Turmeric (Curmumin) as a Cause of Iron Deficiency

Turmeric as an iron Chelator

Turmeric is increasingly studied for its role in multiple aspects of health. It has been touted to have anti-inflammatory and anti-neoplastic properties. It also is known to bind iron in the gastrointestinal system and may contribute to iron deficiency at very high doses. These properties of turmeric have been shown in animal models

A recent study reported the case of a 66 year old male who developed iron deficiency anemia while using high doses of turmeric to treat his osteoarthritis. He had multiple investigations including upper and lower endoscopy and Hemoccult™ studies - all of which were negative/normal. Interestingly, two weeks after stopping the turmeric and continuing his usual iron supplement, his hemoglobin returned back to normal.


This was a nice reminder that tumeric may be associated with  iron deficiency anemia. One must give consideration to the iron status of patients using high doses of turmeric/curcum supplements.


Smith TJ et al. Iron Deficiency Anemia Due to High-dose Turmeric. Cureus. 2019 Jan 9;11(1):e3858. doi: 10.7759/cureus.3858.

Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887

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