Pain, belching, heartburn and abdominal distention. Sporadic digestive issues can ruin our day. And when you don’t have omeprazole on hand and you don’t want to rush to the outpatient clinic, you rack your brains to look for a substitute.
We ask our mothers and grandmothers or we desperately turn to a trusted herbalist. To the huge list of home remedies, we can include one that has been used for decades: turmeric.
A study recently published in the journal BMJ Evidence-Based Medicine suggests that this ingredient, widely used in Asian and Arabic cuisines, could be as effective as omeprazole, the pharmacological remedy par excellence, in relieving stomach aches. Its active ingredient is said to be curcumin, a substance that has shown, according to the health portal Healthline, the potential to improve heart health, help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, and have anti-inflammatory capabilities. and antioxidants.
Turmeric, the golden spice
Turmeric is a plant similar in appearance to ginger (they belong to the same family) that is normally used in gastronomy (it is a basic ingredient in curry mixtures) or to dye clothes. The dust extracted from it has been a resource for humans for thousands of years. Although everyone knows its coloring function, few people know that it is used as a natural medicine in many cultures. Agreed with International Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research, is used to treat biliary disorders, anorexia, coughs, diabetic wounds, liver disorders, rheumatism and sinusitis. It is for this reason that modern medicine focuses on this particular plant and its potential benefits. Interest in turmeric began at the end of the last century, “when researchers discovered that this plant could possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties”. Diarylheptanoids, important components of the plant, “are potent anti-inflammatory compounds and contribute to, or are responsible for, many of this plant’s medicinal properties,” the researchers noted. David R. Gang and Xiao-Qiang Ma in a scientific publication. The most abundant are curcuminoids, a category that includes curcumin, which makes up 10% of the spice in turmeric.
The problem of bioavailability
The bioavailability of this compound – the rate at which the body absorbs a substance – is notoriously low. This means that it is very difficult to obtain sufficient concentrations of curcumin in the blood through pills alone. The studies that have been conducted are inconclusive and, in some cases, interests are at stake. Kristopher Paultre, associate professor of orthopedics and family medicine at the University of Miami, explained, in statements reported by The Guardian, that “the nutraceutical industry is not subject to much regulatory oversight and companies want to make profits. through these studies, which produce astonishing results with a specific product. This is where, according to Paultre, the growing interest in qualifying curcumin as a ‘miracle cure’ comes from. And he warns that many studies contain bias introduced by these companies.
One of the most notable authors in this regard is Bharat Aggarwal, a cancer researcher at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Among its long list of scientific publications defending the anti-cancer potential of curcumin, 30 published articles were retracted, ten others received an expression of concern, and 17 others were corrected. “With so many formulas available, there are no studies that compare the bioavailability of each. It’s a bit of the Wild West in that sense,” adds Paultre to the British newspaper.
The results of this study are inconclusive, but that does not mean that they cannot “justify the consideration of curcumin in clinical practice.” The researchers recognize that the small size of the study, the short intervention period and the lack of long-term follow-up data are expressly acknowledged limitations. However, they point out that these results pave the way for further research into the use of turmeric as a natural alternative to relieve stomach upset.
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