Dietary changes help reduce inflammatory bowel disease in mice, claims study

Washington: A recent study conducted on mice has found that dietary modification helps in treating Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

University of Southern California researchers published a paper in the Cell Reports journal proving that changing the diet to a fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) where the mice were only fed plant-based foods over a period of several days to trick the body into entering a period of fasting which in turn changed the gut microbiota that reduced the IBD pathology.

FMD has previously shown a reduction of the symptoms of several chronic illnesses, like multiple sclerosis and diabetes.

During the study, researchers induced IBD symptoms and pathology in mice by feeding them dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) which causes gut inflammation in mice. The mice after this received multiple FMD cycles involving vegan food.

Another group of mice were infected by DSS but underwent water only fasting. Mice that received FMD showed reduced symptoms, increased stem cell numbers and reversed intestinal pathology which was caused by DSS whereas mice that were on water-only fasting increased regenerative and reduced inflammatory markers but did not reverse IBD pathology.

“Because of its content, the diet is facilitating changes in the microbiota, including repopulation or major changes in the population of Lactobacillus,” says lead author Valter Longo.

“You wouldn’t think mice would have that much Lactobacillus, but they were given a human diet so it seems to promote the growth of bacteria normally associated with a healthy human vegan diet,” continues Longo.

Looking ahead the researchers are finalizing the protocol for a randomized clinical trial of a modified FMD in humans to see if the microbiota changes and produces any effects on IBD pathology.