Studies show that turmeric could be beneficial in doses ranging from 500–2,000 milligrams (mg) per day. However, the recommended dosage can vary depending on the specific condition you’re trying to treat.
You may know turmeric primarily as a spice, but it’s also used in Ayurvedic medicine, a holistic approach to health that originated in India over 3,000 years ago (
Turmeric supplements are now widely available for medicinal use, but knowing how much to take can be confusing.
Here’s a look at the uses and benefits of turmeric, effective doses, and potential safety concerns.
Curcumin, a potent plant chemical in turmeric, is believed to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects (
Many studies indicate that chronic, low grade inflammation may be a key factor in developing conditions like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer (
Interestingly, one review of 32 studies found that curcumin supplementation could help reduce several markers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (
Several studies have also investigated the effects of turmeric and curcumin on certain inflammatory conditions.
For instance, several older studies found that people with osteoarthritis who took curcumin supplements had reduced symptoms and were able to decrease their use of pain-relieving medications (
In another recent meta-analysis, researchers found that individuals with ulcerative colitis (UC) who took curcumin and mesalamine, a drug used to treat UC, were three times more likely to achieve remission than those who took mesalamine alone (
One review of 50 studies also found that turmeric could ease symptoms for people with chronic kidney disease who are experiencing itchy skin, a common symptom of kidney problems (
Though less conclusive, other RCTs indicate turmeric may play a beneficial role in heart disease, diabetes prevention, and irritable bowel syndrome (
Turmeric contains curcumin, a potent chemical with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Many suggested benefits of turmeric are supported by evidence from randomized controlled trials, the gold standard of research.
Studies typically use doses of 500–2,000 mg of turmeric per day, often in the form of an extract with a curcumin concentration that is much higher than the amounts naturally occurring in foods.
For instance, the average Indian diet provides around 2,000–2,500 mg of turmeric per day, which only translates to around 60–100 mg of curcumin (
For reference, turmeric spices contain around 3% curcumin, compared to 95% curcumin in extracts (
Nonetheless, turmeric may still have benefits when used as a spice.
One observational study in older adults found that curcumin consumption was associated with improvements in the maintenance of attention, short-term working memory, language, and executive function over time (
While there is no official consensus on effective turmeric or curcumin doses, the following have been used in research with promising results (
- For osteoarthritis: 500–1,500 mg of turmeric daily for 3 months.
- For itchy skin: 500 mg of turmeric three times daily for 2 months.
- For ulcerative colitis: 100–10,000 mg of turmeric extract daily.
High doses of turmeric and curcumin are not recommended long-term since research confirming their safety is lacking.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has determined 1.4 mg per pound (0–3 mg per kilogram) of body weight an acceptable daily intake (
Keep in mind, all herbal supplements should be used with caution. Always notify a healthcare professional of any supplements you’re taking, including turmeric and curcumin.
Research indicates that turmeric doses of 500–10,000 mg per day may be effective. However, high doses are not recommended long-term.
Although turmeric is believed to be safe for most individuals, certain people may need to avoid it.
These conditions warrant extreme caution:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding: There is not enough research to determine if turmeric supplements are safe for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding (
- Gallbladder disease: According to some older research, turmeric may cause the gallbladder to contract, worsening symptoms (
- Kidney stones: It’s high in oxalate, which can bind with calcium and cause kidney stones formation (19).
- Bleeding disorders: It may slow the ability of your blood to clot, which can worsen bleeding problems (
- Diabetes: It may cause blood sugar levels to drop too low (
- Iron-deficiency: It may interfere with iron absorption (
In addition, turmeric supplements can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and diabetes medications (
However, turmeric seems to be safe under these circumstances in the amounts typically eaten in food.
Turmeric supplements are unsafe if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have certain conditions. Supplements can also interact with blood thinners and diabetes medications. However, turmeric seems to be safe when used as a spice in food.
For short periods of time, doses of up to 12 grams per day have been used in research without any toxic effects (
Still, some side effects have been reported.
The more common adverse effects include allergic reactions, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and vomiting (
Additionally, in one 2011 case study, an individual taking high doses of 1,500–2,250 mg twice daily experienced an abnormal heart rhythm. However, the supplement they were taking also contained other ingredients, including mulberry leaves, black soybean, garlic, and arrowroot starch (
A 2019 article noted two cases of liver damage related to turmeric supplements, though other studies have linked curcumin to reduced liver toxicity. (25).
More studies are needed to determine possible additional adverse effects associated with long-term use.
Minimal adverse effects of taking turmeric supplements short-term have been reported, but more long-term studies are needed.
Extracts are the most potent form of turmeric supplements.
They’re concentrated, packing up to 95% of curcumin. In contrast, powders and spices can contain as little as 2% of curcuminoids (
What’s more, extracts are less likely to be contaminated with other substances such as heavy metals (
Whatever form of turmeric you choose, consider combining your supplement with black pepper. Black pepper contains the compound piperine, which was shown to increase curcumin absorption by 2,000% in one older study (
And, as always, make sure you buy from a reputable brand.
Consider supplements that have been tested by a third party, such as NSF International, Informed Choice, or the United States Pharmacopeia (USP).
These companies ensure you are getting what’s on the label and that your product is free from contaminants.
Turmeric extracts are highly concentrated with curcumin and less likely to be contaminated with other substances. All supplements should be bought from a reputable source.
Research suggests 500–2,000 mg of turmeric per day may have potential benefits, particularly in extract form.
The exact dose may depend on the medical condition you’re trying to treat, though official dosing recommendations are unavailable.
The risk of side effects is minimal but turmeric supplements are unsuitable for some people.
As with any supplement, turmeric should be used with caution and you should discuss its use with a doctor.