Turmeric is a rhizome that grows under the ground like ginger. It has a rich, bright orange color and is used in many foods. Originally used in Southeast Asia, it’s a vital component for traditional curries. You can find dried powdered turmeric in the spice aisle of just about any grocery store. Sometimes they carry the fresh rhizome too (it looks like ginger root, but smaller).
Turmeric for Fertility
Curcumin, the active compound found in turmeric, is what provides all the wondrous health properties associated with turmeric. This polyphenol (I’m referring to curcumin incase you don’t speak science geek. LOL) is all the rage right now and justifiably so. Not only is curcumin a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, it also has been shown to relieve pain and helps protect the liver.
HOLY WAH!!!! Now that is a lot of benefit for a little spice…am I right???
So why is this helpful for fertility?
First, excess inflammation in the body is a big contributor to unexplained infertility and recurrent miscarriage. So, anything you can do to reduce inflammation is going to aid your cause. And turmeric can help you do just that.
Second, turmeric offers strong antioxidants which help the body fight free radicals. This not only improves fertility, but is also important for overall health. As a bonus, antioxidants help slow signs of aging. YESSS!
Third, the antioxidants found in turmeric help support the liver and may een regenerate liver cells. And FYI, a healthy liver is CRUCIAL for hormone balance and fertility. If you’re not clear on the liver-fertility connection CLICK HERE to get caught up.
Lastly, research suggests turmeric is beneficial for treating joint, muscle, and nerve inflammation in addition to inflammation resulting from autoimmune disease. On the reproductive side, turmeric provides medicinal benefits for things such as:
- Reducing pain associated with menstrual cycles
- Relieving menstrual cramps
- Stimulates blood flow to the pelvic area and uterus
- Normalizes blood flow during menstruation (helps get rid of stagnant blood)
- Helps with infertility conditions such as:
- Ovarian Cysts
Turmeric vs Curcumin
You might be wondering why I keep talking about turmeric even though I said the health properties come from one component of the spice, curcumin. And, I’m sure you’ve heard of or seen curcumin supplements since everyone and their sister is talking about it right now.
So, let’s clear it up.
Turmeric is a spice that contains curcumin. Curcumin is only available by extracting it from the turmeric rhizome and is a single piece of the overall spice. When curcumin is extracted it is typically used to create very high concentration supplements. We’re talking much, much higher doses than you would get from using the standard dose of turmeric.
While these high doses might make sense for some people dealing with excessive inflammation who are NOT trying to get pregnant, I do not recommend it for those of you trying to conceive. Studies show at high doses, curcumin can be a spermicidal, reduce fertility, and act as a natural birth control. Not exactly what we are looking for, right???
For these reasons, we recommend using turmeric in its whole form. If you are hell bent on supplementing then only supplement with turmeric (not curcumin) and keep it under 1800 mg per day.
Boosting Turmeric Absorption
Turmeric is not absorbed very well by the body. Try these couple tricks for increasing absorption:
- Turmeric is fat soluble (just like fat soluble vitamins) so eating fat along with it can increase the amount absorbed. Coconut milk is one of our favorites to combine with turmeric because the flavors go well together and coconut contains lots of healthy, fertility fats.
- Use black pepper with turmeric. Studies show combining black pepper with turmeric improves the body’s absorption and increases blood serum levels of curcumin (again for those in the back, this is the component of turmeric that provides the health benefits).
Turmeric is an AH-MAZING spice for lots of things, including fertility. However, you might want to go for the straight up turmeric and skip the curcumin supplement shortcut since too much of a good thing can be a bad thing for baby making. Turmeric in doses less than 1800 mg/day should be safe and HELPFUL for fertility.
As always, we recommend using the whole food source by adding the spice to your daily diet. It can be used in curry as well as many other Southeast Asian dishes. Want a quick, delicious recipe to get a good, healthy dose of turmeric in? Check out our Golden Milk recipe and get your fertility on!