Nutrition and IBD research

The primary research focus of our lab encompasses the bidirectional relationship between nutrition and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). We all recognize that nutrition plays a critical role in influencing whole-body biological processes, which include effects on intestinal health, the gut microbiome and inflammation. Our team is interested in better understanding these effects on an individual and population level, while also investigating nutritional strategies to attenuate gastrointestinal symptoms and inflammation.

Inversely, IBD is known to dramatically affect the individual’s nutritional status. Patients with IBD often have altered dietary habits due to symptoms, malabsorption and a desire to treat inflammation. We study how IBD affects these clinical parameters to better identify risk factors, adverse outcomes and optimal methods for addressing them.

Active investigation includes:

  • Assessment of dietary patterns on an individual and population level
  • Generating and evaluating the evidence for diets, vitamins, prebiotics and probiotics for treatment of inflammation
  • Clinical trials of dietary interventions and evaluation of their impact on disease activity, innate immunity, microbiome and metabolome
  • Characterizing the effects of nutrition on the microbiome
  • Optimizing perioperative nutrition

As an effort to assess the available evidence for nutritional interventions, we performed systematic reviews and meta-analyses through the Cochrane Collaboration on (1) dietary interventions for the treatment of IBD (Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2019;CD012839); and (2) use of probiotics for induction of remission in Crohn’s disease (Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2020;CD006634). We recently published a comprehensive systematic review and meta-anlysis of prospective observational studies and randomized controlled trials of solid food diets compared with a control diet (Clinical Gastroenterol Hepatol 2022).

Our study of dietary patterns in 691 participants with IBD found that plant-based diets were associated with lower risk of active symptoms (Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022). This study was featured as an Editor's Choice in January 2022 and won the Best Clinical Research award for 2022.

We have also written multiple articles and provided several presentations on the topic.

Related publications