Does Turmeric Support Weight Loss?

On This Page

    Turmeric has been used for thousands of years. Can it support weight loss? Read on to learn more.

    Turmeric has been a popular part of Asian cuisine and Ayurvedic medicine – the name for traditional Indian medicine – for upwards of 4,000 years. In the West, its healing properties are becoming increasingly well known. Turmeric’s health-supporting properties are mainly attributable to [curcumin](,for%20medicinal%20purposes%20for%20centuries.%20( "curcumin"), a polyphenol compound richly found in turmeric that functions as a potent antioxidant.

    In recent years, some have suggested that turmeric may support weight loss, among its many other known health benefits. In this article, we’ll evaluate this claim.

    What is turmeric?

    Turmeric is a plant in the ginger family, native to Southeast Asia. For thousands of years, it’s been used as part of Indian traditional medicine, also known as Ayurvedic medicine. It’s also a very popular spice and main ingredient in curry powder.

    Curcumin is a compound that’s also one of the major components of turmeric. The strong antioxidant-like properties in curcumin are only one of many that are the driving force behind turmeric’s many health benefits.

    Today turmeric is widely available in supplement form. Care/of, for example, offers a high quality turmeric supplement, dubbed The Golden Spice, that’s been shown to have therapeutic qualities for many of the body’s organs.

    Can turmeric help with weight loss?

    Now for the question at hand: Does turmeric help with weight loss? But first, let’s consider the topic of weight management more broadly.

    Everyone thinks about weight management from time to time. It’s an individual journey for everyone, and the key is to find a weight management strategy that works for you and is consistent with your broader health and wellness goals.

    For our purposes, the first thing you should understand is that there’s no one single supplement that can help you lose weight. The best way to lose weight is through a series of healthy lifestyle adjustments.

    Studies consistently show that exercise is essential for healthy weight management. If you’re new to exercise, you can start small and work your way up. Try going for walks a couple times a week or get a gym membership.

    You also want to consider your diet. Eating a nutrient-rich diet that includes high fiber foods, veggies, fruits, protein, healthy fats, and carbs is a great way to manage your weight. The same is true of getting proper hydration and adequate sleep. Doing a little better at managing stress has also been shown to promote healthy weight loss.

    Now, where does turmeric come into play? Here’s what we can safely say: Turmeric has the potential to support your broader weight management efforts as a source of antioxidants that can manage oxidative stress when consumed as part of a healthy weight management plan. You shouldn’t take turmeric by itself and expect to see weight loss results.

    Turmeric and weight loss

    So, what does turmeric have to do with weight loss? This study found that a bioavailable form of curcumin – the compound found in turmeric – combined with phosphatidylserine can “positively influence weight management” in subjects pursuing a healthy management strategy.

    This meta-analysis of 21 studies likewise found that curcumin intake among people with weight management difficulties was correlated with reductions in body mass index, weight, and waist circumference.

    So, while you shouldn’t consider turmeric to be the cure-all for your weight management goals, these preliminary findings suggest that turmeric can be part of a larger weight management strategy. Stronger research is needed before conclusions are drawn.

    Turmeric's antioxidant properties and weight loss

    To the extent that turmeric plays a role in weight management, it likely has to do with its antioxidant-like properties. Test tube studies found that curcumin’s antioxidant-like properties can manage certain markers that are typically elevated in people with weight management issues. More clinical trials are needed to fully understand the connection.

    How to use turmeric

    Turmeric is available in many different forms. The easiest, most readily available way to use it is as a cooking spice. People also include turmeric in tasty beverages, such as golden milk and turmeric ginger tea. In India, people will often drink turmeric in tea that also contains black pepper, honey, and ginger. (Black pepper has been shown to increase the bioavailability of turmeric.)

    If you’re taking turmeric as a supplement, you’ll want to talk to your doctor about the appropriate dose for you. While no official dosage guidelines exist for turmeric, most studies into this supplement point to 500-2,000 mg of turmeric extract per day as being enough to lead to health benefits. That said, be cautious about taking high doses of turmeric over longer stretches of time – up to 2-3 months – because we currently lack research into turmeric’s long-term safety.

    Care/of’s turmeric comes in liquid capsules containing 250 mg of turmeric AQE (aqueous extract) and 100 mg of turmeric SCE (supercritical extract). Like all Care/of supplements, our turmeric is certified C.L.E.A.N. and third-party tested – and contains no unnecessary fillers. This is key, since a lot of turmeric supplements out there contain unnecessary fillers that can reduce their effectiveness!

    Even though turmeric won’t directly lead to weight loss, it can be part of a holistic weight management strategy. It can also contribute to other health benefits.

    Potential side effects and risks from taking turmeric

    Turmeric and curcumin and generally thought to be safe for use. The research we have demonstrates that taking turmeric and curcumin poses little risk of side effects.

    That said, some people who’ve taken large doses have experienced allergic reactions, nausea, stomach pain, and skin rash. You should talk to your doctor before adding turmeric to your supplement regimen.

    Medication interactions

    Researchers believe that curcumin can sometimes interact with some medications,so be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplements.

    Who should not take turmeric

    Some people should avoid taking turmeric altogether until the available research is more thorough and well established. For example, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding shouldn’t take turmeric as a supplement, since there simply haven’t been enough studies into turmeric’s effects on such people. You should always talk to your doctor about any of your health concerns before using turmeric.

    The Bottom Line

    Turmeric has been around a long time and will be around for a long time to come. It’s been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine and Indian cuisine. Today it’s also widely available as a supplement.

    While turmeric boasts a range of clear health benefits, supporting weight loss does not appear to be one of them. That said, turmeric can play a role in your broader weight management goals. Its effectiveness in combating oxidative stress is one of the most well researched areas .

    The best way to start managing weight is to make lifestyle adjustments. Get exercise. Stay hydrated. Improve your sleep quality. Eat a nutrient-rich diet. Remember: Weight management is an individual journey for everyone.

    As always, you should talk to your doctor before adding any new supplement to your routine.

    You're unique. Your supplements should be too.

    Take the quiz
    Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS
    Medical Content Manager
    Dr. Montrond-Correia is a licensed naturopathic physician and a certified nutrition specialist (CNS). She holds degrees from University of Bridgeport, Georgetown University, and University of Saint Joseph, and supplemented her education with internships in the health and wellness space. She's focused on research, herbal medicine, nutrigenomics, and integrative and functional medicine. She makes time for exercise, artistic activities, and enjoying delicious food.
    Our Editorial Staff
    Freelance Contributor
    The Care/of Editorial Team is made up of writers, experts, and health enthusiasts, all dedicated to giving you the information you need today. Our team is here to answer your biggest wellness questions, read the studies for you, and introduce you to your new favorite product, staying up to date on the latest research, trends, and science. Each article is written by one of our experts, reviewed both for editorial standards by an editor and medical standards by one of our naturopathic doctors, and updated regularly as new information becomes available.