Gut Inflammation and Bloating: Culprit Foods

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Nelson Vergel

"This team evaluated 14 studies, published from 2009 to 2017, showing a yin-yang combination of both pro- and anti-inflammatory effects triggered by different food items. Among naturally occurring items, sugar, fat, sodium caprate, gluten, wheat, pectin, fermentable fiber, alcohol, and salt were all associated variously with the following immune effects: increased tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α and IFNγ secretion, decreased mucin protein (MUC)2 secretion, as well as modulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and reduced production of immunoglobulin (Ig)E, IgG, IgM, and CD4+ and CD45+ lymphocyte cell production.

Depending on the component, end effects included a decrease or increase in tight junction proteins, an increase in intestinal permeability, aggravation of ileal inflammation, ion of tight junction proteins, and a reduced disease activity score.

Modern food preservatives, thickeners, and emulsifiers such as polysorbate-80 maltodextrin, and carrageenan almost always had adverse effects: they were linked to depletion of the protective mucus layer, distended and bacteria-filled spaces between the intestinal villi, decreased bacterial richness, enhanced adhesion of Escherichia coli and other bacteria to the mucosa, lowered transepithelial resistance, and worsened colitis.

"High animal or dairy fat, animal protein, wheat, emulsifiers, and thickeners appear to top the list of candidate foods associated with intestinal inflammation in animal models," Levine and co-authors wrote.

For functional, IBS-like symptoms that persist during IBD remission, recent studies have shown that restricting fermentable oligo-, di-, monosaccharides and polyols (FODMAP) carbohydrates is effective. Prince et al, for example, recently reported that 78% of patients reported satisfactory relief of functional symptoms after 6 weeks on the low-FODMAP diet. "

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Nelson Vergel

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