Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes abnormal contractions, of the large intestine, resulting in cramps, bloated feeling, and bouts of constipation or diarrhea.
Although this is a painful disease, it does not damage the intestines permanently. Other symptoms of IBS could include mucus in the stool, urge to empty the bowels frequently and pain relief after doing so. Usual cause of IBS is stress, depression and anxiety or low levels of serotonin – the brain chemical.
Some foods like dairy products, caffeine, chocolates, carbonated beverages, alcohol, chemical additives in food, fatty foods and artificial sweeteners could trigger bouts of IBS.
Drug therapy, herbal remedies, nutritional supplements, acupuncture, homeopathy, change in diet such as adding more fiber to diet are some ways to treat IBS. Avoid foods that cause gas, eat a healthy diet comprising plenty of fruits and vegetables. Several home remedies like hot baths, exercise, deep breathing etc may also help ease symptoms of IBS.
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Turmeric and Turmeric and Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
While it is true that IBS is not a severe medical condition, it can affect the quality of life of the sufferer. People are forced to miss work, limit social outings and travel and suffer constantly from constipation, diarrhea, gas or pain in the abdominal region.
Long-term treatment with medications could cause side effects. New studies have found that turmeric could ease intestinal ailments and has been widely used in Chinese and Indian medicine to treat indigestion, skin problems, arthritis etc. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric could even ease symptoms of IBS and keep it in remission.
What is more, turmeric is easy to use for it can simply be added to a variety of recipes to add spice, color, and flavor.
Studies at the University of Reading, UK, have assessed the effects of turmeric for symptoms of IBS in adults with no other health problems. From 500 subjects who volunteered for this study, 207 were selected and given standardized turmeric powder (1-2 tablets daily) for 8 weeks.
After the 8 weeks, the volunteers were asked to self-report the effectiveness of turmeric and other symptoms of IBS were also examined. It was found that IBS symptoms reduced by nearly 53%-60% after turmeric treatment.
Abdominal pain reduced and there was a general improvement in other IBS symptoms like bowel movements in almost 2/3 of the volunteers. There was not much difference in symptoms in both the 1 and 2 tablet groups. Placebo-controlled studies are recommended to further understand if turmeric can reduce symptoms of IBS.
The benefits of turmeric for gastrointestinal disorders like IBS have also been examined. The studies revolve around curcumin – the chemical ingredient in turmeric. Albino rats were selected and divided into 5 groups. The groups were administered curcumin and barium sulfate.
The rats were further subdivided into sub-groups with group A being given sodium chloride and group B curcumin intra-gastrically. It was found that the rats given intra-gastric doses of curcumin displayed improvement in their intestinal motility compared to the control group and there was a lessening in the extent of the small intestine navigated by barium sulfate.
This shows the curcumin may help in treating various intestinal disorders like IBS, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
Extensive studies have found that curcumin, a diferuloylmethane component of turmeric, is able to transform numerous cell signaling pathways and these could offer promising effects for various inflammatory diseases like IBS, pancreatitis, ulcerative colitis, uveitis arthritis etc.
Since most people can tolerate very high (12g daily) doses of curcumin, various formulations are being examined like tablets, capsules, emulsions, powder, nanoparticles and more for their benefits for various human diseases.
Small human studies have found that turmeric offers benefits for similar symptoms of pro-inflammatory diseases like IBS, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Two studies found that curcumin offered relief to IBS patients.
A group study of 10 patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis found that taking curcumin offered symptomatic relief from abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhea and lesser bowel movements. This was after taking curcumin for 3 and 2 months respectively.
Another study of 89 patients with ulcerative colitis found that taking curcumin for 6 months improved symptoms.
Another study found that turmeric remarkably reduced the prevalence of IBS in healthy adults by relieving symptoms such as flatulence, abdominal cramps, and stomach upset. Rat models demonstrated the anti-ulcer benefits of turmeric.
Turmeric is said to offer carminative benefits and can be used to treat symptoms of heartburn, low stomach acidity, and indigestion. After a double-blind trial, it was found that 500mg four times daily could alleviate indigestion and excessive gas. As a carminative agent, turmeric could ease spasms of the intestinal tract such as that caused by IBS.
Turmeric supplements are also available as liquid and tincture. The dosage depends on the specific condition. The usual dose of standardized dried powder is 400-600mg thrice daily. Combining turmeric with bromelain improves its anti-inflammatory effects and absorption levels also improve.
Anyone with IBS symptoms must consult a doctor before including turmeric supplements in their diet. Taken in excess, these can exacerbate symptoms of indigestion and cause diarrhea, nausea, and dizziness.
Those who have gallbladder problems, diabetes and pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised to avoid turmeric supplements for it could cause adverse reactions.
Anyone scheduled for surgery must avoid turmeric supplements 2 weeks before the date. Using turmeric spice in food does not cause any side effects.