Treatment of ulcerative colitis with germinated barley foodstuff feeding: a pilot study


Mitsuyama Second Department of Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine, 67 Asahi-machi, Kurume, Fukuoka 830-0011, Japan.



Germinated barley foodstuff (GBF) has been shown to attenuate intestinal injury in animal models, largely by increasing luminal short-chain fatty acid production.


To investigate the safety and efficacy of GBF in the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC).


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.


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., < 0.05). The endoscopic index score fell from 6.1 ± 2.3 to 3.8 ± 2.3 (< 0.0001). Patients showed an increase in stool butyrate concentrations after GBF treatment (< 0.05). No side-effects were observed.


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.