I have written many article in the past about the use of probiotics in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Up to this point there was not a lot of information specific to their use in IBD but they were often prescribed in a “well, it couldn’t hurt to try it” sort of way.
Less than a year ago I attended a webcast during which time I was able to ask several of the top doctors in IBD about probiotics. They seemed to think that in the future there would be specific probiotics designed to treat specific diseases. At the time it sounded like this treatment would be a long was off but recent research proves promising.
Researchers at Northwestern medicine deleted a gene in the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus and fed it to two groups of mice with different forms of colitis. All of the mice saw a regression of symptoms. The probiotic almost completely eliminated the inflammation in the colon and stopped the progression of the colitis by 95 percent. The researchers theorized that this new probiotic actually calmed down the over stimulated immune cells and returned everything to normal (1).
This type of treatment is fairly new but the results seem very promising. Hopefully sometime in the near future we will have targeted probiotics to treat or cure Inflammatory Bowel Disease or other GI conditions.
Jennifer Rackley is a nutritionist and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and graduate work in public health nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.