Oxidative Stress in Crohn’s Patients

Research appearing in the American Journal of Gastroenterology(2003; 98(2):348-53) shows that vitamin supplementation reduces oxidative stress in patients with Crohn’s disease. Oxidative stress is created by free radicals. Free radicals are chemicals that can release an electron, a kind of chemical bullet that does damage to cells. Certain vitamins, like vitamins E and C are antioxidants. They act like “bullet-proof vests”, protecting the cells.

The study involved 57 Crohn’s patients who were determined to have oxidative stress. Oxidative stress was established by measuring pentane and ethane in the breath, plasma lipid peroxides, and F2-isoprostane was measured at the beginning of the study and after four weeks. The researchers found that supplementation increased blood levels of vitamin C and alpha tocopherol (a component of vitamin E) and all the indicators of oxidative stress decreased significantly. They concluded that patients with Crohn’s disease were under oxidative stress and would benefit from supplementation with antioxidant nutrients.

Other research appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2001; 74(2):259-64) also shows that oxidative stress is an issue for patients with Crohn’s disease. Here the researchers compared 37 patients with Crohn’s disease to 37 healthy subjects. Breath pentane (a measure of lipid peroxidation, or oxidative stress) was measured in both groups. The measurement was significantly higher in patients with Crohn’s disease—even in those patients taking medication—than it was in the healthy subjects. Serum measurement of antioxidant nutrients was also lower in the patients with Crohn’s disease than it was in the healthy subjects.

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