Tag Archives: inflammatory bowel disease

Broccoli may help prevent Crohn’s disease

Broccoli and the tropical fruit plantain may play an important role in blocking a key stage in the development of the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn’s disease, the results of a new study indicate.

There are two types of IBD – Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. They can be difficult to tell apart as in both diseases, there is inflammation and damage to the intestine wall in the form of lesions or sores that often bleed easily.

However, with Crohn’s disease, symptoms can be more severe and any part of the intestine can be injured, although problems are most common in the small intestine or ileum near the entrance to the large intestine.

According to UK researchers, the causes of Crohn’s disease are thought to be a mixture of genetic and environmental factors, one of which is very likely to be diet. The disease is significantly less common in developing countries, where fibrous fruit and vegetables, such as broccoli, are dietary staples, and its incidence has recently risen rapidly in Japan, in tandem with the increasing adoption of a more Westernised diet there.

One of the key stages in the development of Crohn’s is invasion of the cells lining the bowel by bacteria, particularly a ‘sticky’ type of E. coli, so the researchers looked at dietary agents that might influence this process.



They cultured M (microfold) cells, which are bowel lining cells that are the common entry point for invading bacteria that cause diarrhoea, in a process known as translocation.

The researchers from Liverpool then tested whether preparations of plant soluble fibres prepared from leeks, apples, broccoli and plantains, and the fat emulsifiers polysorbate 60 and 80, commonly used in processed food manufacturing, could alter E. coli translocation across M cells.

They found that plantain and broccoli fibres reduced translocation of E. coli by between 45% and 82%, while leek and apple fibres had no noticeable impact. By contrast, the emulsifier polysorbate 80 substantially increased translocation.

These results were then confirmed in tissue samples taken from patients undergoing surgery for other gut disorders.

The findings suggest that supplementing the diet with broccoli or plantain fibres might prevent relapse of Crohn’s disease, the researchers said.

Details of these findings are published in the journal, Gut.

Circadian rhythms and inflammatory bowel disease

Researchers have said that a disruption of circadian rhythms, when combined with a high-fat, high-sugar diet, may contribute to inflammatory bowel disease and other harmful conditions.

Robin M. Voigt, PhD, assistant professor at Rush Medical College and first author of the study, said circadian rhythms, which impose a 24-hour cycle on our bodies, are different from sleep patterns, adding that sleep is a consequence of circadian rhythms.

While circadian rhythm disruption may be common among some, the research suggests that it may be contributing to a host of diseases that may be prevented by regulating things such as sleep/wake patterns and times of eating to help prevent circadian rhythm disruption. Including prebiotics or probiotics in the diet can also help normalize the effects of circadian rhythm disruption on the intestinal microbiota to reduce the presence of inflammation.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease

In the study, male mice had their cycles of exposure to light and dark reversed on a weekly basis (i.e., “shifted”), an experience that is known to disrupt an organism’s innate circadian rhythm. Some of the mice ate standard food; others ate a high-fat, high-sugar diet.

Researchers found that the microbiota of the mice that had their circadian rhythms disrupted were significantly different from that of the control group — but only if they had consumed the high-fat, high-sugar diet.

All the mice that ate the high-fat, high-sugar diet displayed changes in the makeup of the microorganisms in their guts, regardless of circadian status. However, mice that ate the high-fat, high-sugar diet, and had circadian-rhythm disruptions, had higher concentrations of bacteria that are known to promote inflammation than any of the other mice in the study.

Disrupting the circadian rhythms of the mice fed standard chow did not significantly affect the microbiota in their intestines.

The study has been published online in the journal PLOS ONE.