Caution: Pure Curcumin Could Make Salmonella More Infectious

Caution with salmonella

If you take curcumin supplements, some researchers suggest you might want to skip it when there's a salmonella outbreak. Some lab studies indicate that curcumin has antibacterial effects against salmonella. However, others show it protects salmonella from UV radiation damage. (v.68)

According to one study using an animal model for salmonella infection, curcumin could also make one type of salmonella more likely to cause disease. The salmonella strain tested with curcumin causes stomach flu in humans and typhoid-like fever in mice. (v.68)

In the study, curcumin increased salmonella's resistance to natural antimicrobial enzymes in the body. As a result, the mice injected with curcumin-treated salmonella died sooner than those injected with untreated salmonella. (v.68)

Take Turmeric Extracts Instead for Salmonella

In the event of a salmonella outbreak, taking whole herb turmeric extracts instead could be a better option. Lab studies demonstrate turmeric extract can completely inhibit S. typhimurium (the pathogen that causes salmonella) by itself. Turmeric works even better when combined with fermented vinegar. (v.63-6489)

Crude turmeric extracts also work well as antibacterial agents on food. Studies show they can disinfect produce and meat from more than one type of salmonella. (v.6489)

What's the Difference?

There are hundreds of compounds in turmeric, but the most well-studied for turmeric are its curcumin pigments. However, the main compounds in turmeric's essential oil are not curcuminoids. Instead, turmeric essential oil is high in beneficial antioxidants curlone and turmerone compounds. Turmeric essential oil also contains other helpful plant compounds. These include: (v.276773-757898)

In lab studies, all of these compounds inhibited S. typhimurium and S. enteritidis. In fact, they worked almost as well or much better than the antibiotic streptomycin on this strain of salmonella. (v.276773-757898)

What Kind of Turmeric Extract Works?

Look for extracts of turmeric that contain over 80% turmerones. Preparations with concentrations of about 50% turmerones show no effect on salmonella. (v.6389)

Method of extraction also matters in terms of beneficial compounds. Crude turmeric extracts obtained using ethanol without heat and over a period of days rather than hours substantially increases turmerone content. (v.6389)

Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium.  (v.68)
Such as Salmonella enteritidis and Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium(v.6468)
Except for 1,8-cineole, which was 90% as effective as streptomycin. (v.67)

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