7 Ways To Cure IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) With Turmeric

Turmeric for IBS: Does it work?

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Two years ago, a client called John came to me suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

This meant that he had bloating and discomfort in the lower abdomen, which had been a problem for the past three years.

On top of that, he had low energy, poor sleep patterns, brain fog, energy dips in the late afternoon, chocolate and sugar cravings and a sluggish liver as a result of contracting hepatitis almost thirty years ago.

As a man of fifty with a busy career and family life, he really wanted help to balance his body and boost his energy, while being able to naturally manage his IBS.

As protocol dictates, I first looked at his full four-day typical diet and ran it through the nutrition software I use to check for nutrient imbalances.

John’s eating plan overall was relatively healthy, as he had genetically high cholesterol and a family history of heart disease, he took care to avoid too many high-saturated fat and cholesterol foods. But the problems lay in the amount of wheat-based foods he was eating, along with the sugary snacks he reached for in the late afternoon.

John’s diet contained high amounts of gluten, found in the wheat and spelt products he was eating daily, like bagels, scones, pasta, pizza bases and paninis, and some porridge oat brands that are not labelled ‘gluten-free’.

Gluten is the primary protein in wheat, and it is what makes it so allergenic. It can create a toxic reaction which triggers the immune system and causes inflammation of the gut.

Gluten intolerance is also associated with many autoimmune disorders, liver disease and neurological conditions. Eliminating it from the diet completely can greatly benefit overall health and help to stabilise moods.



His daily diet also included some dairy products such as milk and cheese. As scientists at the prestigious Harvard School of Public Health explain, “many people have some degree of lactose intolerance. For them, eating or drinking dairy products causes problems like cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. These symptoms can range from mild to severe.”

It was quite straightforward to spot where John’s main health difficulties lay. The inflammation that these foods caused to his digestive system also compromised his immune system, as a large proportion of your immune system cells are found in your gut. John was suffering from frequent chest infections and colds.

The irritation to his gut lining also meant that he had trouble producing adequate levels of the ‘happy hormone’, serotonin, of which up to 90% is again produced in your intestines. Serotonin is the precursor to your sleep hormone, melatonin, which helps induce that sleepy feeling in the evening.

John’s diet was also low in calories and the essential amino acid, tryptophan, which is needed to help make serotonin.

His sugar cravings were related to his low levels of serotonin and a lack of sleep, both of which cause you to crave sugary, comforting foods like biscuits and sweets.




He had found himself in a cycle of craving sugar, experiencing a blood sugar crash a few hours later and once again reaching for something sweet to boost his flagging energy levels.

These blood sugar highs and lows can negatively affect mood and many other body control systems, including immunity.

Refined sugar is also a significant cause of IBS and bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, as it can decrease the movement of food through the gut (called peristalsis) as rapidly rising blood sugar levels slow down the muscle contractions. Of course, this leads to bloating too.

Our liver is also so important to digestive health, and my plan for John included supporting his liver function with plenty of sulphur-containing foods like onions, garlic, broccoli, kale and mushrooms,

plus taking Turmeric  daily.

So you can begin to see a pattern emerging now! Few problems in the body sit alone, as one things tends to lead to another. In this case, as well as so many others, the health of John’s digestive system was literally at the core of his troubles.

I explained the issues causing his health concerns to John and drew up a detailed new diet plan for him, plus handouts to read at home, advice on dairy, sugar and wheat alternatives and a few select dietary supplements that I felt he needed to help boost his recovery.

We arranged that he would follow the plan as best he could and come back to see me in six weeks. When he returned, he was delighted to report a huge improvement in his IBS discomfort and bloating, and he had also managed to get his sugar cravings under control.

I was so thrilled for him to hear that his energy had really improved with no more mid-afternoon dips and his sleep patterns had normalised, leaving him waking up feeling refreshed and with loads more energy to devote his family.

A wonderful success story!



Beyond being a staple of Asian cuisine, turmeric has long been used in traditional medicine to treat conditions from indigestion to depression. More recently, the spice has been associated with the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.

This article will review the evidence behind the claims that turmeric can help symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or IBS, discuss how it may be used, and if there are any risks.



What is turmeric?

Turmeric has been used to treat conditions, including colds, digestive problems, and infections. Its potential healing properties come from curcumin, which is an anti-inflammatory compound it contains.

Turmeric has recently attracted attention for its potential to reduce IBS symptoms. IBS is a common disorder of the digestive system that causes symptoms, such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, and constipation.

The cause of IBS is unknown, and there are currently no available cures. Symptoms of IBS are typically managed using medicine and lifestyle changes that tend to involve changes in diet.

Including turmeric as part of a healthful diet-based approach to managing IBS symptoms is an easy step to take.

Does it work?

One study found that curcumin had a positive impact on gastrointestinal functioning in rats. The authors of the study suggested that their findings could have implications for the use curcumin in treating IBS symptoms. However, more studies are needed in humans to establish this conclusively.

A pilot study conducted in 2004 found that human participants with IBS who took 2 tablets of turmeric every day for 8 weeks reported reductions in abdominal discomfort and improved bowel movement patterns.

However, this study lacked a control group, and the authors concluded that more research was needed to rule out the placebo effect and other variables.

Turmeric has been associated with benefits for other disorders of the digestive system, including ulcerative colitis, a chronic condition that causes diarrhea and abdominal pain.

One study in 2015 found that adding curcumin to the regular treatment routine had a positive impact on the symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

There are some positive findings relating to the use of turmeric in reducing IBS symptoms, and these effects may also extend to other digestive disorders. However, more research is required to determine whether turmeric can have any real benefits for the treatment of IBS.

How to use turmeric for IBS

Most people choose to take turmeric in supplement form for the sake of convenience. And if you enjoy the spice’s rich flavor, you can add more turmeric to your diet.


It’s always safest to take any herb or spice in its natural form.

However, curcumin supplements are available at most health food stores and through online retailers. You may also be able to find powdered turmeric in the spice section of regular grocery stores.

If you’re using turmeric to treat a specific health concern such as IBS, it’s important to buy a high-quality product. Although supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, quality manufacturers will have their own set of standards to which they adhere.

You should always follow the dosage specified on the package. Dosages may vary between manufacturers. To prevent potential side effects, start with a smaller dose and gradually work your way up to the optimal dose.

Turmeric doesn’t need to be taken with food. In fact, fasting is said to increase absorption because it allows the spice to metabolize quickly.

Some people recommend taking turmeric with honey for better absorption. Bromelain, which is found in pineapple, is also said to increase the absorption and anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin.


You can get some turmeric from your diet, but a supplement may ensure you’re getting the correct amount daily.

When adding turmeric to food, remember that a little goes a long way. You should add in small amounts at a time. Fresh and powdered turmeric can stain clothing and skin, so be careful when using it in the kitchen.

Give these a try

3-Mix turmeric into yogurt or add it smoothies.

4-Sprinkle it into savory dishes, such as curries and soups.

5-Use it to make a salad dressing or seasoned mayonnaise.

6-Make a hot tea or a refreshing cold drink using turmeric, ginger, lemon, and herbs.

7-Don’t forget to take it with piperine!

Taking turmeric with piperine increases its absorption and makes it more effective. Piperine is an extract of black pepper.

It takes less than a teaspoon of piperine powder for turmeric to have an effect. You can also look for a turmeric supplement that contains piperine or take a black pepper extract supplement.


The 10 Best Turmeric Supplements of 2020

Turmeric is an herb with a long history of use in the traditional Indian system of medicine called Ayurveda.

The herb contains a class of compounds called curcuminoids, the most prevalent of which is curcumin. It may reduce pain from arthritis, regulate blood sugar levels, and improve cholesterol levels, among other benefits

While you can buy turmeric as a spice or spice blend to cook with, turmeric supplements provide a more concentrated dose of curcumin and other curcuminoids.

However, not all of these supplements are created equal when it comes to safety and efficacy.

Turmeric supplements for this article were chosen based on the following criteria:

  • brand reputability, including the use of third-party testing
  • the use of standardized extracts of turmeric rather than turmeric root powder
  • patented turmeric formulations that have enhanced bioavailability

Here are the 10 best turmeric supplements of 2020.

A note on price

General price ranges with dollar signs ($ to $$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher price range.

Generally, prices range from $0.20–$1.50 per count, or $19–$50 per container, though this may vary depending on where you shop.

Note that the dosage recommendations vary between 1–3 capsules or tablets 1–5 times daily.

Thus, a product that you need to take fewer times per day may end up being comparatively cheaper, despite having a higher price per count than a product that you need to take multiple times per day.



Turmeric supplement


1. Source Naturals’ Turmeric with Meriva




Source Naturals' Turmeric with Meriva


Curcumin itself is poorly absorbed by your body

To boost your body’s absorption of curcumin, Source Naturals uses a patented formulation of a compound called Meriva, which is standardized to contain 18–22% total curcuminoids (3).

Meriva is a formulation of turmeric extract with lecithin, a type of fat found in foods like soybeans and eggs, that has been shown to have 29 times better absorption of curcumin in humans, compared with other extracts .

Source Naturals’ turmeric with Meriva supplement contains 500 mg of turmeric extract per tablet.

Unlike many other companies, Source Naturals manufactures its products, allowing them to verify the purity and authenticity of each ingredient .

Shop for Source Naturals’ Turmeric with Meriva online.



2. Thorne’s Meriva 500-SF





Thorne's Meriva 500-SF


Similarly to Source Naturals, the supplement company Thorne offers a turmeric supplement containing Meriva extract.

Thorne’s Meriva 500-SF (sustained-release) product contains 1,000 mg of the patented Meriva turmeric formulation per 2-capsule serving.

It also contains Thorne’s patented ingredient called Time-Sorb, which contains a semi-synthetic dietary fiber and a form of magnesium (6).

These compounds help delay the release of the active ingredient while protecting it as it passes through your stomach so that it can reach your small intestine for absorption

Whether Time-Sorb further enhances the absorption of Meriva is unknown.

According to its website, Thorne tests for 760 contaminants to verify the identity, potency, and purity of each ingredient in its products.

They also follow the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and received an A1 rating from Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) (8).

Shop for Thorne’s Meriva 500-SF online.

3. Life Extension’s Curcumin Elite





Life Extension uses a highly absorbable form of curcumin.

The product contains a type of fiber from fenugreek seeds called galactomannans, which enhances the absorption of curcuminoids

Cucumin Elite provides 200 mg of curcuminoids with another active compound from turmeric called ar-turmerone.

Life Extension offers a certificate of analysis for each of its products to guarantee quality, potency, and purity, and you can request it via its website (10).

Shop for Life Extension’s Curcumin Elite online.

4. Swanson’s Vitamins Curcumin Complex



Swanson Vitamins Curcumin Complex


Swanson Vitamins offers 700 mg of turmeric extract that’s standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids.

They also include 5 mg of Bioperine, a patented extract obtained from black pepper that’s standardized to contain 95% piperine.

Piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper, has been shown to inhibit a reaction in your body that eliminates substances like curcuminoids, allowing for better absorption

In one older study, participants who consumed 2 grams of curcumin with 20 mg of piperine enhanced their absorption of curcuminoids by 2,000%, compared with consuming curcumin alone

Swanson Vitamins uses third-party laboratories to verify the purity and potency of its products, including NSF International .

Shop for Swanson’s Vitamins Curcumin Complex online.



5. BioSchwartz’s Premium Ultra Pure Turmeric Curcumin


BioSchwartz's Premium Ultra Pure Turmeric Curcumin


BioSchwartz also uses the patented ingredient BioPerine in its Premium Ultra Pure Turmeric Curcumin product.

Recall that BioPerine is an extract obtained from black pepper that increases your body’s absorption of curcuminoids.

In addition to 10 mg of BioPerine, the product contains 1,350 mg of turmeric root and 150 mg of turmeric extract (standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids) per 3-capsule serving.

According to its website, BioSchwartz’s products are tested by a third-party laboratory to verify purity and potency. Plus, its facility is FDA-approved .

Shop for BioSchwartz’s Premium Ultra Pure Turmeric Curcumin online.

6. Qunol’s Extra Strength Turmeric Curcumin Complex




Qunol Extra Strength Turmeric Curcumin Complex


Part of the reason your body doesn’t absorb curcumin very well is because of its poor solubility in water (2Trusted Source).

Qunol uses a specific type of technology to manufacture its Extra Strength Turmeric Curcumin Complex product to increase the water solubility of curcumin, thereby enhancing its absorption.

One study demonstrated that the form of curcumin that Qunol uses in its turmeric supplement was 39 times more efficiently absorbed than a standard turmeric extract product .

Qunol’s product contains 1,000 mg of turmeric — standardized to contain 18–22% curcuminoids — per 2-softgel serving.

Qunol states that they test each batch of turmeric for heavy metals. Its products are also produced in a cGMP facility, according to the product packaging .

Shop for Qunol’s Extra Strength Turmeric Curcumin Complex online.



7. Gaia Herbs’ Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength


Gaia Herbs Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength


Gaia Herbs’ Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength product offers a concentrated liquid extract of turmeric.

According to Gaia Herbs, this form of turmeric is more easily digested and better absorbed by your body than powdered extracts of turmeric, which some research supports (17Trusted Source).

The Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength product delivers 482 mg of turmeric extract that’s standardized to contain 36 mg of curcuminoids per capsule.

It also contains 7 mg of black pepper to enhance absorption.

Gaia Herbs offers a traceability tool on its website that allows you to discover the origin of the herb and view validation of the product’s quality

Shop for Gaia Herbs’ Turmeric Supreme Extra Strength online.


8. Sports Research’s Turmeric Curcumin



Sports Research's Turmeric Curcumin

Price: $$

Sports Research uses a patented extract of turmeric called Curcumin C3 Complex, which is standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids.

The product contains 500 mg of the extract and 5 mg of BioPerine per softgel.

Sports Research’s product also contains organic virgin coconut oil, which may further enhance the absorption of the curcuminoids

On its website, Sports Research allows you to track the lot number of its products to view the third-party testing company

Shop for Sports Research’s Turmeric Curcumin online.


9. Doctor’s Best’s High Absorption Curcumin



Doctor's Best High Absorption Curcumin


Doctor’s Best also uses Curcumin C3 Complex turmeric extract.

This patented turmeric extract is standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids.

The product contains 1,000 mg of the extract and 6 mg of BioPerine per 2-capsule serving.

Doctor’s Best includes a scannable quick response (QR) code on its product labels to improve consumer education and product transparency.

Shop for Doctor’s Best’s High Absorption Curcumin online.



10. Gaia Herbs’ Turmeric Supreme targeted formulations



Gaia Herbs' Turmeric Supreme targeted formulations


Gaia Herbs also offers a line of turmeric supplements that target various components of health and well-being.

These products, which are available for purchase online, include:

In addition to turmeric, each of these products contains various other beneficial ingredients.

For example, the Turmeric Supreme Heart product contains ingredients that have been shown to support heart health, including resveratrol and quercetin

Although Gaia Herbs’ line of targeted formulations contain smaller amounts of curcuminoids than the Extra Strength product, they still contain black pepper for better absorption.

Note that some of these combo supplements contain herbs that may interact with certain medications, so it’s best to check with your doctor before taking them.

How to choose a quality supplement

With the hundreds of turmeric supplements available for purchase, it can be difficult to know which ones are safe and effective.

Still, it’s important to determine these factors, as supplement companies do not need to prove the safety or effectiveness of their products to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before selling them.

Choose a reputable brand that adheres to good manufacturing practices, which ensures that products are produced according to specific quality standards

Some companies may choose to have their products tested for safety and quality by an independent third-party laboratory, such as NSF International, U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), or Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

Companies that utilize patented ingredients in their products have also committed to quality, as these ingredients have usually been generally recognized as safe by the FDA and tested in clinical studies for efficacy.

Many of these ingredients not only have research to support their use but also help increase your body’s absorption of curcuminoids.

You can likewise consult a registered dietitian or physician to determine whether a specific supplement is of high quality.

It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding how much of the supplement to take, as the dose will vary among brands depending on the extract used and presence of absorption-enhancing ingredients.

In either case, for optimal absorption, it’s best to take turmeric with a meal or snack containing a source of fat.





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