Can Turmeric Support Gut Health?

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

A spoon full of turmeric. Studies show that turmeric can help improve the digestive system.

The innumerable health benefits of turmeric may seem like a recent discovery, but it has a long history in the Ayurvedic tradition, especially for digestive and gut health. In fact, this brilliant gold spice has been appreciated in India for over four thousand years. When used in conjunction with other bioactive herbs, turmeric encourages normal digestion and regulates digestive hormones, bile, and gastric acid.[1, 2]

Traditional Therapeutic Uses of Turmeric

Many of the recent headlines pertaining to turmeric focus on its effects on inflammation and cancer. However, in India and other South Asian countries, there is a well-established history of using turmeric for a wide range of traditional remedies. In Nepal, powdered turmeric root is applied to bruises, wounds, swollen joints, and sprains. Indian folk medicine prescribes turmeric for respiratory and liver health, and to stimulate appetite.[3] The benefits of turmeric are largely owed to a powerful class of antioxidants called curcuminoids, collectively referred to as curcumin, and turmeric is the only source.

Effects of Turmeric on the Gut and Digestive System

The idea of gut health might bring to mind images of probiotic supplements or fermented foods. Those are applicable but there are a lot of different ways to promote gut health, and it seems that consuming turmeric is one of them. The clinically established benefits of turmeric extend throughout the body, and it has specific actions that support gut and digestive health.

Turmeric and the Intestines

Curcumin supports digestion by relaxing the smooth muscles of the digestive tract and gently pushing digested food through the intestines. It also discourages gas and bloating.[3]

Turmeric and the Colon

A healthy, well-balanced colon is essential to gut health, digestive tract comfort, and the growth of beneficial bacteria. Curcumin facilitates balance between the microbiota and the immune response in the colon.[4]

Curcumin encourages the colonic crypts—glands on the inner surface of the colon—to regenerate and heal.[4] This can be especially beneficial when leaky gut or hostile organism overgrowth are present.

Curcumin suppresses EGR-1, a protein that may allow damaged DNA to get coded. In other words, curcumin acts as the quality control agent and ensures that cells replicate proteins properly.[5] Further, curcumin drives apoptosis—the body’s natural method of recycling old, worn out cells.[4]

Turmeric and the Stomach

Turmeric offers a multi-tiered approach to protecting the integrity of the stomach lining. First, turmeric inhibits enzymes that compromise stomach health.[6] It also boosts the secretion of stomach mucous—the primary defense against damage from gastric acid and other irritants.[4]

It’s also worth mentioning that, in animal models, curcumin disrupts the growth of harmful organisms and eradicates them from the body while helping to repair the stomach lining.[2]

Turmeric and the Liver

In the liver, turmeric helps increase cholesterol elimination by boosting bile production.[6] There are a number of ways to encourage normal cholesterol levels and consuming foods that help your body use its cholesterol stores is one of them. Combining regular turmeric consumption with fiber-rich meals even more effectively cleanses your system of cholesterol by trapping and ushering it to the colon for elimination.[7]

Curcumin also protects liver cells from damage caused by toxins such as peroxide, galactosamine, tobacco smoke, and household chemicals.[3]

Turmeric, Digestive Wellness, and Gut Health

Turmeric’s therapeutic value makes it a natural choice for supporting gut and digestive health. There’s no shortage of scientific evidence supporting the link between a healthy gut, a robust microbiome, and overall well-being.

This connection inspired us to combine our best gut health supplements into one comprehensive kit—the Gut Health Kit™. It’s your ticket to complete gut health in just 30 days. The Gut Health Kit will cleanse, balance, and support your gut, and strengthen your microbiota. Optionally, you can add Global Healing Center’s Liquid Turmeric Extract to the kit for an extra, digestive-health boost.

Do you have any experience using turmeric to support your gut? What insight can you offer? Leave a comment below and share your tips with us!

References (7)
  1. Valussi, M. “Functional Foods with Digestion-Enhancing Properties.” International journal of food sciences and nutrition. 63. (2011): 82–9. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.
  2. De, Ronita, et al. “Antimicrobial Activity of Curcumin Against Helicobacter Pylori Isolates from India and During Infections in Mice.” 53.4 (2009): n.pag. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.
  3. Chattopadhyay, Ishita, et al. “Turmeric and Curcumin: Biological Actions and Medicinal Applications.” CURRENT SCIENCE 87.1 (2004): n.pag. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.
  4. Grenier, Alan, Rao Papineni, and Shadid Umar. “Chemoprevention in Gastrointestinal Physiology and Disease. Natural Products and Microbiome.” American Journal of Physiology 307.1 (2014): n.pag. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.
  5. Chen, A, J Xu, and A C Johnson. “Curcumin Inhibits Human Colon Cancer Cell Growth by Suppressing Gene Expression of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Through Reducing the Activity of the Transcription Factor Egr-1.” Oncogene 25.2 (2005): 278–287. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.
  6. Braun, Lesley, and Marc Cohen. Herbs and Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Guide: Volume 2. Australia: Churchill Livingstone, 2014. Print.
  7. Brown, Lisa, et al. “Cholesterol-Lowering Effects of Dietary Fiber: A Meta-Analysis.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 69.1 (1999): 30–42. Web. 24 Feb. 2017.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • disqus_A7ZiD14I8W

    great stuff but has one side effect to consider, thins your blood. Had surgery and had a hematoma due to bleeding after taking turmeric, need to check with doctor if you are on blood thinner or may have a bleeding problem. should be stopped prior to surgery, how long I did not know. Hence the problem

  • kevnicazace

    Always talk to your doctor before taking supplements if you’re on prescriptions or have other health issues. Always always!

  • disqus_A7ZiD14I8W

    I had spoken to my doctor before I took a turmeric supplement but I still had a problem which was unforeseen. no one knows how ones body is going to react till one take a supplement

  • disqus_A7ZiD14I8W

    I did speak with my doctor who advised me to take 3 capsules a day, thank God I only took one a day and it thinned my blood. I have had doctors before who have given me advice and still have had problems. I have even had doctors who have given me the wrong diagnosis. Doctors are not perfect. sometimes they make mistakes. take it from me one who really knows.

  • disqus_A7ZiD14I8W

    my internist said that yes turmeric does thin your blood, need to stop it a month before surgery, guess the surgeon did not realize this.

  • Lucky_Lola

    I eat organic tumeric daily, however, I cannot find how much is needed to see benefits. Is there a chart to determine recommendations? Also, is it the same as taking a supplement? Thanks.

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