From today we know that we have a new ally against digestive disorders, feeling full after eating, pain and heartburn, turmeric! In fact, turmeric, thanks to its active ingredient curcumin, is able to alleviate these symptoms with an action comparable to that of commonly used drugs. This emerges from a very recent scientific study that appeared in the British Medical Journal Evidence-Based Medicine and published thanks to the work of a Thai team (Kongkam et al, BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine, 2022).
Poor digestion or functional dyspepsia
In everyday life, poor digestion can be a presence that is difficult to get rid of. There are so many people who can have a series of disorders such as feeling full, early feeling of satiety, stomach pain, heartburn, bloating or nausea. When these symptoms are not linked to specific lesions, such as ulcers, then we speak of functional dyspepsia. To treat functional dyspepsia, or poor digestion as it is commonly called, drugs are often used. However, drugs, especially when used for long periods of time, can cause side effects, altering the gut microbiota and increasing the risk of kidney disease. Hence the importance of seeking natural alternatives that are better tolerated but equally effective.
How turmeric improves digestion, the study
The research we are talking about today has studied turmeric as a possible treatment in case of poor digestion. The scientists recruited 206 patients, all with a diagnosis of poor digestion and aged between 18 and 70. The volunteers were divided into three groups. The first group took 4 capsules of 250 mg of curcumin every day for two months. The second group took a 20 mg capsule of omeprazole, a proton pump inhibitor drug used to treat stomach disorders, and the third group took a combination of curcumin and omeprazole. Already after 28 days it was possible to observe a reduction in the intensity of symptoms in all three groups. The beneficial effects became even more important at the end of the second month of treatment. The association between curcumin and omeprazole has not shown particular synergies.
Explanation and limitations of the study
The study has several limitations. First of all, it is small and analyzes results after a very limited period of time. Then, the research does not use a fourth group, to which only a placebo is provided, as a comparison and finally it studies the effects of turmeric only as a supplement and not as an everyday food. In any case, beyond these limits, the research is of considerable importance as it shows how turmeric, through its active ingredient curcumin, is able to act on a par with commonly used drugs by reducing the symptoms of poor digestion. It is believed that the benefits of turmeric can be explained thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and stimulating action on the production of bile.
Turmeric, how to take it
Even if the study did not directly analyze its effect, we can certainly use turmeric as a spice, within a healthy and varied diet, in order to have access, in the long term, to its gastroprotective action. It is important to take turmeric together with fat and pepper to maximize the absorption of curcumin. Excellent, for example, is the condiment prepared with a teaspoon of turmeric, ground pepper and extra virgin olive oil, also very interesting is the golden milk, the drink with milk, pepper, turmeric and other spices such as cinnamon and vanilla. There are also turmeric supplements on the market but remember to always ask your doctor for advice as these high-dose supplements can interfere with some medicines, such as aspirin, anticoagulant drugs, drugs to treat diabetes and high blood pressure and antidepressants.