Research News

Should your IBS patients consume more protein?

August, 2017    |

According to a new study out of the Washington University School of Medicine, eating a diet rich in tryptophan—found in protein-rich foods like nuts, eggs, seeds, beans, poultry, yogurt, and cheese—could promote cell tolerance in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBS).

IBS occurs when cells that are capable of triggering an inflammatory response in the bowels are not balanced by cells that promote tolerance. Now, a study conducted on mice has shown that a kind of tolerance-promoting immune cell appears with the presence of a specific gut bacterium. And, the bacterium needs tryptophan to trigger the cells’ appearance.

“We established a link between one bacterial species — Lactobacillus reuteri — that is a normal part of the gut microbiome, and the development of a population of cells that promote tolerance,” says Marco Colonna, MD, the Robert Rock Belliveau MD Professor of Pathology and the study’s senior author. “The more tryptophan the mice had in their diet, the more of these immune cells they had.”