Dietary Factors in the Modulation of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Activity

Shinil Shah, DO, PGY-1


March 27, 2007


Context: As patients look to complementary therapies for management of their diseases, it is important that the physician know the effectiveness and/or lack of effectiveness of a variety of dietary approaches/interventions. Although the pathogenesis of the inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease) is not fully understood, many suspect that diet and various dietary factors may play a modulating role in the disease process.
Evidence Acquisition: The purpose of this article is to present some of what is known about various dietary/nutritional factors in inflammatory bowel disease, with inclusion of evidence from various studies regarding their putative effect. MedLINE was searched (1965-present) using combinations of the following search terms: diet, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis. Additionally, references of the articles obtained were searched to identify further potential sources of information.
Evidence Synthesis: While much information is available regarding various dietary interventions/supplements in regard to inflammatory bowel disease, the lack of controlled trials limits broad applicability. Probiotics are one of the few interventions with promising results and controlled trials.
Conclusion: While there are many potential and promising dietary factors that may play a role in the modulation of inflammatory bowel disease, it is prudent to await further controlled studies before broad application/physician recommendation in the noted patient population.

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