Peptic ulcer disease is a diseased condition in which painful sores are formed on the inner linings of the stomach (Gastric Ulcer) and the duodenum, which is first part of the small intestine (Duodenal Ulcer).
In rare cases, peptic ulcers may develop just above the stomach in the food pipe.
The symptoms include
- Upper abdominal pain which occurs before and after taking meals
- Belching and Bloating
- Vomiting and Nausea
In severe cases, the symptoms observed are
- Melena – dark or black tarry stool due to bleeding and very foul smelling.
- Vomiting blood
- Weight loss
- Poor appetite
- Severe pain in the upper and mid abdominal region
Peptic ulcers are known to cause severe complications like bleeding, perforation (hole in the stomach wall) and blockage of the stomach.
The most common factors causing Peptic ulcer are
- Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori) bacterial infection
- Long term usage of Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs (NAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin, naproxen etc.
- Tobacco smoking and drinking alcohol regularly
- Rarely caused by cancerous and non-cancerous tumors in the stomach, duodenum and pancreas.
- Stress due to serious illnesses like Behcet disease, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, Crohn disease and liver cirrhosis.
The treatment of Peptic ulcer includes the following medications and practices such as Antacids and Histamine receptor blockers (in case of ulcer-like symptoms), cases with H.pylori bacterial infection are treated with a combination of Antibiotics, Proton pump inhibitors (PPI) etc.
Upper endoscopy is done in case of bleeding ulcers and surgery is required in cases of serious bleeding which can’t be controlled by endoscopy.
Lifestyle changes like avoiding smoking and drinking as well as overusing NSAIDs like aspirin can help in reducing peptic ulcers and gastric inflammation.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herb belonging to the ginger family (Zingiberaceae), widely grown in Southeast Asia like India, China, Thailand, Indonesia etc.
It is highly recognized for its uses in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines. The dry yellow powder is used as a coloring dye as well as a traditional spice in curries and cuisines of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan etc.
Turmeric consists of biologically active curcuminoids with potent Anti-inflammatory, Anti-oxidant and Anti-microbial properties.
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What happened in this study?
The study was conducted on 45 patients of ages between 16-60 years. All the patients had symptoms of Peptic ulcer.
In the study, 25 patients were endoscoped and ulcers of varying sizes were located in the stomach and intestine. 2 Turmeric-filled capsules, each of dosage 300 milligrams were orally administered five times in a day.
What were the results?
After 4 weeks of treatment with Turmeric capsules, it was observed that ulcers were absent in 48% of the patients (12 out of 25 patients).
After 8 weeks of treatment, the rate of absence of ulcers increased in 6 of the 25 patients (24%) and after 12 weeks of treatment, 19 out of 25 patients (76%) had no more ulcers.
It was observed that the rest of the patients which included 20 cases did not have ulcers and hence were not endoscoped. Instead, they suffered from gastric erosions (inflammation of the inner linings of the stomach), gastritis (inflammation, irritation or erosion of stomach lining) and dyspepsia (indigestion).
Upon administering turmeric capsules to these patients for 4 weeks it was observed that their symptoms of abdominal pain and discomfort disappeared within the first two weeks and the patients were able to take normal meals instead of soft foods.
It was also noted that the blood reports of the 45 patients showed no significant changes in the blood, liver and kidney functions both before and after the treatment with the turmeric capsules.
How did this occur?
Curcumin which is the primary active curcuminoid with its anti-ulcer properties inhibits the gastric acid secretion like hydrochloric acid (HCL), reduces acidity and promotes healing of the ulcer.
The effects of anti-microbial properties of curcumin acting on the imbalance in natural bacteria found in the gut and its anti-oxidant properties inhibits the inflammatory chemicals like Nuclear Factor-kappa B (NF-kB) and interleukin-8 activated by the bacteria H.pylori (the bacteria causing peptic ulcer) and thus, provides relief from the symptoms of Peptic Ulcer.
Bisdemethoxycurcumin which is another curcuminoidof turmeric also helps in reducing the gastric acid secretion and increases the defense mechanism of the stomach linings by suppressing inflammatory chemicals like Inducible nitric oxide synthase that causes inflammation.
What does this mean?
Peptic ulcers are deep sores in the linings of the stomach or intestine due to abnormal action of Pepsin (stomach enzyme which breaks proteins) and stomach acid caused mostly by the H.pylori bacterial infection or other factors.
The consumption of the Turmeric capsules of dosage 300 milligrams per capsule for 4 to 12 weeks can be beneficial in the treatment of peptic ulcer without having any effects on the blood, liver and kidney functions.
Including turmeric in diet can prevent and relieve peptic ulcer and related symptoms.
Read paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11485087