IBD and Nutrition

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 our findings on the risk of avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) and food avoidance among patients with IBD (Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021). Key risk factors included presence of active symptoms or inflammation.

We have also written multiple articles and provided several presentations on the topic. We have an upcoming book in GI nutrition written by nutrition experts throughout the country.


Clinical trial of novel diet for Crohn's disease

In partnership with the Center for Human Nutrition, we are conducting a trial of a UCLA-designed diet for Crohn’s disease.

You may be eligible if you:

  • Have Crohn’s disease with mild to moderate symptoms
  • Between the ages of 18 to 75 years

Some details:

  • Participation will last 9 weeks with 4 clinic visits and 2 video visits
  • The first visit is a screening visit to ensure eligibility
  • Visits include blood tests, stool tests, dietary surveys and dietary counseling
  • You will be randomized into one of two different diets
  • You will be paid up to $150 for your participation

For more information:

Study of dietary composition in Crohn's disease, IRB#20-001120 UCLA IRB Approval Date: Through 4/7/22, Committee: Medical IRB 3, PI: Li


Dietary patterns in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases research

Dr. Berkeley Limketkai, director of clinical research for the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, is conducting a research study to better understand the relationship between the diet and IBD and to help guide us on where to focus the next steps of research to provide better dietary recommendations and improve the care of IBD.

Participants must be:

  • 18 years or older
  • Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease

Participation involves:

  • A 20-minute questionnarie during your clinic visit
  • Electronic diet questionnaire to be done in the convenience of your own home
  • Follow-up questionnaire may be requested at your next clinic visits

For more information: 855-IBD-UCLA / 855-423-8252 or [email protected] 

UCLA IRB Approved IRB# 19-001299 Committee: Medical IRB 1 Approved / Expiration Date 3/17/22