Fructose may worsen intestinal inflammation common to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to a recent study published in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Approximately 3 million Americans are diagnosed with IBD every year, up from 1 million per year in the late 1990s. Rates of IBD have been steadily increasingly worldwide, and a Western diet may be to blame, according to the study. A Western diet has already been associated with increasing rates of obesity and diabetes and investigators believe that IBD may be an additional condition exacerbated by fructose intake. 

Investigators tested 3 mouse models of IBD, feeding them high amounts of fructose, which was found to worsen colonic inflammation. According to the study, notable effects were also seen in the gut bacteria, including changes in type, metabolism, and location within the colon. The microbiota were found to be causally linked to the detrimental effects of a high fructose diet.   

"The increasing incidence of IBD parallels higher levels of fructose consumption in the United States and other countries," said David Montrose, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology and faculty researcher in the Stony Brook University Cancer Center, in a press release. "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." 

Investigators said the next step is to determine whether IBD patients are at an increased risk of colon cancer. Additionally, they plan on developing interventions to prevent the pro-inflammatory effects of dietary fructose. 

Reference:
Study reveals dietary fructose heightens inflammatory bowel disease [News Release] September 29, 2020; Stony Brook, NY. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-09/sbu-srd092920.php. Accessed September 30, 2020.