A new study exploring the treatment of indigestion suggests that the solution might be as accessible as the culinary spice rack. Published in the BMJ medical journal, the study examined the responses of over 150 individuals suffering from dyspepsia, or indigestion, to different treatment options including the prescription drug omeprazole, the culinary spice turmeric which contains the compound curcumin, and a combination of the two.
Omeprazole is a well-known medication that is frequently used for treating a variety of heart and esophagus issues. It accomplishes this by helping to reduce the level of acid present in the stomach.
Throughout the 28 and 56-day treatment course, participants’ symptoms were assessed through the Severity of Dyspepsia Assessment, a questionnaire method used to gauge the severity of indigestion symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating, nausea, and a premature sense of fullness. According to the findings of the study, there were no significant differences noted in regards to symptoms between the groups that were treated with the drug, turmeric, or a combination of both.
“Curcumin/turmeric, known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, could be a potential treatment option for dyspepsia, offering comparable efficacy to omeprazole,” shared the principal author of the study, Dr. Krit Pongpirul, an associate professor of preventive and social medicine.
People in Southeast Asia have been using turmeric for hundreds of years to address discomfort in the stomach and to treat other inflammatory conditions. In the United States, it has primarily been used as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant supplement to provide relief from osteoarthritis and irritable bowel syndrome. However, this is the first clinical trial to directly compare curcumin/turmeric with omeprazole in treating dyspepsia, according to Dr. Pongpirul.
Considering that turmeric’s active compound, curcumin, has been extensively studied for its application in various inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis, it makes sense for research to examine its potential impact on indigestion. Previous studies have shown that curcumin could potentially be an effective supplement to other medications.
However, concerns about the methodology of the study were raised. The assessment tool used in this study to measure symptom severity isn’t the most commonly used tool for ascertaining the degree of indigestion improvement. Thoughts have been shared about the possibility of more accurate results if symptoms were measured more frequently. Due to these concerns, professionals like Dr. Yuying Luo recommends proceeding with caution.
Despite these concerns, the constant research around the potential impact of this compound on varying inflammatory conditions suggests that more insights may be forthcoming.
Before increasing the amount of turmeric consumed, it is important to consider potential case studies denoting an association between curcumin and liver injury, as well as possible interaction with other medications. While turmeric and curcumin are generally considered safe when consumed in quantities typically found in food, consumers should also be mindful of potential side effects such as allergy and a bleeding risk, especially for those on anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications.
It might be unnecessary to take turmeric and omeprazole together, as taking one or the other could have a similar effect in reducing side effects. It’s important to consult your doctor about possibly trying turmeric in addition to your current medications. If considering this alternative, give it approximately two to four weeks to assess its full impact. As with all treatments, remember that responses to medications vary among different patients.