Effect of dietary turmeric on breath hydrogen

Dig Dis Sci. 2009 Aug;54(8):1725-9. doi: 10.1007/s10620-008-0550-1. Epub 2008 Nov 26.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Breath Tests
  • Colon / microbiology
  • Curcuma*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Motility / physiology
  • Gastrointestinal Transit / drug effects
  • Gastrointestinal Transit / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen / metabolism*
  • India
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Young Adult


  • Plant Extracts
  • Hydrogen
  • turmeric extract