Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., Dipl.Ac., LAc.
1.6 million Americans have irritable bowel syndrome (IBD), which includes Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. These diseases cause chronic inflammation and damage the intestinal epithelial barrier, which acts as the first line of defense against toxins, antigens and non-beneficial bacteria; while allowing water, nutrients and electrolytes to pass. In Crohn’s disease the protein network that maintains this epithelial boundary in the form of tight junctions (TJ) breaks down. Once the foreign materials pass through they cause the immune system to react, but it can’t distinguish between the foreign invaders and itself.
A study published in the World of Gastroenterology found that the combination of acupuncture and Moxibustion decreased inflammation in mild to moderate cases of Crohn’s disease, and was able to repair the damaged intestinal epithelial barrier by increasing tight junction (TJ) proteins and their mRNAs.
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Shang HX, Wang AQ, Bao CH, Wu HG, Chen WF, Wu LY, Ji R, Zhao JM, Shi Y. Moxibustion combined with acupuncture increases tight junction protein expression in Crohn's disease patients. World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Apr 28;21(16):4986-96. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i16.4986.