Good Bacteria Relieve Ulcerative Colitis

I've been talking about the powerful ability of beneficial bacteria to help heal the intestines for nearly five years. In this latest study, researchers from the University of Bologna in Italy and the University of North Carolina found that the majority of patients taking a probiotic mixture of eight bacteria for six weeks improved their ulcerative colitis.

Probiotics are preparations of living microbial cells that, when ingested, are thought to positively influence the composition of microbes in the gut and improve the health of the intestine. In this clinical trial, 86 percent of those treated with a probiotic bacteria mixture experienced relief of their mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. The mixture of eight lactic acid bacterial species is believed to work by:

  • Reducing the number of "bad" bacteria
  • Reducing the amount of inflammation
  • Increasing the mucus layer in the gut
  • Increasing the amount of anti-inflammatory molecules in the intestine

This natural treatment is worth a try for most anyone with this disease, as many people wind up having extensive sections of their colon removed to address the problem or wind up on long-term high-dose steroid therapy that devastates their health.

How can you get more probiotics in your diet? Read my past article on the health benefits of probiotics for a complete explanation, but here's a quick hint: Eat plenty of fermented foods.

If you or someone you know is suffering from ulcerative colitis or another inflammatory bowel disease, I also urge you to read my article, Seven Ways to Beat Inflammatory Bowel Disease, for more natural treatment options.

American Journal of Gastroenterology July 2005; 100(7):1539-46

Science Blog July 25, 2005

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