Reducing Inflammation in Ulcerative Colitis with Avocado and Pomegranate

Jim Crocker
23rd May, 2024

Reducing Inflammation in Ulcerative Colitis with Avocado and Pomegranate

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Tanta University and The British University in Egypt found that pomegranate seed oil (PSO) and avocado seed oil (ASO) can reduce inflammation in ulcerative colitis (UC)
  • Both PSO and ASO significantly lowered disease activity and inflammation markers in rats with UC, similar to the effects of the standard drug sulfasalazine (SLZ)
  • ASO was more effective than PSO in reducing specific inflammatory proteins, while PSO excelled in decreasing oxidative stress markers and enhancing protective enzymes
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease characterized by persistent inflammation and ulcers in the colon. Traditional treatments, such as sulfasalazine (SLZ), aim to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms, but there is growing interest in natural alternatives. A recent study conducted by researchers at Tanta University and The British University in Egypt explored the potential of pomegranate seed oil (PSO) and avocado seed oil (ASO) as therapeutic agents for UC[1]. The study involved 80 male albino rats divided into eight groups: Normal, PSO, ASO, SLZ, UC-control, (UC + PSO), (UC + ASO), and (UC + SLZ). Colitis was induced in the rats using an intra-rectal injection of acetic acid. Following this induction, PSO, ASO, and SLZ were administered orally once a day for 14 days. The researchers measured several parameters to evaluate the effectiveness of these treatments, including the disease activity index (DAI), colon weight/length ratio, and histologic inflammatory score. The results showed that both PSO and ASO treatments significantly reduced the DAI, weight/length ratio, and histologic inflammatory score compared to the UC-control group. These findings suggest that both oils can mitigate the inflammatory effects of UC. Specifically, ASO was more effective than PSO in suppressing macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) levels and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) expression. MIF is a proinflammatory cytokine that plays a crucial role in the immune response and inflammation[2]. TNF-α is another proinflammatory cytokine involved in systemic inflammation and is a target for many anti-inflammatory treatments[3]. On the other hand, PSO was more effective than ASO in reducing malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and up-regulating heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) expression. MDA is a marker of oxidative stress, and its reduction indicates a decrease in oxidative damage[4]. HO-1 is an enzyme with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and its up-regulation suggests enhanced cellular protection against oxidative stress[4]. Both PSO and ASO significantly down-regulated vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression. VEGF is involved in angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, which can contribute to inflammation and tissue damage in UC. By down-regulating VEGF, both oils help to reduce angiogenesis and subsequent inflammation[4]. The beneficial effects of PSO and ASO in UC rats were comparable to those observed with SLZ treatment, a standard anti-inflammatory drug used in UC management. This suggests that these natural oils could serve as effective alternatives or complementary treatments to conventional therapies. The study also aligns with previous research that highlights the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of natural compounds. For example, glabridin (Gla), a flavonoid from licorice root, has been shown to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in UC by down-regulating TNF-α and other inflammatory markers[3]. Similarly, miconazole, an antifungal agent, has demonstrated protective effects in UC by activating antioxidant enzymes and reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines[4]. Moreover, the study's findings contribute to the growing body of evidence that links gut microbiota changes with inflammatory bowel diseases. Altered gut microbiota composition and increased proteolytic activity have been associated with UC onset, suggesting that targeting these changes could be a viable therapeutic approach[5]. In conclusion, the study by Tanta University and The British University in Egypt provides compelling evidence that pomegranate seed oil and avocado seed oil have significant anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic, and antioxidant effects in UC. These natural oils could potentially serve as safe and effective alternatives or adjuncts to conventional UC treatments by targeting key inflammatory pathways and reducing oxidative stress.



Main Study

1) Suppression of inflammation in ulcerative colitis rats by avocado and pomegranate.

Published 22nd May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Selective Targeting of a Disease-Related Conformational Isoform of Macrophage Migration Inhibitory Factor Ameliorates Inflammatory Conditions.

3) Downregulation of iNOS and elevation of cAMP mediate the anti-inflammatory effect of glabridin in rats with ulcerative colitis.

4) Miconazole Mitigates Acetic Acid-Induced Experimental Colitis in Rats: Insight into Inflammation, Oxidative Stress and Keap1/Nrf-2 Signaling Crosstalk.

5) Novel Fecal Biomarkers That Precede Clinical Diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis.

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