Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that turmeric is more than just a spice.
This powerful cupboard staple has also been used to treat many diseases and ailments for thousands of years. Some claim it can treat anything from digestive and stomach issues to neurodegenerative conditions.
As more research is performed into the power of turmeric, the more we discover that there may be some truth to these claims.
There’s even some anecdotal evidence to suggest that turmeric may alleviate the symptoms of acid reflux - but how much can we depend on this, and is turmeric for acid reflux worth it?
What Is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is a burning sensation or a feeling of discomfort that may move between the stomach, chest, and abdomen.
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acids start to travel up the esophagus, usually after consuming acidic and spicy foods or alcohol. When these stomach contacts travel back into the esophagus, a burning sensation is produced.
Heartburn is one of the most common symptoms of acid reflux. It can be described as the burning sensation you feel in the middle of your chest, and it’s caused by your stomach acid, which irritates the esophageal lining.
If your acid reflux becomes chronic, it’ll usually be referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Is Turmeric Good for Acid Reflux?
You’ll be pleased to know that some studies suggest turmeric could be an effective treatment for acid reflux.
In a 2019 review, it was suggested that turmeric might offer protective effects on the mucosal cells in the esophagus, reducing their exposure to stomach acid damage.
This may be because curcumin, the active component of turmeric, contains an abundance of anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce acid reflux symptoms and damage.
Curcumin also neutralizes excess stomach acid that can cause acid reflux, helping to reduce symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, and bloating.
However, more research is needed to confirm just how effective curcumin is at treating acid reflux.
How to Use Turmeric for Acid Reflux
Before you decide to use turmeric for acid reflux, we’d always recommend talking to a doctor first. Although large amounts of turmeric are safe for most people, pregnant or breastfeeding patients may be advised not to take it.
Spicy foods are the most common cause of acid reflux - so no, we won’t ask you to put your turmeric in a spicy curry and get to work.
Turmeric can be taken in many ways, and since it's become a popular health supplement, turmeric can be bought in capsule form and even as a tincture. There are also other ways to incorporate this spice into your diet, including making turmeric tea.
If you want to get the most from your turmeric supplement, we’d recommend taking it with black pepper. Evidence suggests that piperine, a compound in black pepper, may boost the body's absorption rate of turmeric, which could give you the most benefits.
Other Ways To Manage Acid Reflux
An estimated 60 million Americans experience acid reflux at least once a month. Acid reflux is an uncomfortable, unpleasant, and often painful condition that, without careful management, can become chronic.
Although preliminary research suggests that turmeric may provide some treatment and protection against acid reflux, the results remain somewhat inconclusive.
So, while there’s no harm in trying turmeric as a treatment (as long as your doctor approves), you should also try using other strategies to manage your acid reflux.
Some of the most common ways to manage symptoms of acid reflux include:
- Eating your meals slowly.
- Avoid acidic foods and carbonated drinks. These make us burp, which sends acid up into the esophagus.
- Don’t lie down after eating. This will help keep the acid in your stomach.
- Quit smoking. Nicotine can relax the sphincter in the lower esophagus, causing acid reflux.
- Check your medications. Some antidepressants, anti-inflammatory painkillers, and estrogen tablets can irritate the esophagus. Talk to a doctor for advice, and see if you need to start taking alternative medicine.
- Maintain a moderate weight. Excess stomach fat may be associated with a higher risk of acid reflux and GERD.
- Limit your coffee intake. Coffee can also relax the lower esophageal sphincter, increasing your risk of experiencing acid reflux.
- Consider medication. Although your doctor may recommend pursuing certain lifestyle changes, medication may be required if your acid reflux is more chronic. Prescription medications are usually used to treat GERD in adults. If your doctor is reluctant to give you a prescribed medicine, you can also try over-the-counter medications such as Alka-seltzer and Pepto-Bismol. If you’re taking over-the-counter medications, always stick to the recommended dosage guidelines, and make sure your treatment doesn’t interfere with other medications you might be taking.
If you’re suffering from GERD, it’s essential to follow the treatment and guidance given to you by your doctor.
GERD is a chronic and often lifelong disease, and if treatment is stopped, relapses usually occur. Although GERD can disturb your lifestyle, remember it’s not usually life-threatening.
How Does Turmeric Help with Bloating?
We know that turmeric has long been used in traditional medicine to help with digestive health but studies suggest that it may also be beneficial for treating bloating.
Research shows that turmeric can increase the production of bile, which helps to break down food and prevent bloating.
As mentioned, curcumin has been shown to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, which in turn helps reduce gas in the stomach.
Additionally, turmeric is thought to be a natural digestive aid, helping to improve digestion and reduce the symptoms of bloating.
While more research is needed to determine the full extent of its benefits, turmeric may be a beneficial natural remedy for those suffering from bloating.
Is Turmeric Good for Gastritis?
According to some studies, turmeric may also be beneficial for those suffering from gastritis, a condition that affects the lining of your stomach.
Gastritis can be caused by several different factors, including infection, stress, or certain medications.
As discussed, curcumin may be able to reduce the possibility of infection, inhibit gastric acid secretion, and promote the healing of damaged stomach lining.
There is also some suggestion that curcumin may protect the stomach from damage caused by NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
This is because curcumin may play a role in managing the bacteria that are associated with the development of ulcers in the gut.
Thus, considering all the factors, there may be benefits to taking turmeric to help with gastritis symptoms.
However, more research and clinical studies are needed to confirm the efficacy of turmeric and curcumin on our gut health.
The Bottom Line
Turmeric is an undeniably powerful spice. As we learn more about the benefits of turmeric and the curcumin compound, more of us seek to use this as a treatment for various conditions.
Although research into the benefits of turmeric is still in its infancy, studies show promising results in its ability to manage and treat conditions such as arthritis, depression, and even Parkinson's Disease.
Unfortunately, the links between turmeric and acid reflux are still largely unknown. However, preliminary research suggests that there may be some benefits of using turmeric as a treatment for acid reflux.
However, you should always consult your doctor before taking a turmeric supplement, and don’t stop other treatments and replace them with turmeric.