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Turmeric (Curcumin) for Gut Health

  • Gut Health Herbs & Compounds Science
  • 8 min read
  • Jun 8, 2022 - Evinature
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Tumeric for Gut Health

Turmeric is an ancient remedy used in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine for a wide range of ailments, especially conditions involving digestion, chronic pain, stomach bloating, and inflammation. The active compound in turmeric, curcumin, has come under thorough clinical observation due to its potent biological properties. 

Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that can ease digestion, promote the healing of the gut barrier, and even recompose the gut microbiome. For these reasons, researchers are investigating curcumin as a treatment for IBD, IBS, and a range of other inflammatory conditions.

It’s important to note that turmeric alone does not have the same benefits as its extract, curcumin, which is 95% concentrated in supplements, and has either boosted bioavailability or is treat-to-target, depending on the condition it is being used for. 

Turmeric (Curcumin) for Gut Inflammation 

Tumeric extract (curcumin), has shown tremendous promise for treating chronic intestinal inflammation found in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. 

A number of studies found curcumin alongside 5ASA medication can significantly improve response, remission rates, and remission maintenance in UC patients. 

A study on the add-on use of curcumin with standard drug therapies helped patients with ulcerative colitis maintain remission longer than pharmaceutical treatment alone. These results were repeated across several trials, proving that curcumin can significantly raise the chance of sustaining remission long term. 

Researchers in Israel focused on the initial induction of remission in patients with UC, with exceptional results. Curcumin was found to induce remission within 4 weeks in patients who had not previously responded to standard drug therapies. 

There’s also substantial evidence that curcumin can benefit those with Crohn’s disease. A meta-analysis reviewed the literature and trials on curcumin for CD and found a significant increase in clinical and endoscopic remission in patients who added curcumin to their treatment. 

How Turmeric (Curcumin) Targets Gut Inflammation 

Researchers recommend curcumin as an add-on therapy because it targets intestinal inflammation through a wide range of anti-inflammatory mechanisms, whereas pharmaceutical treatment is generally limited to a sole mechanism

Curcumin inhibits the dysregulated activity of NF-kB signaling pathways and suppresses the activity of IL-1β, a pro-inflammatory cytokine. It also inhibits excess levels of TNFα and reduces oxidative stress, two leading causes of chronic inflammation. 

Last but certainly not least, curcumin positively affects the gut microbiota, restoring homeostasis to the gut 

What is the best kind of turmeric extract for an inflamed gut? 

When purchasing curcumin for intestinal inflammation, look for a gut-directed formula. Most curcumin on the market contains boosted bioavailability, which is helpful for other conditions but not for gut inflammation. 

Gut-directed curcumin ensures the release of curcumin in the intestines so it can directly target gut inflammation. 

How much turmeric extract should I take for an inflamed gut? 

The general daily dose of gut-directed curcumin for gut inflammation is 800mg – 1.6 grams, depending on the state and severity of your condition.

It’s important to consult a physician or take an assessment, as this will determine the best dose for you. 

How long does it take for turmeric extract to reduce inflammation?

Gut-directed curcumin takes roughly 4-6 weeks to take effect under consistent dosing, although many report relief sooner. If you have any concerns at all about taking curcumin, consult your doctor or reach out to our clinic at clinic@evinature.com, and one of our medical experts will be in touch.  

What are the negative effects of turmeric extract?

Curcumin can potentially cause adverse effects, especially in large doses. Side effects include: 

  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Acid reflux
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

Curcumin may increase levels of urinary oxalate. It may also negatively interact with some medications such as antibiotics, blood thinners, antihistamines, cardiac medications, chemotherapy treatments, and antidepressants. 

Since curcumin is a blood thinner, it should be avoided if you have a bleeding disorder. It limits iron absorption and should be avoided if you’re on iron supplements. Curcumin should also be avoided by women who are expecting or breastfeeding. 

Turmeric (Curcumin) for Anxiety 

According to the latest research, turmeric extract (curcumin) may not only be able to ease anxiety and depression, but also reverse the damage of stress and depression on the body. 

In 2006, researchers found that rats under stressful conditions showed ‘performance deficits’ as well as physiological changes. These changes were reversed after curcumin treatment.  

A 2018 animal study found that chronic mild stress caused microglia activation and “overexpression” of inflammatory cytokines IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α in the medial prefrontal cortex. Curcumin treatment resulted in antidepressant-like actions, reduced the inflammatory response, and the neuronal changes caused by stress. 

Another trial tested curcumin in an animal study on PTSD, with a focus on anxiety. Curcumin showed an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect and was found by researchers to be a ‘useful agent’ to relieve mental health symptoms similar to those found in PTSD. 

How does turmeric relieve anxiety? 

Curcumin alleviates anxiety by inhibiting monoamine oxidase and increasing serotonin and norepinephrine. And although research is still underway, it appears that curcumin can also improve mental health through its anti-inflammatory actions. 

Studies show that patients with depression or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) show higher markers of inflammation than healthy controls. Pro-inflammatory cytokines affect our behavior through molecular pathways that impact our neurotransmitter systems, which in turn influence the neurocircuits that regulate behavior. This generally manifests as low motivation, avoidance or alarm. In other words, depressive and anxious symptoms. 

The pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) are especially damaging as they reduce the availability of serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline – all involved in anxiety modulation. Curcumin has been found in numerous studies to inhibit IL-1β and TNF levels. 

Does turmeric work as an antidepressant? 

A randomized trial on curcumin for depression and anxiety in Australia found that both conditions improved after curcumin treatment, with high efficacy for anxiety and atypical depression.

A separate study showed that the combination of curcumin and certain antidepressant medications resulted in a synergistic increase in serotonin. That said, it’s advised to discuss curcumin treatment with your doctor if you are already on anti-depressants, because there may be potential interactions.

Recently research has thrown the connection between serotonin and depression, but serotonin does help us feel more focused, stable and calmer, helping with stress and anxiety which, if chronic, can lead to feelings of depression. 

How much turmeric should you take for anxiety?

The recommended dosage of curcumin for depression and anxiety is between 150-250 mg of curcumin per dose, which is usually 2 capsules. Start with this dose once per day and watch out for any changes or effects before taking more. 

How long does it take to feel the effects of turmeric?

The effects of curcumin can take up to 4-8 weeks to feel, under consistent dosing. If you have any concerns at all about taking curcumin, consult your doctor or reach out to our clinic at clinic@evinature.com, and one of our medical experts will be in touch.  

Turmeric (Curcumin) for Sleep 

Some suggest taking turmeric for insomnia and sleep disturbances. 

Tumeric extract (curcumin) is not a sedative but can improve sleep through its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re seeking curcumin for sleep disturbances, it’s best to determine the root cause. If disturbed sleep is due to inflammation, stress, or depression, curcumin might be able to help. 

How does turmeric help you sleep?

Research has linked inflammation to stress and depression, and stress and depression are associated with poorer levels of sleep. Curcumin inhibits a host of pro-inflammatory cytokines (TNF, IL-1, IL-2, IL-8), relieving inflammation, depressive symptoms, and stress. The less inflammation, the less stress. The less stress, the better your sleep quality. 

There is little research on the direct effect of curcumin on sleep quality, but one study did find that curcumin protected sleep-deprived mice from symptoms of sleep deprivation. Curcumin treatment prevented the impairment of locomotor activity, as well as anxiety-like effects and oxidative damage. 

Can I take turmeric at night? 

Curcumin is safe to take at night and should be taken before meals. This may not put you to sleep, but it will target inflammation from the day and may ease digestion. For a more sedative herbal remedy before bed, try chamomile tea, melatonin, or valerian. 

Turmeric (Curcumin) for Leaky Gut 

Although Leaky Gut Syndrome has become quite the buzzword, it doesn’t technically exist as a diagnosis. ‘Intestinal permeability’ on the other hand, refers to a serious component of conditions like IBD. 

Both terms refer to the same concept – the junction in the gut epithelial wall loses integrity, thins, and allows bacteria into the bloodstream and/or other organs. The good news is that turmeric extract (curcumin) has been found to attenuate the disruption of the intestinal barrier function. 

If you’re seeking turmeric for a leaky gut, it’s best to take our assessment below and our team of GI experts will advise you on the best form of turmeric extract for you. 

Turmeric (Curcumin), the Wonder Compound 

Curcumin is a versatile and beneficial supplement and can help improve general health. When taking any supplement, it’s important to do so under the guidance of a professional. Consistency and a tailored dosage plan are advised, as well as knowing you’re taking the right kind of curcumin for your specific condition. 

If you suffer from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, take our free assessment for a tailored treatment plan for your individual needs. 




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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