BACKGROUND - Research in the treatment of Crohn's disease (CD) supports anti-inflammatory benefits of n-3 fatty acids from fish oil, prebiotics, and antioxidants. A nutritionally balanced inflammatory bowel disease nutrition formula (IBDNF) enriched with these compounds has the potential to improve nutrition status and disease activity in CD.
METHODS - This is an open-label pilot study investigating the effects of IBDNF on nutrition status in CD patients. Twenty-eight patients with active CD on stable medication were asked to consume 16 oz of IBDNF/d for 4 months. Nutrition status was assessed with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans and serum micronutrient levels. Disease activity and quality of life were measured using the Crohn's Disease Activity Index (CDAI) and the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Questionnaire (IBDQ).
RESULTS - Twenty patients completed the final visit. After 4 months, there was a significant decrease in plasma phospholipid levels of arachidonic acid with increases in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid. Ten patients had a final EPA concentration of >2%. There was improvement in fat-free and fat mass in patients with final EPA >2% (P = .014 and P = .05). Vitamin D (25-OH) levels improved in all patients (18.5-25.9 ng/mL, P < .001). Those with EPA >2% had significantly lower CDAI (116 ± 94.5 vs 261.8 ± 86.5; P = .005) and higher IBDQ (179.1 ± 26.6 vs 114.6 ± 35.9, P < .001) compared to those with EPA <2%.
CONCLUSIONS - IBDNF has the potential to deposit fat-free and fat mass, improve vitamin D status, and improve quality of life in CD patients.