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March 2013

Turmeric for Liver Health

A recent study suggests that turmeric may benefit liver health.

Turmeric is a spice, commonly used in Asian food, derived from the root of the turmeric plant. Curcumin is the a yellow-colored molecule derived from turmeric, commonly used to color foods and cosmetics. The root of turmeric has long been used in traditional Asian medicine to treat upset stomach, arthritic pain, and "low energy."

The new study included 60 adults with elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels. ALT is a liver enzyme that is produced in higher amounts when the liver is inflamed. High ALT levels can be a sign of hepatitis C, but other conditions can also cause an increase in ALTs.

The participants were randomly assigned to take three grams daily of fermented turmeric powder or placebo for 12 weeks. Capsules of both fermented turmeric and placebo were taken three times daily, after each meal.

Compared to the control group, the turmeric group had significantly lower levels of ALT and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), a marker for liver damage.

Lipid levels and other markers for liver function, including gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) and total bilirubin (TB), did not change from fermented turmeric supplementation.

For more information about turmeric, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements database.


  1. Kim SW, Ha KC, and Choi EK. The effectiveness of fermented turmeric powder in subjects with elevated alanine transaminase levels: a randomised controlled study. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-13-58.
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.

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