Low-calorie diet tied to bowel disease deaths

March 21st, 2012 - 5:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 21 (IANS) A low-calorie diet may actually erode the immune system’s ability to respond to infection, a new study has revealed.

Mice with bowel disease put on a calorie-restricted diet were more likely to die after being infected with a pathogen H. hepaticus in the gut, which also causes chronic hepatitis and liver cancer in rodents.

Additionally, the study found no connection that moderate obesity increased the severity of colitis in the mouse model, the World Journal of Gastroenterology reported.

The study was led by Jenifer Fenton, assistant professor of food science at the Michigan State University.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of disorders that cause the intestines to become inflamed (red and swollen), which lasts a long time. Symptoms include abdominal cramps and pain, diarrhoea, weight loss and bleeding from your intestines.

Two kinds of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. People suffering from them have an increased risk of developing colon cancer, according to a university statement.

“The results are similar to the research from our department that shows consuming fewer calories make it harder to fight off the flu virus,” said Fenton, referring to recent work by colleague Elizabeth Gardner.

“Since this is a totally different pathogen, it amplifies the need to find out why caloric intake has such an impact on the body’s ability to respond to infection,” said Fenton.

Unexpectedly, results suggest increased body fat induced by a high-fat diet did not influence the severity of colitis, despite changes in hormones that are known to increase with obesity and influence inflammation.

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