Note: This page has not been peer reviewed yet, however, all references on www.pubmed.org have been peer reviewed.

Abstract

If you have a sore gut, due to conditions such as gluten intolerance, Celiacs, IBD, IBS, Crohns or Ulcerative Colitis (UC), there are some methods to restore yourself to health.

This paper covers four of these methods:

What do Crohns, Celiacs, IBD and IBS have in common?

These conditions are all linked at a genetic level, and are all related to abnormal inflammation of the gut: (12) (15)

  • Celiacs
  • Gluten Intolerance
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Crohns
  • Ulcerative Colitis (UC)

Some therapies are effective for multiple conditions on this list. The reason? They are targeting a common cause.

If you are suffering from a sore gut, there are some proven options that are worth trying:

Option? Effectiveness
(perceived)
Safety
(perceived)
Additional
Notes?
Option 1: Vitamin D 6/10 10/10 Vitamin D has been shown to either cure or reduce the symptoms of Crohns Disease. Read more for the evidence …
Option 2: Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN). 8/10 9/10 In a 12-week study, LDN allows 67% of patients with Crohns to achieve remission. LDN is effective in curing diseases related to abnormal inflammation of the gut. Read more for the evidence …
Option 3: Curcumin. 6/10 9/10 Curcumin is an extract from Tumeric, a spice from India. Many studies show that curcumin is safe and effective for conditions related to abnormal inflammation of the gut. Read more  for the evidence …
Option 4: What you eat. 6/10 10/10  Altering what you eat could help the symptoms of Crohns disease. It may not be a full solution, but it could help. Read more  for the evidence …

These therapies will be explored in depth in the next sections on Vitamin D, LDNCurcumin and What You Eat.

Genetic links between Crohn’s and Celiac’s?

Before we dive into the cures, let’s take a brief diversion to show that Celiac and Crohn’s disease share common genetic links, and are associated with abnormal inflammation of the gut.

From Celiac Disease Health Center: (12)

Jan. 27, 2011 — An international team of researchers has identified four genetic variants common to celiac disease and Crohn’s disease.

The research may help to explain why people who have celiac disease appear to have a higher rate of Crohn’s disease than the general population. It may one day lead to new treatments that address the underlying inflammation involved in both conditions.

More …

Well, we don’t have to wait!

We already have three treatments that have been proven to addresses the abnormal inflammation involved in both conditions. These three therapies will be explored in depth in the next chapters on Vitamin D, LDNCurcumin and Dietary Changes.

Option 1: Vitamin D

Before we present stronger evidence, let’s start with one person’s experience on the effect of Vitamin D on Crohn’s disease: (31)

How Kurt W. Fuller cured his Crohn’s Disease

Title: My Crohn’s Disease Is Cured,  Kurt W. Fuller

I must say that I literally stumbled onto this book. But the title rang true with me, so I bought it (Kindle version) for a very low price.

Around age 53, I was diagnosed with severe Crohn’s disease. At the same time, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Though a number of different urologists were “foaming at the mouth” wanting to remove the prostate, I decided to try alternative medicine first (over the objections of everyone in knew)

Fortunately, I found a doctor (in a state halfway across the country) who practiced alternative medicine. He cured me of prostate cancer without surgery. However, he said that my Crohn’s was far more dangerous to me in the long run. I said that I’d researched Crohn’s thoroughly on the internet and that every site called the disease “incurable.” He scoffed and said that my problem was a shortage of Vitamin D.

At the time, I was taking 1,000 IU of Vitamin D per day. The doctor recommended an increase to 2,000. When that didn’t work, he changed the dose to 4,000. Then he went to 5,000. Then 10,000. Then 15,000. At 15,000 I finally began to see improvement. After 3-4 years, my symptoms disappeared.

I’m now 59. Oh how I wish I’d seen this book years ago. I can see now that the strategy was good, but the doses were way too small. I have friends with Crohn’s who refuse to deviate from what “the doctor” says, despite their lack of success. Maybe if they read this book, they’d think differently. I couldn’t recommend any book more strongly than this one.

For more information on this book, see the page dedicated to Vitamin D3 and the book by Jeff T. Bowes (31).

Now that we know that Kurt Fuller believes that Vitamin D cured his Crohn’s disease, let’s see if there is any other evidence to support his experience.

Active Crohn’s disease is associated with low vitamin D levels

So we head over to www.pubmed.org, and search for “vitamin d crohns”. Many results are returned; this is one of the results. from Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis (32):

Journal of Crohn's and Colitis: 9 (9)Active Crohn’s disease is associated with low vitamin D levels.
by Jørgensen SP, Hvas CL, Agnholt J, Christensen LA, Heickendorff L, Dahlerup JF.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

Crohn’s disease prevalence increases with increasing latitude. Because most vitamin D comes from sunlight exposure and murine models of intestinal inflammation have demonstrated beneficial effects of 1,25-(OH)2 vitamin D treatment, we hypothesised that Crohn’s disease activity is associated with low vitamin D levels.

METHODS:

In a cross-sectional study of 182 CD patients and 62 healthy controls, we measured serum 25-OH vitamin D. Stratified analysis was used to compare 25-OH vitamin D levels with Crohn’s disease activity index, C-reactive protein, smoking status, intake of oral vitamin D supplements and seasonal variation in CD patients and healthy controls.

RESULTS:

Serum 25-OH vitamin D was inversely associated with disease activity: Median 25-OH vitamin D levels of Crohn’s disease in remission, mildly, and moderately active diseases evaluated by Crohn’s disease activity index were 64, 49, and 21 nmol/l (p<0.01) and by CRP 68, 76, and 35 nmol/l (p<0.05), respectively. Patients who took oral vitamin D supplementation had lower Crohn’s disease activity index (p<0.05) and C-reactive protein (p=0.07) than non-users. Crohn’s disease patients who smoked had lower vitamin D levels (51 nmol/l) than patients who did not smoke (76 nmol/l), p<0.01. Overall, Crohn’s disease patients did not differ from healthy controls regarding 25-OH vitamin D levels.

CONCLUSIONS:

Active Crohn’s disease was associated with low serum 25-OH vitamin D. Patients who smoked had lower 25-OH vitamin D levels than patients who did not smoke, independently of disease activity.

See J Crohns Colitis. 2013 Nov;7(10):e407-13. doi: 10.1016/j.crohns.2013.01.012. Epub 2013 Feb 9 (32).

In plain english: if you have Crohn’s disease, and you don’t like it, for goodness sake try taking sufficient amounts of Vitamin D.

For more information on Vitamin D, the range of doses and caveats associated with it’s use, see this site’s page dedicated to Vitamin D3.

Vitamin D and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Vitamin D and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

By Marco Ardesia, Guido Ferlazzo, andWalter Fries

Via Consolare Valeria 1, 98125 Messina, Italy

Received 27 November 2014; Revised 2 February 2015; Accepted 13 February 2015

Vitamin D deficiency has been recognized as an environmental risk factor for Crohn’s disease since the early 80s. Initially, this finding was correlated with metabolic bone disease. Low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels have been repeatedly reported in inflammatory bowel diseases together with a relationship between vitamin D status and disease activity. Subsequently, low serum vitamin D levels have been reported in various immune-related diseases pointing to an immunoregulatory role. Indeed, vitamin D and its receptor (VDR) are known to interact with different players of the immune homeostasis by controlling cell proliferation, antigen receptor signalling, and intestinal barrier function. Moreover, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D is implicated in NOD2-mediated expression of defensin-b2, the latter known to play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of Crohn’s disease (IBD1 gene), and several genetic variants of the vitamin D receptor have been identified as Crohn’s disease candidate susceptibility genes. From animal models we have learned that deletion of the VDR gene was associated with a more severe disease. There is a growing body of evidence concerning the therapeutic role of vitamin D/synthetic vitamin D receptor agonists in clinical and experimental models of inflammatory bowel disease far beyond the role of calcium homeostasis and bone metabolism.

See Hindawi Publishing Corporation, BioMed Research International, Volume 2015, Article ID 470805, 16 pages, http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/470805.

pdf Download the .pdf: Vitamin D and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.pdf

Option 2: Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)

It’s not just Vitamin D which has shown promise in curing Crohn’s patients.

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) has has recently been shown to cure 67% of Crohn’s patients within 12 weeks (13), and has been successfully used by patients with diseases related to abnormal inflammation of the gut.

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) is currently being used by over 15,000 people in Norway (1).

This video from www.ldnscience.org explains how LDN works:

LDN achieved a remission in 67% of Crohns patients within 12 weeks

Abstract from the American Journal of Gastroenterology: (13)

ajg_cimageLow-dose naltrexone therapy improves active Crohn’s disease.

OBJECTIVES:

Endogenous opioids and opioid antagonists have been shown to play a role in healing and repair of tissues. In an open-labeled pilot prospective trial, the safety and efficacy of low-dose naltrexone (LDN), an opioid antagonist, were tested in patients with active Crohn’s disease.

METHODS:

Eligible subjects with histologically and endoscopically confirmed active Crohn’s disease activity index (CDAI) score of 220-450 were enrolled in a study using 4.5 mg naltrexone/day. Infliximab was not allowed for a minimum of 8 wk prior to study initiation. Other therapy for Crohn’s disease that was at a stable dose for 4 wk prior to enrollment was continued at the same doses. Patients completed the inflammatory bowel disease questionnaire (IBDQ) and the short-form (SF-36) quality of life surveys and CDAI scores were assessed pretreatment, every 4 wk on therapy and 4 wk after completion of the study drug. Drug was administered by mouth each evening for a 12-wk period.

RESULTS:

Seventeen patients with a mean CDAI score of 356 +/- 27 were enrolled. CDAI scores decreased significantly (P= 0.01) with LDN, and remained lower than baseline 4 wk after completing therapy. Eighty-nine percent of patients exhibited a response to therapy and 67% achieved a remission (P < 0.001). Improvement was recorded in both quality of life surveys with LDN compared with baseline. No laboratory abnormalities were noted. The most common side effect was sleep disturbances, occurring in seven patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

LDN therapy appears effective and safe in subjects with active Crohn’s disease. Further studies are needed to explore the use of this compound.

See Am J Gastroenterol. 2007 Apr;102(4):820-8. Epub 2007 Jan 11. By Smith JP1, Stock H, Bingaman S, Mauger D, Rogosnitzky M, Zagon IS.(13)

Note that the phrase “achieved a remission” means “a temporary end to the medical signs and symptoms of an incurable disease.” (28).

LDN reduced symptoms of IBS in 76% of patients after 4 weeks

From Department of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases, Tel-Aviv, Israel: (14)

Title: Low-dose naltreoxone for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a pilot study.

Preclinical studies have shown that a very low dose of naltreoxone hydrochloride (NTX), an opiate antagonist, can block excitatory opioid receptors without affecting inhibitory opioid receptors, resulting in analgesic potency without side effects. The present study assessed the efficacy and safety of PTI-901 (low-dose NTX) treatment in Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) patients. Forty-two IBS patients participated in an open-label study. Participants received 0.5 mg PTI-901/day for 4 weeks and were evaluated during baseline, during treatment, and at 4-week follow-up. Patients recorded degree of abdominal pain, stool urgency, consistency, and frequency. Primary outcomes were number of pain-free days and overall symptom relief, evaluated by a global assessment score. Data were analyzed per protocol. Global assessment improved in 76% of 42 patients. During treatment, the mean weekly number of pain-free days increased from 0.5+/-1 to 1.25+/-2.14 (P=0.011). There were no significant adverse reactions. PTI-901 improves pain and overall feeling, and is well tolerated by IBS patients. A large, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study is justified.

Dig Dis Sci. 2006 Dec;51(12):2128-33. Epub 2006 Nov 1. By Kariv R, Tiomny E, Grenshpon R, Dekel R, Waisman G, Ringel Y, Halpern Z.(14)

Note that these patients received quite a low dose of LDN compared to the accepted level now.

  • The standard dose for Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) is 4.5 milligrams (mg) per day.
  • The dose in this study was 0.5 milligrams (mg) per day.

This is probably because this study was completed over 9 years ago, before the dose of LDN was generally agreed on by the medical community.

If the dose of LDN was increased to 4.5 milligrams (mg) from 0.5 milligrams (mg) , and the duration of the trial was increased to 12 weeks, more patients may have achieved a remission.

LDN effective for IBD, CD and UC

From Erasmus Medical Center, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Rotterdam, Netherlands:

Title: Low dose naltrexone in therapy resistant IBD, a case series

M. Lie, G. Fuhler, A. de Lima, C. van der Ent, C.J. van der Woude, Erasmus Medical Center, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Background

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), are chronic relapsing bowel disorders. Several established drug therapies exist, but some patients become resistant to these. For these patients, new treatments are urgently called for. Small studies have suggested that the immune system can be influenced by modulating the opioid receptors in the gut using low dose naltrexone (LDN). Here, we report our experience with LDN in patients resistant to conventional therapies.

Methods

A case series of all IBD outpatients treated with LDN (5 milligrams (mg)/day) were identified and investigated. Patients with at least 1 follow-up visit were included. Clinical and endoscopic response were analyzed where available. Clinical response was defined as clinical remission after 3 months of treatment. Endoscopic response was defined as a reduction of the endoscopic Mayo score to =1.

Results

From June 2010 until June 2013, 40 patients (43% male, median age 40 years, IQR 28–52 years) were treated with LDN. Previous treatments included anti-TNF in 36 patients, immunomodulators in 39 patients and corticosteroids in 40 patients. At time of LDN start, 8 patients were on anti-TNF treatment, 12 received immunomodulators and 18 patients received corticosteroids. Follow-up is ongoing in 27 patients, the other 13 patients were followed for a median of 6 months (IQR 4–13 months). 22 patients had a diagnosis of CD and 18 had UC. Clinical response was achieved in 12 patients (30%), 8 CD (36%) and 4 UC (22%). 22 other patients (55%) had a response of limited duration (1 to 3 months), whereas 6 patients (15%) showed no response at all. Endoscopic data was available in 8 responders, with 7 showing endoscopic response. Endoscopic data of 13 non-responders was available, with none showing endoscopic improvement.

Amongst long term responders, remission was sustained for a median of 21 months (IQR 15–26 months). 9 patients are still in remission, the other 3 patients relapsed at 11, 21 and 21 months. In total, 11 patients underwent surgery (28%), 5 CD (4 subtotal colectomies, 1 partial small bowel resection) and 6 UC patients (all subtotal colectomies). Corticosteroids could be stopped in 13 patients. In total, 5 patients (12%) reported side-effects (headache, nightmares, dizziness), 1 patient stopped LDN treatment because of these.

Conclusion

Our data shows that for IBD patients refractory to conventional treatment, LDN may be a promising application – 30% of these severe cases responded to treatment, with 20% of patients showing lasting benefits. The relatively mild side-effects of LDN justify the consideration of this treatment for therapy-resistant IBD or as a bridge to surgery.

LDN Documentary Video from Norway

From http://www.tv2.no/a/5316228 (3):

Title: Unknown medicine LDN gives hope to thousands of patients

Many scientists and doctors claim that LDN can have effect on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, different types of cancer, multiple sclerosis and 170 other illnesses and diseases.

On 27.th of February 2013, Norway’s biggest commercial TV channel TV 2 Norway broadcasted an 18 minute story on the medicine LDN.

The story was part of TV 2’s popular series «Vårt lille land» («Our small country»), a 60 Minutes-inspired documentary show. The episode received record ratings in its time slot and immediately led to widespread discussions on blogs and web forums about LDN. Two months after the story the number of patients using LDN in Norway went from 400 to 4000.

It also changed many doctor’s attitude towards LDN, turning a widespread skepticism towards this unfamiliar drug into a willingness to prescribe LDN at patient’s requests.

See the story about LDN in the video above the article (English subtitles)

In the story four patients with different diseases such as MS, Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chest infections, breast and lunge cancer told how LDN had helped them back into living relatively normal lives. The Irish Doctor Edmond O’Flaherty stated that he had prescribed LDN to more than 300 patients, and said he was convinced many of them would be dead had they not received this drug.

See the 18-minute video documentary at http://www.tv2.no/a/5316228 (3).

How does LDN work?

See videos showing how LDN works (4).

LDN Testimonials

LDN is used by a lot of people worldwide. Search for “LDN testimonials”, and read the testimonials. Here are two examples:

LDN Dosage

Quote from Beyond DCA (5):

… take 4.5 mg per day. Take a 50 mg pill and add 50 ml of water using a baby syringe. Then take 4.5 ml of the mix daily. Your total monthly cost is about $8.00. You can order LDN online.

There is even an LDN Tracker app from the LDN Research Trust (10) which allows you to track your LDN usage and health. This tracker app is used to drive new research on what conditions LDN is effective for.

ldnTracker

LDN Toxicity?

This is probably one of the safest drugs possible. The drug is FDA approved (6) and is supported by many clinical trials (7).

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) is currently being used by over 15,000 people in Norway (1) and many more worldwide.

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) is taken at 9% (or less) of the dose compared the standard level of 50 milligrams (mg): most studies recommend somewhere between 0.5 and 4.5 milligrams (mg) per day.

Low Dose Naltrexone has none of the unwanted side effects associated with other drugs.

Special warnings and precautions for use (see video at www.ldnresearchtrust.org):

  • Adverse reaction with opioids – severe vomiting – ensure no opioid use [such as morphine, heroin, hydromorphone, oxycodone and methadone].
  • Confirm normal kidney and liver function.
  • Some elderly patients on 300 milligrams (mg) of naltrexone develop abnormal liver function tests.
  • No evidence of toxicity in volunteers receiving 800 milligrams(mg)/day for seven days.
  • Prolonged use at 50 milligrams (mg) is acceptable, duration of treatment not limited.

Clinical experience using low dose naltrexone 4.5 milligrams (mg) since 2004 (see video at www.ldnresearchtrust.org):

  • Have not seen abnormal liver function.
  • It is not necessary to monitor liver function with low dose naltrexone.

Is LDN Recommended?

Yes.

The balance of evidence indicates that LDN is safe and effective for treating inflammatory gastrointestinal conditions such as:

  • Gluten Intolerance
  • Celiac’s
  • Crohn’s
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

This is probably one of the safest interventions possible, and is definitely worth investigating.

Option 3: Curcumin

downloadIt’s not just Vitamin D and Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) that has shown promise in treating inflammatory bowel disease.

Turmeric is a spice which contains curcumin, and curcumin is useful to treat inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

The following papers show this.

Curcumin significantly improved Ulcerative Colitis (UC)

From Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology (20)

clinical-gastroenterology-and-hepatologyBACKGROUND & AIMS:

Curcumin is a biologically active phytochemical substance present in turmeric and has pharmacologic actions that might benefit patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). The aim in this trial was to assess the efficacy of curcumin as maintenance therapy in patients with quiescent ulcerative colitis (UC).

METHODS:

Eighty-nine patients with quiescent UC were recruited for this randomized, double-blind, multicenter trial of curcumin in the prevention of relapse. Forty-five patients received curcumin, 1g after breakfast and 1g after the evening meal, plus sulfasalazine (SZ) or mesalamine, and 44 patients received placebo plus SZ or mesalamine for 6 months. Clinical activity index (CAI) and endoscopic index (EI) were determined at entry, every 2 months (CAI), at the conclusion of 6-month trial, and at the end of 6-month follow-up.

RESULTS:

Seven patients were protocol violators. Of 43 patients who received curcumin, 2 relapsed during 6 months of therapy (4.65%), whereas 8 of 39 patients (20.51%) in the placebo group relapsed (P=.040). Recurrence rates evaluated on the basis of intention to treat showed significant difference between curcumin and placebo (P=.049). Furthermore, curcumin improved both CAI (P=.038) and EI (P=.0001), thus suppressing the morbidity associated with UC. A 6-month follow-up was done during which patients in both groups were on SZ or mesalamine. Eight additional patients in the curcumin group and 6 patients in the placebo group relapsed.

CONCLUSIONS:

Curcumin seems to be a promising and safe medication for maintaining remission in patients with quiescent UC. Further studies on curcumin should strengthen our findings.

Curcumin is a remedy for IBD

Quote from Molecules — Organic Chemistry Journal (15).

ABSTRACT:

Curcumin and inflammatory bowel disease: potential and limits of innovative treatments

Curcumin belongs to the family of natural compounds collectively called curcuminoids and it possesses remarkable beneficial anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and neuroprotective properties. Moreover it is commonly assumed that curcumin has also been suggested as a remedy for digestive diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), a chronic immune disorder affecting the gastrointestinal tract and that can be divided in two major subgroups: Crohn’s disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC), depending mainly on the intestine tract affected by the inflammatory events.

pdf Download the .pdf: Full Medical Journal Paper.pdf

Curcumin maintained remission for 89 patients with UC within 6 months

From Journal of Family Practice(16)

CLINICAL INQUIRIES

Does turmeric relieve inflammatory conditions?

EVIDENCE-BASED ANSWER

YES, but data aren’t plentiful. Limited evidence suggests that turmeric and its active compound, curcumin, are effective for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions (strength of recommendation [SOR]: C, primarily low-quality cohort studies with small patient numbers).

Curcumin has shown limited benefit for patients with psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), inflammatory eye diseases, familial adenomatous polyposis, and kidney transplantation (SOR: B, small, short randomized controlled trials [RCTs]).

No evidence indicates that curcumin helps patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (SOR: B, single RCT).

IBS. Two studies have found curcumin to have a positive effect on patients with IBS:

  • A cohort study (N=10) of patients with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease demonstrated symptomatic improvement (more formed stools, less frequent bowel movements, and less abdominal pain and cramping) after consuming curcumin for 2 and 3 months, respectively.(17)
  • A randomized, double-blind, multicenter trial (N=89) showed that 6 months of daily curcumin improved the clinical activity index and maintained remission in patients with ulcerative colitis.(18)

Curcumin for Crohns

From Journal of Crohns and Colitis (19)

journal-crohns-colitis

ABSTRACT:

Systematic review of complementary and alternative medicine treatments in inflammatory bowel diseases.

OBJECTIVE:

We performed a systematic review for Complementary and Alternative Medicine [CAM] as defined by the National Institute of Health in Inflammatory Bowel Disease [IBD], ie Crohn’s disease [CD] and ulcerative colitis [UC], with the exception of dietary and nutritional supplements, and manipulative therapies.

METHODS:

A computerized search of databases [Cochrane Library, Pubmed/Medline, PsychINFO, and Scopus] through March 2014 was performed. We screened the reference sections of original studies and systematic reviews in English language for CAM in IBD, CD and UC. Randomized controlled trials [RCT] and controlled trials [CT] were referred and assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool.

RESULTS:

A total of: 26 RCT and 3 CT for herbal medicine, eg aloe-vera gel, andrographis paniculata, artemisia absinthium, barley foodstuff, boswellia serrata, cannabis, curcumin, evening primrose oil, Myrrhinil intest®, plantago ovata, silymarin, sophora, tormentil, wheatgrass-juice and wormwood; RCT for trichuris suis ovata; RCT for mind/body interventions such as lifestyle modification, hypnotherapy, relaxation training and mindfulness; and RCT in acupuncture; were found. Risk of bias was quite heterogeneous. Best evidence was found for herbal therapy, ie plantago ovata and curcumin in UC maintenance therapy, wormwood in CD, mind/body therapy and self-intervention in UC, and acupuncture in UC and CD.

CONCLUSIONS:

Complementary and alternative therapies might be effective for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases; however, given the low number of trials and the heterogeneous methodological quality of trials, further in-depth research is necessary.

My Experience

Due to the range of health benefits from curcumin, I have personally been taking 1,000 milligrams (mg) of curcumin per day for the past 6 months, and have experienced no negative side effects and only positive side effects. I take it with a glass of water on an empty stomach before bed. I have experimented taking it with food during mealtimes, but it seems to have more effect taken on an empty stomach with water.

Curcumin Dosage?

Suggested dosages are between 500 and 2000 milligrams (mg) of curcumin per day. (20)

As turmeric spice is 2% curcumin, thus:

  • A dosage of 500 milligrams (mg) represents 25 grams of turmeric spice.
  • A dosage of 2000 milligrams (mg) represents 1000 grams of turmeric spice.

Obviously, it would be difficult (if not impossible) to take 25 grams of turmeric spice per day, so you need to take a turmeric extract that contains the necessary amount of curcumin.

When you buy turmeric extract:

  • Ignore the amount of turmeric powder that the pill contains. This measurement is irrelevant at best and misleading at worst.
  • Instead, look for the amount of the active ingredient which is curcumin (or curcuminoids).

Here is an example of a bottle label that shows 1100 milligrams (mg) of curcumin:

curcumin

Look for a turmeric extract that contains black pepper extract (piperine), as this will increase the absorption of curcmin (21).

Turmeric extract is very common, and as long as the minimum requirements are met, you can buy it from any manufacturer.

I am deliberately not recommending a manufacturer, in order to maintain this website’s reputation as being completely objective.

Curcumin Toxicity?

To date, more than 7,500 studies have been conducted on Curcumin(24), with more than 840 studies on the effect of Curcumin in mediating inflammation(24). To my knowledge, none of these studies have raised any red flags regarding the toxicity of curcumin at levels that can be achieved with oral dosage.

In India, the typical intake of curcumin in a diet rich in Turmeric is approximately 150 milligrams per day. This is a very safe, long term level that can be taken for a lifetime without harm.

Curcumin has never shown any toxicity at the levels recommended in the dosage section (500 and 2000 milligrams (mg) of curcumin per day).

Curcumin has been used at amounts of up to 8,000 milligrams (mg) per day for patients with pancreatic cancer (22).

Some studies have shown that curcumin can damage DNA in vitro (22), however, the levels that caused this were 50 times higher than could be achieved if human volunteers consumed more than 10,000 milligrams (mg) of curcumin. This means that one would have to consume 500,000 milligrams (mg) of curcumin (i.e. half a kilogram) before said DNA damage occurred. This would appear to be irrelevant, as the LD50 for curcumin is 2000 milligrams / kilogram in a mouse model, or 140,000 milligrams for a 70-kilogram human.

To put this into context, paracetamol (a common painkiller) is potentially fatal if 12,000 milligrams (mg) is ingested.

One study, entitled The Dark Side of Curcumin (22), raised cautions about the use of curcumin. However, the paper contained no evidence that curcumin had any toxicity at any of the commonly recommended dosages. The paper did mention that one of the side effects of curcumin at 0.9 grams per day is nausea, however, the cited paper (23) contradicted this statement: 1 patient out of the 15 patients in the study had nausea, which spontaneously resolved itself while still consuming curcumin. This patient was also suffering from advanced colorectal cancer, and was on chemotherapy, which might go some way towards explaining the nausea.

Use of Curcumin at levels between 0.9 and 3.6 grams has been through Phase 1 clinical trials for 15 patients with advanced colorectal cancer (23).

One women took 8 grams (8,000 milligrams) of curcumin every day for 4 years (26), and reported no side effects, apart from a complete remission from myeloma (i.e. bone marrow cancer) which she believes was caused by her curcumin intake. Please note that her notes on the impact of curcumin on fertility do not stand up to scrutiny, as discussed in the next section.

In summary, curcumin is accepted by the medical community as safe and non-toxic.

Will Curcumin impact fertility?

On the web, there is some advice to avoid curcumin if you are thinking of conceiving, as it can affect sperm motility (25) (26). However, this does not appear to be correct, as the levels of curcumin in plasma required to inhibit sperm motility  are 5,000 times larger than could be achieved using oral dosage, even if 10,000 milligrams of curcumin was ingested per day (22). The only way curcumin could impact sperm motility is if a solution containing a high concentration of curcumin is tested for its impact on sperm motility in a petri dish.

Curcumin is poorly absorbed outside the gut, and even if volunteers take 10 grams of curcumin per day, plasma levels do not rise above 50 nanomol / mL-1 which is a factor of 5,000 times less than the 250,000 nanomol/mL-1 which would halt sperm motility(22) (25).

To put this into context, this is like comparing undiluted calcium hypochlorite (a strong bleach) to said bleach which has been diluted by a factor of 5,000 with water. You could quite safely drink the diluted solution, it would taste very slightly of chlorine.

In other words, it’s unlikely that oral doses of curcumin would have any effect on sperm motility, and the only way it could have some effect is if it was used as a direct spermicide.

However, if you are thinking of conceiving, you might want to use Tumeric powder in cooking, instead of curcumin which is the active ingredient in Turmeric. This would give you a maximum of 150 milligrams (mg) of curcumin per day, which is the level that people in India have if they eat a spicy Tumeric curry dish with 7 grams of Turmeric powder. Of course, if you wanted to be completely safe, you would even avoid Turmeric – but then again, you would miss out on all of the health benefits. And if you wanted to play it completely safe, you would never fly or even cross the road. There is such a thing as an acceptable risk / reward ratio.

In summary:

  • Curcumin is safe and effective if you are not thinking of conceiving.
  • Curcumin is almost certainly safe and effective if you are thinking of conceiving.
  • To be on the safe side, if you are thinking of conceiving, do not take curcumin, instead, use Turmeric powder in your cooking which contains 2% curcumin. Turmeric powder has been used in cooking for thousands of years in India, and given their population is about to hit 1 billion, it doesn’t seem to have had a negative impact on fertility.

Is Curcumin Recommended?

Yes.

The balance of evidence indicates that Curcumin is safe and effective for treating inflammatory gut conditions such as:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD)
  • Crohns
  • Ulcerative Colitis (UC)
  • Celiacs
  • Gluten Intolerance
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

This is probably one of the safest interventions possible, and is definitely worth investigating.

Option 4: What you eat

See “The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in “Healthy” Foods That Cause Disease and Weight” Gain by Steven R. Gundry (33).

If you look hard enough online, you will find people that really do disagree with this approach. However, you will also find people who said that this approach gave them their life back. See Reddit for some examples. In all honesty, it is very difficult to argue that what you eat has no effect on your health, and those that say “diet has no effect on health” are ignoring a large body of evidence that shows that what you eat does affect your health. As an example, bone broth has also been anecdotally shown to help keep Crohns at bay, see examples on Reddit.

On PubMed, there are studies that link dietary lectins to Crohns disease (34). See more references in the book (33).

Read the book (33), give it a go, and if it works, post a note in the comments.

More Information

For more studies that show how curcumin can help you to have a healthy gastrointestinal tract, search www.pubmed.org for “curcumin ibs”, “curcumin crohns”, “curcumin celiacs”, etc.

Research Methodology

Read more on the research methodology used when creating this page.

Links

Citations

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.