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Turmeric for Weight Loss – Can Curcumin Help You Burn Fat?

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 01/02/2024

Turmeric is a rich source of curcumin, a potent polyphenol with various health benefits that has been used for centuries to support weight loss.

Curcumin has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent insulin resistance and reduce chronic inflammation, which is linked to poor metabolic health and weight gain.  

Discover how curcumin promotes a healthy body weight and how to use turmeric for weight loss. 

Woman taking turmeric pill

What is turmeric?

Turmeric, also known as Curcuma longa, is a perennial herb and popular Indian spice belonging to the ginger family, native to Southeast Asia. 

For thousands of years, turmeric has been used as a spice, dye, and natural remedy in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicinal practices. 

Turmeric contains curcumin, a potent polyphenol associated with several health benefits, including better brain health, improved glucose metabolism, and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity. 

Watch the video below to discover the amazing health benefits of turmeric.

Turmeric for weight loss: how does it work?

Obesity has become a global health crisis that affects nearly one in three adults. 

Many are turning to synthetic weight loss drugs for help. However, these pharmaceutical options often are linked to harmful side effects such as high blood pressure, insomnia, restlessness, and gastrointestinal problems. 

Turmeric's potential weight-loss effects can offer a natural solution to achieve a healthy body weight without the risk of side effects.  

Here are three benefits of turmeric for weight loss and weight maintenance. 


1. Promotes metabolic health 

The term metabolism refers to all physiological processes involved in converting food into energy. 

While a slow metabolism can cause weight gain due to ineffective energy-making pathways, a fast metabolism burns calories at a higher rate at rest, which typically is linked to a leaner body type. 

A study published in Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome found that curcumin intake can stimulate the production of adiponectin, a hormone involved in regulating insulin sensitivity and fatty acid oxidation.

Poor insulin sensitivity can imbalance blood sugar control and lead to the conversion of excess blood glucose into fat, which explains why insulin resistance is a leading cause of weight gain and obesity.  

Curcumin may enhance the body’s weight management processes by promoting cellular insulin sensitivity and stabilizing blood sugar levels.   

2. May reduce chronic inflammation 

Chronic inflammation has detrimental effects on metabolic health and can lead to weight gain.  

While acute inflammation stimulates healing and plays a crucial role in protecting the body from infection, chronic inflammation can disrupt various metabolic and hormonal pathways related to weight management. 

Certain inflammatory compounds can disrupt cellular sensitivity to insulin, which can cause insulin resistance, a hormonal imbalance that promotes fat storage and prevents fat burning. 

In addition, fat cells have been found to release proinflammatory cytokines, further fuelling chronic inflammation, which creates a vicious cycle of weight gain and inflammation. 

A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences found that curcumin has anti-obesogenic properties due to its ability to prevent the release of inflammatory cytokines and enhance insulin sensitivity.  

“It’s hard to ignore the benefits of turmeric for weight loss, and curcumin’s potent anti-inflammatory properties not only promote metabolic health but may also help lower the risk of various chronic health conditions, including heart disease and cancer,” explains Dr. Berg.

Woman pinching her belly fat

3. May help reduce fat mass

Excessive weight can lead to adipose tissue dysfunction, which is characterized by fat tissue growth and an imbalanced release of various metabolic hormones.    

According to research published by Frontiers, prolonged periods of caloric excess trigger fat cells to grow and proliferate, which serves as a protective mechanism against the adverse effects of weight gain. 

These additional fat cells help store excess energy and cushion soft organs. However, sustained caloric excess can lead to an overabundance of fat cells, which is directly linked to the development of obesity

Evidence published by the Journal of Nutrition found that curcumin can inhibit the growth of fat cells and may reduce cellular fatty acid accumulation, ultimately aiding in weight control. 

Turmeric and a measuring tape

How to use turmeric for weight loss

Turmeric has become increasingly popular and is widely available as spice, powder, tea, and in supplemental form. 

Incorporating turmeric into various dishes such as curries, rice, and soups is an excellent strategy to reap its impressive health benefits. 

However, curcumin has a low bioavailability, meaning it’s poorly absorbed, and adding black pepper to turmeric dishes can significantly increase intestinal curcumin absorption.

Curcumin supplements can be taken in the form of capsules, pills, or extracts and offer a convenient way to support a healthy body weight. 

You can also prepare turmeric tea by adding turmeric powder, ginger, and black pepper to boiling water. Then, sift the tea to remove any sediment and add manuka honey or stevia for a bit of sweetness if desired.

Golden milk is another popular turmeric-containing beverage made by combining turmeric powder with milk and other spices, such as ginger and cinnamon.

Turmeric pill and powder

Turmeric dosage for weight loss

A review study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that taking between 1,000 and 1,500 milligrams of curcumin daily is associated with a significant reduction in body mass index, waist circumference, and body weight.  

In addition, evidence published in Frontiers in Pharmacology found that significantly higher doses of up to 8,000 milligrams daily are well-tolerated by most adults and have no toxic effects. However, doses exceeding 8,000 milligrams can increase the risk of gastrointestinal side effects. 

To maximize the health benefits of turmeric, it’s recommended to choose a supplement formulated with piperine, a black pepper extract that enhances the intestinal absorption of curcumin. 

Potential risks of turmeric

Although turmeric is generally considered safe, there are a few potential risks to consider before adding turmeric supplements to your daily routine.  

Some sensitive individuals may experience gastrointestinal side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, or abdominal pain when taking large doses of curcumin. 

Turmeric can also interact with certain medications such as blood thinners, blood pressure, and antidiabetic drugs. 

Although rare, allergic reactions can occur in individuals with known allergies to members of the ginger plant family. If you experience symptoms such as skin rashes, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, throat, and mouth after taking turmeric, it’s crucial to seek medical care immediately. 

Additionally, pregnant women and individuals at risk of iron deficiency should consult their physician before consuming turmeric or curcumin, as it may reduce iron absorption. 

Turmeric capsule and powder

Key takeaways

Using turmeric for weight loss is a natural and safe alternative to pharmaceutical weight-loss drugs and fad diets. 

Turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory properties, may enhance insulin sensitivity, and helps stabilize blood sugar levels, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy body weight. 

Although turmeric supplements are generally considered safe, taking excessive doses of curcumin can increase the risk of gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, bloating, and abdominal pain. 


1. What are the benefits of turmeric for weight loss?

Turmeric can help with weight loss by promoting balanced metabolic energy-making processes, enhancing insulin sensitivity, and slowing down the growth and proliferation of fat cells.  

Combining curcumin supplementation with a nutritious diet and a consistent workout routine is an excellent strategy to promote a healthy body weight. 

2. How much turmeric should I take to lose weight?

Evidence suggests that taking between 1,000 and 1,500 milligrams of turmeric daily is associated with a significant reduction in body weight, waist circumference, and body mass index. 

3. Can turmeric help you burn belly fat?

Yes, taking turmeric in combination with a healthy diet can help you burn persistent belly fat.  

Turmeric can help slow the growth of new fat cells and stimulate fatty acid oxidation in the liver, which is linked to a lower fat mass, especially around the abdomen.  

4. Does taking turmeric before bed help you with losing weight?

Limited studies support the claim that consuming a turmeric supplement before bed aids in weight loss. However, turmeric is caffeine-free and can be taken at any time of the day to promote a healthy body weight without the risk of disrupted sleep.

5. What happens if I have turmeric every day?

Consuming turmeric daily can reduce inflammation, promote balanced blood sugar control, and lower the risk of insulin sensitivity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. 

6. When is the best time to take turmeric?

The best time to take turmeric to promote weight loss is before or after meals, which promotes curcumin absorption and lowers the risk of gastrointestinal side effects. 


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31425942/ 

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8775659/ 

  3. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcvm.2020.00022/full 

  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022316622067487 

  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002916523462600

  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7522354/ 

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