More than 0.5% of the population in the Western world suffers from chronic inflammatory bowel diseases – either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
Ulcerative colitis is characterized by a chronic inflammation in part of or the entire colon. Patients suffer from one or more of the following symptoms:
- Frequent bowel movements usually with diarrhea
- partial or complete loss of control of bowel movements
- Blood, pus or slime in the stools
Additionally, the disease interferes with the digestion. This obstructs the absorption of the necessary nutrients which further weakens the patient and worsens the symptoms. This can lead to symptoms of malnutrition like fatigue and undesired weight loss.
Ulcerative colitis is caused by an overreaction of the immune system to the contents of the colon, including bacteria that naturally inhabit the intestines. Simply put, the immune system is provoked on a continuous basis which causes the chronic state of inflammation.
Many medical treatments aim at reducing the effectiveness of the immune system to stop the overreaction. This may remove or reduce the inflammatory state in the colon but it can at the same time have severe side effects like increasing the risk of infections.
Dietary treatment with Profermin®
The exact explanation for the effect of Profermin® is unknown, but the hypothesis states that firstly, the colon is supplied with large amounts of short-chain fatty acids which are the most important source of energy for colon cells.
Secondly, the hypothesis suggests that the supplied nutrients force the intestinal bacteria into a metabolism that may result in the immune system no longer being provoked by the intestinal bacteria. Thirdly, Profermin® provides the substance phosphatidylcholine, which patients with ulcerative colitis lack in the mucus layer of the colon. This restores the important function of the mucus layer of being a barrier for the intestinal wall towards the huge number of intestinal bacteria.
The presence of the lactic acid bacteria L. plantarum 299v increases the iron absorption with 50% for normal healthy persons. If the inflammation is reduced, Profermin® may increase the iron absorption for patients with ulcerative colitis.