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How Long Does It Take for Turmeric to Work?

Whether you’re looking to improve your inflammation, alleviate joint pain, or clear up your skin, turmeric may have piqued your interest.

turmeric latte in a glass cup with other spices around it

This spice has been used for centuries as an infamous curry ingredient and as traditional medicine, which is said to possess several health benefits. Most of these benefits are thought to be offered by turmerics' primary compound, curcumin.

If you’ve hopped on the turmeric bandwagon, there’s a good chance you’ve invested in some turmeric extracts, shots, capsules, tinctures, or even just the raw spice to kickstart your health journey.

However, there’s probably one lingering question left in your mind - how long does it take to start noticing the benefits of turmeric?

In this article, we’ll walk you through the purported health benefits of turmeric and how long you can expect it to take to see real, meaningful results. Let’s dive in.

    How Long Does Turmeric Take To Work?

    If you’re looking for a quick fix, turmeric supplements probably aren’t for you. Unfortunately, the health benefits of turmeric can take a while to surface, so you won’t see quick results like you would from downing a cup of coffee.

    It’s thought that turmerics' primary compound, curcumin, takes a while to establish actionable levels in the body. This means that supplements must be taken consistently over a long period before you start seeing actual results.

    Unfortunately, there’s no exact time frame for this. However, it’s thought to be somewhere between four to eight weeks. This is when you’ll start to see improvements in both the mind and body.

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    So, remember: if you’re taking a turmeric supplement, don’t be tempted to skip doses, and stick to a routine to ensure the curcumin builds up steadily in your system. Taking turmeric once in a blue moon is unlikely to give you the desired benefits.

    Be aware that the time it takes for turmeric to start working may depend on your dosage, general health, body type, and well-being.

    For example, if you’re more physically active and eat healthy foods, you may start to see results faster. However, this has not been proven.

    When Is the Best Time to Take Turmeric Supplements?

    turmeric powder in a glass jar with turmeric roots beside it

    There is no right or wrong time to take turmeric. If it suits you to take your tablet in the morning with a generous dose of fruit juice, there’s no evidence to suggest that this is more or less effective than washing it down with water before you sleep.

    Although there's no best time of day to take turmeric, it is essential to take it every day if you want to see results. Turmeric is safe to consume every day, but only at the correct dosage.

    If we look at the human research into turmeric, we see that dosages can vary. Some studies have used four grams of either turmeric or curcumin, while others have used as little as one gram and sometimes as much as 2000mg of turmeric.

    Most studies have not exceeded the 2000mg of turmeric dosage, so we’d advise not taking any more than this unless you’ve been advised to by your doctor.

    If you want to see faster, actionable results, we recommend taking your turmeric with piperine.

    Piperine is a component in black pepper (so yes, you can just take black pepper!), and it’s believed to increase the absorption of curcumin, turmerics' active compound, by as much as 2000%.

    Most curcumin or turmeric supplements may already contain piperine, which makes them substantially more effective.

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    Should I Take Turmeric on an Empty Stomach?

    Like most supplements and vitamins, manufacturers will advise taking turmeric in the morning and on an empty stomach.

    This will allow the body to absorb turmeric quickly, without competing for absorption with other foods and drinks in the stomach.

    However, remember that the benefits of curcumin are what you want from your turmeric and research suggests that curcumin is fat-soluble, which will break down into either oil or fat.

    So, if you’re taking an exclusive curcumin supplement, it may be worth consuming it with a naturally high-fat meal. This will enhance the amount of curcumin your body absorbs.

    How Long Does Turmeric Stay In Your System?

    Studies have shown that turmeric has an estimated half-life of 6-7 hours. This means that, after taking turmeric, it takes approximately 6-7 hours for half of the supplement to be eliminated from the body.

    What Are the Negative Side Effects of Turmeric?

    Unfortunately, turmeric doesn’t come without its negative side effects.

    Although reactions to turmeric are rare, it may not be suitable for people with certain health conditions, and at high doses, it may cause adverse reactions. Let's explore this in more detail below.

    • Gallbladder Issues: If you have gallbladder issues, you should avoid taking turmeric supplements. It’s thought that turmeric may exacerbate symptoms over time.
    • Diabetes: Patients with diabetes are also advised to be cautious of turmeric. Taking high doses of turmeric with diabetes can cause your blood sugar levels to drop dangerously low. If you have diabetes, talk to a doctor before taking turmeric supplements.
    • Iron Deficiency: If you have an iron deficiency, you should avoid taking turmeric. It’s thought that turmeric may interfere with how the body absorbs iron, which could make you more deficient.
    • Diarrhea: Can turmeric cause diarrhea? It is possible for turmeric, particularly its active ingredient curcumin, to cause diarrhea when taken in large doses or when consumed with certain medications or food.
    • Bleeding Disorders: At extremely high doses, turmeric may interfere with the ways that our blood clots. If you have a bleeding disorder, you should avoid taking turmeric supplements, as its blood thinning properties may put your health at serious risk.
    • Kidney Stones: It’s thought that turmeric may increase the oxalate levels in the body. Kidney stones can form if the body is exposed to high oxalate, cystine, calcium, and phosphate levels. If you have kidney stones, talk to your doctor before starting turmeric.
    • Pregnancy: Unfortunately, there’s limited research into the effects of turmeric on pregnant people. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should avoid taking turmeric supplements, as it’s unclear how these may affect your health and your baby's health.

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    The Bottom Line

    Although research into the benefits of turmeric is limited, it’s clear that preliminary studies are promising.

    Turmeric may have an incredible range of purported health benefits, but it’s important to take it safely, and understand how it works before starting treatment.

    Unfortunately, turmeric is not a quick fix, and it may take a while for you to start seeing genuine results.

    However, if you stick with it, turmeric supplements may be the alternative medicine you’ve been dreaming of. Remember to consult your doctor before starting turmeric supplements.

    Darcy Ogdon-Nolan

    Holding a Bachelor Of Science (Hons.) combined with close to a decade now in the health food and wellness industry, I believe I'm uniquely positioned to provide a depth of knowledge and first-hand experience on emerging health products, trends and ideas! From greens powders and medicinal mushrooms through to protein powders and workout nutrition - I'm particularly interested in what modern science can uncover about what human cultures have been using to treat ailments for millennia!

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