If colons could cheer they would be gurgling with gratitude, thanks to a discovery regarding two natural supplements that offer a synergistic answer to reducing colitis inflammation.
Colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBS) that causes abdominal pain, cramping, fatigue, and diarrhea. It is a painful condition that affects only the colon and is commonly confused with Crohn’s, which can involve any part of the digestive tract. Despite extensive investigation, the cause of inflammatory bowel disease, including colitis, is still unknown.
Therapeutically, it is important to reduce the severity of inflammation and the oxidative damage it causes. Unfortunately, allopathic treatments for colitis have side effects such as acne, high blood pressure, and bone cell death. But new research published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition (June 2006) shows that natural supplements such as fish oil and quercetin may effectively address both the inflammation and oxidative damage in colitis sufferers without side effects.
The Role of Omega-3
Reducing the inflammation associated with colitis is the first step to offering some relief from the discomfort. This is where omega-3 fatty acids play an important part. They are best known for their role in the regulation of inflammation and have the ability to inhibit the formation of pro-inflammatory mediators.
As such, omega-3 fatty acids have been investigated as an anti-inflammatory treatment for chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Laboratory tests of colon cells affected by colitis showed reduced inflammation when exposed to fish oil, a superior source of omega-3 fatty acids. Placebo-controlled trials have revealed reduced severity of symptoms and diminished need for anti-inflammatory medication when supplementing with fish oil.
The severity of inflammatory diseases can be reduced with antioxidants that extinguish damaging free radicals. It appears that fish oil works not only as an anti-inflammatory but also as a free-radical scavenger, giving it a dual role in its ability to reduce the severity of colitis. A human trial investigating the antioxidant effects of fish oil in colitis subjects found fish oil supplements reduced the level of plasma oxidative stress.
Quercetin, commonly used for its antioxidant properties, is a more recognized antioxidant for colitis than fish oil. According to research, quercetin appears to reduce inflammation by down-regulating inflammatory mediators such as NF-kappa B and iNOS, thus reducing the impact of colitis inflammation on the colon.
A Perfect Synergy
The truly exciting news for colitis sufferers is that science has progressed beyond the means of most disease/supplement areas of study; we’ve learned that supplements may have synergistic value to offer an even higher level of therapy.
One such placebo-controlled study, reported in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition (June 2006), found that fish oil and quercetin may have synergistic effects. Rats with induced colitis were given a diet with fish oil, quercetin, or both. The result of the study showed an association with a greater inhibitory effect on inflammation in the group that received the combined quercetin-fish oil treatment.
Therefore, incorporating fish oil and quercetin into the diet may assist in the treatment of intestinal inflammatory disorders. The dosages in humans would be equivalent to about 90 mg of quercetin daily, and a diet with a 4.5 to 1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6.
Hope. It warms our hearts and excites our brains. Today, hope has our colons cheering, too. Science is progressing and working to find solutions to diseases using unique combinations of natural supplements, offering us all hope for a healthier future. For colitis sufferers, it appears that combining two great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant supplements, fish oil and quercetin, offers hope for freedom and health.