Your online resource for objective IBD information
Whether you have only recently learned that you have IBD have lived with the conditions for years, you’ll find information on here to keep you updated with developments in the treatment field, including medical research and health news. Our ongoing dialogue with our customers enables us to keep providing you with information and support. Look out for our quarterly newsletter (sign up on the left menu) and articles from leading experts in the field. You can find general health information in our Newsroom, in which you’ll find our news releases, articles and media cuttings archive.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, both conditions causing inflammation of the intestines. IBD is the result of an exaggerated or insufficiently suppressed immune response that damages the gut wall. This damage allows toxins and bacteria to seep through the intestinal wall and into the blood stream, further accelerating the inflammatory process. Although the diseases have some features in common, there are some important differences. Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disease of the large intestine, also called the colon. In ulcerative colitis only the inner lining part of the colon wall (the mucosa) becomes inflamed and develops ulcers. Ulcerative colitis is often the most severe in the rectal area, which can cause frequent diarrhoea. Mucus and blood often appear in the faeces if the lining of the colon is damaged. Crohn’s disease is different from ulcerative colitis because it commonly affects the last part of the small intestine and parts of the large intestine, although in theory it can attack any part of the digestive tract. The inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease extends much deeper into the layers of the intestinal wall than with ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease generally tends to involve the entire bowel wall, whereas ulcerative colitis affects only the lining of the bowel.
It is thought that inflammatory bowel disease is caused by a combination of factors such as environmental, diet, and genetics. IBD may be caused by a genetic defect that affects how our immune system works and how inflammation is turned on and off in response to bacteria and viruses. Normally, the immune system protects the body from infection and once the infection has cleared up, the immune system will return to normal. In the case of IBD this inflammatory response doesn’t stop. IBD often runs in families with up to 30% of IBD sufferers having a relative with the disease. Environmental factors such as smoking can irritate symptoms further. The symptoms can also be irritated by certain foods and so sufferers are often restricted in what they can and can’t eat.
Heavily involved in the regulation of inflammation related to IBD are a group of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are effectively by-products of fatty acids consumed in the diet, since specific omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are converted into different families of prostaglandins, being either inflammatory or anti-inflammatory. The prostaglandins produced from the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA), however, are considered primarily responsible for inflammatory processes and the intestinal inflammation seen in inflammatory bowel disease. If there is a higher intake of omega-3 EPA, however, this causes competition with AA for the utilisation of specific enzymes, and inhibits the production of inflammatory prostaglandins. The ability of EPA to reduce the inflammatory response indicates great potential for alleviating symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. By combining EPA with GLA, an anti-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid, common to all of our omega supplements, this further enhances the beneficial anti-inflammatory effects of EPA.
E-EPA 90 provides 1000 mg EPA with just two easy-to-swallow capsules daily. Just two Vegepa E-EPA 70 capsules daily provide 560 mg ultra-pure EPA and 200 mg organic virgin evening primrose oil. For children we recommend Vegepa E-EPA 70 Orange Chewables. Adults and children aged eight years and over should take 4-6 capsules daily. For vegetarians, our Echiomega supplement provides a more effective solution than flaxseed oil, with higher conversion to the important long-chain fatty acid EPA.
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