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Turmeric Supplements Linked To Liver Damage

Turmeric, Health benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric, now that’s a fun spice. It’s got a hue brighter than fire, a benefit for almost any body part, and a flavor that gives curry its kick. Could it be any more perfect?

Actually, a recent study showed a side to turmeric no one had ever seen before, and it wasn’t pretty. Especially for the liver.

The Real Damage Of Turmeric

A study published in BMJ Case Reports reported that a 71-year-old woman developed liver damage as a result of taking a turmeric supplement. Apparently, the woman began taking a turmeric supplement as an attempt to improve her cardiovascular health. Upon taking a blood test, her healthcare providers diagnosed her with autoimmune hepatitis, which occurs when your immune system attacks your liver cells, causing liver inflammation and damage. (1)

While being monitored for her condition by her healthcare providers, she read online that turmeric could cause liver damage and decided to stop taking the supplements. Subsequent tests showed that the inflammation in her liver rapidly cleared up, and when she finally mentioned the supplements to her healthcare providers, it was found that this was the most probable cause for her liver damage. (2)

Turmeric’s Good, Bad, And Ugly

Was turmeric really the culprit behind this woman’s liver damage? All we can say is that it seems to be the most probable answer, but there are other possibilities. For example, because the woman had thrown away her supplement bottle beforehand, they were unable to test it for possible contamination. And because this is the first documented report of its kind, the results are still fairly uncertain.

But the bad news is, yes, there is a possibility that turmeric can be damaging for your liver.

What’s the good news? As long as you are safely adding turmeric into your diet, the benefits are next to endless! Turmeric has been found to lower triglyceride levels, help manage stress and anxiety, decrease signs of cognitive decline, and, ironically enough, was even found to decrease liver injury. (3)

How To Take Turmeric Safely

So how can you get all the good without the bad? Here are a few tips that might just save your liver.

1. Talk With Doc

First and foremost, make sure you talk to your physician before adding turmeric to your daily routine. Since your doctor is the one who knows your health best, he will be able to tell you if a supplement is right for you or not. (4)

2. Take All Meds Into Account

When you speak with your physician, make sure both you and he are aware of every other medication and supplement you take. You may be surprised to learn how certain medications and supplements can affect each other in extremely negative ways. (4)

3. Watch Your Daily Dosage

Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s safe. Treat a supplement just like any other medication and make sure you are taking it correctly and keeping an eye out for possible side effects. According to the JECFA (The Joint United Nations and World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives) and the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), the recommended daily intake of curcumin (the main chemical compound in turmeric) is between 0 and 3 mg/kg of body weight. (5)

Conclusion

So, the secret is out. Turmeric isn’t the perfect, pretty little spice it always was. But, with careful monitoring and the approval of your doctor, all the benefits you’ve come to know and love are still just as amazing as they always were. And if you’re looking for the best way to add turmeric to your diet, turmeric spice itself may be the safest way of them all.

  1. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/liver-disease/autoimmune-hepatitis
  2. https://casereports.bmj.com/content/2018/bcr-2018-224611.short?g=w_casereports_current_tab
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031/
  4. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/supplements/wiseuse.htm
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031/

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Emilyn Gil