By Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS, June 8, 2006, abstracted from “Intestinal anti-inflammatory activity of combined quercitrin and dietary olive oil supplemented with fish oil, rich in EPA and DHA (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids, in rats with DSS-induced colitis” printed online May 15, 2006 in Clinical Nutrition
As a condition that affects more than one million Americans, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an inflammatory condition of the intestines that has no known cause but is thought to involve an immune reaction of the body to its own intestinal tract. The two major types of IBD are ulcerative colitis (UC), which is limited to the colon, and Crohn’s Disease (CD), which can involve any part of the digestive system.1
Although the current treatments for IBD aim at decreasing inflammation through prescription medications,(2,3) numerous side effects that include acne, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, psychological disturbances, cataracts, growth failure in children, and bone cell death4 make them very undesirable.
Fortunately, safer ways to help deal with IBD are starting to surface such as limiting sugar and fat intake5 while increasing dietary fiber6 and probiotic7 intake. Now a new study8 has found that a combination of supplements may help protect against IBD. The first, quercitin, is an antioxidant in plants recently found to be effective against type 2 diabetes.9 The second, fish oil, is an anti-inflammatory supplement10 essential for a number of health issues, from preserving heart health11 and vision12 to helping relieve back pain13 and stress.14
In the study, researchers divided rats into five groups. Three of the groups received a soybean oil diet. The other two groups received a fish oil diet comprised of 96% olive oil and 4% fish oil, providing the rats with 6 mg of fish oil per day. Finally, one of the two fish oil groups and one of the soybean oil groups also received quercetin in amounts of 1 mg per kg of bodyweight per day.
Two weeks after the start of the experiment, four of the groups (one soybean oil group, the soybean-quercetin group, and both fish oil groups) had colitis induced while the third soybean oil group remained the control. To measure colitis severity, researchers measured the levels of three enzymes known to play a key role in IBD: LTB4,15 TNF-alpha,16 and IL1-beta.17
The researchers found that fish oil reduced TNF-alpha levels by 49%, IL 1-beta levels by 31%, and LTB4 levels by 39.5% compared to the soybean oil group. When quercetin was added to the fish oil group, TNF-alpha, IL1-beta, and LTB4 levels fell by 57%, 62%, and 45%, respectively, compared to the soybean oil group.
While attributing some of these results to the antioxidant properties of olive oil (18), they gave more of the credit to the quercetin-fish oil combo and concluded that “this new treatment may have the potential to play a role in the treatment of IBD, not only owing to their anti-inflammatory effect but also for its ability to [decrease oxidative damage].”
Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Danville, CA. You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at mailto:ChiroDocPSUalum@msn.com or visiting his website www.CompleteChiropracticHealthcare.com
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