Turmeric is a delicious spice used in many types of curries, soups, chili, meat dishes, and even the trendy golden milk latte. It has been used for thousands of years in places like India, West Africa, and Jamaica, and is also a staple in many Chinese medicine practices to help with inflammation, blood health, and more. While various cultures have been finding ways to harness the health benefits of this spice for centuries, turmeric entered Western practices relatively recently. And although the FDA has recognized turmeric and turmeric supplements as “generally safe,” a recent report claims that this spice may have potentially harmful effects on liver health.
In addition to cooking, turmeric has traditionally been used in a wellness context as a means to fight inflammation and is believed to have antioxidant properties, hence the popularity of golden milk lattes and turmeric supplements. But aside from the embarrassing experience of having yellow-stained hands, there hasn’t been much discussion about any negative side effects of consuming turmeric—until recently.
About the study
Published by American Journal of Medicine In Oct. 22, researchers evaluated the association between turmeric intake and the likelihood of liver damage in those enrolled in the Drug-Induced Liver Injury Network (DILIN).
According to the study, researchers found a total of 16 cases of turmeric-related liver damage among those enrolled in the DILIN program between 2011-2022. The extent of these injuries reportedly ranged from more moderate to severe, resulting in five hospitalizations and even one death due to acute liver damage. Further chemical analysis confirmed that three of these patients also consumed turmeric in combination with black pepper, an ingredient that many experts recommend being taken with turmeric as it helps the body digest it more efficiently.
While the findings of this study are important, the low amount of liver reported during this 10-year period suggests that more research may be needed. Clearly there is a need to explore the reasoning behind it Why turmeric can be the catalyst for such health complications.
RELATED: The Most Crucial Eating Habit for Your Liver
What other reports claim
Although the findings of this study may seem marginal, turmeric’s tendency to potentially lead to liver damage is not something we should discount. This is not the first study to link liver damage to turmeric consumption. Therefore, it is worth considering the potential risks.
There were two separate cases of adults with liver damage caused by turmeric drugs, reported in International Medical Case Reports Journal in 2021. Also in Tuscany, several more cases of liver damage from turmeric consumption have also been reported.
These reports should not necessarily cause immediate concern or alarm, as liver damage resulting directly from turmeric consumption still appears to be a rare occurrence. However, if you or someone you know often cooks with turmeric or takes turmeric supplements on a regular basis, it may be worth checking with a doctor or nutritionist before adding another spoonful to your latte or curry.