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Is Turmeric Extract (Curcumin) Safe and Effective for Kidney Disease?

turmeric for kidney disease

Did you know Diabetes is linked to Kidney Disease? Approximately 40% of people with Diabetes develop Diabetic Kidney Disease (DKD) as cited in a 2020 Systematic Review study.

Living with Diabetes is hard enough without having to struggle with Kidney Disease. If you have Diabetes then it’s in your best interest to prevent Kidney Disease. This won’t be easy, and it will be a multifactorial approach to do so, but it’s possible to reduce your risk of developing Kidney Disease with lifestyle changes.

If you don’t have Diabetes, then you may find it interesting that the CDC estimates 6.5 million adults in the United States have undiagnosed diabetes. This equates to 23% of all adults!

As a 35-year-old male (as of 2022), Diabetes is not at the forefront of my mind, but maybe it should be because it’s a gateway to other diseases. Since turmeric shows positive effects on many diseases, several people have asked me about the safety and effectiveness of taking a turmeric supplement for Kidney Disease.

Let’s take a closer look at the research and breakdown the results from a 2020 systematic review to see if the benefits outweigh the risks of taking a turmeric supplement for Kidney Disease.

Is there any research showing benefits of turmeric for Kidney Disease?

Yes. We’re going to review the study right now, but first I’ll start off by stating you should speak with your nephrologist or doctor about taking a turmeric supplement especially if you have kidney disease. If you have kidney disease, you are likely taking other medications and turmeric can have an interaction with those medications. Also, your nephrologist may have specific precautions for you depending on your stage of Kidney Disease (5 stages of Kidney Disease exist).

In this study, 290 participants with Diabetic Kidney Disease were included. Before we apply the results of this study to all types of Kidney Disease, we should recognize that this study looked at the effects of Curcumin, the active ingredient in Turmeric, on Kidney Disease caused by Diabetes.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, the other names for Diabetic Kidney Disease include chronic kidney disease, CKD, kidney disease of diabetes, and diabetic nephropathy.

For this type of Kidney Disease, curcumin supplementation showed significant improvements on various biomarkers such as serum creatinine, total cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, and blood glucose compared to a placebo. It did not show significant improvements on blood urea nitrogen, proteinuria, triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, and diastolic blood pressure levels.

So, what can we take away from these results?

Curcumin supplementation may provide a benefit for kidney disease: however, the researchers of this study suggest that more high-quality research is needed to confirm these findings.

What dose of turmeric was used in the studies?

There were four studies analyzed in this systematic review. The study by Jimenez-Osario in 2016 had participants take 320 mg of curcumin per day. The study by Khajehdehi in 2011 used 500 mg of turmeric, three times per day, but the supplement only contained 22.1 mg of curcumin for each serving. The study by Shafabakhsh in 2020 had participants take 80 mg of a nano-curcumin per day.

As a comparison, many turmeric supplements contain 50-150 mg of turmeric extract (curcumin) per capsule. Active Atoms Turmeric contains 750 mg of turmeric extract (curcumin) per capsule.

Several studies suggest taking 1500 mg of turmeric extract per day for reducing pain and improving function associated with knee osteoarthritis so our company has suggested this dosage for joint health; however, it appears that a lower dose could potentially benefit people with Kidney Disease.

Is turmeric supplement a safe for Kidney Disease, though?

Ultimately, before recommending curcumin supplementation, more clinical trials should be done to identify any adverse effects (side effects) of taking it for Kidney Disease.

The current studies showing promising results for health care providers to potentially recommend curcumin to be used in conjunction with the typical management of Kidney disease, but the authors of these studies state that larger, high-quality clinical trials should be done to validate the safety, effectiveness, and determine any adverse effects.

As a company, we can’t suggest taking our product for Kidney Disease. Hopefully, this article will point you in the right direction so you can continue the decision-making process with your health care providers

If you and your doctor decide a turmeric is a good option for you, consider a pure turmeric extract like Active Atoms instead of turmeric powder so you can get more curcuminoids. Curcuminoids are the active ingredient in turmeric shown to promote a healthy inflammation response.

Active Atoms contains 750 mg of turmeric extact standardized to contain 712.5 mg of curcuminoids. It's better to choose a product with a standardized amount of curcuminoids so you can quantify your dose.

If you want to learn about all the health benefits of turmeric curcumin, check out this next article:

15 Benefits of Turmeric Extract – The Ultimate 2021 Guide

About Dr. Marc Robinson, PT, DPT, Cert. MDT