We all know turmeric as a key ingredient in curries, lending its vibrant yellow colour and earthy, peppery flavour. What’s more, it’s one of the most famous natural anti-inflammatory ingredients, thanks to its active ingredient, curcumin. But today we’re shining a light on turmeric's less known hero quality - its fantastic gut health benefits.
While turmeric has been used as a digestive healing agent in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, Western medicine has only recently recognised its gut health benefits. Here, we’re answering some of the most asked questions about turmeric and gut health.
Can you use turmeric as a probiotic?
In the last few years, some fascinating articles have been published on the link between the gut and curcumin, turmerics' key active ingredient. One of which was a study by Nutrients, that claims that taking curcumin as a supplement will have the same effect on the gut as a probiotic supplement. Why? Similar to probiotics, curcumin has been shown to have a positive effect on the gut microbiota. Not only does it help the good bacteria thrive, but it also helps increase the diversity of the good gut bacteria.
On top of this, curcumin can rid the gut microbiota of bad bacteria, such as ruminococcus - a bacteria linked to diabetes. Which leads us to our next gut health question…
Will turmeric help with gut inflammation?
Research show's that curcumin ability to enhance the gut's good bacteria while decreasing the strains of bad bacteria can be a highly effective solution to reduce gut inflammation and irritation. Gut inflammation can be a lifelong condition, with symptoms varying from gas and bloating to extreme abdominal pain. However, more and more studies are pointing towards curcumin to alleviate these symptoms.
Can turmeric fix a leaky gut?
A leaky gut is when your bacteria and toxins can pass into the bloodstream, due to a damaged intestinal barrier. This can trigger a host of health issues, such as diarrhoea, painful indigestion, bloating and fatigue.
One of turmeric's great benefits is its ability to strengthen the small intestine lining, making the gut barrier less permeable. For example, a study conducted on rats showed that rats that were given a dose of curcumin every day for 6 weeks, had a stronger intestinal barrier than rats that weren’t treated with curcumin. Therefore, they were able o fight off unwanted toxins from passing into the bloodstream.