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Inflamed in the Membranes: Digestive Tract and Skin

Relative to its digestive action (catalyzing dietary proteins), bromelain may affect leukocyte migration and cytokine production in the GI tract;1 in fact, administration of the enzyme in ulcerative colitis (UC) patients led to deceased colonic inflammation. Investigating bromelain's mechanism of action in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Duke University Medical Center scientists discovered this collection of proteases from pineapple decreases neutrophil migration to the inflammation site and supports the removal of chemokine receptors.2

Inflammation is a chief factor in numerous gastrointestinal (GI) disorders and diseases, including IBDs such as UC and Crohn's disease. As harmful bacteria can be a trigger of inflammation in the body, it makes sense beneficial bacteria competing with those bad microbes in the gut would help manage IBDs.

Probiotics, however, do more than just compete, as they can inhibit the expression of inflammatory cytokines in the gut.3 Individually, Lactobacillus farciminis can help maintain intestinal integrity and modulate inflammatory response in colitis;4 L. paracasei can help modulate mucosal inflammation in UC by reducing colonic cytokines;5 and Lactobacillus GG can inhibit the expression of immune and inflammation genes, including TGF-beta, TNF-alpha, cytokines, NOS and ICAM, in the small bowel mucosa of IBD patients.6

Combinations of probiotics have also proven beneficial to IBD intervention. A trial conducted at Rikshospitalet University Hospital, Oslo, Norway, found lactobacilli and bifido administration decreased clinical symptoms and endoscopic inflammation in UC patients.7 And Swiss researchers reported a probiotic cocktail modulated cytokine balance, including TNFa-to-IL-10 ratio, in the duodenum of an animal model of chronic enteropathy.8

Reflecting the synergism of probiotics and prebiotics, A University of Dundee, Scotland, study showed bifido probiotic combined with the prebiotic inulin-oligiofructose (as Raftilose® Synergy 1 from Orafti) reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine levels and regenerated epithelial tissue in patients with active UC.9

The prebiotic fructo-oligiosaccharide (FOS) administered in an animal model of UC inhibited inflammation, resulting in reduced disease activity and damage in the distal colon.10 More recently, a 2008 Hakkaido University, Japan, animal study concluded consumption of FOS decreased hypersensitivity in antigen-specific skin inflammation by improving microbiotic composition, especially bifido bacteria count; symptomatically, skin swelling decreased after FOS intervention.11

FOS isn't the only natural ingredient to manage inflammation in both GI and skin barriers. In the GI, Aloe vera has inhibited ROS production and reduced inflammatory cytokines PGE2 and IL-8, rendering it useful in IBD care.12 Subsequent research has added to this mechanism, as Aloe vera protected against oxidative damage by decreasing TNFa, IL-1 and IL-6 while increasing antioxidant super oxide dismutase (SOD) in a salmonella-mediated inflammatory model.13 Similarly, Aloe barbadensis suppressed TNFa and IL-1b from activated leukocytes.14

In the skin, Aloe vera has been found to promote wound healing and curtail inflammatory activities in second-degree burns.15 Researchers have suggested aloe can inhibit the LOX pathway to inflammation in situations of burns and skin ulcers.16

An eye-protecting compound, the carotenoid lutein, has expanded its protective benefits to the skin, especially problems related to sun exposure and aging. According to a Cornell University animal study, lutein modulated the skin’s response to ultra-violet B (UVB) radiation-induced inflammation and immunosupression.17 Similarly, researchers from Harvard Medical School found lutein and zeaxanthin diminished the negative effects of UVB radiation by reducing acute inflammatory response.18

References on next page...

References for "Digestive and Skin Inflammation"

1. Hale LP. "Proteolytic activity and immunogenicity of oral bromelain within the gastrointestinal tract of mice." Int Immunopharmacol. 4, 2:255-64, 2004.

2. Fitzhugh DJ et al. " Bromelain treatment decreases neutrophil migration to sites of inflammation." Clin Immunol. 2008 Jul;128(1):66-74.

3. Petrof EO et al. "Probiotics inhibit nuclear factor-kappaB and induce heat shock proteins in colonic epithelial cells through proteasome inhibition." Gastroenterology. 127, 5:1474-87, 2004.

4. Lamine F et al. "Colonic responses to Lactobacillus farciminis treatment in trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid-induced colitis in rats." Scand J Gastroenterol. 39, 12:1250-8, 2004.

5. Pena JA et al. "Probiotic Lactobacillus spp. diminish Helicobacter hepaticus-induced inflammatory bowel disease in interleukin-10-deficient mice." Infect Immun. 73, 2:912-20, 2005.

6. Di Caro S et al. ‘Effects of Lactobacillus GG on genes expression pattern in small bowel mucosa.” Dig Liver Dis. 37, 5:320-9, 2005.

7. Laake KO et al. "Outcome of four weeks' intervention with probiotics on symptoms and endoscopic appearance after surgical reconstruction with a J-configurated ileal-pouch-anal-anastomosis in ulcerative colitis." Scand J Gastroenterol. 40, 1:43-51, 2005

8. Sauter SN et al. “Cytokine expression in an ex vivo culture system of duodenal samples from dogs with chronic enteropathies: Modulation by probiotic bacteria.” Domest Anim Endocrinol. 2005 Nov;29(4):605-22.

9. Furrie E et al. "Synbiotic therapy (Bifidobacterium longum/Synergy 1) initiates resolution of inflammation in patients with active ulcerative colitis: a randomized controlled pilot trial." Gut. 54, 2:242-9, 2005.

10. Winkler J et al. "Fructo-oligosaccharide reduces inflammation in a dextran sodium sulphate mouse model of colitis." Dig Dis Sci. 2007 Jan;52(1):52-8.

11. Watanabe J et al. "Consumption of fructo-oligosaccharide reduces 2,4-dinitrofluorobenzene-induced contact hypersensitivity in mice." Br J Nutr. 2008 Aug;100(2):339-46.

12. Langmead L, Makins RJ, Rampton DS. "Anti-inflammatory effects of aloe vera gel in human colorectal mucosa in vitro." Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 19, 5:521-7, 2004.

13. Rishi P et al. "Phytomodulatory potentials of Aloe vera against Salmonella OmpR-mediated inflammation." Phytother Res. 2008 Aug;22(8):1075-82.

14. Habeeb F et al. "The inner gel component of Aloe vera suppresses bacterial-induced pro-inflammatory cytokines from human immune cells." Methods. 2007 Aug;42(4):388-93.

15. Somboonwong J et al. "Therapeutic effects of Aloe vera on cutaneous microcirculation and wound healing in second degree burn model in rats." J Med Assoc Thai. 2000 Apr;83(4):417-25.

16. Bezakova L et al. "[Antilipoxygenase activity and the trace elements content of Aloe vera in relation to the therapeutical effect]" Ceska Slov Farm. 2005 Jan;54(1):43-6.

17. Lee EH et al. “Dietary lutein reduces ultraviolet radiation-induced inflammation and immunosuppression.” J Invest Dermatol. 122, 2:510-7, 2004.

18. Gonzalez S et al. “Dietary lutein/zeaxanthin decreases ultraviolet B-induced epidermal hyperproliferation and acute inflammation in hairless mice.” J Invest Dermatol. 121, 2:399-405, 2003.



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