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Red Grapes: Possible Protection Against Colitis

New research suggests that red grapes may help the intestine repair and protect itself from colitis. Find out how — and how it may one day help you manage IBD.

By Jennifer Warner

Medically Reviewed by Farrokh Sohrabi, MD

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Red grapes may help the digestive system protect itself from colitis, which is inflammation of the colon.

A new study suggests that everyday red table grapes contain tiny particles that allow stem cells in the intestine to continue to function and reproduce, even as colitis is introduced. These intestinal stem cells are typically damaged in colitis.

Researchers say it’s the first time these types of particles have been identified in an edible plant. Until now, they've been found only in mammals.

If further studies confirm these results, they say it could lead to new, safer, and more economical treatments for colitis by using edible plant-derived substances to deliver medicines to the intestines or as a medicine themselves.

Experts caution that these are only early findings from research involving mice, but the notion is promising.

“It’s very intriguing to recognize certain elements in our food that may in fact be protective and support the cells in our colon that are responsible for reproduction in mice models,” said David T. Rubin, MD, a professor of medicine and co-director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at University of Chicago Medicine.

Why Stem Cells Matter in Colitis

In the study, published in the journal Molecular Therapy, researchers looked at how grape exosome-like nanoparticles (GELNs) — tiny particles seen only with an electron microscope — affected intestinal stem cells in mice.

Exosomes are specialized nanoparticles that are released by many types of cells. Recent research has suggested that these particles play an important role in stem cell formation. Stem cells themselves are unspecialized cells that have the potential to develop into many different types of cells in the body. They also work as a repair system for the body and replicate to replenish other cells when needed.

This self-renewal process is critical to protecting people from disease. For example, the lining of the intestine, the epithelium, sloughs off and renews itself regularly in healthy people, and the process is driven by stem cells within the intestine. But in people with colitis, this process doesn’t work properly, and the intestine becomes damaged.

How Grapes May Help Colitis

For the study, researchers fed one group of laboratory mice the grape substance while another group of mice acted as a control group and did not receive the GELNs. Colitis was then chemically induced in both groups over the course of several days.

The results showed that, within 13 days, all of the mice in the control group died, but the mice that received the grapes lived almost twice as long (25 days).

Researchers also colored the GELNs with fluorescent dye so they could see how they passed through the intestinal tract. They found that the grape particles stayed about 12 hours longer in the small intestine than the large intestine.

The results suggest that grape nanoparticles help protect against damage to the intestine by penetrating the epithelium and being taken up by mouse intestinal stem cells. This allows them to continue to function normally when threatened by colitis.

Dr. Rubin said that while the results of the study are certainly encouraging, the findings have a long way to go before they can translate to human therapies. “It doesn’t mean everyone should go on a red grape diet,” he said.

Last Updated:8/27/2013

7 Replies




Me too...red grapes are the only fruit & veg I can still eat without setting my signs & symptoms off...I have a small bunch daily if poss. Am in the diagnostic process, but my husband has survived early onset crohns for 62 years and suspects I've developed crohns

Thanks for posting


I am sorry to hear that you now have crohns. I hope my post will help . I have noticed a significant improvement over the last few days with my symptoms. I also cut out a lot of sugar and fizzy beverages. I am anemic so losing blood makes me need Iron tablets, which seems to aggravate the crohns. I also take heart meds lol its a pain but have to do it.

all the best and good luck.

ps forgive my spelling on some words

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Am wishing you all the v best

I don't have a crohns diagnosis...am just being investigated

I've been on an antiinflammation diet for many years

My primary is systemic Lupus

Take care & keep up the careful eating. Careful eating has helped my husband lots with his crohns


last few days was bad my friend took me for a meal on my Bday 2nd feb, I ate pork belly fried mush room and tomatoe with chips, and to top it off my aunt got me a bottle of bally castle I was very ill.

I have had this for 4 or 5 years and at this moment I can pass wind without worrying its owt els IE blood.

I read about a man called robert that has sufferd from chrones for 60 years, he rememberd a recipe from a john wayn movie. a character on the film ,His mum used to make a pultice. I will copy n paste

A pensioner claims to have cured himself of a debilitating disease with an old country cure inspired by a John Wayne movie.

Now grandfather Robert Anderson, 78, wants to spread the word after being symptom free for a full year. And he puts it all down to using his loaf – literally.

Robert, from Bangor, Co Down, was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, an inflammatory bowel condition, 45 years ago and his life was dictated by the illness.

He said: “It was horrendous and it used to get me down because I was told there was no cure for it.

“But I think I’ve found a cure and it costs just a few pence and has given me my life back. I only wish I’d discovered it years ago.

“I struggled for 45 years from the age of 33. I lost an incredible amount of weight and at one stage was so sick I weighed just six stone.

“Things were so bad I had to have part of my bowel removed because it was diseased.

“But nothing helped. Everything I did in life, every event we went to as a family, everything was controlled by this disease because I basically had diarrhea for 40 years. The children even learned never to put the toilet seat down because with this disease every second counts when you’re rushing to the loo.

“It was deeply distressing and embarrassing. Apart from that, it was painful and left me exhausted much of the time.

“Every time I’d leave the house I’d worry whether the place I was going to had a toilet.

“It was a nightmare to be honest and until recently I never realised the awful impact it had on all of us in the family.

“We were restricted in so many ways. We said no to so many invitations and fun things because it just wasn’t feasible for me.”

But that all stopped for Robert a year ago when at 77 he decided to experiment with an old cure he was reminded of while watching a John Wayne movie.

The famous western sparked a radical idea involving a hard-times recipe he remembered his grandmother making.

He revealed: “I was watching a John Wayne movie, Horse Soldiers, and there was a part where they used a poultice to help cure one of the characters to fight off an infection.

“It got me thinking that maybe I could do something similar but I needed to come up with a way of getting it into my bowel.”

Robert decided to adapt an old recipe in a bid to ease his suffering.

He said: “In years gone by, you didn’t throw stale bread away. It would be broken up and boiling hot water was poured over it.

“It would then be squeezed out and put down in front of children with a couple of spoonfuls of sugar and some sultanas thrown over. Many children lived on it in days gone past.”

So last year, Robert stopped all his medication and took three slices of 12-day old crusty loaf, added a couple of spoons of milk and artificial sugar and heated the mixture in the microwave.

He added: “It had to be that particular bread and I calculated that the bread would be stale but not blue moulded 12 days after it was baked. I fasted for 24 hours to make sure my bowel was empty and the bread would be able to do its work.

“I ate it on May 1 last year and it worked. I believe an ingredient in the bread got to work on the disease in my bowel and in a direct hit, basically wiped out the problem.”

And instead of running to the loo constantly, Robert is now living a pain-free and normal life.

He said: “I haven’t had any problems since, not a single episode and I honestly believe the bread mixture cured me. I used to take all sorts of tablets but I haven’t had to take any medication since.

“I had a very serious case of Crohn’s and now it has gone completely and I can eat normally without worrying. I take my miracle cure on a regular basis to keep everything under control and I have amazed my doctor.”


defo with the carful eating. smoking is bad for chrones I smoked for 20 years.

I wish your husband well

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Thanks 🍀🍀🍀🍀

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