You are here

For those who take Curcumin (turmeric)

Iron Deficiency Anemia Due to High-dose Turmeric

Turmeric, the natural source of curcumin, is under intense investigation as an anti-neoplastic and anti-inflammatory agent in a multitude of conditions [1-2]. It is known to bind iron in the gut and can cause iron deficiency in mice [3]. Attempts to target the iron metabolic pathway with drugs such as curcumin are an exciting new way to prevent and treat cancer [4]. We report here the first potential case of iron deficiency anemia in a human, which was caused by turmeric.

For those who take significant curcumin, be watchful of your iron levels (ferritin/hemoglobin). I take Curcumin with a bit of fat (cheese, avocado) and never at the same time with food rich in iron (beef). My iron levels are in the low normal range. If you have difficulty maintaining high enough iron, you may need to adjust how you take your curcumin.


Thanks Scuba.  I will look at what meals i take the tablets with. I take them according to the instructions on the bottle and that is to take with food twice a day.  I don't take high doses but my ferritin level is borderline low. 

I would separate taking Curcumin with food that has fat only (avocado, cheese, nuts) and separate by 6 hours from food rich in iron (green leaves e.g. spinnach), beef, etc. Curcumin metabolizes pretty fast (2-4 hours).

Thank you for your warning. I do take 3 * 500 mg a day. My iron for the first time ever was low and out of range. I wonder whether I should rethink my approach.