Background: The main symptom of ulcerative colitis is diarrhoea, which is often accompanied by painful tenesmus and faecal blood and mucus. It sometimes co-occurs with abdominal pain, fever, feeling of fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss. Some dietary factors have been indicated as important in the treatment of ulcerative colitis. The aim of the study was to analyse the association between retinoid intake (total vitamin A, retinol, β-carotene, α-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin) and ulcerative colitis symptoms (abdominal pain, faecal blood, faecal mucus, faecal pus) in individuals with ulcerative colitis in remission. Methods: Assessment of diet was based on self-reported data from each patient’s dietary records taken over a period of three typical, random days (2 weekdays and 1 day of the weekend). Results: A total of 56 individuals with ulcerative colitis in remission (19 males and 37 females) were recruited for the study. One in every four individuals with ulcerative colitis in remission was characterised as having inadequate vitamin A intake. Higher lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin intakes in individuals with ulcerative colitis in remission were associated with lower faecal blood, mucus and pus but not with lower incidence of abdominal pain. Higher carotene intake in individuals with ulcerative colitis in remission may contribute to higher incidence of faecal mucus. Conclusions: Optimising intake of specific retinoids may enhance disease control in individuals with ulcerative colitis. Prospective studies, including patient reported and objective outcomes, are required to confirm this.
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