How do dietary fatty acids affect IBD?


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We hope this research will provide new approaches to the control of IBD symptoms through dietary change

Prof Andrew Hart, University of East Anglia

What is this research looking at?

Changes in a country’s overall diet over many years correlates with increased incidence of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. People who migrate from one country to another develop a risk of IBD similar to the risk of the people living in that country already. A component of food which may contribute to this increased risk is polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).  There are two types of PUFAs called n-6 and marine n-3. N-6 PUFAs are found in meats and certain cooking oils and spreads. The body converts them into chemicals which may induce inflammation, whilst marine N-3 PUFAs are found in fish and may have a role in reducing inflammation. This study will use data collected as part of a European wide study called EPIC-IBD and also recruit new patients to study these two PUFAs.

What do researchers think this could mean for people with IBD? 

The researchers hope to clarify the effects of high intakes of n-6 PUFAs and marine n=3 PUFAs on people’s IBD.  If they can prove that one type increases the risk and the other reduces the risk of IBD, recommendations can be made to public health officials and health professionals on dietary intake.

Who is leading this research:  Prof Andrew Hart, University of East Anglia 

Our Funding: £119,762

Duration: 24 months

Grant reference: M2017-2

Official title of application: Are dietary fatty acids, as measured in plasma samples, associated with the development of incident ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease – a multi-centre European prospective cohort study (EPIC).

Tags: Diet