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Vitamin A (retinoic acid) for IBS


Phoenix Rising Founder
Interesting...from Pro health. Dr. Maes has said that the rate of IBS increases the longer you have ME/CFS and I believe him. My lower abdomen has been painful to the touch ever since I got ME/CFS but cramping problems in that area have increased tenfold over the past five years.

Interestingly they're not just talking about IBS but other immune diseases as well such as MS. After this check out the next post on Il-17 and ME/CFS.

Oxidized form of vitamin A may support relief for ulcerative colitis, IBS

October 1, 2009


New research finds retinoic acid may alleviate inflammation of irritable bowel diseases by downregulating cytokine expression

Here's another reason why you should take your vitamins. A new research report published online Oct 1 in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology(1) suggests that retinoic acid, the oxidized form of vitamin A, could be a beneficial treatment for people suffering from ulcerative colitis and other irritable bowel diseases.

Specifically they found that retinoic acid helps suppress out-of-control inflammation, which is a hallmark of active ulcerative colitis.

"Pharmaceutical strategies based on this research may offer a promising alternative to our current approaches of managing immune diseases, including IBD, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and so on," said Aiping Bai, a researcher involved in the work from Nanchang University in Nanchang City, China.

To make this discovery, Bai and colleagues conducted in vitro studies with human tissue and in vivo studies in mice. Both studies ultimately found that treatment with retinoic acid reduced the inflammation in the colon by:

  • Increasing the expression of FOXP3, a gene involved with immune system responses,
  • As well as decreasing the expression of Interleukin 17 (IL-17), a cytokine believed to cause inflammation.

Because many experts believe that IL-17 directly relates to the uncontrolled inflammation seen in ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel disease, the discovery that retinoic acid reduces IL-17's ability to cause inflammation could accelerate the development of treatments for these chronic diseases.

"Runaway inflammation is serious problem, no matter where it occurs in the body, but in many instances, the root cause is a mystery," said John Wherry, PhD, Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.

"This research helps scientists better understand what causes and controls inflammation in the colon, which in turn, helps lay the groundwork for new classes of drugs to treat this devastating condition."

1. Article cited: “All-trans retinoic acid down-regulates inflammatory responses by shifting the Treg/Th17 profile in human ulcerative and murine colitis,” Journal of Leukocyte Biology, Oct 2009, Bai A, et al.

Source: Journal of Leukocyte Biology news release, Oct 1, 2009


Phoenix Rising Founder
IL-17 problems in ME/CFS

Now check out this recent study by Dr. De Meirleir that suggested ME/CFS patients have a predisposition to IL-17 problems. Now wonder he's interested in this cytokine - it regulates inflammation - apparently particularly in the intestines and Central nervous system. The gastrointestinal system is often called the " second nervous system" because of its many similarities to the central nervous system.

10 September 2008
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Sep 4. [Epub ahead of print] Metzger K, Frmont M, Roelant C, De Meirleir K. Protea Biopharma, Z.1-Researchpark 100, 1731 Zellik, Belgium.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is characterized by immune
dysfunctions including chronic immune activation, inflammation, and
alteration of cytokine profiles.

T helper 17 (Th17) cells belong to a recently identified subset of T
helper cells, with crucial regulatory function in inflammatory and
autoimmune processes. Th17 cells are implicated in allergic
inflammation, intestinal diseases, central nervous system
inflammation, disorders that may all contribute to the
pathophysiology of CFS.
IL-17F is one of the pro-inflammatory
cytokines secreted by Th17 cells.

We investigated the association between CFS and the frequency of
rs763780, a C/T genetic polymorphism leading to His161Arg
substitution in the IL-17F protein. The His161Arg variant (C allele)
antagonizes the pro-inflammatory effects of the wild-type IL-17F.

A significantly lower frequency of the C allele was observed in the
CFS population, suggesting that the His161Arg variant may confer
protection against the disease. These results suggest a role of Th17
cells in the pathogenesis of CFS.


Senior Member
Near St Louis, MO
While on IBS, has anyone heard of an increase in colon polyps being related to CFS? My doctor is a bit baffled. Fifteen of the things in March and another eleven this Thursday. Plus, colon became spastic (IBS) and I now have some diverticula pockets. I feel as if my innards are falling apart, and it is definitely not diet-related, nor do I have any relatives with these problems.


Senior Member
I know this thread is pretty old, but I found it interesting. For what it is worth, for rs763780 I am TT, which is what they described as being more common in people with CFS.

Of course, ncbi lists the chances of one having these genotypes as:

So...about 5/6 of everyone tested was TT as well.

Of course, this happened five years ago, so things may have changed dramatically from the idea that people with ME are probably vitamin A deficient and will benefit from supplementation. @Cort, I don't suppose you were or are up on this?