Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) caused by the inflammation associated with colon and rectum.
Symptoms of UC is totally depending on the severity of the disease, including diarrhea, often with blood or pus, persistently abdominal pain, rectal pain, and bleeding, particularly the inability to defecate despite the urgency.
Some patients with UC may also have symptoms of weight loss, fatigue fever.
According to the statistics in the US, out of 1.6 million Americans with inflammatory bowel disease, 907,000 of them have ulcerative colitis.
Depending on the location, most common types of UC can be classified into
* Acute severe ulcerative colitis is a medical emergency that requires immediate hospitalization. The condition affects the entire colon with severe acute symptoms of pain, profuse diarrhea, bleeding, fever.
* Ulcerative proctitis is an Inflammation of the anus (rectum), inducing symptoms of rectal bleeding.
* Proctosigmoiditis is an Inflammation involved the rectum and sigmoid colon (lower end of the colon).
The exact causes of UC are not cleared. Some researchers suggested there are a complex interaction of genetics, immune response, and environmental triggers that cause the onset of the disease.
Most common risk factors of UC include genetic preposition, autoimmune diseases, smoking, use of certain medications such as antibiotics, and smoking.
Some researchers suggested that UC may be correlated with the increase of the age as the disease affected 10–30% of the population older than 60 years.
Dr. Wei-Chen, the lead scientist wrote, " Elderly patients with UC will be seen more frequently with the aging of the population and increasing incidence of UC. The management of UC in the elderly population is more complex due to comorbidities and polypharmacy".
Bilberry is a species of low-growing shrubs in the genus Vaccinium, belonging to the family Ericaceae, native to Northern Europe.
The plant has been used as herbs in traditional medicine for the treatment of acute and chronic diarrhea, gastritis, gastric ulcer, and duodenal ulcer, enterocolitis, ulcerative colitis, anemia, cystitis, kidney disease, and psoriasis, diabetes, etc.
On finding a natural compound or whole food for the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC), as a significant fraction of patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) is not sufficiently controlled with conventional therapy or suffers from therapy-related side effects, researchers examined the anthocyanin-rich bilberry extract (ARBE) on the colon specimens obtained during an open pilot study using ARBE for the treatment of mild-to-moderate UC.
Pretreatment of ARBE inhibited the expression of IFN-γ-receptor 2 which plays a critical role in the regulation of mediated immune responses and organ-specific autoimmunity in human THP-1 monocytic cells.
After 6 weeks of treatment, ARBE treatment revealed reduced the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokines including IFN-γ and TNF-α.
Furthermore, ARBE treatment featured enhanced levels of Th17-cell-specific cytokine IL-22 and immunoregulatory cytokine IL-10 by restoring the balance between Th17 and Treg cells and preventing the risk of chronic inflammation and pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Roth S, the lead scientist after taking other factors into account wrote, "a molecular mechanism underlying the anti-inflammatory effects of ARBE treatment in UC patients by modulating T-cell cytokine signaling and inhibiting IFN-γ signal transduction".
In order to reveal more information about the bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) property on UC, researchers analyzed the antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects with an aim to explore the therapeutic potential of bilberries in active UC.
The open pilot trial with a total follow-up of 9 weeks the effect of a daily standardized anthocyanin-rich bilberry preparation included 13 patients with mild to moderate UC.
At the end of the 6-week treatment interval, 63.4% of patients achieved remission, the primary endpoint, while 90.9% of patients showed a response.
In all patients, a decrease in total Mayo score was detected (mean: 6.5 and 3.6 at screening and week 7, respectively; p<0.001).
Fecal calprotectin levels significantly decreased during the treatment phase (baseline: mean 778 μg/g, range 192-1790 μg/g; end of treatment: mean 305 μg/g, range <30-1586 μg/g; p=0.049), including 4 patients achieving undetectable levels at end of treatment.
No serious adverse events were observed.
The finding strongly supports the regular use of standardized anthocyanin-rich bilberry preparation in UC in humans.
Dr. Biedermann L, said at the end of the experience, "These results clearly indicate a therapeutic potential of bilberries in UC. Further studies on mechanisms and randomized clinical trials are warranted".
Taken altogether, bilberry processed abundantly bioactive compound anthocyanin may be considered a functional remedy for the prevention and treatment of UC, pending to the validation of larger sample size and multicenter human study.
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Kyle J. Norton (Scholar, Master of Nutrition, All right reserved)
Health article writer and researcher; Over 10.000 articles and research papers have been written and published online, including worldwide health, ezine articles, article base, health blogs, self-growth, best before it's news, the karate GB daily, etc.,.
Named TOP 50 MEDICAL ESSAYS FOR ARTISTS & AUTHORS TO READ by Disilgold.com Named 50 of the best health Tweeters Canada - Huffington Post
Nominated for shorty award over last 4 years
Some articles have been used as references in medical research, such as international journal Pharma and Bioscience, ISSN 0975-6299.
(1) Bilberry-Derived Anthocyanins Modulate Cytokine Expression in the Intestine of Patients with Ulcerative Colitis by Roth S1, Spalinger MR1, Gottier C1, Biedermann L1, Zeitz J1, Lang S1, Weber A2, Rogler G1,3, Scharl M. (PubMed)
(2) Bilberry ingestion improves disease activity in mild to moderate ulcerative colitis - an open pilot study by Biedermann L1, Mwinyi J, Scharl M, Frei P, Zeitz J, Kullak-Ublick GA, Vavricka SR, Fried M, Weber A, Humpf HU, Peschke S, Jetter A, Krammer G, Rogler G. (PubMed)
(3) Ulcerative Colitis in Elderly People: An Emerging Issue by Wei-ChenLin, Ming-JenChen, Cheng-HsinChua, Tsang-EnWang, Horng-YuanWang, Chen-WangChang. (Science Direct)
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