PURPOSE OF REVIEW - Nutrition plays a significant role in the pathogenesis and treatment of the two major forms of inflammatory bowel disease: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. In addition, patients with inflammatory bowel disease are often found to have nutrient deficiencies at the time of diagnosis, whereas others develop features of malnutrition over the course of their illness. Therefore, an understanding of the relationship between nutrients and inflammatory bowel disease is important if these patients are to receive optimal care.
RECENT FINDINGS - Epidemiologic and basic research has helped to shed light on the interaction between diet and the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. Numerous clinical trials utilizing various types of lipids, including fish oil and short chain fatty acids, suggest that fats play an important role in the inflammatory response that characterizes inflammatory bowel disease. Vitamins and other micronutrients involved in nutrient metabolism and modulation of oxidative stress are also considered in this review.
SUMMARY - This update discusses nutritional issues that can be used to help prevent and treat nutrient deficiencies and ameliorate disease activity in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease.