Space food may help inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)
Friday 10th October, 2008
If you’re someone who suffers with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) such as Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis you could soon be eating food similar to that eaten by astronauts.
Food given to NASA astronauts will be on the menu for children who have chronic bowel conditions and the intergalactic style dining may provide long-term help.
Astronauts are given food that is easy to digest as it contains treated amino acids – normally, this would be difficult for the body to breakdown and process.
The food has been found to provide short-term benefits for those with digestive disorders but its long-term benefits have yet to be discovered.
The space food, called ‘elemental feed’, will be compared with standard steroid treatment for bowel conditions which is known to cause thinning of the bones. Space food currently has no known such side effects.
Four centres around the UK are taking part with a possible one hundred children under the age of 16 and suffering with Crohn’s disease involved in the two year study.
The latest trial is being carried out at the Bristol Children’s Hospital where half of patients being treated for the condition have been given space food. Results from the trial have shown symptoms going into remission after 4-6 week period but the long-term benefits are still unclear.
“There is clinical evidence to suggest that elemental feed is as effective as steroids in healing the gut, however there is no long-term evidence yet on its lasting effect on bone density and growth,” said lead researchers Professor Bhupinder Sandhu.