Background: Germinated barley foodstuff (GBF) is a prebiotic foodstuff that effectively increases luminal butyrate production by stimulating the growth of protective bacteria. In the first pilot study, GBF has been shown to reduce both clinical activity and mucosal inflammation in ulcerative colitis (UC). The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of GBF in the treatment of UC in a multicenter open control trial.
Methods: Eighteen patients with mildly to moderately active UC were divided into two groups using a random allocation protocol. The control group (n = 7) were given a baseline anti-inflammatory therapy for 4 weeks. In the GBF-treated group (n = 11), patients received 20-30 g GBF daily, together with the baseline treatment, for 4 weeks. The response to the treatments was evaluated clinically and endoscopically. Fecal microflora were also analyzed.
Results: After 4 weeks of observation, the GBF-treated group showed a significant decrease in clinical activity index scores compared with the control group (P < 0.05). No side effects related to GBF were observed. GBF therapy increased fecal concentrations of Bifidobacterium and Eubacterium limosum.
Conclusions: Oral GBF therapy may have the potency to reduce clinical activity of UC. We believe that these results support the use of GBF administration as a new adjunct therapy for UC.