Can Turmeric Help With Digestive Disorders?

July 10, 2014

Canadian researchers are planning an extensive review of applicable turmeric studies.

Canadian researchers are preparing a meta-analysis and review of existing research on turmeric for digestive disorders, and its conclusion should bring the scientific community closer to understanding whether or not this famous root has an impact on this part of human health.

Known for its characteristic yellow color, turmeric is commonly used around the world for its anti-inflammatory properties, but science on this root for digestive disorders is inconclusive. Preclinical studies suggest a role for turmeric in protecting the gastrointestinal system from inflammation-while also encouraging the secretion of important acids and digestive enzymes-but results from disease-specific studies are varied. Past studies support turmeric for ulcerative colitis and indigestion, but trials on irritable bowel syndrome haven’t always been so successful.

The Canadian review, led by Kednapa Thavorn of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, will review studies on turmeric and its compounds for a number of digestive disorders: peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and gastroesophageal gut syndrome (GERD).

“[I]f the gastro-protective effect of turmeric is confirmed, turmeric and its compounds should be considered as a promising alternative for patients who suffer from digestive disorders because it is safe, inexpensive, and ubiquitously available,” wrote the researchers. “In contrast, if gastro-protective effects of turmeric cannot be established, this evidence would be useful in enhancing the patients’ understanding of the limitations of this commonly used therapy. Thus, it could guard them against the false claims and advertisements of turmeric product manufacturers.”

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/OMINDIA

 

Robby Gardner

Associate Editor

Nutritional Outlook magazine

robby.gardner@ubm.com

download issueDownload Issue : Nutritional Outlook Vol. 17 No. 6