Turmeric Health Benefits: How Curcumins in Turmeric Benefit Your Liver

by | 01/25/23

It’s surprising how many everyday things negatively impact your liver health, leaving you feeling fatigued, muscle soreness, hormone imbalances or moody. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be a yellow flag that your liver is taking some heat. You can cool the environment in your liver and get it back to proper functioning with the help of the powerful anti-inflammatory found in turmeric, called curcumin, according to research. Here’s what you should know about your liver health and curcumin.

7 Things Harming Your Liver You Should Know About

Your liver is damaged by everyday things that cause cells in your liver to die which can lead to liver problems and disease:

  • Alcohol
  • Overeating
  • Viruses
  • Parasites
  • Environmental pollution
  • Pollution on food
  • Medications

How Does Alcohol Hurt Your Liver?

Cheers!? There’s something called ethanol in alcohol and it’s a real party-pooper in your liver. Your liver cells make energy in a part called the mitochondria – when you drink alcohol, it causes these natural battery packs to find themselves suddenly attacked by harmful molecules. The results are pretty damaging to your liver. Luckily, scientists know about natural foods that improve your liver health, such as curcumin.

Overeating Hurts Your Liver

Bombarding your body with excess food can make it difficult to balance blood sugar and fats, a process that impacts your liver. If left unchecked, overeating can lead to obesity, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Let’s get back to this disease in a bit – first, let’s discover what foods are good for your liver.

3 Surprisingly Delicious Foods that are Good for Your Liver

  • Turmeric (curcumin)
  • Coffee
  • Ginger

How is Curcumin Good for Your Liver?

Curcumin has remarkable protective effects on the liver. According to researchers, curcumin may be a natural way to help restore your liver’s normal functioning. That’s because curcumin is a super-powered nutrient: its structure contains a bunch of elements that give it antioxidant abilities. It sort of acts like a shield. As such, curcumin is well respected by scientists as a food that’s good for your liver.

A Good Anti-Inflammatory Food

Like water can douse a flame, curcumin has impressive anti-inflammatory abilities in your body. Curcumin acts like an extinguisher to the messengers (pro-inflammatory cytokines) that intensify inflammation. In fact, scientists say the coolest impact of curcumin is how it can successfully calm a key spark in most chronic diseases, called nuclear factor kB (NF-kB). Ah-ha! No wonder research has found there are so many health benefits of turmeric.

Wait! There’s More…

Curcumin does quite a few things to cool down the fired-up bad reactions (called oxidative stress) damaging your liver. Similar to calling in a whole crew of firefighters to help douse a flame, curcumin enhances a cascade of your body’s natural responses to help reduce the damage.

Curcumin Supports Liver Health

According to research, curcumin can be protective and effective in various types of liver diseases and disorders. There are many ways curcumin helps the liver, including the ability to slow down the hormone leptin and high sugar levels from triggering fibrosis in the liver, says research studies. That’s helpful for those struggling with high blood sugar, insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome.

6 Common Liver Diseases Curcumin May Support, According to Research

Research suggests curcumin may be helpful to many liver problems, including:

  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)
  • Alcoholic Liver Disease (ALD)
  • Liver Injury
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Liver Fibrosis & Cirrhosis

Curcumin and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Up to 35% of adults struggle with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Liver cells accumulate fat. This means the cells can’t function properly. Curcumin’s protective abilities to the liver seem to help. That’s great news as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most prevalent chronic liver disease and a classic component of metabolic syndrome (obesity, diabetes, hypertension and insulin resistance).

Curcumin and Metabolic Syndrome

A lifestyle disease, metabolic syndrome can be challenging to manage – it requires you to make major lifestyle modifications. This challenge has researchers wondering if curcumin could help. Since curcumin protects the liver, as well as other conditions associated with metabolic syndrome (obesity, high blood fats, blood sugar balance) researchers are suggesting curcumin may be helpful.

Is Turmeric a Hangover Cure?

One of the most popular questions about liver health is what can cure a hangover. Evidence shows turmeric (curcumin) is an awesome protector of the liver, but as for being a hangover cure, more research is needed. There’s potential according to a rat study: a turmeric extract (containing curcumin) offered some beneficial effects of short-term liver damage from a binge consumption of alcohol. As for chronic alcohol consumption, curcumin does seem to ease damage, according to research.


Curcumin in liver diseases: a systematic review of the cellular mechanisms of oxidative stress and clinical perspective. Nutrients 2018 Jul; 10(7): 855.
The role of curcumin in liver diseases. Arch Med Sci 2019 Oct; 15(6): 1608-1620.
Curcumin and obesity. Biofactors 2013 Jan-Feb; 39(1):78-87.
Lipid-modifying effects of adjunctive therapy with curcuminoids–piperine combination in patients with metabolic syndrome: results of a randomized controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2014;22:851–7.
Curcumin as a therapeutic strategy in liver diseases. Nutrients 2019 Oct 17; 11(10):2498.
Curcumin prevents chronic alcohol-induced liver disease involving decreasing ROS generation and enhancing antioxidative capacity. Phytomedicine 2012 Apr 15;19(6):545-50.
Effect of coffee consumption on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease incidence, prevalence and risk of significant liver fibrosis: systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies. Nutrients 2021 Aug 30;13(9):3042.
The hepatoprotective effects of ginger. J Chin Med Assoc. 2019 Nov;82(11):805-806.

Allison Tannis MSc RHN: Known for her deliciously geeky words, Allison’s books and articles are read around the world by those curious where are the most nutritious (and delicious) places to stick their forks. More at Follow @deliciouslygeeky.