Credit: © nehopelon / Fotolia

Credit: © nehopelon / Fotolia

Eating more protein may help sooth an inflamed gut

Eating more protein may help sooth an inflamed gut, according to the latest research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

According to Healthline:

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) represents a group of intestinal disorders that cause prolonged inflammation of the digestive tract. The digestive tract is composed of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. It’s responsible for breaking down food, extracting the nutrients, and removing any unusable material and waste products. Inflammation anywhere along the digestive tract disrupts this normal process. IBD can be very painful and disruptive, and in some cases, may even be life-threatening.

The new research shows that tryptophan – one of the buildings blocks of proteins – is essential to immune cells that help the gut.

We established a link between one bacterial species — Lactobacillus reuteri — that is a normal part of the gut microbiome, and the development of a population of cells that promote tolerance,” said Marco Colonna, MD, the Robert Rock Belliveau MD Professor of Pathology and the study’s senior author. “The more tryptophan the mice had in their diet, the more of these immune cells they had.”

The Washington University press release explained more about the study methods:

To understand how the bacteria affected the immune system, the researchers grew L. reuteri in liquid and then transferred small amounts of the liquid — without bacteria — to immature immune cells isolated from mice. The immune cells developed into the tolerance-promoting cells. When the active component was purified from the liquid, it turned out to be a byproduct of tryptophan metabolism known as indole-3-lactic acid.

Tryptophan is famous for being the ingredient in turkey that is believed to make you sleepy after your Thanksgiving meal.

Foods that are rich in protein contain good amounts of tryptophan, including the following: nuts, eggs, seeds, beans, poultry, cheese, chocolate, and grass-fed organic meat.

The researchers found that when they doubled the amount of tryptophan in the mice’s food, the immune cells rose by 50 percent.

The study showing that eating more protein may help sooth an inflamed gut was published in the journal Science.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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1. “Protein-Rich Diet May Help Soothe Inflamed Gut.” Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, 2 Aug. 2017.
2. “Lactobacillus Reuteri Induces Gut Intraepithelial CD4+CD8αα+ T Cells.” Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 3 Aug. 2017.

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