When people are affected with intestinal bowel disease (IBD), nutrients are a major concern. First, the body’s ability to absorb and use the necessary vitamins and minerals is compromised. Secondly, some foods may make the condition worse – unfortunately, many of them are staples in the Western diet.
Fortunately, some nutrients, including amino acids, probiotics, and natural anti-inflammatories could help. Tryptophan, for example (best known to Americans as an amino acid in turkey), can irritate or ameliorate IBD depending on its source. It appears that food sources can make conditions worse, where supplemental tryptophan may modulate immune responses.
Likewise, arginine is a critical amino acid for the immune system. It helps reduce inflammation in the colon and helps heal damage to the mucosal lining of the intestines. And fiber along with gut microbes can help protect against future flare ups, as long as the dietary intake is consistent. As for natural anti-inflammatories, curcumin may be one of the best choices for individuals dealing with colitis. The challenge is to choose a curcumin that is well absorbed. In this case, consider a curcumin supplement combined with turmeric essential oil to enhance absorption and blood retention.
Sugihara K, Morhardt TL, Kamada N. The Role of Dietary Nutrients in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Front Immunol. 2019;9:3183.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic and relapsing inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract. Although the precise etiology of IBD remains incompletely understood, accumulating evidence suggests that various environmental factors, including dietary nutrients, contribute to its pathogenesis. Dietary nutrients are known to have an impact on host physiology and diseases. The interactions between dietary nutrients and intestinal immunity are complex. Dietary nutrients directly regulate the immuno-modulatory function of gut-resident immune cells. Likewise, dietary nutrients shape the composition of the gut microbiota. Therefore, a well-balanced diet is crucial for good health. In contrast, the relationships among dietary nutrients, host immunity and/or the gut microbiota may be perturbed in the context of IBD. Genetic predispositions and gut dysbiosis may affect the utilization of dietary nutrients. Moreover, the metabolism of nutrients in host cells and the gut microbiota may be altered by intestinal inflammation, thereby increasing or decreasing the demand for certain nutrients necessary for the maintenance of immune and microbial homeostasis. Herein, we review the current knowledge of the role dietary nutrients play in the development and the treatment of IBD, focusing on the interplay among dietary nutrients, the gut microbiota and host immune cells. We also discuss alterations in the nutritional metabolism of the gut microbiota and host cells in IBD that can influence the outcome of nutritional intervention. A better understanding of the diet-host-microbiota interactions may lead to new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of IBD.
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