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Dietary changes may reduce effects of IBD
      06/27/13 05:43 PM
HeatherAdministrator

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Dietary changes may reduce effects of IBD, study finds
Researchers found that eating certain foods, including apples, broccoli and cauliflower, might help stop the immune system from attacking normal intestinal flora, thereby removing the stimulus for inflammation and fibrosis formation in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Though diet choices can help alleviate IBD symptoms, doctors may still recommend surgery to remove fibrotic or scarred areas of the intestine in some patients with IBD.

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Scientists find that while there is no cure for IBD, certain dietary changes can make it and resulting fibrosis more manageable.
By Anoopa Singh ' Jun 19, 2013 03:21 PM EDT


Four million Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks one's colon and intestines and leads to high levels of inflammation and digestive difficulties. Often, as a result of the constant inflammation, the intestines will form fibroids, or masses of cells that try to reinforce the intestinal walls to protect from further immune attack. This fibrosis is driven by the chronic inflammation but does not always work as the body hopes it will. Frequently, fibroids in the intestines can lead to large amounts of scar tissue that prevent the intestines from being as elastic as they once were and can narrow them, making digestion and elimination difficult or impossible.

Fixing these digestive issues caused by IBD often requires surgery. But, what if the fibrosis was reversible?

A new study indicates that the presence alone of the microbes that the immune system wishes to attack will begin the bodily response that sparks fibrosis. Previous studies have shown that when intestinal microbes are sent to the liver by accident, fibrosis will begin there as well. However, once the microbes are sent away from the liver, dangerous fibrosis ceases.

The researchers attempted to kill off all of the gut bacteria with antibiotics, but this can lead to other health issues as well as a worsening of IBD symptoms. They found that some foods have the potential to block the receptors in the body that recognize benign gut bacteria as invaders. This can ease a lot of the inflammation that is characteristic of IBD. In the same way, easing the inflammation can prevent further fibrosis. Some of these foods include broccoli, cauliflower, and apples.

It is clear that there is some promise in altering one's diet to manage IBD. But while the blockage of inflammation will stop fibrosis, the condition can progress if some inflammation still occurs. The researchers hope that fibrosis in other organs can regress the way it does in the intestines, but researchers still believe that in spite of their finding, surgical management of fibroids must be employed in order to ensure the health of those with IBD.


Source: Rieder F. The Gut Microbiome in Intestinal Fibrosis: Environmental Protector or Provocateur?. Science Translational Medicine. 2013.

http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/16675/20130619/intestinal-bacteria-fibrosis-ibd-inflammatory-bowel-disease-dietary-change-autoimmune-disorder.htm

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Heather is the Administrator of the IBS Message Boards. She is 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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