Health Matters

Could a Unique Probiotic Help Reduce Ulcerative Colitis Relapse ?


The gastrointestinal tract is a complex ecological environment. Every person has about 100 trillion bacteria, made up of 40,000 different species, living in their large intestine. This represents 10 times the total number of human body cells. 70% of these bacteria have never been cultured, and together they make up 50% of faecal volume.
We know that gut bacteria are involved in the development Ulcerative Colitis (UC) because both:
1. Antibiotics and,
2. Probiotics
have some therapeutic efficacy in UC.
Animal studies on Colitis have shown that changes occur in the:
1. relative densities (some bacteria are increased in numbers from normal, others decreased);
2. spatial distribution (some bacteria are now found in abnormal locations in the large bowel)
of the dominant bacterial groups in the large intestine of animals, and that these changes precede the onset of Colitis.
Unfortunately, the results of studies using probiotics in the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis have generally been somewhat inconsistent. For those in which probiotics showed positive effects, results were only modest. This may be because of the:
1. variable actions of the different probiotic species tested,
2. limitations of most probiotic preparations, i.e.:
a. they ‘provide a comparatively low numbers and diversity of bacterial species in comparison with the vast human gut microbiota’.
b. strains used may not be able to compete effectively against microbial community currently resident in the gut due to the complex interrelationships ready established between these adapted, indigenous microbes.
In 2004 however, researchers in Germany tested the probiotic E. coli Nissle 1917 in Ulcerative Colitis patients (Kruis et al 2004). 327 patients were given either E. coli Nissle 1917 probiotic 200 mg once daily, mesalazine 500 mg three times daily, or placebo for 12 months. Researchers then assessed patient response to each intervention via clinical and endoscopic activity indices and histology (looking at bowel tissue under a microscope). They found that:
1. 64% of patients on E. coli Nissle 1917 and
2. 66% of patients on mesalazine
remained in remission at the end of the study. Study authors concluded that the probiotic E. coli Nissle 1917, was as effective as the gold standard drug mesalazine at maintaining remission in patients with Ulcerative Colitis.

Article Written + Submitted by:

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

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