Background: Germinated barley foodstuff (GBF) has been shown to attenuate intestinal injury in animal models, largely by increasing luminal short-chain fatty acid production.
Aim: To investigate the safety and efficacy of GBF in the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC).
Methods: Ten patients with active UC received 30 g of GBF daily for 4 weeks in an open-label treatment protocol while the baseline anti-inflammatory therapy was continued. The response to treatment was evaluated clinically and endoscopically. Pre- and post-treatment stool concentrations of short-chain fatty acids were measured by gas-liquid chromatography.
Results: Patients showed improvement in their clinical activity index scores, with a significant decrease in the score from 6.9+/-1.4 to 2.8+/-1.5 (mean+/-S.E.M., P < 0.05). The endoscopic index score fell from 6.1+/-2.3 to 3.8+/-2.3 (P < 0.0001). Patients showed an increase in stool butyrate concentrations after GBF treatment (P < 0.05). No side-effects were observed.
Conclusions: Oral GBF therapy may have a place in management of ulcerative colitis, but controlled studies are needed to demonstrate its efficacy in the treatment of this disorder.