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Newsletter article discussing inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), encompassing both ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease, can be a debilitating disease affecting approximately 3.1 million US adults. IBD is characterized by an inappropriate inflammatory response to antigens in the digestive tract, such as those introduced through diet or present in the gut microbiota. This abnormal activation of the gastrointestinal (GI) immune system ultimately induces tissue fibrosis and destruction, resulting in altered function of the GI tract. The goal of IBD treatment is to regulate the inflammatory response and maintain a state of remission. This is often achieved through medication and changes to the diet, but in severe cases, may require surgical intervention.
Pharmacological management varies based on the severity of the disease, with potentially dangerous side effects for some medications for moderate to severe UC. In contrast, phytonutrients are bioactive compounds naturally found in plant-based foods that possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In patients with UC, mounting evidence has shown a potential benefit of phytonutrients given their anti-inflammatory properties and ability to impact patients’ disease activity, quality of life, and markers of oxidative stress.
CPE Level: 2
Performance Indicators: 10.4.1, 8.1.3, 8.3.1
- Discuss the proposed mechanism behind the elevated inflammatory response in patients with inflammatory bowel disease
- Recognize the potential for phytonutrients as an adjunct therapy to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in patients with ulcerative colitis
- Identify the limitations of the current research of phytonutrient supplementation when applying evidence-based research into practice