Date of Graduation

Summer 8-11-2018

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a poorly understood process that affects over a million people in the United States alone. The disease typically manifests as recurrent flares of abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea along with periods of remission. Standard therapy has focused around maintenance and remission, rather than a cure. These lifelong diagnoses carry devastating consequences for patients. Modern medical therapy consists primarily of steroids, aminosalicylate anti-inflammatories and immunomodulators.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common diagnoses in gastroenterology practices in the North American hemisphere. IBS shares many of the same symptoms as IBD and despite growing research and compelling data, it’s still unclear if there are genetic components and mucosal changes to explore.

Patients are becoming increasingly interested in how to maintain their remission or reverse the disease processes through diet and lifestyle changes. Current research focused on the chemical compound curcumin, found in the Turmeric rhizome, may hold the keys to maintaining remission in mild to moderate ulcerative colitis (UC). Through systematic literature review this article aims to explore existing research regarding natural food-based compounds, namely curcumin, and the potential benefits for patients with IBD and IBS diagnoses.