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Secret Side Effects of Eating Turmeric, Says Science

Turmeric has potential health risks that you might not expect
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Golden milk lattes are popular for good reason. Turmeric is not only delicious, but it has also been known to have extremely powerful healing properties. As part of the same family as ginger, eating turmeric has been known to lower inflammation, reduce allergy symptoms, and give us an immunity boost.

With all the possible health benefits that come from turmeric, are there any negative risks of consuming it? Although they're rare, we did find some potential side effects of eating turmeric that may be helpful to know. And for more healthy eating tips, make sure to read The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.


You may consume unwanted additives

turmeric supplement

Turmeric powder is a great addition to many spicy dishes, as well as a fun way to make a golden latte when you're trying to skip the coffee. Unfortunately, when we consume turmeric powder, we run the risk of also consuming some unexpected additives like lead or flours like rye, cassava, or wheat.

This is because of a common process known as adulteration, where powdered spices are mixed with other spices, cheaper flours, and sometimes ingredients like lead, to make the production process cheaper. Unfortunately, as consumers, this puts us at risk of ingesting unwanted ingredients.

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You may experience bloating or other digestive issues


Turmeric is made up of many different active ingredients, including the main and most beneficial to our health: curcumin. Curcumin can be extracted and sold as a separate supplement from turmeric, and for the most part, it is harmless.

However, a study from Cancer Prevention Research showed curcumin to cause diarrhea, bloating, or other digestive problems in a small number of people. This side effect is rare, but still possible if you consume larger amounts of turmeric on a regular basis.

RELATED: 19 Foods That Cause Bloating and Gut Discomfort


You may experience headaches or nausea

turmeric latte
Courtesy of Fooduzzi

Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, which is why many people like to take it in supplement form or by eating turmeric. Even though curcumin is beneficial in many different ways for our health, a few different studies have revealed its possible mild side effects.

One study from BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies highlighted the fact that curcumin can potentially lead to headaches or nausea, although it's still a decently rare side effect and only occurs in a small number of people. If you consume a lot of turmeric and experience headaches or nausea afterward, this could be something to pay attention to!


You might temporarily stain your skin, nails, or countertops

golden milk turmeric

Turmeric's yellow coloring is so intense that it is used as a natural dye in many parts of the world. When you cook with turmeric, especially fresh turmeric, you'll most likely stain some parts of your hands, nails, and maybe even your countertops. Thankfully the staining is temporary and will wash off your skin shortly after.


It might affect your gallbladder

turmeric in bowl and wooden spoon
Shutterstock / monticello

In larger quantities, turmeric has been known to potentially cause some gallbladder problems in a small number of people, especially those who already had preexisting gallbladder trouble. In a study from the Asia Pacific Journal of Nutrition, it was shown that large amounts of turmeric can possibly cause the gallbladder to contract, which can lead to blockages and improper function.

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Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha