Health Matters

Ulcerative Colitis - How we came to Understand that Vitamin B5 may be Involved?


Many animal models for studying colitis exist. Most use rectal instillation of irritants such as acetic acid, ethanol, trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid, formalin, and hydrogen peroxide, or oral ingestion of sulphated polysaccharides to generate colon inflammation. These animal models don’t resemble human ulcerative colitis either in terms of causation, at the tissue level appearance, or how human UC develops over time. The real clues, to what may cause human UC came from observations of a nutritional form of colitis in pigs.

Last month’s article suggested that a compound called “Co enzyme-A” may play a key role in Ulcerative Colitis (UC) in humans.

Co enzyme-A is made in the body of all mammals from Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid). Vitamin B5 is an essential nutrient which must be gotten from the diet.

Vitamin B5 deficiency often develops in animals (particularly pigs) fed corn, because corn/soybean meal is deficient in pantothenic acid. Dietary deficiency of Vitamin B5 causes Ulcerative Colitis (among other problems) in pigs.

This was first illustrated in the early last century. Dietary Vitamin B5 deficiency leads first to a low free CoA level in pig colon cells, then severe colonic inflammation, wall thickening, oedema, excessive mucus discharge and bloody diarrhoea. In fact, this Colitis in pigs exactly resembles UC in humans:
1. Free Co enzyme-A concentration in pig colonic mucosal cells and UC patients are both low
2. Colitis appears first at the rectum, then spreads toward the caecum as disease worsens in pigs and human UC
3. Similar tissue inflammatory changes occur with appearance of crypt abscesses, and mucus cell depletion.

In pigs, the chain of events is: Low dietary Vitamin B5 low Vitamin B5 levels in colonic cells low free CoA levels in colon cells Colitis.

Vitamin B5 supplementation easily reverses this chain of events, and the pig Colitis heals, commencing at the caecum and progressing toward the rectum.

While simple Vitamin B5 deficiency isn’t sufficient to induce UC in man, it was:
1. The clear similarity of Vitamin B5 deficiency Colitis in pigs to UC in humans, and
2. The similarly low free Co enzyme-A levels in human and pig colonic cells during Colitis that first lead medical scientists to suspect that low free Co enzyme-A may also lead to UC in humans.

Article Written + Submitted by:

Andreas Klein Nutritionist + Remedial Therapist from Beautiful Health + Wellness
P: 0418 166 269

Leave A Reply