Can Turmeric Cause Diarrhea? (6 Possible Reasons)

Can Turmeric Cause Diarrhea? 6 Possible Reasons Why

Judging after my experience – turmeric is the best ingredient for any kind of joint pain: 

  • it’s the strongest anti-inflammatory from all herbs
  • it’s completely natural

That’s why turmeric supplements remain my #1 choice.

However, even this herb has its own downsides:

Allergies and headaches are pretty common things, but can turmeric cause diarrhea?

Is it the real responsible behind your sudden problem? It’s time to find out the truth behind turmeric.



Yes – Turmeric Can Cause Diarrhea

It’s not something that should happen on a normal basis – but in some cases, turmeric can produce diarrhea.

In fact, this is one of the common side effects of this herb.

The good news is that there are few people who get diarrhea after taking turmeric. So it might be just a coincidence.

But what if it’s not? What if it’s really turmeric causing your problem?

Well, there are 6 possible reasons why turmeric would cause diarrhea. If it’s really turmeric behind your problem, you will surely find yourself on this list.



1. The Dose You’re Taking Is Too High

In most cases, it’s concentration that makes the difference between a good and a bad supplement:

  • Can Turmeric Cause Diarrhea? 6 Possible Reasons Whythe right dose will treat your pain
  • and it won’t cause any secondary effect

On the other hand – if your supplement contains a dose that is too high, you may have problems.

So if you’re dealing with diarrhea, you’re most likely taking a dose that is too high for your body.

But what exactly does that mean in numbers? What’s the recommended dose of turmeric?

Based on my experience, I would say this:

  • the right dose is around 1000-1500 mg per pill

If it’s lower, you won’t get the same pain control.

On the other hand – if your daily dose is higher than 3000 mg, you might experience several adverse effect, like diarrhea.

So take a look on your supplement’s label. If the dose of turmeric is higher than 1500 mg, it’s probably too strong for your body. So that’s what’s causing your diarrhea.

In this case, go for a product that has between 1000 and 1500 mg and you should see a change very soon.



2. You Just Started This Treatment

Sometimes our bodies respond to a supplement in a pretty unexpected way.

You may be taking the right dose of turmeric and still experience diarrhea without any reason.

  • Let’s say your doctor recommended you a turmeric supplement
  • You choose a 1200 mg one – which is a very good dose
  • And even so – you’re experiencing diarrhea right after starting the treatment

Why does this happen?

Well, it’s because your body needs some time to get used to it.

That’s a pretty rare situation, but sometimes your body doesn’t tolerate turmeric from the start:

  • It will start to get used to it
  • But it will take a while

So if you’re taking the right dose of turmeric and you’re still getting diarrhea – you might be one of those few people.

Continue the treatment for a week and if that’s the reason behind, your diarrhea should go away.



3. You’re Taking It On An Empty Stomach

Can Turmeric Cause Diarrhea? 6 Possible Reasons WhyThat’s one of the mistakes I made with many turmeric supplements:

  • Turmeric isn’t a toxic herb
  • But it has a pretty strong effect – compared to others

Taking it on an empty stomach will always cause you nausea and sometimes even diarrhea.

What’s interesting is that a lot of supplements don’t tell you how to take the pills. Some do, but these are quite a few.

I found out about this thing after reading several reviews of turmeric products on the Internet.

Once I started taking the pills after eating, everything changed. And it’s not all about the adverse effects:

  • Turmeric manages the pain much better if it’s taken with food

So if you’re making  the same mistake as me, remember this. No matter what is your supplement brand, always take it after eating. That will change a lot.



4. You Associate It With Other Medicines

That’s one of the most common mistake people make.

Though it’s a herbal supplement, turmeric shouldn’t be associated with other drugs – no matter if they’re natural or not. That’s what the theory says.

Practically speaking, some people with chronic diseases take other drugs with their turmeric supplements:

  • It’s either because their doctor recommended it
  • Or it’s because they have no other choice

Sometimes classic therapy doesn’t reduce the pain – so you are forced to try something else besides.

Well, these people are much more likely to experience secondary effects. So if you’re one of them, your diarrhea can be just a result of this association.

But there’s one thing you can do in this case:

  • Make sure you’re not taking the drugs together, at the same hour

 If you have to take the drug 3 times per day and the turmeric pill only once – wait at least an hour between them.

That will help your body absorb them by turn, and your diarrhea might even go away completely.



5. It’s Not The Best Quality

Not every turmeric brand is the same, that’s for sure. And most of the times – it’s quality what makes the difference:

  • Can Turmeric Cause Diarrhea? 6 Possible Reasons WhyA poor quality turmeric contains more additives
  • While a good quality substance is more pure

A poor quality turmeric will usually lead to secondary effects – because of its additives.

Unfortunately, the human eye can’t tell which turmeric is pure and which isn’t.

So how can you tell which brands have the best turmeric?

Well, you can look for opinions and reviews from real people. I’ve tested out many supplements – and I have a top of the best ones.

Therefore, if your turmeric supplement is causing you diarrhea – it may be because of its low quality:

  • Try something else and you should see an improvement



6. Your Body Is Sensitive To Turmeric

There are some people that can’t tolerate turmeric at all:

  • No matter how quality it is
  • No matter they take the right dose
  • Their body simply doesn’t get used to it

These are pretty rare situations, but it can happen.

What’s interesting that those people aren’t necessarily allergic to turmeric:

  • They can take the pills without any allergic reaction
  • But they usually experience serious side effects (like diarrhea)

There are small chances, but that can be your case as well.

Let’s say you’re taking the right dose of a really good brand and you’ve started your treatment about 2 weeks ago.

Well, if you’ve been having diarrhea ever since – maybe your body simply can’t tolerate turmeric.

You might want to try another brand, but if the result is the same, you should simply give up turmeric supplements and go for another herbal remedy.



So Is Turmeric Behind Your Diarrhea?

Short answer: It may be – especially if it started right after the treatment. In this case, there are a few things you can do:

  • If you’re taking more than 3000 mg per day, go for a lower dose
  • Take the pills after eating
  • Try not to associate them with another drugs
  • Also, make sure choose a quality turmeric supplement

In case your diarrhea doesn’t stop after a week – just quit the pills.

You can try another brand, but if you still get this effect, you body might just not like turmeric.

If your diarrhea stops after quitting the pills – it was surely turmeric causing it.

Have you ever hand any similar problems caused by turmeric? Let me know your answer in a comment and I will reach out to you.

Heather Pharm.D.

Heather Tracy Foley is a Pharmacy graduate, Blogger and Author with a vast experience in health sciences. She has a particular interest in joint pain and rheumatology and spent several years studying health problems. You can find her on Pinterest or via email.

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12 Responses

  1. Celia Ha gield says:

    My husband has a sensitivity to turmeric which causes cramps and diarrhea. Even tiny amounts have this effect and I would advise anyone with the same problem to check labels when shopping. Turmeric seems to be everywhere – in many stock cubes, ready meals and of course currys. We have also found it is sometimes used in the batter for fish and chips! It seems to be used for colour as well as flavour.

  2. Heather says:

    Hi Celia. Yeah there is a small number or people who are allergic to turmeric, so any interaction with this substance can be dangerous. Now, I know a lot of people who are sensitive to turmeric but they don’t react so badly as your husband. So he’s probably really allergic to something inside turmeric, maybe even curcumin.

    I know turmeric is used as a natural color in eastern countries, where it’s actually original from. But I never saw it used for this purpose in the US. Why would brands used turmeric when they have much cheaper alternatives for flavors and food coloring? They may use it in curry, but I’m not 100% sure. But when it comes to ready meals, I never really saw it, so I don’t really know.

  3. Leanna says:

    I recently started taking a supplement that contains a small amount of Tumeric (75 mg) along with vitamins. For the first week of taking it I experienced stomach cramps and diarrhea. I quit taking it and after several days the diarrhea stopped. Then I started taking it again and the diarrhea started again. I told this to the practitioner who advised me to take it. She has never had anyone have this problem. I believe I am sensitive to Tumeric. Thanks for the information in your article.

  4. Heather says:

    Hi Leanna. 75 mg is a really really low dose, so I’m surprised to hear you experienced diarrhea from such a low quantity. There are 2 scenarios:

    1. You are indeed sensitive to turmeric – otherwise you shouldn’t have experienced these problems from such a low dose. I know some people who get diarrhea and stomach pain after taking high doses (over 1.500 mg) and I can understand that. But 75 mg is very little, so the only explanation is that your body doesn’t tolerate this herb.

    2. Maybe it was that supplement that caused you these problems, not turmeric alone. I don’t know what vitamins it contains (and what other ingredients), but that could be an option. Did you take that kind of supplement before (without turmeric I mean)? Or do you happen to be sensitive to one of the other ingredients?

    Sorry that I can’t give you a clear answer, but I agree with your practitioner. You’re the first person I know about to get these reactions at such a low dose. So I don’t really know what to say. Anyway, hope this helps. Thanks for reading my blog.

  5. Catherine Wilkinson says:

    Thank you for all the good advice. I do have a “intestinal” reaction to turmeric, and definitely do not want to stop taking it since it is so effective for pain! Instead of taking it every morning with all my other vitamins, I take it mid-day, or even a little later. Another reason I do that is that I found if I take in the early morning, the good effect wear off at night time…I feel pain at night and it keeps me awake. So, changing the timing has worked well…less intestinal problems and more effective for night time.

  6. Heather says:

    Hi Catherine, I know what you’re saying.

    Maybe you could take half of that dose in the morning and the other half in the evening. That could have you covered for the whole day and night. I would normally tell you to increase the dose, but that would probably increase your problems as well. So you can either take it as you do now, or you could follow my advice and see if it can keep your pain under control better.

    Hope this helps.

  7. Melanie Trowbridge says:

    Hello Heather- Thank you for the above information. I have been taking Curamed for over 2 months. More then a month ago I started having very soft and frequent stools and some stool incontinence (although I already have incontinence due to several abdominal surgeries for Ovarian cancer). I stopped taking the Curamed and my stools returned to normal pretty quickly. A couple weeks later I tried taking it again and within 3 days I was back to the soft stools. I read your reasons for getting diarrhea from Turmeric (although you say on your 7 favorite products Curamed does not have Turmeric in it). I was really please that when I first started taking it my injured shoulder improved (partially torn bicep and partially torn rotor cuff) and was also feeling like I had lost weight. Most of your reasons for diarrhea do not apply to me. I am taking the lowest dosage of Curamed (1 pill). I take with food. Curamed is on your fav list so I assume it is a quality product. I don’t take it with other medicines. And I took it for over 2 months and the soft stools continued all that time. I would like to take Turmeric for shoulder and back issues and it would be nice if I lost some weight. Do you have any suggestions? I did see your #1 fav and am open to trying it but I am not sure on dosage. Your advice would be appreciated.

  8. Heather Pharm.D. says:

    Hi Melanie, thanks for your feedback. I’m sorry for the side effects you’re experiencing and I will try to help you as much as I can.

    First of all – Curamed is a really quality product in terms of effect, which is why I included it into my top 7 turmeric supplements list. The thing that makes it special is the technology it uses:

    – turmeric powder has a very poor absorption normally
    – many brands use absorption boosters to increase it
    – the most common absorption booster is BioPerine (which you can find in many turmeric products)

    Now – Curamed doesn’t contain BioPerine but it has a special formulation that increases turmeric’s absorption itself. It’s related to an oily composition (instead of a solid one, which supplements wit BioPerine use). Now – Curamed doesn’t contain turmeric powder, that’s true. But it contains curcumin, which is turmeric extract. So it’s pretty much the same. It’s only that curcumin has a stronger effect, which is why I personally prefer supplements that contain both powder and extract (curcumin). The risk of side effects is lower in this case.

    Basically – the only explanation I have for your problem is that Curamed’s formulation/composition is either too strong for you or your body simply doesn’t tolerate it well. You mentioned you could see an improvement in terms of pain, which means the supplement itself does work. But I would like to ask you – have you had positive results with other turmeric supplements? Or did you try any other before Curamed?

    The solution I would try would be to switch to a supplement with a lower dose of curcumin and a higher dose of turmeric. I would recommend Vita Balance’s Turmeric Plus but other supplements with BioPerine are good enough too. I think you should go for a formula that looks something close to that: Turmeric Powder 1000-1500 mg, Curcuminoides 50-150 mg and BioPerine 10-15 mg. This is the kind of formula that works best for my body. I cannot guarantee it will also work best for you, but you should really try it out. Compared to Curamed’s formula, this one is less concentrated, so the risk of side effects should be much lower.

    Considering how you described your symptoms and the fact that soft stools returned whenever you restarted taking Curamed, it’s obvious it’s not a coincidence. So I would try to switch to a less concentrated product and see what happens. It’s important to notice whether the other product has the same effect on your pain intensity as Curamed. I hope this helps you!

  9. Joe says:

    I usually take a probiotic and krill oil after dinner. Last night I added 1500 mg of a quality Turmeric supplement. This morning I had severe diarrhea. I won’t do that again. I think it was probably a reaction with the probiotic. Have you heard of reactions with probiotics before?
    I may try to stop the probiotic and take the turmeric.

  10. Heather Pharm.D. says:

    Hi Joe, sorry to hear about your problems. I can’t really tell for sure which is the cause, but there are several options.

    First, it could be the turmeric supplement itself causing your diarrhea. That’s mostly available if it’s the first time using it. If you used it before (alone) and it didn’t cause you any diarrhea, it’s probably not the main responsible. On the other hand, the responsible might be the combination between krill oil and turmeric. I would say krill oil has higher chances to cause a side effect when combined with turmeric (because they both have anti-inflammatory proprieties). And yes, there is also a chance that the probiotic + turmeric combination was the responsible, but this chance is lower than the other 2, if you ask me.

    The only way to find out is to stop one of the 3 products and take the other 2 together. If you’re still experiencing diarrhea, it’s probable one of those 2 left (or their combination). So you can find the responsible only by testing this out. I hope this helps you.

  11. Margaret Behling says:

    Hi. I appreciate your article and would like to add my experience with turmeric. I started taking turmeric a few years ago upon the advice of my physician. At first I took it in thefresh form. I took about an inch and added it to a green spinach, apple smoothie.
    It helped reduce my arthritic and fibromyalgia pain considerably. Because I had a hard time finding fresh, I switched to a capsule. I continued on this course of treatment for approximately 6 months when I started getting diarrhea. After going through a process of eliminating different culprits, I eventually eliminated turmeric which solved the diarrhea problem. But inflammation returned and I tried reducing dosages of turmeric because I really loved using it. But that didn’t work, and I had to resort to taking Ibuprofen for pain. Fast forward to the past few weeks. Thinking that I might try introducing turmeric again, I took a small piece of fresh. I got diarrhea again. I am desperate to find a solution for inflammation. Is it recommended to take something for diarrhea so I can resume my Turmeric? I really love it and it works so well for my inflammation.

  12. Heather Pharm.D. says:

    Hi Margaret, thanks a lot for your feedback on turmeric and I am glad to hear it made such a big difference for your pain and inflammation. Unfortunately, diarrhea is quite a common side effect of turmeric, so it’s surely caused by this herb (as you also found out after your experiment). Apparently, you get this reaction even after using fresh turmeric (which is what I would have recommended instead of the powder, if you hadn’t mentioned this).

    So here’s what I suggest you to do:

    1) Try a supplement or remedy against diarrhea and see if it helps. You can also take a drug but in this case, the effect will only be temporary (a couple of days at most) and taking the drug on the long term might have other side effects. On the other hand, supplements are usually free of these issues, so they might be a better alternative in your case, it’s all about trying.

    2) Switch to another anti-inflammatory herb and see how things go. It’s true that turmeric is the best herbal remedy against inflammation. But there’s also Boswellia, which is very powerful as well and your body might react better to it. The only issue is that there aren’t as many supplements based on Boswellia as those based on turmeric, and they also tend to be a bit pricier. But this alternative is surely worth trying, because your body might tolerate Boswellia better than turmeric.

    In case you have any other questions, let me know. Hopefully this helps you and please let me know how it goes in the future.

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