A Spicy Dilemma: When Is Turmeric Bad For Your Kidneys? (2023)

  • Overview
  • How does turmeric work?
  • Is turmeric bad for kidneys?
  • What are the negative effects of taking turmeric?
  • Potential health benefits of turmeric
  • How much turmeric can I consume a day?
  • When to consult a doctor
  • The lowdown

Turmeric is an Indian spice that has been a part of Ayurveda medicine¹ for centuries. The active ingredient called curcumin doesn't just give turmeric its yellow color; it comes with various potential health benefits.

Curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms that help with various health issues, including heart conditions, liver disease, and certain inflammation-related chronic diseases.² However, high doses of this ingredient could be harmful to your kidneys and lead to the formation of kidney stones.

How is turmeric bad for kidneys? Let's take a closer look.

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How does turmeric work?

Turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, comes with substantial biological properties. Research³ shows that curcumin can help manage oxidative and inflammatory conditions. It may also help with:

Curcumin is a polyphenol that belongs to the ginger family. Polyphenols are the most effective antioxidants that you receive from your diet. They protect the body's tissues against oxidative stress.

Oxidative stress⁵ occurs when there is an imbalance between the production and accumulation of oxygen-reactive species (also called free radicals) in your cells and tissues. Generally, oxidative stress is harmful to the human body. It can play an important role in developing such conditions as diabetes, cancer, coronary heart disease, and inflammation.

Curcumin protects your body from free radicals that prevail when oxidative stress occurs. This, in turn, protects your cells from damage.

It's worth noting that while curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric, its content in this spice is rather low. Curcuminoids (active compounds in turmeric) comprise around 2%–9%⁶ of turmeric. Pure curcumin makes up about 75% of all curcuminoids in turmeric.


Due to poor absorption, curcumin has poor bioavailability (how much of the substance can enter your bloodstream). Meanwhile, if a person has rapid metabolism, the therapeutic effect of curcumin is even lower.

However, when combined with other elements, the bioavailability of this ingredient can increase dramatically. For example, when you eat turmeric together with black pepper, the bioavailability of curcumin may increase by an impressive 2000%.⁷

Is turmeric bad for kidneys?

In most cases, taking small doses of turmeric to spice up your food is safe. However, you must consult your doctor if you plan to take curcumin supplements. Besides mild side effects such as headaches, diarrhea, and nausea, curcumin could cause kidney stone formation.

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What are the negative effects of taking turmeric?

One of the most important things to remember about this beneficial spice is that it increases urinary oxalate levels.

Curcumin is high in soluble oxalates. These oxalates attach themselves to calcium and create insoluble calcium oxalate, which is responsible for most kidney stones. Around 75%⁸ of all kidney stones are calcium oxalate.

Remember that you don't need to consume large doses of turmeric to face the risk of kidney stones. Supplemental doses can significantly affect urinary oxalate levels and boost the risk of developing kidney stones in susceptible people.

Even when consumed in small doses, turmeric can also cause mild side effects — despite being classified as "generally recognized as safe" by the US Food and Drug Administration. These include:

Potential health benefits of turmeric

Turmeric, or, to be more precise, curcumin, has a variety of health benefits. Studies⁹ demonstrated its numerous beneficial effects, including:

  • Antioxidative. It protects against free radical damage (this can benefit cancer prevention, lower the chances of developing age-related eye diseases, and may prevent heart disease).

  • Anti-inflammatory. It reduces inflammation by decreasing histamine levels and possibly by raising the production of natural cortisone.

  • Hepatoprotective. Curcuminprotects the liver from numerous toxins, mostly as a result of antioxidant properties.

  • Better circulation. Turmeric prevents platelets from binding together (this improves circulation but can prevent clotting).

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  • Antimutagenic. It can prevent new cancers caused by chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

  • Antimicrobial. It can stop the growth of various bacteria, parasites, and fungi.

  • Cardiovascular. Curcumin can protect the cardiovascular system by lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

  • Gastric. It plays a significant role in treating gastric ulcers. Some gastrointestinal ulcers are caused by a bacterium called helicobacter pylori. Curcumin protects the stomach lining from inflammation caused by this bacterium and prevents the ulcer from occurring.

In addition to health benefits, turmeric can play a significant role in slowing down the aging process. The powerful antioxidant and inflammatory properties of curcumin can postpone the onset of age-related diseases and improve the health status of older people.

Benefits of turmeric to people with kidney problems

While curcumin can cause kidney stone formation, it also has various benefits for people with kidney problems.

Eases chronic kidney disease

A recent study¹⁰ demonstrates that taking curcumin supplements increases the levels of beneficial gut microbes that limit toxic activity. This can be beneficial for controlling chronic kidney disease.

Curcumin stimulates the production of proteolytic enzymes (enzymes that break down proteins) that help metabolize uremic toxins (indoxyl sulfate and p-cresyl sulfate), both of which contribute to the progression of chronic kidney disease.

When the damage to the kidneys becomes worse, the amount of the above toxins usually increases. However, study participants who took curcumin didn't experience an increase in uremic toxins.

While more studies need to be done to confirm this, there is a good chance that curcumin may slow down the overall progression of chronic kidney disease.

Complementary therapy for hemodialysis patients

People who live with chronic kidney disease require hemodialysis often. This treatment removes waste and water from your blood when your kidneys can't do it properly. Unfortunately, hemodialysis can remove beneficial antioxidants from the patient's body and contribute to oxidative stress.

Given turmeric's anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects, it's possible to use it as a complementary treatment for hemodialysis patients.

May prevent the progression of polycystic kidney disease

Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is a hereditary kidney condition that occurs in around 0.1%–0.4% of people worldwide. During the course of the disease, a patient develops multiple growing cysts in both kidneys. When cysts become big, they disrupt kidney function.

Studies¹¹ have shown that curcumin slowed the growth of such cysts in mice. This demonstrates its potential to become a part of the ADPKD treatment.

Overall, curcumin's anti-oxidative and inflammatory properties can benefit many kidney conditions. However, more studies must be done to prove its safety and efficacy for patients with kidney problems.

If you have a kidney condition and want to take turmeric, speak to your doctor about it. The possibility of developing kidney stones can offset the benefits of this spice.

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How much turmeric can I consume a day?

According to the World Health Organization,⁵ taking 1.4mg of turmeric per pound (0–3mg per kg) of your body weight per day is safe. However, you should still discuss the dosage with your doctor.

The amount of turmeric you can consume safely depends on your medical history and your predisposition to kidney stones. Even supplemental doses may be harmful to your health. That's why it's imperative to consult a doctor before taking turmeric-based supplements.

If you plan to take curcumin to treat a certain condition, your doctor needs to weigh the pros and cons of such therapy. The amount and duration differ depending on the disease, its progression, and your medical history.

When to consult a doctor

If you are experiencing any of the above side effects after taking turmeric, you should stop using it. Talk to your doctor about possible replacements if you are taking curcumin supplements to complement any therapies.

Turmeric has anticoagulant properties, which means it's a natural blood thinner. People who take Warfarin or other blood-thinning medication should be careful. The combination of turmeric and anticoagulants could result in heavy bleeding.

You should consult your doctor before taking turmeric supplements if you have:¹²

  • Diabetes

  • Iron deficiency (turmeric limits iron absorption)

  • Gallbladder problems

  • Blood-clotting disorder

  • Cancer

  • Endometriosis or uterine fibroids

More studies need to be done to reveal the efficacy of small doses of turmeric for pregnant women.

The lowdown

While it is generally a safe spice, consuming too much turmeric could lead to certain side effects, including the formation of kidney stones. If you are predisposed to kidney stones, you should avoid taking curcumin-based supplements before speaking to your doctor.

Besides a possible negative effect on your kidneys, turmeric can be highly beneficial for people with chronic kidney disease and other health conditions. To ensure you reap all the benefits of this remarkable spice without suffering the side effects, consult your doctor.

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Can turmeric affect your kidneys? ›

Turmeric contains oxalates and this can increase the risk of kidneys stones. “The consumption of supplemental doses of turmeric can significantly increase urinary oxalate levels, thereby increasing risk of kidney stone formation in susceptible individuals.”

What are the 10 serious side effects of turmeric? ›

10 Serious Side Effects of Turmeric!
  • Turmeric May Worsen Acid Reflux. ...
  • It May Cause Stomach Upset and Indigestion. ...
  • May Increase the Risk of Kidney Stones. ...
  • May Lower Blood Sugar Levels. ...
  • May Cause Liver Damage In High Amounts. ...
  • May Interfere With Medications that Slow Blood Clotting. ...
  • High Blood Pressure. ...
  • Increased Risk of Bleeding.
Mar 9, 2022

What spices are bad for the kidneys? ›

The herbs listed by the National Kidney Foundation as having negative side effects on the renal system included alfalfa, aloe, bayberry, broom, buckthorn, capsicum, cascara, dandelion, ginger, ginseng, horsetail, licorice, ma huang, nettle, noni, pokeroot, rhubarb, senna, wormwood and yohimbe.

What foods help repair kidneys? ›

The Best Foods for Kidney Health
  • Dark leafy greens. Dark leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, chard, and collard greens are loaded with vitamins A and C, calcium, and many other important minerals. ...
  • Berries. ...
  • Cranberries. ...
  • Sweet potatoes. ...
  • Olive oil. ...
  • Fatty fish. ...
  • Cabbage.

What vitamins are good for your kidneys? ›

Including these kidney health supplements into your daily diet may help maintain your kidney health and slow the progression of chronic kidney disease complications.
  • Vitamin D. ...
  • Iron. ...
  • Vitamin B9. ...
  • Vitamin B12.
Jan 27, 2022

What drugs Cannot be taken with turmeric? ›

Don't take turmeric supplements if:

You're taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil , Motrin ), or Acetaminophen (Tylenol ). Turmeric may lessen the effects of these medications.

What happens to your body when you take turmeric everyday? ›

Turmeric — and especially its most active compound, curcumin — have many scientifically proven health benefits, such as the potential to improve heart health and prevent against Alzheimer's and cancer. It's a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It may also help improve symptoms of depression and arthritis.

Is turmeric OK to take every day? ›

When taken by mouth: Turmeric is likely safe when used short-term. Turmeric products that provide up to 8 grams of curcumin daily seem to be safe when used for up to 2 months, Also, taking up to 3 grams of turmeric daily seems to be safe when used for up to 3 months. Turmeric usually doesn't cause serious side effects.

Is black pepper bad for the kidneys? ›

Eat Fewer Foods with a High Oxalate Content

If you have been diagnosed with calcium oxalate kidney stones, your doctor may recommend that you limit your intake of foods that contain higher amounts of oxalate, such as beets, black pepper, black tea, chocolate, nuts, potatoes, rhubarb, soy products, and spinach.

What herb is good for cleansing kidneys? ›

Dandelion tea, red clover, goldenrod, juniper, marshmallow root, burdock root, and nettles. These herbs may act as diuretics, which helps flush out the kidneys and remove excess waste. Turmeric. This herb is thought to reduce urea, prevent inflammation in the kidneys, and help expel waste.

Is it OK to take turmeric with blood pressure medication? ›

High doses of turmeric can lower blood sugar or blood pressure, which means people taking diabetes or blood-pressure medication should use caution while taking turmeric supplements. People preparing for surgery should avoid turmeric supplements because turmeric can increase the risk of bleeding.

How quickly does turmeric work for inflammation? ›

When can you expect to see results? In one study, participants reported improvements in joint discomfort after supplementing with 2 grams of turmeric daily for 6 weeks. Another study reported results after 8-12 weeks of supplementation with 1 gram of turmeric daily.

Does turmeric raise blood pressure? ›

Turmeric can also lower blood sugar and may enhance the effects of antidiabetic drugs or insulin ( 10 ). Since turmeric can lower blood pressure, it may have additive effects with antihypertensive drugs ( 10 ).

What kind of bread is best for kidney disease? ›

I recommend whole grain, whole wheat or multigrain bread for people with kidney disease. Be careful to check the sodium in whatever bread you buy. Bread is a surprising source of salt! Historically, white bread was recommended because it has less phosphorus in it.

What can I do to make my kidneys stronger? ›

What can I do to keep my kidneys healthy?
  1. Make healthy food choices. ...
  2. Make physical activity part of your routine. ...
  3. Aim for a healthy weight. ...
  4. Get enough sleep. ...
  5. Stop smoking. ...
  6. Limit alcohol intake link. ...
  7. Explore stress-reducing activities. ...
  8. Manage diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Which nuts are good for kidneys? ›

Most nuts are high in phosphorus and not recommended for those following a renal diet. However, macadamia nuts are a delicious option for people with kidney problems. They are much lower in phosphorus than popular nuts like peanuts and almonds.

What vitamin is hard on kidneys? ›

Which vitamins do I need to avoid if I have kidney disease? You may need to avoid some vitamins and minerals if you have kidney disease. Some of these include vitamins A, E and K. These vitamins are more likely to build up in your body and can cause harm if you have too much.

Is vitamin D hard on the kidneys? ›

Taking too much vitamin D can cause problems such as constipation and nausea and, in more serious cases, kidney stones and kidney damage.

Can you take turmeric with vitamin D? ›

A combination of vitamin D3 and curcumin, from tumeric, may boost the immune system, and help it clear the protein plaques linked to Alzheimer's, says a new study.

What does vitamin D and turmeric do for your body? ›

This is turn can have positive effects on inflammation and immune function, metabolic syndrome, increase mineral absorption, reduce traveller's diarrhoea and improve gut health.

When is the best time to take turmeric? ›

Turmeric should be taken with meals to help with absorption. It's also a good idea to divide it into two doses taken 8 to 12 hours apart. This will help increase absorption and keep levels steady in the body. Dividing the dose may also help reduce possible side effects.

How many days a week should you take turmeric? ›

While doctors commonly recommend taking 500 milligrams twice daily with food, the dose that's right for you depends on your overall health. More isn't always better, so talk to your doctor.

How many times a week should I take turmeric? ›

For best results in increasing turmeric consumption, consider a turmeric supplement. If you want to know exactly how much turmeric you are getting each day, a supplement could be the right choice. In general, turmeric supplements have a recommended dose of 500 milligrams taken twice daily.

How much turmeric is too much per day? ›

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 ( 14 ).

Does turmeric affect urine? ›

The consumption of supplemental doses of turmeric, but not cinnamon, can significantly increase urinary oxalate levels, thereby increasing risk of kidney stone formation in susceptible individuals.

How long does turmeric stay in your system? ›

How Long Does Turmeric Stay in Your System? How long turmeric stays in your system for largely depends on your body composition, activity levels and general health. Studies have suggested that traces of curcumin could be detected in the brain up to 96 hours after consumption when taken at the correct dosage.

Who should not take curcumin? ›

People who are on blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), and aspirin are typically advised against taking a curcumin or turmeric supplement, because the supplements can enhance the drugs' blood-thinning effects, perhaps to dangerous levels.

What herbs rejuvenate kidneys? ›

The wonderful trio of rejuvenating herbs namely, Amalaki, Haritaki and Bibhitaki is nature's miracle remedy for all sorts of health anomalies. Especially, in case of kidney health, it fortifies the kidney tissues, prevents damage and enhances overall renal functioning.

Which juice is best for kidney cleanse? ›

Lemon, orange, and melon juice all contain citric acid, or citrate. Citrate helps prevent kidney stone formation by binding with calcium in urine. This inhibits the growth of calcium crystals, which can lead to kidney stones.

What is the traditional Chinese medicine for kidney disease? ›

AR and Angelicae Sinensis Radix (AS, Danggui, the root of Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels) are a common CMM pair used to treat kidney disease for years. The combination of the two CMMs is also known as Danggui Buxue Tang (DBT) with a weight ratio of 5:1.

Are bell peppers bad for kidneys? ›

These crispy members of the pepper family are also a great source of vitamins C, A, B6, folic acid, and fiber. Red peppers contain lycopene, a fat oxidation fighter that ups the game in your favor regarding kidney disease and diet.

Is cinnamon bad for your kidneys? ›

They observed that cinnamon significantly attenuated gentamicin-kidney toxicity by assessing the urea, creatinine, uric acid, urinary protein, and histopathological study of the kidneys. They suggested that cinnamon have strong kidney protective properties, especially against aminoglycosides.

Are onions good for kidneys? ›

Onions. Onions are another perfect addition to a recipe for those looking to skip the salt. Onions and garlic used together and cooked in olive oil gives you the best kind of kidney-friendly flavor. They are each high in Vitamin C and B, and will bring great benefits your digestive system as well.

Is lemon water good for the kidneys? ›

Lemons contain citrate, which helps prevent calcium from building up and forming stones in your kidneys. Interestingly, the benefit doesn't seem to be present in oranges, making lemon a unique tool in kidney stone prevention.

Can Apple cider vinegar affect your kidneys? ›

Apple Cider vinegar should not cause any damage to the kidneys.

How do I flush my kidneys with apple cider vinegar? ›

To treat kidney stones you can mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and mix in a glass of water. Do not over consume this mixture. You can also use apple cider vinegar as a salad dressing as well.

When should you not take turmeric supplements? ›

High doses of turmeric could have a blood-thinning effect; if taken on top of prescribed anticoagulants, this could increase the risk of dangerous bleeding. People with liver or bile duct problems should not take turmeric supplements, as they can increase bile production. Cooking with turmeric shouldn't cause problems.

Is cinnamon good for high blood pressure? ›

Cinnamon May Help Lower Your Blood Pressure

Cinnamon, in addition to being flavorful and associated with a number of health benefits, may also help reduce your blood pressure, according to a study published in April 2021 in the Journal of Hypertension.

How much turmeric do you take for joint pain? ›

Turmeric is available as a capsule, tablet, or as an extract, the latter of which is more likely to be free of contaminants. The typical dose used to relieve pain due to inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis is between 400 and 600 mg, three times a day.

Does turmeric work for arthritis? ›

Turmeric's main active component — curcumin — is what gives the spice its yellow color. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties, making it a potential treatment for a number of health conditions, including reduced pain and increased ease of movement in people with osteoarthritis.

How much turmeric should I take for chronic inflammation? ›

The Arthritis Foundation recommends 400 to 600 milligrams (mg) of turmeric capsules, three times per day, or half to three grams of the root powder per day for inflammation relief.

Is turmeric high in potassium? ›

5 percent of daily potassium.

How to improve kidney function? ›

What can I do to keep my kidneys healthy?
  1. Make healthy food choices. ...
  2. Make physical activity part of your routine. ...
  3. Aim for a healthy weight. ...
  4. Get enough sleep. ...
  5. Stop smoking. ...
  6. Limit alcohol intake link. ...
  7. Explore stress-reducing activities. ...
  8. Manage diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Can turmeric help with kidney infection? ›

Turmeric is a potent natural remedy that can resolve kidney infection and speed up the recovery process. Turmeric contains an active ingredient known as curcumin which is a strong anti-bacterial agent.

What juices cleanse kidneys? ›

The following 5 kidney-cleansing drinks may provide that extra cleansing boost.
  • Cranberry Juice. Cranberry juice has been touted for years as support for the urinary tract. ...
  • Beet Juice. Beets and beet juice contain betaine, a very beneficial phytochemical. ...
  • Lemon Juice.
Jun 21, 2014

What juice is good for kidneys? ›

To get the best health benefits, be sure to choose 100% organic water-based cranberry juice. So how does cranberry juice help? It can prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of your kidneys, which helps prevent an infection from forming in the first place.

Is it good to take turmeric everyday? ›

When taken by mouth: Turmeric is likely safe when used short-term. Turmeric products that provide up to 8 grams of curcumin daily seem to be safe when used for up to 2 months, Also, taking up to 3 grams of turmeric daily seems to be safe when used for up to 3 months. Turmeric usually doesn't cause serious side effects.

Can vitamin D raise potassium levels? ›

Vitamin D3 tended to increase retention of both potassium and sodium in the body. A significant interaction occurred between dietary magnesium and vitamin D3 relative to body weight gain. Vitamin D3 increased magnesium content in tibiae ash and decreased magnesium content in serum.

Does turmeric raise BP? ›

Turmeric can also lower blood sugar and may enhance the effects of antidiabetic drugs or insulin ( 10 ). Since turmeric can lower blood pressure, it may have additive effects with antihypertensive drugs ( 10 ).


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