Published online Jul 7, 2018. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v24.i25.2673
Peer-review started: April 19, 2018
First decision: May 9, 2018
Revised: May 19, 2018
Accepted: June 9, 2018
Article in press: June 9, 2018
Published online: July 7, 2018
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a serious health concern among western societies. The disease is also on the rise in some East Asian countries and in Australia. Health professionals and dietitians around the world are facing an unprecedented challenge to prevent and control the increasing prevalence of IBD. The current therapeutic strategy that includes drugs and biological treatments is inefficient and are associated with adverse health consequences. In this context, the use of natural products is gaining worldwide attention. In vivo studies and clinical evidence suggest that well-planned dietary regimens with specific nutrients can alleviate gastrointestinal inflammation by modulating inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α), interleukin 1 (IL-1), IL-6, IL-1β, and IL-10. Alternatively, the avoidance of high-fat and high-carbohydrate diets is regarded as an effective tool to eliminate the causes of IBD. Many functional foods and bioactive components have received attention for showing strong therapeutic effects against IBD. Both animal and human studies suggest that bioactive functional foods can ameliorate IBD by downregulating the pro-inflammatory signaling pathways, such as nuclear factor κB, STAT1, STAT6, and pro-inflammatory cytokines, including IL-1β, IL-4, IL-6, COX-2, TNF-α, and interferon γ. Therefore, functional foods and diets have the potential to alleviate IBD by modulating the underlying pathogenic mechanisms. Future comprehensive studies are needed to corroborate the potential roles of functional foods and diets in the prevention and control of IBD.
Core tip: Diets and functional foods are two of the most potential alternative therapies for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Dietary supplementation of probiotics and non-starch polysaccharides demonstrated strong therapeutic actions on IBD. Likewise, functional foods have received more attention than ever as alternative therapies for IBD. Plant-derived extracts and bioactive compounds exhibited anti-inflammatory actions against IBD. Both diets and functional foods have a very important role to play in the near future. We have discussed the roles of both diets and functional foods in IBD management.