Can a Mediterranean diet reduce colitis?

Dr. Deanna Gibson and her research team
Many people living with Crohn’s or colitis believe that their diet impacts their symptoms, but evidence-based nutrition guidelines are lacking. To this end, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada has long supported the work of Dr. Deanna Gibson. The researcher and Associate Professor of Biology at the University of British Columbia is on a relentless search to uncover how different diets impact the symptoms of IBD.
While few research studies have found a single dietary factor as being protective or harmful for IBD, Dr. Gibson has uncovered specific types of fats that might be at play. Through her research, Dr. Gibson has identified harmful fats that contribute to inflammation in the gut, which cause flare-ups. Her research has pinpointed typical Western diets high in omega-6’s as a key culprit. With this knowledge, Dr. Gibson has begun recommending a Mediterranean diet for people living with ulcerative colitis. While the Mediterranean diet is notorious for being high in fat, Dr. Gibson explains that the types of fats in this particular diet support protective inflammation, meaning they do not contribute to flare-ups. 

Understanding the effects of fat in IBD is important since fat restriction in a patient with IBD could be harmful to their health and nutritional status. This is why Dr. Gibson’s work is so important. Crohn’s and Colitis Canada believes dietary approaches for the prevention and management of IBD are urgently needed so that health professionals can provide sound nutritional guidance. We are proud to continue to support Dr. Gibson’s clinical studies as she generates evidence to support dietary recommendations.

Interested in learning more about the innovative research projects taking place right here in Canada? Click here to read our 2017/2018 Research Report.

Pictured from Bottom to Top: Professor Deanna L. Gibson, Ph.D.; Candice Quin, PhD Candidate; Blake Birnie, MD Student; Natasha Haskey, PhD Student; Sandeep Gill, MSc Student; April Mahovlic, BSc Honors Student; Jacqueline Barnett, MSc Student; Mehrbod Estaki, PhD Candidate; and Anton Callaway, Ph.D. Research Associate

  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

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