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Turmeric for Gut Inflammation?

gut inflammation

It may not be a popular topic, but gastrointestinal tract (Gut) disorder are far more common than most would like to think. The National Institute of Health (NIH) lists a shocking 40 digestive tract diseases that interrupt the daily routine of many people.1 These disorders exist anywhere between the esophagus and the anus and typically share similar symptoms. The similarity of symptoms can make it difficult to find a diagnosis and a way to alleviate your symptoms.

With a Google or PubMed search, it won’t take you long to realize that turmeric has eye-catching health benefits, digestive disorders included! Turmeric is the spice that provides curry with its vibrant yellow color but also carries a history that includes centuries of medicinal use founded primarily on its anti-inflammatory properties.

It can be said that gut inflammation is the root of most digestive system disorders. This inflammation can also lead to fatigue, nausea, acne, constipation, and unstable blood glucose. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties may be the answer to decrease these symptoms or cut them off at their source: gut inflammation.

The Turmeric-Gut Connection

In your quest to reduce your chances of digestive disorders, or to mitigate milder symptoms, you will want to seriously consider implementing turmeric extract into your daily health regimen.

Why? Many side effects of digestive conditions are the result of gut inflammation. This inflammation, caused by diet or existing conditions, wreaks havoc on your health by reducing nutrient absorption and causing pain. Pre-existing auto-immune conditions cause the body to attack the lining of the gut, and other areas, rather than actual potential threats. This attack creates a chronic inflammatory state in an otherwise healthy gut.

It is highly believed by scientists and medical professionals that chronic, low-level inflammation is to blame for just about every common Western disease including cancer, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and many cognitive and degenerative conditions. There are two primary conditions associated with gut inflammation: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Irritable bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) refers to two specific conditions characterized by chronic gut inflammation. These two conditions include Ulcerative Colitis (UC) and Crohn’s Disease.

A 2018 review published in the Journal of Medicinal Food showed promise in turmeric’s ability to treat or mitigate the symptoms of IBD.2 The review looked at several studies conducted on IBD conditions and curcumin and affirmed that curcumin is effective at reducing the symptoms of these conditions by controlling inflammation. Curcumin interacted with several receptors, enzymes, and cytokines that lead to inflammation by inhibiting their effect on many molecules associated with the inflammatory process including tumor necrosis factor-a and interferon-y.

Crohn’s Disease

The two conditions included in IBD also differ in many ways. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract, but most often occurs in the small intestine. Inflammation in Crohn’s disease is significant. It can occur within multiple layers of the digestive tract walls and can damage otherwise healthy tissue.

Symptoms of Crohn’s can begin with mouth sores and end with drainage around the anus, both of which are caused by inflammation. Other symptoms include fatigue, abdominal pain, reduced appetite, blood in stools, diarrhea and fever.

Ulcerative Colitis (UC)

This form of IBD is unique in that it only occurs within the large intestine or rectum. The inflammation that occurs in UC exists in the innermost layer of the gut lining, but can still be damaging to healthy tissue.

Symptoms of UC include fatigue, fever, frequent and urgent bowel movements, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain and diarrhea with blood or pus. Many of these symptoms are due to the extent of inflammation and damage the gut inflammation is causing to the lining.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) refers to a group of symptoms that occur in the intestines; cramping, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and abdominal pain. To be diagnosed with IBS symptoms must occur at least three days out of the month for three consecutive months.

While the exact cause of IBS is unclear the immune system is thought to play a role. When the immune system suspects potential danger the response is to send T-cells, lymphocytes triggered by an immune response, and other inflammatory compounds to the site.

A sensitive or heightened immune system can lead to this attack being placed on the gut which ultimately leads to gut inflammation and the onset of IBS symptoms. A 2017 study found that IBS is associated with exhausted T-cells causing them to react incorrectly.3

The study followed patients with IBS for one year and compared blood samples from times of IBS flare ups and when they were asymptomatic. This work proved beneficial in the pursuit to find a more concrete cause of IBS.3

One significant study looked at IBS sufferers and found that those who took a curcumin supplement daily experienced a substantial reduction in symptoms and their quality of life scores increased as well.4 These benefits were the result of curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Not only did curcumin reduce gut inflammation naturally, but it also improved the gut microbiome, which aided in long-term inflammatory benefits as well.

You can learn more about the benefits and research on turmeric for Crohn’s Disease, IBS, and Ulcerative Colitis by reading this article:

Turmeric Benefits for Crohn’s Disease, IBS, and Ulcerative Colitis

Other ways to improve gut health

You may be wondering if some of your symptoms could be the result of an undiagnosed digestive system disorder. There are some early signs of digestive problems to pay special attention to such as heartburn, diarrhea, bleeding, bloating, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, stomach pain, constipation, issues swallowing, unintentional weight loss or gain, and even incontinence.5 If you’re experiencing any of these it is vitally important to speak with your healthcare provider.

Maybe you’re just wanting to get ahead of any potential issues or mitigate some mild symptoms. There are a few easy lifestyle changes you can make to help in digestion and overall health.

1. Nutrition: What we do and don’t eat have an impact on our gut health. Foods rich in refined carbohydrates and sugar can create an imbalance of gut bacteria leading to digestive issues. On the other side of this fact, foods rich in complex carbs and fiber can act as prebiotics which feed the good bacteria and keep gut health in balance.

2. Exercise: Physical activity has been shown to improve the gut microbiome as well. One study followed individuals for six weeks and found just this short period of consistent exercise improved good gut bacteria.6

3. Sleep: Yet another way the gut’s microbiome is impacted by a vital part of every-day life: sleep. After several days of poor sleep, the gut’s beneficial bacteria begin to die off.7

4. Stress: Chronic stress can create a state of inflammation in the body as the fight or flight system is activated. This results in a decrease of vital blood flow and oxygen to the stomach. If this goes on for too long inflammation and an imbalance of gut bacteria can ensue.

Picking a turmeric supplement

Most turmeric supplements only contain 50-150 mgs of turmeric extract per capsule. Why does this matter? Independent studies show you need 500-2000 mgs of turmeric extract per day. You would have to take 15-30 capsules from most turmeric companies to get the recommended daily dosage for inflammation.

For example, the top-selling turmeric supplement on Amazon has only 50 mgs of turmeric extract per capsule. In comparison, Active Atoms Turmeric Extract has 750 mgs of turmeric extract in one capsule making it the highest potency turmeric available. You would have to take 15 capsules from the top-selling supplement on Amazon to get the same benefits as 1 capsule of Active Atoms.

In addition, you should check to make sure your turmeric has BioPerine® to ensure better absorption by the gut. Turmeric alone has poor bioavailability (absorption) without piperine which is found in black pepper extract. BioPerine®, a patented and concentrated form of black pepper extract is shown to increase the absorption of turmeric by 2000%. Active Atoms has 5 mgs of BioPerine® per capsule to maximize your body’s ability to digest the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin/turmeric extract.

You can learn about buying the best turmeric supplement by reading this article:

3 TIPS TO CHOOSE THE BEST TURMERIC SUPPLEMENT

The takeaway

Before beginning a new supplement, it is vitally important to speak to your healthcare provider. While rare, supplements can cause adverse reactions and some even inhibit the impact of important medications. This is equally true before beginning a supplement when you have an existing digestive disorder. Your provider will need to ensure your specific condition is able to tolerate turmeric extract.

When considering ways to improve your gut health never underestimate the benefits and necessity of proper nutrition and exercise. These keep the gut healthy and digestion moving. It is important to approach your gut health form a whole-person perspective. Your sleep quality, stress levels, and daily habits impact your gut health is a significant way.

If you are suffering with digestive disorder symptoms or just thinking you could use the extra support that high potency turmeric curcumin can offer then don’t waste any more time. Curcumin has been scientifically shown to mitigate the symptoms of digestive disorders like IBS and may be what is missing from your health regimen. Begin a new routine for a healthy and start taking Active Atoms Turmeric Extract today.

About Dr. Marc Robinson, PT, DPT, Cert. MDT