Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

Your body has a large number of microorganisms, most are beneficial to you. The ones present in your gut work throughout your body to help you digest food. They–“good” bacteria–also control the amount of “bad” bacteria by proliferating so frequently. When you have an excessive amount of “bad” bacteria in your gut, it can increase your chances of developing Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Because of that, it’s not wrong to say that all disease begins in the gut since it plays a significant role in digestion, immunological response, and general health.

Its common symptoms are long-term stomach cramps, diarrhea, and fatigue, it might be symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Rather than a single cause, IBD is believed to have several causes which are a combination of factors including genetics, an overactive immune system, and lifestyle. One of the ways to treat IBD flares is by taking some medications, particularly those which contain tributyrin.

What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of conditions that affect the intestines and result in ongoing inflammation (pain and swelling). Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis are both categorized as IBD.

Crohn’s disease typically affects the small intestine but can also damage the large intestine and, in rare cases, the upper gastrointestinal system. Whereas Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation and sores (ulcers) along the lining of the colon and rectum. Each type has an impact on the digestive system.

What Causes Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

IBD is an autoimmune condition, which means that the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues. To date, researchers are still working on finding the mechanism behind this disease. It’s still unclear what causes IBD since it can be caused by a combination of factors, such as genetic, environmental, infectious, immunological, and other variables like the balance of bacteria in the gut.

Research has shown that the dysregulation of the intestinal immune system during IBD causes an increase in the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha and IL-6, as well as the migration of activated immune cells to the gut, causing tissue damage and prolonging the inflammatory response.

These are the following factors that can be contributed to the risk of IBD:

  • Genetics: Numerous genetic mutations that might make people more likely to develop inflammatory bowel disease have been found. According to the finding, some gene mutations may cause changes in immunological response. As an illustration, one gene mutation seems to weaken the gut barrier.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle: Saturated fat, red meat, and processed food increase the risk of IBD. The likelihood of developing Crohn’s disease also increases with smoking.
  • Medications: Using birth control pills, antibiotics, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines may raise the risk of IBD.
  • Altered gut bacteria. The gut is home to 100 trillion germs, most of which are beneficial; however, if the composition of gut bacteria alters, some bacteria may provoke an inflammatory response.
  • A leaky gut: A dense barrier consisting of millions of cells makes up the intestines’ inner lining. If this barrier leaks, gut bacteria or their toxins can enter the bowel wall, bloodstream, or lymph nodes, causing an inflammatory response.

What are the Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

Everybody occasionally has an upset stomach. However, persistent stomach discomfort might indicate something more. For inflammatory bowel disease, the symptoms differ based on the extent of the inflammation and where it appears–they may range from mild to severe.

The following symptoms of IBD include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Stomach cramps
  • Digestive issues
  • Rectal Bleeding
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Not everyone experiences all of these symptoms, and some people may experience additional symptoms such as fever, sickness (vomiting), and anemia. Furthermore, the symptoms can come and go. There could be long periods when there are few or no symptoms (remission), then there might be times when the symptoms are rather bad (a flare-up).

How is Inflammatory Bowel Disease Diagnosed?

It might be challenging to determine the exact cause of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Before making an IBD diagnosis, other gastrointestinal conditions must be checked out since some of its symptoms, including diarrhea and stomach cramps might be mistaken for those of other digestive issues. The procedure includes the necessity of the patient’s medical history as well as performing a series of tests to diagnose the patient’s condition. The tests include:

  • Blood tests: Check white blood and red blood count
  • X-rays: Identify if the bowel is narrowed, obstructed, or dilated
  • Stool tests: Detect bacterial infections
  • Electrolyte panel: Identify possible deficiencies of potassium, chloride, sodium, and carbon dioxide
  • Liver function tests: Detect liver and bile duct abnormalities
  • Endoscopic procedures: Examine the inside of internal organs, such as the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum

How to Treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease?

IBD treatment aims for remission, which includes reduced symptoms, lower blood levels of inflammatory markers, and normal-looking bowel and tissue biopsies. For many IBD sufferers, the condition is persistent and requires lifetime medication. One of the most common medications is using biological therapies. It’s a group of medications (anti-TNF agents and anti-integrin therapy) that work by focusing on certain immune system reactions to reduce intestinal inflammation.

One of the anti-TNF agents is tributyrin. Tributyrin is a triglyceride (fat) naturally present in butter. It has impactful benefits for inflammation. The study has examined that butyric acid, in the form of tributyrin, affected oxidative stress, inflammation, and mitochondrial function in diquat-treated pigs.

Another research in mice has suggested that butyrate appears to reduce intestinal inflammation and enhance intestinal barrier function in mice by activating the transcription factor HIF-1 in intestinal cells. Tributyrin also generates an anti-inflammatory state in adipose tissue by lowering levels of certain pro-inflammatory cytokines and TNF-alpha signaling.

Furthermore, research also indicates that tributyrin might lessen inflammatory reactions of immune cells to heat stress, suggesting that it may be used as a therapy for diseases brought on by excessive heat. According to studies done on cows, tributyrin dramatically decreases the levels of TNF-alpha, IL-1B, and IL-6. In turn, this reduces the lymphocyte inflammatory response.

In conclusion, tributyrin is an effective anti-inflammatory with effects on TNF-alpha, IL-1B, and IL-6. The effect of tributyrin on these cytokines is not only limited to reducing inflammation, but also boosts immune system function, and improves intestinal barrier function to decrease the risk of subsequent inflammation. So, it’s essential to consume medications that contain tributyrin since it has plenty of benefits for IBD patients.

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