Diet & Nutrition
Vinegar Could Help Fight a Chronic Disease
Vinegar, one of the most commonly used ingredients, may have another purpose as well: fighting ulcerative colitis.
Researchers, who published their findings in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that vinegar suppressed inflammation-inducing proteins while improving the gut’s bacterial makeup in mice.
Ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, is a chronic condition that affects millions of people around the world. Although its cause isn’t completely understood, research suggests that bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract play an important part. People with the condition experience repeated inflammation of the large intestine’s lining, which can cause ulcers, abdominal pain, diarrhea and other symptoms. At least one recent study suggested that vinegar, which has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, might be effective against ulcerative colitis. Lu Yu, Bo Liu and colleagues wanted to further investigate this possibility.
The researchers, from three Chinese research institutions, tested vinegar and its main ingredient, acetic acid, in a mouse model of ulcerative colitis. Giving the mice either substance by adding it in small amounts to their drinking water significantly reduced symptoms of the condition. An analysis of mouse stool samples showed that treated animals had higher levels of bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria. Other studies have found these bacteria to be beneficial to mice with colitis-like symptoms. Treatment also lowered the levels of proteins that induce potentially damaging inflammation in the gut.
The researchers say further work would be needed to determine vinegar’s effects on ulcerative colitis in humans.