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Effect of Dietary Turmeric on Breath Hydrogen


Turmeric is widely used in Indian cuisine. The main constituents of turmeric are curcumin and its analogues, which are well-known antioxidant compounds. In the present study, we hypothesized that turmeric in curry might increase bowel motility and activate hydrogen-producing bacterial flora in the colon, thereby increasing the concentration of breath hydrogen. Eight healthy subjects fasted for 12 h and ingested curry and rice with or without turmeric (turmeric knockout curry). Breath-hydrogen concentrations were analyzed every 15 min for 6 h by gas chromatography with a semiconductor detector. Curry with turmeric significantly increased the area under the curve of breath hydrogen and shortened small-bowel transit time, compared with curry not containing turmeric. These results suggested that dietary turmeric activated bowel motility and carbohydrate colonic fermentation.

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This work was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid (16209020) for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan and Uragami Food Foundation. K. Nose is a postdoctoral fellow supported by the Japanese Promotion of Science. We thank all volunteers in this study and Ms. Noriko Inui, Ms. Azusa Hoshino, and Ms. Ayami Kayano for their technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Akito Shimouchi.

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Shimouchi, A., Nose, K., Takaoka, M. et al. Effect of Dietary Turmeric on Breath Hydrogen. Dig Dis Sci 54, 1725–1729 (2009).

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  • Curry
  • Turmeric
  • Curcumin
  • Breath hydrogen
  • Small-bowel transit time