Who Shouldn’t Consume Curcumin or Turmeric?

Just because something is natural and plant-based doesn't mean it's necessarily safe. Those who are pregnant, have gallstones, or are susceptible to kidney stones may want to moderate their turmeric consumption.

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This is the last installment of a 6-part video series on the power of spices in general and turmeric in particular. I started out discussing the role spices play in squelching inflammation and free radicals in Which Spices Fight Inflammation? ( ) and Spicing Up DNA Protection ( ). Then out of the lab into the clinic with attempts to test the ability of turmeric extracts to treat joint inflammation with Turmeric Curcumin and Rheumatoid Arthritis ( ) and Turmeric Curcumin and Osteoarthritis ( ). My last video, Boosting the Bioavailability of Curcumin ( ), discussed ways to improve the absorption of these anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.

I wish there was more science on wheatgrass. I just had that one unhelpful anecdote in my video How Much Broccoli Is Too Much? ( ) There is good science on flax though. See:

• Flax Seeds For Breast Pain ( )
• Breast Cancer Survival and Lignan Intake ( )
• Flax and Fecal Flora ( )
• Prostate vs. Plants ( )
• A Better Breakfast ( )
• Flaxseeds vs. Chia Seeds ( )

More on gallbladder health can be found in my video Cholesterol Gallstones ( ). And those who are susceptible to kidney stones should try to alkalinize their urine by eating lots of dark green leafy vegetables (but then shouldn't we all :). See Testing Your Diet with Pee & Purple Cabbage ( ).

Based on this new science on turmeric (lots more to come!), I now try to include it in my family's daily diet.

Have a question for Dr. Greger about this video? Leave it in the comment section at and he'll try to answer it!

Image Credit: Savagecats, Viosplatter, Wallyg, h-bomb and Cizauskas via flickr, and Andy king50 via Wikimedia.

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Dave McKinnon

  • K2 says:

    Presenting the risks and benefits of both curcumin and turmeric for people in different health circumstances was really informative!

  • HM113 says:

    Your videos sometimes show why a little knowledge may be a dangerous thing! Great info and I appreciate the education.
    What would it cost for many of us to obtain this info from a professional? Right or wrong he gets us thinking and asking questions. A prime example of the potential of the internet to do more than “entertain” ourselves. Thanks for taking the time to do these videos!!!

  • NutritionFacts.org says:

    With the flood of information being released on turmeric and curcumin, make sure you didn’t miss Wednesday’s video on some of the caveats: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/who-shouldnt-consume-curcumin-or-turmeric/

    • MARI TOIDA says:

      Awesome..Thank you dr…

    • Valerie Tomsic says:

      MARI TOIDA Isn’t Doc just the BEST!!!???? he is !!!!

    • Melissa Michelle says:


    • lucy b says:

      Hi there, im desperate for some advice please. myself and whole family have organic turmeric with hot milky chocolate every day.My 4 year old has just under quarter of a tea spoon each day. Would you say this is safe for him ? Sometimes he gets blood shot eyes which may be aleregys but I worry its turmeric related? And that giving it him could be dangerous. Please would you give me some advice.Thanksyou so much!!

    • Kil20K says:

      well Dr. G! thank you for the entertainment.. I Haven’t had a hard laugh since I’ve seen your video! XD you are a LEGEND!!

  • Brooklyn Street Smart says:

    My solution is, all in moderation and enjoy life and not get too obsessive over the use or lack of. Thanks Doctor, I listened closely and appreciate you sharing this information.

    • Monalisa Ng'ang'a says:

      Me too 🙋

    • Botzer says:

      Not “all” in moderation. Eating meat, dairies, eggs, smoking and drinking alcohol is always something bad

    • Brooklyn Street Smart says:

      @Botzer anyone with brain cells knows smoking is never good. Where did I say smoking? Eggs have amazing benefits, look it up and modernize your information. You are living back in the seventies food info.

  • Salamura says:

    This channel is called NUTRITIAN FACTS, so I don’t understand why people are complaining about him talking about the dangers of turmeric and not pharmaceuticals or medication. It isn’t a secret anymore that medications are dangerous and have lots of side effects. That’s why people try to find natural cures nowadays. Therefore his work is actually very important, because a lot of us think just because it is natural it has to be good. The fact that we are used to pharmaceuticals and forgot about all the natural remedies is also a reason why we need to be schooled in this matter. We tend to use natural ingredients without any knowledge which also can be very dangerous

    • geraldrico says:

      I still choose this to pharmaceutical drugs. Viewing the side effects.

    • Game Players says:

      Kudos for the Video! Apologies for chiming in, I would appreciate your thoughts. Have you tried – Tarbbatigan Charter Access Tip (Sure I saw it on Google)? It is a great one off product for learning the secret to reversing your kidney disease without the normal expense. Ive heard some great things about it and my GF got excellent success with it.

    • Andres Vallenilla says:

      Thanks for the video content! Apologies for butting in, I would love your opinion. Have you heard about – Hanristian Pectorial Humdinger (Have a quick look on google cant remember the place now)? It is a good one off guide for revealing the secret to get rid of gallstones without the headache. Ive heard some awesome things about it and my buddy after many years got great success with it.

    • JEFF BLALOCK says:

      So get EDJuMEDICATED LADY… .

  • DANG JOS says:

    The problems is that turmeric is by FAR not the only food with oxalates.  Oxalates are found in berries, nuts, green vegetables (especially spinach, chard, rhubarb and their relatives), and beans.  So to try and lower your oxalate intake would be difficult.  There is a certain bacterium known to break down oxalate though that may be helpful.

    • 4JOJO1947 says:

      There are dozens of health-promoting foods that are commonly found in reference lists of “high-oxalate foods,” but the only ones that have conclusively been shown to raise urinary levels of oxalate are:3
      1. beets, spinach, and rhubarb
      2. strawberries
      3. nuts
      4. whole wheat
      5. all dried beans
      Despite their high oxalate content, there is actually little evidence that restricting the above foods reduces the likelihood of developing calcium oxalate stones. When people with a history of kidney stones were compared with people without such a history, there was no difference in oxalate intake. Similarly, when people with the highest levels of oxalate consumption were compared with people consuming the lowest levels, the risk of developing stones over time was not substantially different. Stone formation is a complex process that involves multiple dietary and lifestyle factors besides oxalate ingestion. In addition, endogenous (made within the body) metabolism of amino acids and other substances accounts for a large proportion of the oxalate that ends up in the urine.6

  • Awakened Angel says:

    Just subscribed. Used to take a lot of tumeric with pepper, was Very I’ll and in a brain fog, but recently cut back. I agree, everything in moderation. Thanks for advice.

  • Joanne B says:

    I had a biliary duct obstruction for over 3 months. Very painful! When my gallbladder was finally removed, it was impacted and necrotic. I don’t consume Tumeric or Curcumin, and it’s probably a good thing I didn’t back then either.

  • Edward Hellwig says:

    Thank you for again stating the obvious that people do not realize. A number of years ago, I was debating buying a product & asked the phone rep what the ingredients were because I was concerned about adverse reactions with the meds I was already taking. I was assured that I didn’t need the ingredients because ‘IT WAS ALL NATURAL AND WOULD NOT HAVE ANY PROBLEMS’, there was a long pause on the line when I told her that hemlock & arsenic were natural, then she finally said that she would connect me to the technical support department!!!

  • AugustHawk says:

    Thanks for the information. I intentionally consume turmeric in my natural diet as teas and spices, and make a paste for my skin when I get inflammation. I didn’t see this video as a warning not to consume turmeric, but instead a warning to take turmeric supplements responsibly by being completely informed, and better yet, encouraging people to get nutrients as naturally as possible, such as in one’s diet. Too much of anything is bad for a person, and this video merely points that out.

  • Liz Alexander says:

    As someone who had to have her gall bladder out because of very, very poor dietary habits, the description of the constrictions it would cause in someone with gall bladder pain made me wince! lol

    Very, very informative video. In essence, it can be good for a person, but only in normal amounts that would be consumed if one ate Indian food on a daily basis. 🙂 That makes a lot of sense to me.

    Actually clicked on this video from another that suggested “Golden Milk” as a night-time drink, and I wanted to learn a little more about the ingredient.

    As with most stuff like this, it’s good to have all info before going hog-wild in either direction.

  • Michael Johnson says:

    0:31 I’m glad you covered the “just because something is natural, doesn’t mean it’s not toxic…” My wife mentions EVERY time we see “natural flavors” added to a packaged food that it could be ANYTHING.

  • Brian Richards says:

    This seems like a really well balanced overview of the ingestion of turmeric. I have seen the light, and am cutting back my intake of turmeric to 1 TSP per day, and forgoing the black pepper. Thanks, Doctor.

  • Galeno - Health Science Prevention says:

    Great information. People should be aware of the risks before using any product, including natural ones.

  • AuberJean 68 says:

    Thank you Dr. Greger! I appreciate all your videos. Not just what they’ve done to help improve my health, but what you’re doing for everyone!

  • Phil Whelan says:

    Interesting.. I’ve been taking moderate quantities of dried organic turmeric in food & drinks, starting just prior to finding out I had a small gallstone, at the start of the year. I’m pretty sure a particular evening of discomfort is when I passed the stone, 8 months after discovery of it’s existence. I had no idea turmeric affects the gallbladder in the way outlined in this video.. I would caution anyone with a large stone, but mine was recorded (by hi-def ultrasound) at only 3mm, and maybe turmeric helped move it, before it grew to a size too big for the biliary duct. I’ve some kind of inflammatory disorder in many joints large & small, so will continue with turmeric as part of a ‘food as medicine’ approach. Wishing readers good health and happiness 🙂

  • BELZY02 Belinda H says:

    I agree !! I’ve never been drawn to curcumin supplements or turmeric cannot stand the taste of it either. I work in a health shop and we sell ALOT of it ! I always go with what I feel is right for me and know my body. I must have been right as I do have gall stone issues at times…on the other hand I cannot get enough black pepper!!
    It’s like that guy who got sick from living on carrot juice and ended up orange man with too much beta carotene. Balance is the key !!

  • Gena cat says:

    Yes! I was taking tumeric because of all the positive things about it. It was a big mistake..made my gallbladder almost turn septic. I would use tiny tiny bit of it in food and tea. Becareful with tumeric..I had emergency surgery I’m pretty sure this was the reason why.

    • B F2021 says:

      I recently started using turmeric for knee inflammation. Unrelated to this issue I just learned that I have gallstones (though no problems yet). I’m thinking I should stop the turmeric supplement.

    • Aztec4life says:

      Did u get nose bleeds. Ever since I started using my nose bleeds. I have stopped

    • Abraham A. says:

      Ahah sad. I love tumeric. I’m from an eastern culture so we literally have around 3-4 grams of it daily in our food. We are crazy in love with the spice. But remember just because you can’t have one spice or one herb doesn’t mean you can’t have others. You absolutely can. Always keep it in mind

    • Caden Polen says:


  • spectoral says:

    I just love how unbiased he is. Dr Michael Greger’s preamble in the intro put to rest doubts about whether he is just a plant-based fanboy without exception… and this is coming from a reader of his book “how not to die”. Big respect

  • Lee Robs says:

    I agree, these videos are essential. I took a liver detox each day with half a teaspoon of turmeric, unknowingly the turmeric was thinning my blood and caused flooding during my menstrual cycle. I became very ill and anemic. But I carried on, it was my husband that discovered this out years later. It is best to be very cautious, we read about benefits but we should be told about side effects. I have recovered well, thank God, and still take it but with caution and never during my cycle.

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