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There is growing evidence that turmeric and curcumin are an effective treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Keep reading to find out about IBD, the conventional treatment and the related research on the potential positive effects of turmeric and curcumin on patients with IBD.

How can turmeric help ulcerative colitis and crohn's disease?

What is IBD?

Inflammatory Bowel Disease covers a group of disorders in which the intestine become inflamed – red and swollen. The cause for IBD is unknown but it is known that the body has an immune reaction against its own intestinal tissue.

There are two major types of IBD:

  1. Ulcerative Colitis – this condition causes long- lasting inflammation and sores (ulcers) in the innermost lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum.
  2. Crohn’s disease – this condition is characterized by inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, which often spread deep into the affected tissues.

Both Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease usually involves abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, fatigue and weight loss.

The Causes of IBD

The exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease remains unknown. Previously, diet and stress were suspected, but now doctors know that these factors may aggravate but don’t cause IBD.

One possible cause is an immune system malfunction. When your immune system tries to fight off an invading virus or bacterium, an abnormal immune response causes the immune system to attack the cells in the digestive tract, too. Heredity also seems to play a role in that IBD is more common in people who have family members with the disease. However, most people with IBD don’t have this family history.

In addition to the overreactive immune response that is involved in both Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s, researches have also found that problems in with the smallest blood vessels in the intestines can also cause or exacerbate IBD. These problems are caused by overstimulating the blood vessels, causing them to abnormally grow, meaning their growth becomes unchecked – this is known as angiogenesis and is one of the ways that cancer tumor grows and spread in the body.

Conventional medical treatments for IBD

The main types of medications used to treat IBD in the conventional medicine include medication to reduce inflammation in the GI tract (Aminosalicylates) and drugs to suppress the immune system as Corticosteroids and Immunomodulators. Some of these medication carry the risk of potentially serious side effects.

Fortunately, turmeric and curcumin are safer alternatives.

Turmeric and Curcumin to the Rescue!

Both Animal and human clinical studies have shown that curcumin and other compounds in turmeric can safely and effectively relieve the abdominal pain and inflammation associated with IBD.

In fact, animal studies have shown that curcumin is as effective as the drug sulfasalazine for treating IBD-related damage in the colon.

Research has also confirms that using curcumin and other turmeric extracts, rather than systematic steroid drugs, limit suppression of the inflammatory immune system response to the intestines, thus avoiding the serious side effects that can occur from suppressing the immune system in the entire body.

How does turmeric help prevent and treat IBD?

Turmeric and curcumin help prevent and treat IBD in a number of important ways:

  1. Regulate the body’s immune system response: In lab and animal studies, curcumin exerts the following immune-regulating effects on IBD:
    1. Blocks pro-inflammatory proteins that trigger the immune response by type 1 and type 2 helper T-cells involved in IBD.
    2. Suppresses over-activation of immune system mast cells and limits the proliferation of lymphocytes.
    3. Prevents dendritic cells from further stimulating an overactive immune system.
  2. Prevent abnormal angiogenesis in the intestines: Turmeric compounds can block the overstimulation and abnormal growth of new blood vessels (a process called angiogenesis). This can help relieve chronic inflammation in the intestines.
  3. Neutralizes free radical damage:  Turmeric and curcumin contains many antioxidant compounds that provide antioxidant protection within the GI tract, thus preventing and helping to reverse free radical damage that is also a component of IBD.
  4. Inhibits the pro-inflammatory activity of NF-κB:  This transcription factor triggers genes that produce many other inflammatory molecules – including COX-2 enzymes. Inhibiting COX-2 dramatically lowers the cancer risk associated with IBD. NF-κB is also involved in the immune system, and is considered a main cause of inflammation in the intestine

Clinical Studies

Research involving patients with IBD suggest that turmeric’s curcumin compounds could help, especially in maintaining remission. Results from one pilot clinical study with five Crohn’s disease patients and a six-month placebo-controlled clinical trial in 89 patients with ulcerative colitis reported benefit from oral curcumin. In the clinical trial curcumin not only significantly improved clinically measured symptoms, patients who took the turmeric compound also had a much lower rate of relapse (5%) than the placebo group (21%). 

In 2012, a Cochrane review of clinical research using curcumin for ulcerative colitis was conducted. Only one clinical trial met the stringent review requirements. However, the researchers concluded that curcumin may be a safe and effective way to keep UC in remission. 

Adding curcumin to conventional therapy may improve outcomes. In a double-blind study, patients were randomly assigned to take mesalamine (an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat IBD) with curcumin or the drug with placebo. Those who took curcumin experienced remission at higher rates than those given a placebo. 

How can I get good quality of turmeric and curcumin extracts for IBD?

Curcumall® is an all-natural liquid herbal supplement of turmeric extract, curcumin and ginger extract. It was developed over the course of seven years by scientists in the health and medical research fields to harness the health-giving properties of curcumin without the problem of stomach upset and with improved absorption.

Typically, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream through the digestive tract. Curcumall® is more readily absorbed than most available curcumin products due to its extraction process and liquid form. This technologically advanced formula delivers more curcumin to the blood while optimizing its efficacy.

Most Curcumin products include piperine, an extract of black pepper that is added to enhance the absorption of Curcumin. Turmeric supplements using piperine may cause problems with pharmaceutical medications, and people who take Curcumin supplements containing piperine, have complained about gastrointestinal upset caused by the piperine. Curcumall® doesn’t contain piperine while offering high absorption of Curcumin.

Tip: If you want to use good quality curcumin/ turmeric to induce or maintain remission of IBD, use Curcumall.
Curcumall® has no side effects. You can even use it in cooking. Check out our recipes here for an easy way to incorporate curcumin into your menu.

Suggested Curcumall®  Dosage and Use for IBD: 

Dosage levels may be critical. Recently published results of a randomized, double blind clinical trial showed that low-dose curcumin (450 mg/day) was not enough to induce remission. The dosage level in the study on maintaining remission of ulcerative colitis was 2 grams/day of curcumin. In the study combining curcumin with an IBD drug to induce remission, patients were given 3 grams/day of curcumin. 

Every teaspoon of Curcumall® contains 500 mg of curcumin, therefore if you want to maintain remission of IBD – twice daily, mix 2 teaspoons of Curcumall® liquid curcumin in a glass of water and drink on an empty stomach (half an hour before a meal, or two hours after a meal).

If you would like to induce remission, three times daily, mix 2 teaspoons of
Curcumall® liquid curcumin in a glass of water and drink on an empty stomach.

Sources:

  1. www.webmd.com
  2. www.mayoclinic.com
  3.  Trivieri, Larry Jr., Turmeric for Your Health: Nature’s Most Powerful Anti-Inflammatory, New York: Square One Publishers, 2018. Print. 
  4. Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation – www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org
  5. www.turmeric.com
  6. Remadevi, R., E. Surendran, and T. Kimura. “Turmeric in traditional medicine.” Turmeric: the genus Curcuma (2007): 409-436.
  7. Abreu, Maria T., Masayuki Fukata, and Keith Breglio. “Innate immunity and its implications on pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease.” Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Translating basic science into clinical practice. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
  8. Rajasekaran, Sigrid A. “Therapeutic potential of curcumin in gastrointestinal diseases.” World journal of gastrointestinal pathophysiology 2.1 (2011): 1.
  9. Song, Wei-Bing, et al. “Curcumin protects intestinal mucosal barrier function of rat enteritis via activation of MKP-1 and attenuation of p38 and NF-κB activation.” PloS one 5.9 (2010): e12969.
  10. Rogler, Gerhard. “Non‐Targeted Therapeutics for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.” Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Translating basic science into clinical practice (2010): 337-359.
  11. Aggarwal, B. B., et al. “Turmeric: the genus curcuma.” Ravindran, P., Nirmalbabu, K., Sivaraman, K., Eds (2006): 298-348.
  12. Targan, Stephan R., Fergus Shanahan, and Loren C. Karp. Inflammatory bowel disease: translating basic science into clinical practice. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
  13. Binion, David G., and Parvaneh Rafiee. “Inflammatory Bowel Disease Microcirculation and Diversion, Diverticular and Other Non‐infectious Colitides.” Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Translating basic science into clinical practice (2010): 609-618.
  14. Kamp, David W., Emily Shacter, and Sigmund A. Weitzman. “Chronic inflammation and cancer: the role of the mitochondria.” Oncology 25.5 (2011): 400-400.
  15. Taylor, Rebecca A., and Mandy C. Leonard. “Curcumin for inflammatory bowel disease: a review of human studies.” Alternative Medicine Review 16.2 (2011): 152-157.
  16. Garg, Sushil K., et al. “Curcumin for maintenance of remission in ulcerative colitis.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 10 (2012).
  17. Lang, Alon, et al. “Curcumin in combination with mesalamine induces remission in patients with mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis in a randomized controlled trial.” Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology 13.8 (2015): 1444-1449.
  18. Kedia, Saurabh, et al. “Low dose oral curcumin is not effective in induction of remission in mild to moderate ulcerative colitis: Results from a randomized double blind placebo controlled trial.” World journal of gastrointestinal pharmacology and therapeutics 8.2 (2017): 147.

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