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Turmeric (Curcumin) for Leaky Gut – Does it Help?

  • Gut Health Herbs & Compounds
  • 4 min read
  • Jun 19, 2022 - Evinature
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Tumeric for Leaky Gut


‘Leaky gut syndrome’ is all the rage in Instagram wellness circles, but what is it, does it even exist, and can turmeric help relieve symptoms? 

‘Leaky gut’ is not a diagnosis or condition acknowledged by medical professionals, but the term does refer to a very real underlying condition called intestinal permeability, which is present in patients with irritable bowel syndrome

As this condition is either caused or exasperated by inflammation, many suggest treatment with turmeric extract (curcumin), a compound with potent anti-inflammatory properties. The latest research shows that curcumin can reduce intestinal permeability, especially in treat-to-target (gut-directed) formulations. 

Here’s everything you need to know about leaky gut and how turmeric extract can help.  

What is Leaky Gut? 

The gastrointestinal (GI) tract includes the esophagus, the stomach, and the small and large intestines. When we eat, the stomach and small intestines break down nutrients into smaller molecules to be used for energy. 

Tight junctions in the intestinal walls allow water and nutrients to pass into the bloodstream. But if they become too wide they can allow toxins, bacteria, and food particles into the bloodstream as well, and this can cause the symptoms associated with ‘leaky gut syndrome’. 

Researchers have yet to confirm whether intestinal permeability is a cause or a symptom of the conditions associated with it. These include: 

  • Crohn’s disease 
  • Celiac disease 
  • Diabetes 
  • Chronic liver disease 
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome 
  • Food allergies & sensitivies 
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) 

Symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome 

Leaky gut syndrome may cause or contribute to the following symptoms: 

  • Headaches 
  • Inflammation 
  • Fatigue or confusion 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Nutritional deficiencies 
  • Persistent diarrhea, constipation, or bloating 
  • Skin problems such as acne, rashes, or eczema 
  • Joint pain 

According to a 2017 review, leaky gut may also impact mental health and cause symptoms of depression or anxiety via the gut-brain axis

Gut Microbiota & Leaky Gut Syndrome  

Experts have yet to pinpoint the exact cause of leaky gut syndrome but have identified certain factors that may play a role in its development. 

Within the intestines live a host of bacteria, fungi, and trillions of other microorganisms. These gut microbiota mediate our immune cells and impact the health of our entire body. The gut microbiota can become unbalanced with an overload of pathogenic bacteria and a lack of healthy bacteria. This is called ‘gut dysbiosis,’ a state common in patients with IBD. 

When the gut microbiome is off balance, it can trigger the body’s immune response, resulting in chronic gut inflammation and increased intestinal permeability. 

Risk factors that can disturb the balance of our gut microbiome include: 

  • Stress
  • Infections 
  • Diabetes 
  • Poor nutrition 
  • Alcohol consumption 
  • Autoimmune disorders  
  • Too much processed food 

Is Tumeric (Curcumin) Good for Leaky Gut? 

Turmeric extract (curcumin) may help a leaky gut, as it is rich in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The compound has recently undergone thorough clinical investigation as a potential treatment for inflammatory diseases and has been shown in numerous trials to quickly relieve intestinal inflammation.  

How Tumeric (Curcumin) Works for Leaky Gut  

Turmeric extract has been found to target intestinal inflammation through a wide range of mechanisms, especially in cases of IBD. According to researchers, the overproduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines can induce a “pathological” opening of the intestinal tight junctions, increasing permeability. These cytokines include IL-1β, tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), and IL-6. 

Curcumin has been found to reduce IL-1β and IL-6, and suppress TNF-α, effectively relieving inflammatory inflammation and improving intestinal integrity. One study showed that curcumin is taken up by the intestinal epithelial cell, where it modulates certain signaling pathways to prevent the disruption of intestinal barrier function

Curcumin also prevents a lipid component called lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from activating proinflammatory cytokines that contribute to gut permeability by reducing the disorganization of certain tight junction proteins

Additionally, studies have confirmed that curcumin is able to directly regulate gut microbiota, and promote a healthier balance of bacteria. This suggests that curcumin may be able to prevent further damage to the intestinal walls caused by gut dysbiosis and can improve general gut health.

Finding the Right Tumeric Extract for You 

Turmeric extract can be extremely beneficial to those suffering intestinal inflammation. Not only does the active compound, curcumin, relieve inflammation quickly, but it also promotes mucosal healing and helps protect the body from further damage caused by inflammation. When purchasing Curcumin for any digestive disorder, including leaky gut, make sure to seek ‘Gut-Directed’ 95% Curcumin. 

Note: Most curcumin products on the market contain boosted levels of bioavailability, which is helpful in some conditions, but not those involving digestion or the gut. When seeking curcumin products for intestinal inflammation, make sure to purchase a ‘gut-directed’ formula to ensure the compound is released directly into the intestines. 




This blog is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment, or medical advice. The content provided is for informational purposes only. Please consult with a physician or healthcare professional regarding any medical or health-related diagnosis or treatment options. The claims made regarding specific products in this blog are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.


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