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Is Turmeric Good for Gastritis? Curcumin for Digestive Health

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 01/07/2024

Is turmeric good for gastritis? Yes, turmeric is a rich source of curcumin, an anti-inflammatory polyphenol that can help strengthen the stomach lining and lower the risk of gastritis. 


Let's take a closer look at the benefits of turmeric and curcumin for digestive health.

Turmeric root and supplement

What is gastritis?


Gastritis is an intestinal condition characterized by inflammation of the stomach lining that can manifest as acute or chronic gastritis. 


A sudden onset of gastric inflammation causes acute gastritis and is typically linked to excessive alcohol consumption, poor dietary habits, or certain medications.


In contrast, chronic gastritis persists over time and can be linked to factors such as autoimmune conditions, Helicobacter pylori infection, or prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). 


Depending on the severity of gastritis, conventional treatment options typically include proton pump inhibitors and acid blockers to reduce stomach acid and relieve inflammation. 


Gastritis disrupts the integrity of the stomach lining, which can cause damage to the protective mucus membrane and disrupt the secretion of digestive enzymes. 


It’s crucial to address gastritis as it can lead to long-term health complications such as duodenal peptic ulcers, esophageal and gastric disorders, heightened susceptibility to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and an increased risk of gastric cancer. 


A study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology found that “Helicobacter pylori is the most common infectious etiology associated with gastritis.” 


The presence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria in the stomach triggers immune responses that lead to common gastritis symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, blood in the bowels, and loss of appetite.


Watch the video below to discover the amazing health benefits of turmeric.

Is turmeric good for gastritis?


Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful polyphenol with anti-inflammatory properties that has been found to help alleviate inflammation in the stomach lining.


In addition, turmeric can help stimulate the production of gastric mucus, which strengthens the stomach’s mucus layer. This protects against the corrosive effects of stomach acid and lowers the risk of microbial overgrowth in the stomach lining. 


Research published in the International Journal of Molecular Science confirms the benefits of turmeric for digestive health and summarizes that curcumin can help protect the stomach lining from damage caused by reflux esophagitis and prolonged NSAID use. 


Moreover, curcumin has antimicrobial properties that may inhibit microbial growth, making it a natural remedy for Helicobacter pylori, the leading cause of gastritis and stomach ulcers.

Human digestive tract illustration

5 benefits of curcumin for digestive health


Turmeric root has been used to promote digestive health for centuries, and evidence suggests that curcumin can help prevent and manage various gastrointestinal issues.


Here are five benefits of curcumin for digestive health. 


1. Anti-inflammatory properties 

Intestinal inflammation can be a result of autoimmune conditions, dietary factors, environmental irritants, or microbial infections.  


While inflammation plays a crucial role in normal immune responses, chronic inflammation can lead to various intestinal disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and gastritis. 


Curcumin can mitigate intestinal inflammation by targeting multiple molecular pathways involved in the body’s inflammatory response. 


A study published by Frontiers in Cell and Development Biology found that curcumin inhibits the activation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB), a key regulator of inflammation, and downregulates the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines. 


Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties may help maintain normal intestinal function, which promotes effective digestive processes, nutrient absorption, and the removal of toxins from the body. 

Bowl of turmeric powder

2. May help combat oxidative stress

Curcumin has potent antioxidant properties that can help protect intestinal tissue from free radicals and oxidative stress.  


Oxidative stress occurs if the body cannot neutralize free radicals, which are unstable molecules linked to cellular damage and inflammation.  


Factors such as a diet high in processed food, alcohol use, and environmental toxins can increase free radical production and contribute to oxidative stress. 


Curcumin's antioxidant properties involve scavenging free radicals and enhancing the activity of antioxidant enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase. 


By neutralizing free radicals, curcumin can protect the integrity of the gut lining, preventing oxidative damage and supporting overall digestive well-being.


3. Supports mucosal protection and repair

Mucosal protection is crucial to maintaining digestive health as it safeguards the delicate lining of the digestive system. 


The mucus layer acts as a barrier against stomach acid, digestive enzymes, and various environmental and dietary irritants. 


Loss of mucosal protection can cause tissue damage, inflammation, poor digestive processes, and malabsorption and can increase the risk of gastrointestinal disorders and infections.   


Curcumin’s mucus-stimulating properties promote a healthy mucosal lining and may help restore mucosal integrity after gastritis, NSAID use, or excessive alcohol consumption. 

Woman holding stomach

4. Promote a diverse gut microflora 

A diverse microbiota is essential for digestive health, nutrient absorption, immune function, and overall well-being. 


Evidence published by Nutrients discovered curcumin exhibits antimicrobial properties and can modulate the composition of the gut microbiome.  


Curcumin promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, while inhibiting the proliferation of potentially harmful microbes, which helps prevent microbial overgrowth associated with poor digestive health and various gastrointestinal issues.  


5. May protect from Helicobacter pylori infection

Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium implicated in various intestinal health conditions such as gastritis and peptic ulcers.  


Curcumin has demonstrated inhibitory effects against Helicobacter pylori bacteria, potentially preventing colonization in the stomach lining. 


Heliobacter pylori releases ammonia, an alkaline substance that neutralizes gastric acid and damages the stomach’s protective epithelial cells, which creates an environment that promotes microbial growth and allows bacterial proliferation.  


The antibacterial properties of curcumin, combined with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions, make curcumin supplementation a potential therapeutic option to reduce the risk of Helicobacter pylori infection linked to duodenal and gastric ulcers.

Turmeric tea

How to use turmeric for gastritis


To enhance your digestive health, take organic turmeric extract supplements, add curcumin to your meals, or enjoy a soothing cup of turmeric tea. 


When choosing turmeric supplements, opt for products that contain 95 percent curcuminoids to receive the most potent form of curcumin. 


To maximize the health benefits of curcumin, consider using ground turmeric in curry dishes or add it to smoothies and shakes. 


Curcumin is poorly absorbed, and it’s recommended to combine turmeric with black pepper and healthy fats to increase its bioavailability and enhance intestinal curcumin absorption. 


Alternatively, try golden milk or turmeric tea, two traditional turmeric-containing drinks that have been used to boost immunity and aid digestion for centuries. 


However, it’s important to note that turmeric shouldn’t be considered as a standalone treatment for gastritis, and it’s crucial to seek medical care if it shows signs of gastritis or other symptoms associated with gastrointestinal inflammation. 

Exclamation mark in speech bubble

Potential side effects of turmeric


While turmeric is generally considered safe, concentrated forms or high doses of turmeric supplements can cause side effects in sensitive individuals. 


Individuals with gallbladder issues should exercise caution with turmeric supplements due to curcumin’s potential to increase bile production. 


Excessive consumption of curcumin may lead to gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, chronic diarrhea, and indigestion. 


Allergic reactions to turmeric are rare but possible and may result in symptoms such as difficulty breathing, hives, and skin rashes. 


Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult with a healthcare professional before using turmeric supplements, as the safety of turmeric during pregnancy has not yet been sufficiently studied. 


Turmeric should not be taken in combination with blood-thinning medications, as turmeric may have antiplatelet effects that can lead to an increased risk of bleeding.

Woman taking curcumin supplements

Key takeaways


Is turmeric good for gastritis? Yes, turmeric is a natural remedy that can relieve inflammation and strengthen the stomach’s mucosal lining, which can help alleviate gastritis symptoms.


Curcumin has also been found to promote a diverse intestinal microflora, can help prevent Helicobacter pylori infections, and may lower the risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 



FAQ


1. Is turmeric safe for gastritis?

Yes! Taking turmeric is generally considered safe for gastritis. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help lower gastric inflammation and strengthen the stomach’s mucosal lining. 


However, it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional before adding turmeric supplements to your routine if you have a bleeding disorder or are pregnant or breastfeeding.  


2. Is turmeric good for stomach inflammation?

Yes, turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory properties that can help lower inflammation in the stomach.


3. Can I drink turmeric tea with gastritis?

Drinking turmeric tea may help lower gastric inflammation, protect the stomach lining, and relieve gastritis symptoms. 


4. Does turmeric reduce acid reflux?

Curcumin has been found to reduce acid reflux symptoms by inhibiting inflammatory pathways and strengthening the mucosal barrier, which supports normal digestive functions and can alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort. 


5. Is turmeric good for the gastrointestinal system?

Curcumin mitigates digestive tract inflammation and relieves symptoms associated with gastrointestinal conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).


6. How do I use turmeric for gastritis? 

Turmeric powder can be added to soups, stews, curries, or rice dishes or can be consumed as turmeric tea. 


Alternatively, turmeric supplements are widely available and a convenient way to manage gastritis symptoms and improve digestive health. 


7. How long does it take for turmeric to reduce gut inflammation?

How long it takes for turmeric to work depends on the severity of gut inflammation, your overall health status, and the turmeric dose you plan to use. 


While some individuals notice improved gut health within two weeks, others may require up to eight weeks of consistent turmeric use to reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. 



Sources


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4017061/ 

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6471759/ 

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7303286/ 

  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7551052/ 



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