Although you can take turmeric as a supplement, it isn’t a substitute for your current healthcare plan. Turmeric’s active component, curcumin, may help manage blood sugar levels and has benefits for those at risk for type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a common condition related to disruptions in your blood sugar level. Your blood sugar level is an important aspect of the way your body breaks down food and uses energy. Diabetes happens when your body can’t properly produce or use the hormone insulin to regulate your blood sugar levels.

Turmeric is a spice made from the ground root of the turmeric plant. It has been recognized for its medicinal properties and is believed to have many health benefits, including pain relief and possible disease prevention.

This article explains whether turmeric may help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes.

Turmeric is a golden-yellow spice used in many dishes, particularly curries. For centuries, it has been used in Eastern medicine for general health. It’s often used for improving liver function and digestion, as well as easing pain from conditions such as arthritis.

The spice has a large following in alternative medicine and is gaining popularity in mainstream medicine. Recently, it has received much attention for its potential use in preventing cancer and other diseases. Turmeric is believed to have antioxidant properties that could help fight infection and inflammation.

Research has also suggested that turmeric could help treat or prevent diabetes.

Turmeric’s active component, curcumin, is credited for many of the spice’s purported benefits.

A 2021 review of studies suggests that curcumin can decrease blood sugar levels and reduce diabetes-related complications. The researchers also note that curcumin may have a role in diabetes prevention. More clinical trials with humans are needed to better understand the effects of curcumin and turmeric.

Turmeric extract could help stabilize blood sugar levels and make diabetes more manageable. It may also provide general health benefits, such as aiding digestion. This extract can be found in over-the-counter supplements.

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Turmeric is generally regarded as safe for consumption. But when curcumin, the active component of turmeric, is taken in large doses (more than is typically consumed in a meal flavored with turmeric), it may cause unpleasant side effects.

Possible side effects include:

Repeatedly consuming large amounts of turmeric may cause liver problems. And if you have gallbladder disease, you should avoid turmeric because it may worsen your condition.

Talk with a doctor before using turmeric. They can assess your medical profile and discuss the potential benefits and risks.

Generally, diabetes management involves sticking to a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. A healthcare professional can help you develop the best management plan.

Most diet plans emphasize eating more whole foods, including vegetables, fruits, and grains. If you have diabetes, it’s important to prioritize foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar to help regulate your blood sugar levels.

Doctors usually recommend regular physical activity, which can help lower and stabilize your blood sugar levels.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you might be able to manage it through diet and exercise alone. People with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 must also use insulin medication.

Here are some frequently asked questions about turmeric and diabetes.

Can people with diabetes take turmeric?

The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, may help lower blood sugar and reduce the inflammatory processes caused by diabetes. But it’s important to talk with a healthcare professional before adding supplements to your diet.

How much turmeric should a person with diabetes take daily?

Turmeric can be beneficial in doses of 500–2,000 milligrams (mg) per day. However, dosages vary and you should consult a healthcare professional before taking supplements.

Which is better for diabetes, turmeric or cinnamon?

Both cinnamon and turmeric are spices that can help fight inflammatory processes in your body.

Who should not take turmeric?

According to the British Heart Foundation, people with liver or bile duct issues should avoid taking turmeric supplements, but it’s OK to eat food that contains turmeric. High doses of turmeric can have a blood-thinning effect.

Things to keep in mind

  • Please read the label on all supplement packages and carefully follow the instructions. If you’re unsure of the dosage, ask a healthcare professional.
  • As with other supplements, it’s often wise to start with a low dosage and gauge how you’re doing. You can build up from there, if necessary.
  • Turmeric may increase urinary oxalate levels or worsen anemia. Use it with caution if you have a history of kidney stones or anemia.
  • Although most people can tolerate turmeric, you might find that it doesn’t agree with your stomach. It’s also possible that you could have an allergy. Start with a smaller dosage to see how your body reacts to it.
  • Avoid buying in bulk. Like other spices, turmeric has its best properties when it’s fresh. Whether you take turmeric as a supplement or add it to your food, buy only what you need for the immediate future.
  • If you cook with turmeric, it will not have the same potential health benefits as a supplement would. The heat will take away some of the medicinal value. The amounts used in cooking are also likely to be smaller than those in supplements.
  • Combining turmeric with fat or oil can improve your absorption of curcumin and increase the benefits.
Was this helpful?

Turmeric has many possible health benefits, including improving liver function and digestion, easing pain from conditions such as arthritis, and having antioxidant properties that can help fight infection and inflammation.

Although you can take turmeric as a supplement to complement your diabetes management plan, it isn’t a substitute for medical care. Consult a healthcare professional to determine the best way to proceed.

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