Protein-rich diet may help soothe inflamed gut

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Mice fed tryptophan develop immune cells that foster a tolerant gut

Date: August 3, 2017

Source: Washington University School of Medicine

Summary:

The combination of a bacterium that normally lives in the gut and a protein-rich diet promotes a more tolerant, less inflammatory gut immune system, according to new research. The findings, in mice, suggest a way to tilt the gut immune system away from inflammation, potentially spelling relief for people living with inflammatory bowel disease.


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Immune cells patrol the gut to ensure that harmful microbes hidden in the food we eat don't sneak into the body. Cells that are capable of triggering inflammation are balanced by cells that promote tolerance, protecting the body without damaging sensitive tissues. When the balance tilts too far toward inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease can result.

Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that a kind of tolerance-promoting immune cell appears in mice that carry a specific bacterium in their guts. Further, the bacterium needs tryptophan -- one of the building blocks of proteins -- to trigger the cells' appearance.

"We established a link between one bacterial species -- Lactobacillus reuteri -- that is a normal part of the gut microbiome, and the development of a population of cells that promote tolerance," said Marco Colonna, MD, the Robert Rock Belliveau MD Professor of Pathology and the study's senior author. "The more tryptophan the mice had in their diet, the more of these immune cells they had."

If such findings hold true for people, it would suggest that the combination of L. reuteri and a tryptophan-rich diet may foster a more tolerant, less inflammatory gut environment, which could mean relief for the million or more Americans living with the abdominal pain and diarrhea of inflammatory bowel disease.

The study is published Aug. 3 in the journal Science.






How this applies to our pets

1. If you have a pet with IBD, or related disease discuss with your vet about altering diet to primary protein- eliminate carbohydrates.

2. Look at supplementing with the amino acid tryptophan

Trypyophan doses: 100mg/10lbs tw


Washington University School of Medicine
 


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