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Digestive Disorders

From the Current Issue

New Research
Red Meat, Drinking May Raise Colitis Relapse Risk

A high intake of red meat or alcohol may increase the risk of relapse among people with ulcerative colitis, a study shows.

Among 183 patients whose ulcerative colitis was in remission, those who consumed the most meat or alcohol had roughly three times the risk of relapse over the next year as those with the lowest intakes. A high intake of red and processed meats was especially harmful; men and women with the highest intakes were more than five times as likely to relapse as those with the lowest consumption.

According to the study authors, the blame may lie with the sulphur compounds found in high-protein foods and in some processed products such as beer and sausages. Sulphur compounds are converted in the colon into substances such as hydrogen sulphide—which may play a role in the inflammation that marks ulcerative colitis.

If the new findings are correct, the researchers conclude, they would point to an important way to cut the risk of symptom re-emergence. Until now, only unchangeable factors—such as a history of frequent relapse—have been linked to the risk of future relapse. Still, the authors point out, more research is needed before low-meat or low-sulphur diets can be called protective.


Gut
Volume 53, page 1479
September 2004


 


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2005
WHITE PAPERS
Digestive Disorders

The Digestive Disorders White Paper from The Johns Hopkins White Papers series is an annual, in-depth report written by Hopkins physicians.

 

 

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