Diet remains an important part of disease prevention and management and a study suggests that consumption of fructose may worsen intestinal inflammation common to inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Led by Dr David Montrose, the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, the study, ‘Dietary Fructose Alters the Composition, Localization and Metabolism of Gut Microbiota in Association with Worsening Colitis’, was published in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
"The increasing incidence of IBD parallels higher levels of fructose consumption in the United States and other countries," explained Montrose, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and faculty researcher in the Stony Brook University Cancer Center. "Our findings provide evidence of a direct link between dietary fructose and IBD and support the concept that high consumption of fructose could worsen disease in people with IBD. This is important because it has the potential to provide guidance on diet choices for IBD patients, something that is currently lacking."
Montrose, along with colleagues at Weill Cornell Medicine, tested three mouse models of IBD. They were fed high amounts of fructose, which worsened colonic inflammation along with notable effects in their gut bacteria including changes in their type, metabolism and localization within the colon. The consumption of a Western diet, including fructose, is associated with increasing rates of obesity and diabetes and IBD may be an additional disease exacerbated by fructose intake. Complementary mechanistic work demonstrated that the microbiota is causally linked to the detrimental effects of the high fructose diet.
The paper concludes that the "excess dietary fructose consumption had a pro-colitic effect that can be explained by changes in the composition, distribution and metabolic function of resident enteric microbiota."
Montrose added the next steps are planned to expand upon these findings including the development of interventions to prevent the pro-inflammatory effects of dietary fructose as well as evaluating whether this diet increases colitis-associated tumorigenesis. This second point is particularly important because IBD patients are at increased risk of developing colon cancer due to a lifetime of chronic inflammation of the gut.