Adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with decreased fecal calprotectin in patients with ulcerative colitis after pouch surgery

Eur J Nutr. 2020 Oct;59(7):3183-3190. doi: 10.1007/s00394-019-02158-3. Epub 2019 Dec 7.


Background: Mediterranean diet (MED) is associated with health benefits, yet scarce data exist regarding the role of MED in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Herein, we aimed to evaluate the association between MED and inflammatory markers in patients with IBD after pouch surgery.

Methods: Consecutive patients after pouch surgery due to ulcerative colitis (UC) were recruited at a comprehensive pouch clinic. Adherence to MED was calculated according to MED score, ranging from 0 (low adherence) to 9 (high adherence), based on food-frequency questionnaires. Pouch behavior was defined as normal pouch (NP) or pouchitis based on Pouchitis Disease Activity Index (PDAI) and disease activity was defined as active or inactive. C-reactive protein (CRP) and fecal calprotectin were assessed.

Results: Overall 153 patients were enrolled (male gender 47%; mean age 46 ± 14 years; mean pouch age 9.5 ± 7 years). MED scores were higher in patients with normal vs. elevated CRP and calprotectin levels (4.6 ± 1.8 vs. 4.4 ± 1.6, p = 0.28; 4.8 ± 1.8 vs. 4.07 ± 1.7, p < 0.05, respectively). In a multivariate regression, MED score was associated with decreased calprotectin levels (OR = 0.74 [0.56-0.99]). Adherence to MED was associated with dietary fiber and antioxidants intake. Finally, in a subgroup of patients with NP followed up for 8 years, higher adherence to MED trended to be inversely associated with the onset of pouchitis (log rank = 0.17).

Conclusions: In patients with UC after pouch surgery, adherence to MED is associated with decreased calprotectin levels. Thus, MED may have a role in modifying intestinal inflammation in IBD.

Keywords: Inflammatory bowel disease; Mediterranean diet; Pouchitis.

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Child
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / complications
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / surgery*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Feces / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex / analysis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pouchitis / complications
  • Pouchitis / diet therapy
  • Pouchitis / prevention & control
  • Proctocolectomy, Restorative*


  • Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex