Turmeric Benefits for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

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 turmeric for IBS Irritable bowel syndromedaily) 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.

Dosage

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.

Precautions

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.

About the Author

TurmericForHealthTeam

Turmeric for Health's writer team consists of passionate writers from the fields of biotechnology, pharmacy, nutrition, Ayurveda & microbiology.Our writers are highly qualified with many having Ph.D., M.Tech & MSc degrees while others having B.Tech, BSc, B.Pharm. Our differentiation lies in researching and presenting ONLY FACTUAL SCIENTIFIC information. We spend 10s of hours to write a single article. Info of our articles is sourced from reliable scientific sources which are also provided as a link alongside for readers to refer if they want. You can read more about our team in the " About us" section.

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20 Comments

  1. Turmeric completely transformed the health of my gut. After suffering with IBS-C for years, almost all symptoms have disappeared.

  2. Hi, I was wondering if you could provide me with the references to the studies quoted in the article. I am interested in reading the articles in more detail 🙂 Many thanks, Sarah

  3. I’d like to see a study on how turmeric might suppress acid reflux. I’m very skeptical of herbal remedies, yet out of desperation have tried dozens (most to no effect). I went completely off my antacids starting the day after starting to take turmeric.
    I also noticed one morning that I had slept fantastically the night before, as I only do a few times a year with my deep sleep problems. I went back through food diary from the day before the last time I slept so well and figured out that on both of those two nights I had cooked with turmeric. I had not suspected it, and it took some thinking, but I was able to repeat these results by buying curcumin supplements. More double blind and well done studies are needed!!!

  4. I dont know.. turmeric supplement screwed up my already damaged gut. Brain fog increased a lot, I feel like crap and found blood in my stool.

    1. Sorry to hear that. Please discontinue the use of turmeric supplement. Ensure you opt for good quality supplements with standardized extracts. Avoid sudden high doses of turmeric supplements. Please consult a health practitioner.

  5. I have been suffering from ibs.
    I am taking turmeric powder with water about 1 teaspoon twice a day for 2 months.
    WILL any side effect occur…when I take turmeric powder more than several months

    1. Hi. Turmeric is not soluble in water. It requires fats and/or black pepper for absorption. We recommend taking Golden Paste.
      Start with small doses such as 1/4-1/2 tsp and if you see no side effects then increase the dose gradually to 1 tsp 2-3 times a day over a few weeks.
      Best taken with food to avoid acid reflux. Avoid taking it at the same time when you take meds.
      http://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-turmeric-paste-or-golden-paste
      http://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-golden-paste-from-raw-fresh-turmeric
      Turmeric is a spice, it is safe when taken in dietary amounts and can be taken for life.

    1. Hi. Yes turmeric can benefit in IBS. You can take Golden Paste. Start with small doses such as 1/4-1/2 tsp and if you see no side effects then increase the dose gradually to 1 tsp 2-3 times a day over a few weeks. Best taken with food to avoid acid reflux. Avoid taking it at the same time when you take meds. https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-turmeric-paste-or-golden-paste
      https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/how-to-make-golden-paste-from-raw-fresh-turmeric

    1. You should consider including turmeric in diet, especially as Golden Paste. Start with small doses such as 1/4 -1/2 tsp a day for a week and then increase the frequency every week. The ideal dose is close to 1 tsp 2-3 times a day. This can help improve digestion. Increase gradually to avoid gastric discomfort.

    1. Adam,
      How so?
      IBS is not IBD (thankfully). It does tend to be aggravated by anxiety, stress, and trigger foods. Many IBS sufferers, like myself, find relief with SSRIs that moderate serotonin and norepinephrine levels.