Whey protein is showing some promise in helping relieve symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
By Dawn Flemming
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease in which the inflammation takes place in the lining of the large intestine. It is not known what the cause of UC is, but stress and particular foods can aggravate symptoms.
Although there is no cure for UC other than surgery (removing part or the whole of the large intestine), there are some medical and natural treatments.
Among natural treatments, whey protein seems to stand out.
Whey protein is the protein that is contained in whey which is the liquid or watery portion of your yogurt or of the milk when making cheese.
A 2017 study showed that the amino acids available in whey protein were beneficial in reducing inflammation in UC patients. It also seems to improve a balance of gut bacteria flora in the digestive tract thereby further reducing inflammation.
Johnny Bowden summarizes the studies on UC and whey protein as follows:
The researchers reasoned that whey protein might be beneficial for IBD because of its high concentration of two amino acids– threonine and cysteine—which have been found to be necessary for the production of mucin. “Mucin is the mucous like substance that allows the gut to better protect itself“, explained Joseph Brasco, MD, a gastroenterologist and nutrition expert from the Center for Colon and Digestive Disorders in Huntsville, Alabama, and my go-to source for all things having to do with digestive health.
You may be tempted to drink lots of it, but a word of caution. The studies also show that overconsumption of whey protein may have the opposite effect and make UC symptoms worse.
If you have ulcerative colitis, speak to your doctor and see if whey protein is safe for you.
Dawn Flemming is Director of Business Services at Geriatric In-Home Care in Fresno, California.