How Long Do Turmeric Supplements Take To Work & How Much Should I Take?
Turmeric is best known as a colouring agent used in curries and pilau rice. Its vivid yellow shade is immediately recognisable on the spice counter and is a nightmare to remove from clothing! Its only recently (in the West at least) that the remarkable health benefits of turmeric have become mainstream knowledge.
In China and India, on the other hand, it has been used for centuries as a natural anti-inflammatory medicine. Historically it was taken as a medicinal paste along with black pepper and coconut oil. Black pepper is an immune boosting substance in its own right, but it also aids digestion – so in combination with oil it makes the turmeric more bioavailable. Studies have shown that combining black pepper with turmeric extract increases bioavailability by 2000%1!
This is the approach we take at Hellenia with our turmeric supplements, combined with black pepper extract for maximum impact. You can purchase turmeric as a traditional powder – which can be added to soups or smoothies, or drank as a tea – or as convenient capsules.
The active ingredient of turmeric is curcumin, which is the substance that lends turmeric roots their distinctive orange yellow colour. At least five positive health benefits of curcumin have been suggested by medical studies:
Helps avoid age related chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer and dementia2.
Improves memory and cognitive abilities3.
Reduces risk of heart disease4.
Slows down the growth of cancerous cells in certain skin cancers and digestive cancers5
Offsets the pain of osteoarthritis6.
How much turmeric would you need to take to see any of these benefits? The answer is more than you would normally sprinkle on a curry, which is why a growing number of people are turning to turmeric supplementation – but the doses are not as high as some may think.
The memory function study cited above (benefit 2) gave the participants a daily dose of only 90 mg of concentrated curcumin before definite effects were noticed compared to the placebo group, but this is an abnormally low dose.
As a general supplement the recommended dose for turmeric powder is 400 to 600 mg, taken with food three times daily, or a single daily dose of 750 mg to 3 g.
For osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, two daily doses of 500 mg of turmeric extract may be helpful to relieve symptoms.
As a short term anti-inflammatory, e.g. following an injury, try 500 mg daily for four weeks.
Can I take too much?
Turmeric supplements are safe to take and do not have side effects in most people, even when taken at high daily doses (8,000 – 12,000 mg)7. However, people who are prone to developing kidney stones should approach turmeric with caution due to its oxalate content8.
Other rare side effects include:
Bloating, flatulence and loose stools at doses > 1,000mg
Headaches after taking doses > 450 mg
Allergic skin reaction at doses > 8,000 mg
How long does it take to work?
Turmeric supplements take time to work their magic, so are unsuited for use as short-term anti-inflammatories (use ibuprofen for a twisted ankle). As the level of curcumin builds in your system, you can expect to start seeing beneficial effects within 4-8 weeks, depending on condition and body mass.
As with all supplements, we recommend consulting a health professional if in any doubt as to its suitability for you. Turmeric supplements and a range of other health products can be found in our online store. Visit our website today for great deals and free UK postage on all orders over £15.