/kg). Large kidney stones were found in the tissue of the group that was untreated while curcumin treated group showed fewer and smaller crystals.

Also renal function was improved by curcumin treatment and no changes in kidney tissue were reported with respect to the treated group. The antioxidant property of curcumin was found to reduce oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation caused by calcium kidney stones.

However a clinical trial’s result suggests that ingestion of turmeric supplements can lead to kidney stones. 11 healthy volunteers of the age group 21 to 38 years participated in the 8 week study. They were asked to consume supplemental doses of cinnamon and turmeric which provided 55mg of oxalate per day. It was observed that when compared to cinnamon (6%), ingestion of turmeric supplements (91%) lead to increased calcium oxalate excretion.

What it means: This suggests that consumption of turmeric supplements can increase risk of kidney stone development in susceptible individuals.

It would be essential to note that this result pertains to particular brand of turmeric supplements and is also not applicable to dietary source of turmeric or standardized powder of curcumin.

Dosage

Turmeric can be incorporated in diet on a regular basis as no side effects have been reported. Turmeric supplements are available in the form of capsules containing powder, tincture or fluid extracts. Recommended dosage is as follows:

  • Standardized powder of curcumin : 400-600mg 3 times a day.
  • Fluid extract with 1:1 concentration: 30-90 drops per day
  • Tincture of 1:2 ratio : 15-30 drops 4 times a day

However it is safer to consult a health care provider regarding a dose suitable to one’s condition and body.

Precautions

No adverse effects have been reported on consumption of turmeric in regular diet. However turmeric supplements should be consumed with caution to avoid allergic reactions and risks posed by inappropriate dosage.

Turmeric supplements should be avoided in case of pregnancy and lactation. If consuming blood thinning medications for diabetes then turmeric supplements should be avoided.

Due to its blood thinning property, turmeric supplements should be discontinued 15 days prior to the treatment.

Turmeric supplements should be taken with caution in case of gall bladder disorders, bile passage obstructions and gastrointestinal disorders.

Summary

Turmeric is an amazing health promoter. Research has shown more than 600 potential health benefits and counting. Research studies have indicated that turmeric can be of help in various kidney disorders primarily due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation properties and without the usual side effects.

About the Author

TurmericForHealthTeam

Turmeric for Health's writer team consists of passionate writers from the fields of biotechnology, pharmacy, nutrition, Ayurveda & microbiology.Our writers are highly qualified with many having Ph.D., M.Tech & MSc degrees while others having B.Tech, BSc, B.Pharm. Our differentiation lies in researching and presenting ONLY FACTUAL SCIENTIFIC information. We spend 10s of hours to write a single article. Info of our articles is sourced from reliable scientific sources which are also provided as a link alongside for readers to refer if they want. You can read more about our team in the " About us" section.

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69 Comments

  1. I have recently donated a kidney to my son. I now need to preserve and look after my only existing kidney. Should I be taking Curcumin/Tumeric tablets? Will they harm my kidney/

    1. Hi Christine. It would be great if you could include turmeric in your diet in the form of Golden Paste. If you are not prone to developing kidney stones, dietary inclusion of turmeric should help maintain your antioxidant defenses. It is advisable to discuss this with your doctor or a health practitioner who specializes in naturopathy or herbs.

  2. You need to do a bit more research. Turmeric can actually CAUSE problems in individuals with certain kidney disorders – disorders that cause stones.

  3. Hi , I have high creatinine in my blood which is 12.2 , I’m not doing dailysis. How to lower down creatinine from my blood?

    1. Hi. Are you experiencing any health condition that causing the high creatinine levels? You can consider taking curcumin supplements; it can protect kidney health and function and may aid in restoring creatinine to normal levels.

    1. Hi. 400-600mg should be around 1/4 tsp. If you intend to take turmeric for general health we recommend taking Golden Paste. Start with small doses such as 1/4-1/2 tsp and if you see no side effects then increase the dose gradually to 1 tsp 2-3 times a day over a few weeks. Best taken with food to avoid acid reflux. Avoid taking it at the same time when you take meds.
      http://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-turmeric-paste-or-golden-paste
      http://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-golden-paste-from-raw-fresh-turmeric
      If you are taking turmeric for kidney health, it is better to opt for supplements.
      https://www.turmericforhealth.com/curcumin-benefits-and-dosage/8-popular-curcumin-supplement-types-in-market-today-a-quick-review

  4. My father is 60 yrs old has one kidney left bcos the other one got removed. Now he has 1.92 CREATININE level, the doctor’s prescription to him is 2tablet 3x a day keto analogue and sodium bicarbonate 1tablet 3x a day. He just bought a 10in1 TURMERIC HERBAL TEA MADE IN THE PHILIPPINES and the ingredients are: turmeric, Ginger, Peppermint, Gynura Procumbens, Sambong/Blumea balsamifera, Banaba/Lagerstroemia speciosa, Pandan/Pandanus amaryllifolius, Lagundi/shrub, Lemongrass, Malunggay/horseradish, Brown sugar, Wild honey. May i ask if its okay to drink that turmeric 10in1 herbal tea with his condition?

    1. Hi Chlo. We are not aware of the research on most of the ingredients present in the tea. Also for chronic kidney conditions, it is better to limit intake of dietary turmeric since it contains oxalates and to opt for turmeric/curcumin supplements for therapeutic effects in kidney disorders. Please consult a health practitioner before taking turmeric supplements. We can’t comment on the safety of consuming this herbal tea in his condition. Please confirm with the doctor.

  5. I AM A 81 YEAR OLD MALE WITH CKD GFR 19 FROM 22 MY LAST BLOOD WORK. I HAVE BEEN TAKING MANY SUPPLEMENTS AND THOUGHT MY SUPPLEMENTS WERE STARTING TO HELP. I THAN ATE TOO MUCH PROTEIN MOSTLY CHICKEN AND MY GFR WENT DOWN 3 POINTS. MY QUESTION IS IT OK TO TRY TURMERIC 800 MG TOO GO ALONG ITH OTHER SUPPLEMENTS WHICH WOULD HELP ME BEFORE MY NEXT BLOOD WORK? I HAVE TAKEN SODIUM BAKING OFF AND ON ALSO. BUT COULD USE SOME HELP. THANKS

    1. Hi. Turmeric helps protect kidney health. If considering taking turmeric, ensure that you take standardized 95% curcumin with piperine. Avoid taking it close to the time of taking other meds. Also we would suggest consulting a health practitioner before taking curcumin.

  6. I have been diagnosed for ckd stage 5. Serum creatinine is 1.6,Mild proteinuria. Kidney sizes left 8.3cms right 8.5cms, parenchymal thickness is only6-7 mm.
    Can I take Turmeric Powder? If yes,then how much?
    I am M-59, Height 183.5 cms, weight 72.5kgs.
    Please Reply as soon as possible .
    Thanks and Regards.

    1. Hi Rakesh. Turmeric in diet is fine. But in your case, it is advisable to opt for curcumin supplements over turmeric powder. The first reason is that your condition is chronic because of which you may require high concentrations of curcumin. The second reason is that turmeric as a spice contains minerals like potassium which perhaps you need to avoid in case of severe kidney disorders. In that case it is preferable to take curcumin for therapy.
      Please consult a health practitioner about curcumin supplements.

  7. Hi, I have CKD, but not dyalisis. The last check up : kreatinin 282,48. I take one tablet blood thinning once in two days. Can I take turmeric too ? What is the proper dosis ? Please answer, thank you.

    1. Hi. In kidney diseases, there is a general recommendation to keep dietary potassium levels low. Turmeric as a spice contains potassium and other minerals. So for therapeutic doses it is advisable to take turmeric/curcumin supplements. Dietary turmeric is still safe but for therapeutic purposes in kidney diseases one can opt for supplements.
      Since you also take blood thinning medications we recommend reading this:https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-queries/is-turmeric-a-blood-thinner-will-it-increase-bleeding-risk
      It would be better to consult an herbalist about your condition before opting for curcumin supplements.

  8. I am diabetic & hypertensive. My last HBA1C is 6.2. I am maintaining both glucose level (<100 Fasting, < 130 PP) and blood pressure (120/80 to 130/90) as specified normal. My recent urine RE revealed traces of protein. Although my doctor said nothing alarming and asked me to maintain normal diabetic diet & exercise schedule with retest after 3 months. As a precaution for kidneys should I avoid consuming turmeric which is normally provided as a spice in my regular curries

    1. Hi. Dietary turmeric which would less than 1/2 tsp a day would not impair kidney health but instead be beneficial. Large doses are to be avoided if it is advised to avoid potassium and dietary oxalate. There is no reason why you should avoid turmeric but if needed you may consult an herbalist or naturopath.

  9. I am a 29 male. I work on computer a lot, do sport 2 times a week. I have a terrible neck arthritis and allergy to dust and cold & wet weather that makes me sneeze most of the time. Before breakfast, I take a spoonful of ginger and turmeric with a half cup of tea. This what happens to me: I feel total relaxation in neck. I feel no headache or weakness. I stop sneezing all the time. I think my sexual abilities have increased. I really feel emotionnally balanced. As for the side effects, I don’t have a real one except that my testerone might have increased a little too high, But I decided not to take anything 2 days a week to prevent any unknown side effects.

    1. forgot to mention something, I had some hot tea spilt on my laps (burn first degree) . I immediately, poured a lot of cold water on it to stop the inflamation. The following day, I applied honey+lemon+turmeric on it 2 times a day for 3 days. The result is that the burnt skin started to get removed.

    2. Glad to know that turmeric benefits you. Thank you for sharing this. Consider discussing the high testosterone levels with a doctor.

  10. what I do (Been doing this for the past year or so.) after getting up first thing in the morning (before brushing) is I add the following items to a 12 ounce glass of hot water: 1 organic fresh whole lime juice + 2 tsps of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar + 1 tsp Organic Ginger Powder + 1 tsp of Organic ground Ceylon Cinnamon powder + 1 tsp Organic turmeric powder + half tsp of organic ground black pepper + 1 tsp of Organic raw unfiltered local honey. I mix them all up and chug it down in one shot along with the 1 – 2 cloves of cut organic garlic that I keep ready. I chew the garlic a bit until I can no longer tolerate it and then chug it down with the mixture I just prepared. All ingredients are preferably organic if I have them else it’s a mix of organic and non organic one’s. I warm up a second 12 ounce glass of water and drink it in large sips using it to rinse my mouth of any leftover acid and spices etc from the mixture I just drank. I have learnt all of this from just a lot of reading from different websites. I’m a 6 years post liver transplant patient (no rejections), diabetic, high BP, have proteinuria caused due to the immunosuppresants I take, and Chronic Kidney disease (CKD).

    I think I’m doing the right thing but can someone provide their valued feedback ?

    1. Hi. The ingredients you are using are great for health. The issue with turmeric is that it is not water soluble at room temperature. So it is best taken with a healthy fat and black pepper to increase its absorption. You can take Golden Paste. Start with small doses such as 1/4-1/2 tsp and if you see no side effects then increase the dose gradually to 1-2 tsp 2-3 times a day over a few weeks. Best taken with food to avoid acid reflux. Avoid taking it at the same time when you take other meds. https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-turmeric-paste-or-golden-paste
      In case your condition is chronic, as it appears to be, please consult a health practitioner about turmeric supplements.

    1. Turmeric in diet, which would be 1/2 -1 teaspoon a day spread over different meals, is absolutely safe during dialysis.

    1. Yes I do both also, I notice that it helps my phantom pain as I am a double amputee not sure what effect it’s having on my kidneys

    1. Turmeric extract has number of polyphenols which do get excreted via urine like curcumin but it has no structural similarity with methadone. it is highly unlikely that it should interfere with any tests.

  11. Is turmeric high in potassium? My husband has PKD and recently his potassium shot up to 5.6. He was taking turmeric and I read somewhere that turmeric powder is high in potassium. Please advise.

    1. Yes turmeric powder is high in potassium. In kidney disorders it is advised to limit potassium intake. In case he is receiving high dietary potassium from other sources, then turmeric would add to the load.

    1. Safety tests have examined doses up to 8g daily and found them to be safe. This is the highest dose that has been tested. However it is not advised to take such high doses.

  12. I only have one kidney… Is Tumeric safe for me. I am supposed to not take anti inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen products… Please advise.

    1. My husband was born with a single kidney in which he developed a renel cell tumour. He had the kidney removed, the tumour was cut out and the remaining approximately half of the kidney was transplanted back in. It is working well apart from high uric acid levels causing gout, would he benefit from taking turmeric cumjn or curcummin in his diet. He has a plant based diet and doesn’t eat any meat but eats eggs.

  13. my husband is diabetic patient he is low in iron, and also recently hameglobin low dr.said but he is also taking blood pressure tablet, is turmeric to take safe?

    1. Turmeric extract is also a recommended option. There hasn’t been much comparison between the two but the paste includes black pepper and oil to increase absorption. You can always switch to the paste if you don’t see any improvements with the extract.

  14. Hi hope the info re the website is correct. I take 1/2 warfarin every day. Could I still use the paste and if so how much ?

    1. Low doses of turmeric in diet would not cause blood thinning and so you can use the paste. But its best if you consult a herbalist about this.

  15. Our body is made of soil extracts through the food eaten primary or secondary. Specific plants extract specific medicinal extracts from the soil. Through great minds, nature turns out to be the in thing.

  16. What about chayenne pepper? any point in dashing a little of that along with the others? or would that be overkill?

  17. I have Glomerulonephritis and have been taking a teaspoon of golden paste twice a day for about a month now and the protein in my urine has dropped dramatically – very encouraging.

      1. I stir the paste into a small glass of cold milk morning and evening, with a shake of ginger and cinnamon – goes down very easily.

    1. Hi Robyn. I have the same problem and a lot of protein in my urine.. How do you make the paste and do you take it after food.. It would help me a great deal if you could help me…thank you in advance…

      1. Hi Clair – sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. After taking turmeric (in the form of golden paste, easy enough to google the recipe) for about 3 months, my Glomerulonephritis relapsed after about a years remission. I do not think the turmeric caused this relapse. As you’re probably aware this form of nephritis is an autoimmune condition and though it can be controlled to certain extent, its cause and cure remain a mystery. I intend to resume taking the turmeric again once I’m in remission but it is important while this kidney thing is still active, that I take self injected blood thinners to avoid blood clots. To self medicate myself further with turmeric is probably unwise as it is also a blood thinning agent.