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Could pomegranate treat IBD?

Natural polyphenols in pomegranate have been found to interact with gut bacteria to produce a compound with anti-inflammatory effects.

Pomegranate could fight the agonising symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), scientists believe.

The researchers, at the University of Louisville in Kentucky said their discovery highlights the importance of gut health to protect from IBD.

The researchers discovered a metabolite called urolithin A (UroA) is produced as a result of polyphenols in fruits and gut bacteria interacting.

Polyphenols are present in pomegranates and other berries such as strawberries, blackberries and raspberries.

It’s specifically ellagic acid which interacts with a strain of bacteria in the gut (INIA P815 strain of Bifidobacterium pseudocatenulatum), releasing UroA in the process.

This would have positive effects on the long-term inflammation in the stomach, oesophagus and intestines in people with IBD.

Dr Rajbir Singh, the first study author said: “The general belief thus far in the field is that urolithins [such as UroA and UAS03] exert beneficial effects through their anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative properties.

“We have for the first time discovered that their mode of function also includes repairing the gut barrier dysfunction and maintaining barrier integrity.”

Variations in UroA levels vary from one individual to another, as our gut bacteria is different.

Sometimes it may not be present at all, the researchers said.

Therefore, the supplementation of UroA could overcome this and offer health benefits.

Foods, such as pomegranate, would have a positive effect, but the use of the synthetic UAS03 would be stronger and have a bigger impact, the team believe.

Further experiments and clinical testing are needed to test if the encouragement of UroA in the gut would help those suffering.

But it is promising for the treatment for not only for IBD, but many other areas of health, the researchers said.

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Posted on: January 31 2019

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