Nutrition and inflammatory bowel disease: an update.Scand J Gastroenterol Suppl 1999; 230:95-105SJ
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory process, the aetiology of which remains unknown. Nutrition may play an important role in the pathogenesis and treatment of IBD. The evidence regarding the role of specific dietary components in the pathogenesis of IBD is still inconclusive. Many studies have been subject to methodological limitations; studies of better design are necessary to confirm the hypothesis that nutritional factors may indeed play a role in the development of IBD. Several studies have reported nutritional and functional deficiencies in IBD patients, especially in Crohn's disease. It is, however, hard to discriminate between disease-induced and malnutrition-induced changes in nutritional parameters. Maintaining adequate nutritional status has been suggested to be beneficial to the course of the disease in IBD. Studies have provided further insight into the possible beneficial effects of nutritional supplementation as primary and adjunctive therapy in IBD. The effects of specific nutritional therapy may be caused by alterations in intestinal flora and hence in the production of intraluminal proinflammatory substances. Immunonutrients such as n-3 fatty acids and antioxidants may also play a role in the treatment of IBD. In this paper, the relation between nutritional aetiological factors, nutritional status and nutritional therapy is discussed in detail.