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All Boards >> Irritable Bowel Syndrome Research Library

HeatherAdministrator

Reged: 12/09/02
Posts: 7423
Loc: Seattle, WA
Calming Crohn's Disease with Fish Oil and Antioxidants
01/07/05 04:55 PM

Calming Crohn's Disease with Fish Oil and Antioxidants


By Sheila Russell, Ph.D. Abstracted from "Fish oil and antioxidants alter the composition and function of circulating mononuclear cells in Crohn disease" in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2004;80:1137-44.

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory disease that can affect any area within the gut, including the intestines, stomach, esophagus, and the mouth. This disease can manifest itself at any age, from young childhood to advanced age. Crohn's disease occurs in whites at a rate of 2-5 times than that of non-whites3 and tends to run in some families.

The exact cause of this disease is unknown, and persons afflicted with Crohns must also contend with two very common complications: malnutrition1 and bone loss.2 The development of malnutrition is due to poor absorption in the diseased area. The cause of bone loss is believed to be part of the inflammatory process. Researchers believe that immune cells present within the diseased area become activated. Then some of these activated cells migrate into the circulation where they cause additional sites of inflammation, such as in the bone, causing bone resorption. Therefore, treatments for this disease need to be able to combat the inflammation, not only in the gut, but also in the bones.

Supplementing with fish oil and antioxidants may be one way to prevent inflammatory cells from forming in the gut and to decreasing the overall tendency of circulating defense cells to cause inflammation. Based on a previous report showing that fish oil could inhibits Crohn's disease relapse in some patients with inactive disease,4 researchers wanted to know if fish oil along with antioxidants could work in patients with active Crohn's disease. Therefore, they conducted a study involving 62 adults with Crohn's disease.

Subjects received, either a fish oil supplement (2.7 g EPA and DHA) and an antioxidant supplement (200 mcg selenium, 3 mg manganese, 30 mg vitamin E, 450 mcg vitamin A and 90 mg vitamin C), or a placebo daily for 24 weeks. Blood samples were drawn to evaluate the effectiveness of the dietary supplements. Researchers analyzed the circulating defense cells to measure changes in the amounts and types of chemicals these cells were producing.

Results from the study showed that in subjects who consumed the fish oil and antioxidants, circulating defense cell contained more EPA and DHA. Circulating defense cells were also producing less inflammatory chemicals. These results are promising and demonstrate that alterations in the consumption of the type of fats in the diet can affect the state of the inflammatory cells. Now, whether or not these alterations within the circulating cells would lead to disease remission is unknown at this time. Additional clinical testing is required in persons with Crohn's disease before the benefits of this regiment can be determined.

Reference:

1 Harries AD, Jones LA, Heatley RV, Rhodes J. Malnutrition in inflammatory bowel disease: an anthropometric study. Hum Nutr Clin Nutr 1982;36:307-13

2 Bjarnason I, Macpherson A, mackintosh C, Buxton-Thomas M, Forgacs I, Moniz C. Reduced bone density in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Gut 1997;40:228-33

3 Crawford JM. The gastrointestinal tract. in Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease, 5th ed. eds. Cotran RS, Kumar V, Ribbing SL. W.B. Saunders Co. Philadelphia 1994, pg 801

4 Belluzzi A, Brignola C, Campieri M, Pera A, Boschi S, Miglioli M. Effect of an enteric-coated fish-oil preparation on relapses in Crohn's disease. N Engl J Med 1996;334:1557-41


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Heather is the Administrator of the IBS Message Boards. Shes the author of Eating for IBS and The First Year: IBS, and the CEO of Heather's Tummy Care. Join her IBS Newsletter. Meet Heather on Facebook!

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