Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a term used for ongoing inflammation in one or more parts of the digestive system. Crohn's disease and Ulceraitve colitis are both inflammatory bowel diseases. A new study has indicated that a change in diet to one that mimicks fasting, can help IBD patients improve the symptoms of the disease. The study was conducted on mice by researchers at the University of Southern California. The team administered the subject mice to a fast-mimicking diet, by feeding them only plant-based foods over a period of several foods. The impact of the change in diet was seen on the bodies of the mice. The results of the study were published in the journal Cell Reports.
The researchers saw that the change in the diet altered the gut microbiota in the mice, and reduce IBD pathology in them. The diet was called Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) and it has previously been observed this diet can reduce symptoms of several other chronic ailments like diabetes and multiple sclerosis. The study titled, "Fasting-Mimicking Diet Modulates Microbiota and Promotes Intestinal Regeneration to Reduce Inflammatory Bowel Disease Pathology" saw researchers feeding the mice dextran sodium sulfate (DSS), a molecule that induced gut inflammation in the animals. The mice were then treated to human-grade vegan foods during multiple FMD cycles.
A second group of DSS-treated mice were put on a water-fasting diet. The mice that were treated to FMD cycles showed reduction in intestinal inflammation and an increase in number of stem cells. The diet was also shown to stimulate protective gut microbiota and also reversed intestinal pathology. On the other hand, the water-fasting mice showed reduce inflammatory markers but did not show reversed IBD pathology. Talking about the applications of the study, authors said in the journal report, "The effect of FMD cycles on microbiota composition, immune cell profile, intestinal stem cell levels and the reversal of pathology associated with IBD in mice, and the anti-inflammatory effects demonstrated in a clinical trial show promise for FMD cycles to ameliorate IBD-associated inflammation in humans."