The basis of the research is that IBS appears to be triggered by inflammation (a reaction of the immune system) and scientists are looking into
different ways to control this reaction. Research has led them to the microparticles that make up the shell of many crustaceans.
The tiny particles are called chitin. Chitin
is non-toxic, biodegradable and non-allergenic, and therefore safe for oral ingestion as a dietary food supplement. Scientists have developed an oral substance as a dietary supplement. The researchers have demonstrated that oral administration of chitin microparticles reduces disease conditions of allergic asthma, food allergies, colitis and food borne infections in animal models and seasonal allergies in humans.
Because crustacean shells are abundant and a major waste in the seafood industry, they could provide an alternative to costly drugs used to treat IBS (current medications for IBD include antibiotics, corticosteroids and other biologic anti-inflammatory drugs).
The research was carried out at the Charles E. Schmidt College
of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University. The research has yet to be published.