Hyperbaric Oxygen May Help Bowel Disease

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, used to treat many scuba diving illnesses, may offer a new treatment option for patients with severe inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory bowel disease is a relatively common disorder that includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Basically, ulceration in the lining of the colon causes inflammation and pain sometimes severe enough to require surgery. Researchers have suggested that hyperbaric oxygen -- exposure to 100% oxygen at pressures above normal atmospheric pressure -- could reduce the extent of tissue damage occurring in patients with this disease, and therefore decrease the discomfort associated with the condition.

A reduction in nitric oxide synthase production is among the key factors underlying the protective effects of hyperbaric oxygen in the inflammatory bowel disease model. Although other investigators have proposed that hyperbaric oxygen could have therapeutic value in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, the Israeli team is the first to elucidate the biochemical mechanisms underlying this therapeutic benefit, according to the report.

Gut 1998;43:512-518.

COMMENT: Hyperbaric oxygen is a very useful tool and I am sure it would be useful for resistant cases. However, my experience is that most individuals respond very nicely to a no grain, no milk diet with healthy amounts of good bacteria supplementation.

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