WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Vinegar suppressed inflammation-inducing proteins linked to ulcerative colitis and improved gut bacteria in the gut, easing the condition in a study with mice.
Researchers in China report that vinegar altered the population of bacteria in the gut microbiome, leading to reduced ulcerative colitis symptoms in the rodents.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic form of inflammatory bowel disease causing inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract, large intestine and rectum.
Previous studies have shown the microbiome is involved with the inflammation, and vinegar has been thought to have some effect on the condition, which researchers said in a press release led them to test its effects in an animal model.
For the study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers tested vinegar, as well as its main ingredient, acetic acid, in mice with ulcerative colitis by adding small amounts of either substance to their water.
Both vinegar and acetic acid lowered levels of proteins that promote inflammation in the gut and reduced the animals' symptoms, researchers said. Stool samples from rats who received the substances also showed higher levels of bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacteria, and Enterococcus faecalis, which are beneficial to mice with colitis symptoms, and lower levels inflammation-causing bacteria such as E. coli.
A further understanding of how vinegar works in the gut is necessary, but researchers said the study suggests a dietary strategy to reduce or prevent ulcerative colitis in patients.