ADELAIDE, Australia (UPI) — Emu oil may have therapeutic potential for common bowel diseases and intestinal damage caused by chemotherapy, researchers in Australia say.
Physiology Ph.D. candidate Suzanne Mashtoub Abimosleh of the University of Adelaide said emu oil was used by Australian indigenous populations as a skin wound treatment and anecdotally in reducing bowel inflammation.
Abimosleh showed emu oil accelerated the repair process from disease-causing injury by stimulating growth of the intestinal “crypts,” the part of the intestine that produces the villi, which absorb the food.
“Longer crypts and villi mean a healthier bowel that can better absorb food,” Professor Gordon Howarth of the University of Adelaide’s School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences said.
Disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, such as the inflammatory bowel diseases and chemotherapy-induced mucositis, are associated with malabsorption of food together with inflammation and ulceration of the bowel lining, Abimosleh said.
“The variable responsiveness of treatments to these diseases shows the need to broaden approaches, to reduce inflammation, prevent damage and promote healing,” Abimosleh said in a statement. “The symptoms of mucositis, which include painful ulcers throughout the gastrointestinal tract, are experienced by 40 percent to 60 percent of all cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy worldwide and currently there are no effective treatment options.”
A series of laboratory studies showed emu oil treatment:
— Produced greater elongation of intestinal crypts and reduced the severity of damage in intestines affected with ulcerative colitis.
— Significantly decreased acute intestinal inflammatory activity in non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)-induced gastrointestinal disease.
— Decreased acute inflammation and improved repair of the chemotherapy-damaged intestine.