An oral supplement of fish oil, soluble fiber and antioxidants has been found to be very effective for combating ulcerative colitis, according to a recent study. People who took this supplement were able to control their disease either without corticosteroids or with a significantly reduced dose of the drugs.
Ulcerative colitis is a disease in which the large intestine is inflamed and ulcerated, causing bloody diarrhea, cramps, and fever. This condition is found mostly in people between 18 and 40 years old and may be caused by immune system disorders or genetics. Though ulcerative colitis can be effectively controlled with corticosteroids, the drugs' side effects make alternative therapy a more attractive option.
According to a study published in the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, a nutritionally complete oral supplement enriched with fish oil, soluble fiber and antioxidants reduces reliance on traditional therapies for people with ulcerative colitis.
"Our study proves that an oral supplement which combines fish oil, soluble fiber and antioxidants is safer and causes fewer side effects than many of the medications currently available to treat ulcerative colitis," said Douglas Seidner, MD, lead study author with The Cleveland Clinic.
Researchers at The Cleveland Clinic conducted a randomized controlled clinical trial of patients 18 and older with mild to moderate active ulcerative colitis to assess the benefits of adding this oral supplement to standard medical therapy for the disease.
This study shows that patients on corticosteroid therapy who were given the oral supplement vs. a placebo had a significant reduction in the dose of corticosteroids needed to control clinical symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
While corticosteroids are highly effective in the treatment of ulcerative colitis, prolonged use often leads to insomnia, mood alterations, increased appetite, hypertension, osteoporosis and other adverse events.
Adverse effects of corticosteroid use are a concern to physicians and lead to discontinuation of the therapy by many patients.
However, more than 25 percent of patients who discontinue the therapy have a relapse of symptoms.
Previous smaller studies have shown that fish oil
is effective in reducing the need for corticosteroids in ulcerative colitis patients.
The current study combines fish oil with soluble fiber to diminish the inflammation associated with ulcerative colitis symptoms and positively affect nutrition.
"The need to find new treatments that are safe, effective and inexpensive remains and physicians should consider adding this combination of active ingredients as an adjuvant therapy for ulcerative colitis
," said Seidner.
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