Food, nutrients and nutraceuticals affecting the course of inflammatory bowel disease.
Inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis; Crohn's disease) are debilitating relapsing inflammatory disorders affecting the gastrointestinal tract, with deleterious effect on quality of life, and increasing incidence and prevalence. Mucosal inflammation, due to altered microbiota, increased intestinal permeability and immune system dysfunction underlies the symptoms and may be caused in susceptible individuals by different factors (or a combination of them), including dietary habits and components. In this review we describe the influence of the Western diet, obesity, and different nutraceuticals/functional foods (bioactive peptides, phytochemicals, omega 3-polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamin D, probiotics and prebiotics) on the course of IBD, and provide some hints that could be useful for nutritional guidance. Hopefully, research will soon offer enough reliable data to slow down the spread of the disease and to make diet a cornerstone in IBD therapy.