Omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA) may protect against ulcerative colitis

Omega-3 fatty acids (for example, the EPA and the DHA in your fish oil supplements) have an anti-inflammatory effect, of interest to researchers in a recent study of inflammatory bowel disease, specifically ulcerative colitis. This large study, which focused on people from 45 to 74 years old, found that those with the highest consumption of DHA (410 mg to 2,000 mg per day) had a 77% reduction in the risk of developing ulcerative colitis over an average period of four years than those consuming the lowest amount (up to 110 mg per day). On the basis of their research, the study authors suggest that higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, could have a protective effect against development of ulcerative colitis.

For more information on DHA, EPA and other fatty acid supplements, see the NYBC category:
Fatty acid supplements
Note that NYBC stocks a variety of these supplements, both from fish oil (Nordic Naturals and Jarrow), and from vegetarian (algae) sources.

Reference:
John, S et al. Dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the aetiology of ulcerative colitis: a UK prospective cohort study. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2010 May; 22(5):602-6

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Top search terms bringing visitors to this blog

Dear NYBC Blog Reader,

Thought you might be interested to see some of the most popular search terms that brought people to the New York Buyers’ Club Blog in the past year:

1. “Saccharomyces boulardii C difficile”
2. “glutamine ulcerative colitis”
3. “cholesterol lowering supplements”
4. “B vitamins depression”
5. “HIV Vitamin D”
6. “vitamins for neuropathy”
7. “Tylenol antidote”

And here, in very brief form, is the information these searchers found on the NYBC Blog:

Saccharomyces boulardii, which NYBC stocks in the form of Florastor, appears in a recent study to be the best probiotic for the stubborn gastrointestinal infection C. difficile.

Glutamine has shown effectiveness in reducing symptoms of ulcerative colitis and other gastrointestinal conditions in a number of research studies.

Plant sterols, fish oil, niacin, pantethine have been studied for cholesterol control.

B vitamins strongly affect mood and memory, and addressing a B vitamin deficiency can improve depressive symptoms.

Vitamin D deficiency is widely prevalent among people with HIV, and supplementing with 1000IU/day of D3 plus 1000mg/day of calcium may be a good way to support bone health for people taking HIV meds. Other research has noted the link between Vitamin D deficiency and cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and susceptibility to cold and flus.

Acetylcarnitine, alpha lipoic acid and evening primrose oil are among the supplements studied for diabetic or HIV-related neuropathy (pain, tingling in feet, hands).

NAC (N-acetylcysteine) is used as the antidote to acetaminophen overdose. Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol and is added to many other over-the-counter drugs, so overdose leading to liver damage or liver failure has become common in the US.

Saccharomyces boulardii: new research confirms effectiveness

Saccharomyces boulardii is a very well-researched probiotic, with several hundred peer-reviewed studies to its credit, many from the past two decades. It’s now the first choice for antibiotic-associated diarrhea, C. difficile colitis, and “traveler’s diarrhea.” It can also help in addressing irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Here are some recent research highlights:

–Harvard Medical School researchers located specific pathways by which Saccharomyces boulardii decreases intestinal inflammatory responses; their 2006 report helps explain the broad range of protective effects that the probiotic exerts in a variety of gastrointestinal disorders.

–A 2006 meta-analysis (combined study of multiple individual studies) found that Saccharomyces boulardii was the only probiotic effective against Clostridium difficile disease, a common form of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.

–A 2008 study, meanwhile, found that Crohn’s patients receiving Saccharomyces boulardii treatment showed significant improvements in intestinal function compared with those given a placebo (dummy pill).

–Most recently, an investigation published in 2009 found that, of a variety of probiotics, Saccharomyces boulardii was uniquely able to stimulate production of secretory IgA, the main immunoglobin found in mucus, saliva, and secretions from the intestine and lining of the lungs, and a main component of the body’s protective mechanism against pathogens. (Thus Saccharomyces boulardii may now be credited with a general immune-modulating/strengthening ability.)

References:

Sougioultzis S, Simeonidis S, Bhaskar KR, Chen X, Anton PM, Keates S, Pothoulakis C, Kelly CP. Saccharomyces boulardii produces a soluble anti-inflammatory factor that inhibits NF-kappaB-mediated IL-8 gene expression. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Apr 28;343(1):69-76.

McFarland LV. Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of antibiotic associated diarrhea and the treatment of Clostridium difficile disease. Am J Gastroenterol. 2006 Apr;101(4):812-22.

Garcia Vilela E, De Lourdes De Abreu Ferrari M, Oswaldo Da Gama Torres H, Guerra Pinto A, Carolina Carneiro Aguirre A, Paiva Martins F, Marcos Andrade Goulart E, Sales Da Cunha A. Influence of Saccharomyces boulardii on the intestinal permeability of patients with Crohn’s disease in remission. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2008;43(7):842-8.

Flaviano S. Martins, Aparecida A. Silva, Angélica T. Vieira, Flávio H. F. Barbosa, Rosa M. E. Arantes, Mauro M. Teixeira and Jacques Robert Nicoli. Comparative study of Bifidobacterium animalis, Escherichia coli, Lactobacillus casei and Saccharomyces boulardii probiotic properties.
Archives of Microbiology, Volume 191, Number 8 / August, 2009.

Saccharomyces boulardii is available from NYBC as Florastor, recognized as the most reliable commercially available form of the probiotic.

Saccharomyces boulardii lyo: indications and dosage suggestions

NYBC stocks the probiotic Florastor, which is Saccharomyces boulardi lyo (lyo = freeze dried, the best means discovered for preserving the effectiveness of this agent). Saccharomyces boulardii, a yeast first investigated by French microbiologist Henri Boulard in Indochina in the 1920s, has been widely researched and distributed over the last fifty years, though it has a longer history of use in Europe than in the US.

We’re glad that Florastor has become available in the United States in the last five years, since before that we were obliged to import this pharmaceutical grade probiotic from Europe; the US versions of Saccharomyces boulardii often seemed quite a bit less effective, perhaps because the European production techniques were more advanced.

Here are the main indications/conditions for which Saccharomyces boulardii has been investigated:

Acute Diarrhea
A controlled study found a significant reduction in symptoms of diarrhea in adults taking 250mg of S. boulardii twice a day for five days or until symptoms were relieved.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
A placebo-controlled study found that patients with diarrhea due mainly to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) had a significant reduction in number and consistency of bowel movements.
Suggested dosage is 250mg twice daily.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Additional benefits to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients may be found in 1) prevention of relapse in Crohn’s disease patients currently in remission and 2) benefits to ulcerative colitis patients with moderate symptoms. Suggested dosage is three 250mg capsules a day.

Antibiotic-Associated Diarrhea
Some evidence for its use in the prophylaxis (prevention) of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) in adults. Suggested dosage: 250mg twice a day with the standard antibiotic course.

HIV/AIDS-Associated Diarrhea
Saccharomyces boulardii was shown to significantly increase the recovery rate of stage IV AIDS patients suffering from diarrhea versus placebo. On average, patients receiving S. boulardii gained weight while the placebo group lost weight over the 18 month study. There were no reported adverse reaction observed in these immunocompromised patients.

Recurrent Clostridium difficile Infection
Two 500mg doses per day of Saccharomyces boulardii when taken with one of two antibiotics (vancomycin or metronidazole) were found to significantly reduce the rate of recurrent Clostridium difficile (pseudomembranous colitis) infection. However, note that significant benefit was not found for prevention of an initial episode of Clostridium difficile-associated disease.

For more on Saccharomyces boulardii, see the NYBC entry:

Florastor
Note that non-member price is $30, but member price is ONLY $29. (NYBC Membership costs $5, $10, or $25 per year, depending on income.)
Some citations (there are many more, since Saccharomyces boulardii is among the most-studied probiotics):

–Höcher W, Chase D, Hagenhoff G (1990). “Saccharomyces boulardii in acute adult diarrhoea. Efficacy and tolerance of treatment”. Münch Med Wochenschr 132: 188–92. 
–McFarland L, Surawicz C, Greenberg R (1994). “A randomised placebo-controlled trial of Saccharomyces boulardii in combination with standard antibiotics for Clostridium difficile disease”. J Am Med Assoc 271: 1913–8. 
–Maupas J, Champemont P, Delforge M (1983). “Treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with Saccharomyces boulardii: a double blind, placebo controlled study”. Medicine Chirurgie Digestives 12(1): 77–9. 
–Guslandi M, Mezzi G, Sorghi M, Testoni PA (2000). “Saccharomyces boulardii in maintenance treatment of Crohn’s disease”. Dig. Dis. Sci. 45 (7): 1462–4. PMID 10961730. 
–Guslandi M, Giollo P, Testoni PA (2003). “A pilot trial of Saccharomyces boulardii in ulcerative colitis”. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 15 (6): 697–8. doi:10.1097/01.meg.0000059138.68845.06. PMID 12840682. 
–Saint-Marc T, Blehaut H, Musial C, Touraine J (1995). “AIDS related diarrhea: a double-blind trial of Saccharomyces boulardii”. Sem Hôsp Paris 71: 735–41. 

Glutamine for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) and HIV/AIDS

Here is information on the use of Glutamine for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) and for HIV/AIDS. These excerpts are from the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Complementary Medicine web resource, which provides an extensive and generally up-to-date database on nutritional supplements and their applications.

NYBC stocks:

 Glutamine as a bulk powder (1 kilogram)

and

Glutamine capsules 500mg/100.

Note: Glutamine is one of the main components of Juven, a patented blend that also includes L-arginine and HMB. Unfortunately “patented” = much more expensive. It’s a lot cheaper to purchase Glutamine in bulk than to buy it in the form of Juven!


Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid (building block of protein) in the bloodstream. It is considered a “conditionally essential amino acid” because it can be manufactured in the body, but under extreme physical stress the demand for glutamine exceeds the body’s ability to synthesize it.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Glutamine helps to protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract known as the mucosa. Because of this, some experts speculate that glutamine deficiency may play a role in the development of IBD, namely ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. These conditions are characterized by damage to the mucosal lining of the small and/or large intestines, which leads to inflammation, infection, and ulcerations (holes). In fact, some preliminary research suggests that glutamine may be a valuable supplement during treatment of IBD because it promotes healing of the cells in the intestines and improves diarrhea associated with IBD. Not all studies have found this positive benefit, however. For this reason, more research is needed before conclusions can be drawn. In the meantime, follow the advice of your healthcare provider when deciding whether to use glutamine for IBD.

HIV/AIDS
Individuals with advanced stages of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) often experience severe weight loss (particularly loss of muscle mass). A few studies of individuals with HIV have demonstrated that glutamine supplementation, along with other important nutrients including vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, selenium, and N-acetylcysteine, may reduce the severe weight loss associated with this condition.