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Emu Oil As An Alternative Treatment For Irritable Bowel Disease, Study

Emu oil may be useful for the treatment of common bowel diseases, according to a new study.

| April 22, 2013 | Health

AsianScientist (Apr. 22, 2013) - Emu oil may be useful for the treatment of common bowel diseases in addition to the intestinal damage caused by cancer chemotherapy, according to a new study.

Used by Australian indigenous populations as a skin wound treatment, and anecdotally regarded as useful in reducing bowel inflammation, research at the University of Adelaide has not only supported emu oil's anti-inflammatory properties, but shown that it can also help to repair damage to the bowel.

Laboratory experiments by Physiology Ph.D. candidate Suzanne Mashtoub Abimosleh have shown that emu oil accelerates the repair process, following disease-causing injury, by stimulating growth of the intestinal 'crypts'. The crypts are the part of the intestine that produces the villi which absorb the food, and longer crypts and villi allow for better absorption of food.

"Disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, such as the inflammatory bowel diseases and chemotherapy-induced mucositis, are associated with malabsorption of food together with inflammation and ulceration of the bowel lining (mucosa)," said Abimosleh. "The variable responsiveness of treatments to these diseases shows the need to broaden approaches, to reduce inflammation, prevent damage and promote healing."

In the study, emu oil treatment produced greater elongation of intestinal crypts, indicating enhanced recovery and repair, and reduced the severity of damage in intestines affected with ulcerative colitis. The treatment was also shown to significantly decrease acute intestinal inflammatory activity in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-induced gastrointestinal disease and in chemotherapy-damaged intestines.

"The symptoms of mucositis - which include painful ulcers throughout the gastrointestinal tract - are experienced by 40-60 percent of all cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy worldwide and currently there are no effective treatment options," said Abimosleh.

The researchers hope to take the treatment into clinical trials, possibly initially with patients suffering from conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.


Source: University of Adelaide; Photo: The b@t/Flickr/CC.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

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