Turmeric and ulcerative colitis
I have Ulcerative Colitis (or perhaps Crohn's Disease – doctors can't quite make up their minds). It is chronic inflammation of the intestine. Nasty white ulcers form on the inside of the intestine, causing bleeding, cramping and preventing me from digesting food. There is no apparent cause and no cure.
I thought I had the disease under control with a strict diet and regular acupuncture. However, last month I had a major flair-up. I was in hospital for a week, unable to digest even water. My body gradually recovered with the heal of life-saving steroids. However, steroids have lots of side-effects and shouldn't be given long-term.
Speaking with one of the chief gastroenterologists at the hospital, and saying how I was into natural medicine, she remembered that she had read a journal article about the amazing ability for turmeric to help heal the inflammation caused by colitis.
The researchers did a double-blind scientific study where they gave 150 people with colitis, who weren't responding to conventional treatment, either 3g of concentrated curcumin per day (curcumin is the ingredient in turmeric that has the beneficial medical effects), or a placebo. 50% of those given the curcumin got better, while none of the placebo group improved. This is huge!
Turmeric root contains about 2% curcumin, but most of the curcumin is filtered out by the liver. However, taking the curcumin with a healthy fat like coconut oil, or with black pepper helps it bypass the liver and enter the blood-stream, where it can have its full anti-inflammatory effect. By taking curcumin extract with the fat or pepper, a 1g tablet gives the same benefit as taking 1kg of turmeric root. There is an excellent Nutrition Facts video on boosting the bioavailability of curcumin, and another on the healing power of curcumin.
I did the research on what curcumin supplement is best and my conclusion is: Doctor's Best Curcumin C3 Complex with BioPerine. (BioPerine is black pepper). I'm taking this every day now. Many thanks to the Margaret's Corner blog for the recommendations.
(Warning: Curcumin and BioPerine do have some side-effects. Curcumin is a blood thinner and can increase the risk of bleeding, it can cause hypoglycemia for those with diabetes, it isn't recommend for someone with gallbladder problems, and it shouldn't be taken during pregnancy. BioPerine can prevent certain pharmaceutical medicine from working. Most notably antibiotics don't do anything if taken with BioPerine.)