Who Should Not Take Turmeric/Curcumin?

Till recent times turmeric has been famous for its flavour and color. The world of research is now aware of its pharmaceutical properties and our amazing readers like you are making use of turmeric’s medicinal properties.

Curcumin contributes most to turmeric’s medicinal properties. It imparts the orange hue to the spice. Curcumin accounts for 2-5% of the rhizome content.

Since most of the research has been done in relation to curcumin and various diseases, it is important to note that most studies have made use of curcumin supplements or purified turmeric extract.

Therefore the amount of curcumin used in the trial is around 100 times more than what you get from dietary turmeric. Combination of black pepper and turmeric leads to a 2000% increase in bioavailability which would be equivalent to consuming 27-29 cups of turmeric powder.

Now is that amount of curcumin safe for everyone? Also how long can this supplementation be safe?

Most clinical trials have used curcumin supplementation for 6-9 months without significant adverse effects. Also doses up to 8g of turmeric have found to be safe in healthy individuals.

Who should avoid turmeric or turmeric/curcumin supplements?

We generally advocate the use of dietary turmeric or The Golden Paste, since it gives you more than just curcumin and the amount of curcumin you receive is in moderation. Turmeric supplements are to be taken only when advised by a doctor for some chronic condition and that too not for long time period.

However some individuals should avoid consuming turmeric supplements or rather exercise caution while consuming it.

1) Pregnant or lactating women should avoid curcumin supplements

It advisable to avoid any supplements during pregnancy and lactation. Turmeric in diet is absolutely safe and is consumed by Asian women even during pregnancy and lactation without any report of side effects.

Turmeric is one of the herbs which are used in female healthcare. Traditionally turmeric is said to work as a uterine stimulant which is why it is used to regularize menstruation.

But no study till date proves this effect and this is the prime reason why turmeric supplements which are concentrated versions of curcumin should be avoided in pregnancy.

A few animal studies show that curcumin may have adverse effect in fertility and pregnancy while one suggests that it may aid in treatment of gestational disorder. No studies in humans have proven this. And it is important to note that this effect is attributed to curcumin and the effect could be dose dependant.

It can be safely concluded that turmeric in diet would be safe for pregnancy and lactation and its best to avoid curcumin supplements in this case.

What does this mean?
One can consume turmeric in diet during pregnancy and lactation. Turmeric is traditionally said to work as a uterine stimulant and animal studies show that curcumin may not be favourable during pregnancy.
Supplements are a concentrated form of bioavailable curcumin which might not suit during pregnancy and lactation.

2) Individuals suffering from gallbladder obstruction should avoid curcumin supplements

Gall bladder is the organ that contributes to digestive fluids. Gallstones are deposits that obstruct bile passages in gall bladder leading to significant abdominal pain.

Animal study shows that curcumin and black pepper combination can prevent gall stone formation.

20mg of curcumin or around a quarter teaspoon of turmeric powder brings about 29% contraction in the gall bladder. Increasing the dose to 40mg of curcumin brings about 50% contraction.

For healthy individuals these results are not worrisome, since they indicate that curcumin brings about emptying of gall bladder and prevents gallstone formation. But if you already suffer from gall stones, this type of contraction can cause severe pain.

What does this mean?
Curcumin prevents gall stone formation. But if you already suffer from gallstones avoid curcumin supplements as it may cause the gall bladder to contract and cause severe pain.

who should not take take turmeric or curcumin

3) Individuals taking certain medications should exert caution with turmeric supplements

Our body contains various enzymes and proteins that influence drug metabolism and detoxification. Research proves that curcumin interacts with these same enzyme and proteins that metabolize various medications and therefore could pose a risk for drug interaction.

One of the main contraindications with turmeric is that when combined with blood thinning medications it may increase the risk of bleeding. Animal study shows that curcumin may affect the absorption of blood thinning medications but it does not influence or worsen its anti-platelet activity. (Read Is turmeric a blood thinner?)

Curcumin may have interactions with over the counter drugs and painkillers.

Volak et. al report that curcuminoid- black pepper combination does not affect the concentration or activity of certain drugs including paracetamol. Others suggest interactions with drugs such as Vitamin K antagonists, immunosuppressants etc.

University of Maryland Medical Centre recommends that turmeric supplements should be avoided if consuming blood thinning medications, blood sugar lowering medications, stomach acid reducing medicines and certain antidepressants.

Based on this data, we can conclude that turmeric supplements should not be taken in combination with any other drug.

What does this mean?
Curcumin interacts with the same enzymes that metabolize and detoxify drugs and hence could cause drug interactions. Avoid taking curcumin supplements with any other medications. Maintain a 3-4 hour gap. Also consult your health practitioner before taking turmeric supplements.

4) Individuals who are at high risk of developing kidney stones should limit or avoid turmeric spice

Turmeric has high contents of a compound named oxalates which bind to calcium in the body and give rise to kidney stones. Individuals who are at a high risk of developing kidney stones should limit oxalate consumption to 40 – 50mg a day.

A study was conducted wherein they studied whether oxalate content of these spices outweighs the benefits provided by these spices. Individuals were given supplemental doses of turmeric and cinnamon which provided 55mg of oxalate per day.

Hyperoxaluria is high excretion of oxalic acid via urine. It is defined as urine oxalate excretion that exceeds 40 mg every 24 h. It was observed that rate of oxalate absorption was 8.2 % in turmeric with soluble oxalate rate being 91% but urinary oxalate excretion was 29 mg for turmeric which is below standard cut off.

Those who are at the risk of developing kidney stones should take turmeric powder in moderation since the oxalate content of turmeric may impair kidney health. Interestingly an animal study shows that curcumin can prevent kidney stone formation.

Those who suffer from gout are at high risk of developing kidney stones. So if they want use turmeric to treat inflammation they might as well take curcumin supplements since the amount of spice they would require to consume would contain too much oxalate.

What does this mean?
Those who are at risk of developing kidney stones should take turmeric spice in moderation. The oxalate content of turmeric may slightly elevate the risk of developing kidney stones.

5. Individuals trying to conceive should exert caution while using curcumin supplements

Turmeric is generally considered safe but in high doses or concentrated supplements may have effects on pregnancy or fertility. So, individuals who are trying for a baby should cautiously use turmeric/curcumin tablets.

A few animal studies have shown that high doses of curcumin may impact sperm movement, lower testosterone levels, and affect uterine contractions.

A study has shown that curcumin at a concentration greater than 250mg causes immobilization of sperm which may in turn affect fertility. Another fish study shows that a diet supplemented with 5% and 7% turmeric powder suppressed the development of ovarian follicles.

However, the effect of turmeric and curcumin on fertility is not well-established in humans. More human studies are required in the future.

It’s always essential to use supplements in moderation and consult a healthcare professional, especially if you’re concerned about fertility issues or planning to conceive.

What it means
Few studies show that curcumin/turmeric may not be favorable while trying to conceive but the evidence is not conclusive. It is advisable to consult a healthcare provider about taking turmeric supplements while planning to conceive.

6. Individuals scheduled for surgery should avoid turmeric supplements

Turmeric has natural blood thinning properties and may interfere with blood clotting. It may interact with the medications used during surgery.

So, taking turmeric before surgery may increase the risk of bleeding during or after the procedure.

It is preferable to stop taking turmeric or curcumin a few weeks before surgery to reduce the risk of excessive bleeding or interference with blood clotting.

You may consult the healthcare practitioner to resume the turmeric supplements after the surgery.

What it means
Few studies show that turmeric may increase the risk of bleeding which could be problematic during surgery. It is advised to stop taking turmeric supplements at least two weeks before surgery to reduce the risk of bleeding.

7. Individuals with GERD should use turmeric with caution

Individuals suffering from GERD (Gastrointestional reflux disease) should be cautious with turmeric consumption especially when consumed in large amounts. It may be due to its pepper qualities.

An animal study in 1980 highlighted the curcumin induced gastric ulcers. However, other studies have demonstrated that turmeric may prevent the formation of gastric ulcers. Thus, it is scientifically unclear. 

So, the individuals with GERD who wants to incorporate turmeric into their diet may begin with a small quantity of turmeric after the consultation with a healthcare professional.

What it means
High doses of turmeric or curcumin supplements taken for a longer period may worsen the symptoms of GERD. So, it is preferable to exert caution when consuming turmeric while having GERD.

8. Individuals with hormone-sensitive conditions should exercise caution with turmeric

Few studies suggest that curcumin may influence hormone levels in the body and hormone sensitive conditions.

But the research on the direct impact of turmeric on hormone-sensitive conditions, including endometriosis or uterine fibroids is limited. It is preferable to exert caution until the ongoing research studies are conclusive about the benefits of curcumin for these conditions

Individuals with hormone-sensitive conditions may consult their healthcare provider before consuming turmeric supplements.

What it means
Turmeric may have effects on hormone-sensitive conditions. It is recommended to use turmeric/curcumin supplements with caution in these conditions until the research is conclusive.


Taking turmeric with black pepper and fats increases the absorption of curcumin in the body. The Golden Paste is a healthy way of taking turmeric. 1-2 teaspoons once or twice a day should help. You can even make Golden Paste from fresh turmeric roots.

Here are 10 ways you could use The Golden Paste. Turmeric Milk is another delicious way of taking turmeric. If you need help deciding a good brand of organic turmeric powder please check our recommendations on best turmeric brands.



Can turmeric be used by individuals with neurological and autoimmune conditions?

Curcumin has shown neuroprotective action in Alzheimer’s disease, tardive dyskinesia, depression, and epilepsy. However, its mechanism of action or its interaction with medications for neurological or autoimmune conditions is not completely understood. So, it is important to consult your healthcare professional before taking turmeric with neurological and autoimmune conditions.

Is turmeric safe for individuals with liver disease?

There is a concern about the risk of liver injury in people with liver disease after consuming turmeric. It is suggested to avoid the use of curcumin or turmeric in patients with existing or previous liver pathologies as a precaution.

Is it safe for kids to have turmeric?

Turmeric is usually safe for kids when used in small amounts as a spice in food. However, giving turmeric supplements should be done with caution under the guidance of a pediatrician. You can read more about it here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30000906/


Turmeric supplements are not advisable for everybody. They should be avoided by those who are taking certain medications, those who suffer from gallstones and during pregnancy and lactation.

Turmeric powder in excess could also cause gastric discomfort and increase risk for kidney stone formation.

They should be used cautiously while trying to conceive, while having GERD, hormone-sensitive conditions and avoided before a scheduled surgery. In conclusion, it would be appropriate to say that turmeric though therapeutic works best in moderation.

30 thoughts on “Who Should Not Take Turmeric/Curcumin?”

    • Consuming turmeric as a part of your diet when taking synthyroid is safe. In case of turmeric supplements, it is advisable to consult the doctor about the possible interactions between the two. If you do plan to take turmeric supplements, please maintain a 3-4 hour gap between taking turmeric supplements and any medication. Also take turmeric supplements after a meal.


    • Hi. You can consume dietary turmeric with milk and cereal or even soup. If you are experiencing severe symptoms of indigestion or acid reflux like symptoms, please consult your health practitioner about the same.

    • Hi. Yes, it is safe to consume to turmeric powder in diet after having your spleen and appendix removed. Once your doctor suggests to resume a regular diet, you could consider including turmeric in your diet as well. Please confirm the same with your doctor.

    • Hi. Avoid huge amounts of turmeric powder in case of kidney diseases as it contains oxalates. Standardized curcumin supplements have negligible oxalate content and can be used therapeutically; consult your health practitioner before using curcumin supplements.

  2. I take aspirin, coapproval, diclofenac, tramadol, gabapentin, is it safe to take advanced turmeric capsules.

  3. I have psoriasis , can it help. I am finishing up enbrel . Can no longer afford it but right now. I take it once a month, also verapamil for high blood pressure. Once in a while an antacid. Have no other issues. . This had he
    Per my daughter when nothing else worked , thanks

  4. I love Turmeric it helps me I’m 57 years old. And I take it with Warm water and Coconut oil and black pepper. But the last time i took it I got sick to my stomach. Is there a way I can get all the Benefits of it without getting sick to my stomach? I heard when you take it you should take some kind of fat(Coconut oil) to help you absorb it.

    • Hi. Though mentioned as a precaution, it should not be a problem to take Prozac when on Golden Paste because dietary amount of turmeric is unlikely to cause drug interaction and its best if you maintain a 3 hour gap between taking Golden Paste and any medication.

  5. Your piece says that turmeric supplements should be avoided if consuming certain antidepressants, but the piece you site from the U of MD does not name any such – so could you please give a source that specifies which antidepressants turmeric should not be use if consuming?

    • Hi. Thanks for bringing this point into notice, earlier UMM did mention antidepressants as possible drug interactions. However, curcumin does not necessarily interact with an antidepressant but it may potentiate the antidepressant effect which can help in better recovery for some. You can read this study here:
      This is because it interferes in drug metabolism and may increase the concentration of antidepressant in blood as well as have its own antidepressant effect. So as a precaution it is best to maintain 3-4 hour gap between taking the two and consult a health practitioner as well.


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