Protein is the building block of muscles in our body organs, which also repairs the daily wear and tear in the body. However, it is seen in a study at the University of Washington, that protein is also responsible for treating the bowel diseases.
A study claims that consuming protein rich foods such as nuts, eggs, yoghurt, poultry and chocolates may help in providing relief to people living with abdominal pain and diarrhoea of inflammatory bowel disease.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in the US found that a kind of tolerance-promoting immune cell appears in mice that carry a specific bacterium in their guts. The bacterium needs tryptophan, one of the building blocks of proteins, found in foods like nuts, eggs, seeds, beans, poultry, yoghurt, cheese, even chocolate, to trigger the cell appearance, researchers said.
Marco Colonna, the Robert Rock Belliveau professor at the University of Washington in St. Louis said: “We established a link between one bacterial species – Lactobacillus reuteri – that is a normal part of the gut micro biome and the development of a population of cells that promote tolerance.”
Colonna further added, “The more tryptophan the mice had in their diet, the more of these immune cells they had.”
The team discovered that one group of study mice had a kind of immune cell that promotes tolerance, while the second group of study mice that were the same strain of mice but were housed far apart from the first group did not have such cells.
The mice were genetically identical but had been born and raised separately, indicating that environmental factors influenced whether the immune cells developed.
Researchers sequenced DNA from the intestines of the two groups of mice. Six bacterial species were present in the mice with the immune cells but absent from the mice without them. Researchers grew Lactobacillus reuteri in liquid and then transferred small amounts of the liquid – without bacteria – too immature immune cells isolated from mice. The immune cells developed into the tolerance-promoting cells. When the active component was purified from the liquid, it turned out to be a byproduct of tryptophan metabolism known as indole-3-lactic acid.
When the researchers doubled the amount of tryptophan in the mice feed, the number of such cells rose by about 50 per cent. When tryptophan levels were halved, the number of cells dropped by half.
Researchers said people have the same tolerance-promoting cells as mice, and most of us shelter Lactobacillus reuteri in our gastrointestinal tracts.