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Health News Archive 54 - Colon Health (con't)
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Resveratrol Reduces Colitis Injury

Resveratrol, the grape-derived antioxidant polyphenol, reduces intestinal damage in the colon of rats with experimentally induced colitis, according to a study published in April 2004.

Oxidative stress, the damaging process caused by free radicals, is involved in the development of irritable bowel disease. Symptoms of IBD also include the generation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, proteins produced by white blood cells, and the production of neutrophils, white blood cells important in protecting the body against infection. Resveratrol has been shown to exert antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-regulation abilities, indicating that it can protect the colon against all three of the damaging processes mentioned above.

Researchers induced colitis in the colons of rats, then determined whether resveratrol would help alleviate the damage that occurs in this disease. Resveratrol (5-10 mg/kg/day) significantly reduced the degree of colonic injury. Resveratrol also exerted protection over the colon by acting as an antioxidant.

In addition, resveratrol reduced the levels of cytokines, indicating it had an anti-inflammatory effect. This anti-inflammatory effect was further supported by its ability to reduce the expression of COX-2, the same enzyme targeted by certain drugs, such as those used for osteoarthritis.  An example is Vioxx. COX-2 also is over expressed in colon cancer cells.


Martin AR, Villegas I, La Casa C, De La Lastra CA. Resveratrol, a polyphenol found in grapes, suppresses oxidative damage and stimulates apoptosis during early colonic inflammation in rats. Biochem Pharmacol. 2004 Apr 1;67(7):1399-410.

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Boswellia: An Herb for Fighting Inflammation of Ulcerative Colitis

Researchers report that those suffering from ulcerative colitis may be benefited by the use of the herb Boswellia. A study showed that 350mg Boswella taken 3 times daily caused an ulcerative colitis remission. Boswellia has been known to help with arthritis, but evidence now shows that Boswellia helps to inhibit the formation of Leukotriene B4, which causes inflammation.

Boswella may help with almost any disorder involving involving inflammation and Leukotriene.

Boswellia is an herb which has an anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic action in acute and chronic models of inflammation. It does not produce an analgesic effect, but suppresses inflammation, the underlying cause of pain. Boswellia reduces joint swelling and morning stiffness, increases mobility and reduces arthritic pain.

Leukotrienes are considered to be involved in the initiation and continuation of a variety of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, rheumatism, colitis, psoriasis, asthma, etc. Leukotrienes cause inflammation by promoting free radical damage, calcium dislocation, autoimmune responses, cell adhesion and the migration of inflammatory producing cells to the inflamed body area. Boswella blocks the synthesis of leukotrienes, which is how it inhibits inflammation.

The recommended dose is two 350 mg capsules three times per day for a month. After results are seen, the dose can be reduced to three capsules per day.

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Fish Oil Supplements Ameliorate Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis, a common form of inflammatory bowel disease, is accompanied by an increased level of leukotriene B4 in the lining of the colon. Fish oils are known to inhibit the synthesis of leukotrienes and it has therefore been postulated that they might be beneficial in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco, California have just released the results of a study aimed at testing this hypothesis.

The study involved 11 male patients aged 31 to 74 years who had been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. The patients were randomized into two groups with one group receiving 15 fish oil capsules (providing 2.7 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 1.8 grams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) daily); the other group received placebo capsules (olive oil). After 3 months on the supplements, all participants underwent a 2-month wash-out period and were then assigned to the opposite treatment to what they had received during the first stage for another 3 months. Clinical evaluations of all patients were performed at the start of the study and every month thereafter.

Evaluation of the patients' clinical data at the end of the treatment periods showed a significant beneficial effect of fish oil supplementation. The mean disease severity score for the patients on fish oil declined by 56% as compared to 4% for the placebo group. Eight of the 11 patients (72%) were able to markedly reduce or totally eliminate their use of anti-inflammatory medication and steroids while taking the fish oils.

The researchers conclude that fish oil supplementation results in a marked clinical improvement of active mild to moderate ulcerative colitis.

Source: Aslan, Alex and Triadafilopoulos, George. Fish oil fatty acid supplementation in active ulcerative colitis: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study. American Journal of Gastroenterology, Vol. 87, April 1992, pp. 432-37.

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Fish Oil Supplements Benefit Patients with Ulcerative Colitis

Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York report that fish oil supplementation is highly effective in alleviating ulcerative colitis. Their small pilot study involved 10 patients with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis who had not been helped by conventional medical therapy. The patients were given 15 capsules of fish oil daily containing a total of 2.7 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 1.8 grams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The capsules were taken in 3 divided doses for an 8-week period. All patients underwent rigid sigmoidoscopy at entry to the study, at 4 weeks, and at the completion of the study. They also kept a daily log of the number of bowel movements, stool consistency, and any side effects. At the end of the 8 weeks, 7 out of the 10 patients showed marked to moderate improvement and 4 out of 5 patients on prednisone were able to reduce their daily dose by 20 to 66%.

The researchers speculate that the EPA in the fish oil interferes with the synthesis of the highly inflammatory leukotriene B4 in the lining of the colon and that this effect accounts for the improvement. They recommend a large, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial to confirm the beneficial effects of fish oil supplementation in ulcerative colitis patients.

Source: Salomon, Peter, et al. Treatment of ulcerative colitis with fish oil n-3-omega fatty acid: an open trial. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, Vol. 12, No. 2, 1990, pp. 157-61.

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