TORONTO, CANADA. Researchers at the Toronto General Hospital report that patients with Crohn's disease (CD) suffer from oxidative stress and have significantly lower blood levels of antioxidants than do healthy controls. Their study involved 37 non-smoking CD patients (22 women and 15 men) and 37 healthy controls matched for age, sex, and body mass index. Thirty per cent of the CD patients had active disease and 78 per cent were taking one or more medications to treat CD. All participants underwent breath analysis tests (pentane and ethane) to determine the degree of lipid peroxidation (fat oxidation) in their system. A high degree of lipid peroxidation is an indication that the body's antioxidant defenses are overwhelmed and that the body is suffering oxidative stress. Blood plasma levels of the common antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin E, carotenes, glutathione peroxidase and selenium, were also measured.
The researchers conclude that CD patients have a significantly higher level of lipid peroxidation than do
healthy people. This applies even to patients whose disease is in remission. CD patients also have
significantly lower levels of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, and beta-
cryptoxanthin. There were no significant differences in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), selenium, and
glutathione levels between patients and controls. The researchers recommend that a study be made of the
effects of antioxidant supplementation in CD patients.