This is a shortcut endocrine treatment that usually benefits most people with symptoms of Crohn’s and other bowel and colon disease. But again, it is definitely recommended that you see a doctor who specializes in hormones to have your individual situation assessed properly.
You may heal Crohn’s disease and enteritis more quickly and get faster relief from adding other additional supplements as needed:
FissureHeal relieves anal/rectal fissures; HemorrHeal helps heal internal or external hemorrhoids; wild oregano oil treats fistulas (inflamed tunnels between the anal canal and the skin); L-glutamine, bentonite clay, and psyllium seed treat diarrhea, and StrictureHeal or hot castor oil packs relieve pain or obstruction.
And there you have it! If you implement each of these eight steps, you will benefit from the fastest, most thorough natural gastrointestinal disease treatment available today. I have been drug and surgery-free for over 20 years, using the natural methods I developed. The key is to do all eight steps – preferably all at once – without skipping over any of them. Step-by-step guidelines for using natural treatments to treat disease of the bowel, including targeted healing diets, self-assessment tests, symptom guides, and more are outlined in Listen to Your Gut.
Remember, in order to be truly freed from the oppression of Crohn’s disease, you need to take the time to address and heal ALL of the contributing factors and underlying causes. Read these examples of people’s Healing Journeys for personal evidence of how well my natural Crohn’s treatment has worked for other bowel disease sufferers.
PLEASE NOTE: This is the very short version of these treatments, to get the full instructions, dosages, etc. please sign up in the the green box below for my free Crohn’s Disease Quick-Start Guide; that includes Chapter One of Listen To Your Gut, common Q & A from readers, and a list of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) resources.
- All Natural Remedies for Crohn’s Disease
- Probiotics and Crohn’s Disease
- Diet and Crohn’s Disease
- Stress and Crohn’s Disease
- Natural Treatments for Crohn’s Disease
- Fish oil
- Herbal and botanical treatments
- The Crohn’s Disease Diet & Natural Treatment Plan
- Cure Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Without Medication
- What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
- The IBD Diet
- Herbal therapy for IBD
- And of course don’t forget probiotics!
- Environmental triggers of IBD
- You Can Cure Your IBD
- Related posts:
All Natural Remedies for Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disorder that causes an inflammation of the digestive tract. Crohn’s typically manifests as a swelling in the lower intestine, though it can also affect other parts of the digestive tract including the esophagus, stomach and colon. The cause of Crohn’s disease remains unclear, but recent research suggests that it may be linked to immune system dysfunction. There also appears to be a hereditary component, with more than 20% of those suffering from Crohn’s disease having one or more blood relatives with the condition. The most common symptoms of Crohn’s are abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood in the stool, reduced appetite and weight loss. Crohn’s disease can also lead to chronic fatigue, ulcers and anemia.
Conventional treatments for Crohn’s disease rely on anti-inflammatory medications, steroids and immune system suppressing drugs to control symptoms. In extreme cases surgery may be used to remove sections of the affected intestine. These treatments are invasive, and potentially harmful to the total health of the patient. Many people with Crohn’s disease are finding that natural therapies offer a greater relief from their symptoms, while avoiding unwanted side effects and life altering surgeries.
Probiotics and Crohn’s Disease
Recent research has shown the probiotics can be a powerful tool in the battle against Crohn’s disease. Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” that are similar to the beneficial bacteria in the healthy human intestinal tract. The ingestion of probiotics helps to restore the healthy balance of bacteria in the intestine and the gut, resulting in fewer flare-ups for Crohn’s sufferers. Recent studies have also shown that probiotics not only increase healthy bacteria, they reduce inflammation and help the intestinal tract begin to heal itself from the long term effects of Crohn’s disease.
Diet and Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s symptoms can be triggered by a number of different factors, not least of which is diet. Patients suffering with Crohn’s are often advised to keep a food journal, making note of what they eat and when they experience symptoms of the disorder. In this way patients can pinpoint what foods and eating habits correlate with the recurring flare-up of Crohn’s symptoms, and begin to eliminate those food choices from their diet. Trigger foods will likely differ amongst patients, which is why clinicians suggest a personal food journal be used to determine what foods adversely affect which patients. Be aware of big food offenders like dairy products, eggs, gluten which excludes most grains.
While there is not a specific diet determined to be beneficial to individuals with Crohn’s disease, there are some nutritional choices that make sense for people suffering with this chronic condition. Crohn’s is thought to be linked to a dysfunction within the body’s immune system, so a diet designed to boost the total health of the immune system is recommended. Emphasis should be placed on organically grown fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. Meat and meat byproducts should be avoided, as should alcohol, refined sugars and other overly processed foods. Flax and hemps seeds should be added to the diet, as these are rich in the Omega-3 fatty acids which are so vital to a healthy immune system.
Stress and Crohn’s Disease
Patients suffering with Crohn’s disease understand the pain and anxiety that accompany the condition. Unfortunately, stress and anxiety are major triggers for the chronic symptoms associated with the disease and patients need to learn to manage their stress levels to avoid flare-ups. Exercise is always a recommended method for stress reduction. In addition to the obvious health benefits, regular exercise improves overall mental health, reduces anxiety and instills a feeling of control in the patient. Even a regular of routine of light exercise like rebounding for the lymphatic system, along with daily walks, can do wonders.
Relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises and meditation on the Word of God, should be done daily to help manage the chronic pain associated with Crohn’s disease, as well as to reduce daily stress levels. A holistic clinician can be consulted for breathing exercises that can be used to control and eliminate stress and anxiety. Regular meditation on the scriptures, and participation in a prayer group, can also help Crohn’s patients reduce their stress and achieve an overall sense of wellbeing.
Natural therapies for patients with Crohn’s disease offer an alternative to the potentially toxic and sometimes invasive treatments of conventional medicine. With a combination of diet, nutrition, exercise and meditation Crohn’s patients can minimize their symptoms, and begin to return their body to total health.
Natural Treatments for Crohn’s Disease
Written by Stephanie Faris and Jaime Herndon Reviewed by University of Illinois-Chicago, College of Medicine Published: 11 Jan 2017 Published: 11 Jan 2017 Reviewed: 8 Jul 2016 Reviewed: 8 Jul 2016
The first line of treatment for Crohn’s is typically medication, but more people are also seeking natural treatments to ease their symptoms. Natural treatments are sometimes called alternative, complementary, or integrative medicine.
While all three terms generally refer to a treatment outside of typical mainstream medicine, the terms actually refer to different things.
- Alternative medicine means you’re using a nonmainstream, nontraditional approach to treat an illness rather than a conventional, evidence-based medicine.
- Complementary medicine means you’re using a nonmainstream approach along with conventional therapy.
- Integrative medicine means you’re using a nonmainstream treatment and a conventional treatment in a complementary way.
Your gastrointestinal tract contains “good” bacteria, which help with digestion and offer protection against “bad” bacteria. If you’ve taken antibiotics or have an illness, you may not have a sufficient supply of the good bacteria.
Probiotics are living microorganisms that you can consume. They are found in certain foods or you can take probiotic supplements. They act very much like the good bacteria in your gut. Probiotics may be more or less beneficial depending on the location and stage of your disease. Some strains might work for one person but not others.
Although yogurt is one of the most common sources of probiotics, many people with Crohn’s disease are sensitive to dairy products. Other foods that contain probiotics include:
If you decide to try probiotics, talk to your doctor first.
Prebiotics are food for probiotics and for intestinal bacteria. Adding prebiotics to your diet might improve the function of your normal intestinal bacteria. Using prebiotics along with probiotics might make the probiotics more effective.
Prebiotics are nondigestible carbohydrates found in things like:
- whole grains
Fish oil has long been used to promote cholesterol health, but its also been suggested that it has benefits for those with Crohn’s too. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, may have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce Crohn’s symptoms. One study found that patients taking fish oil were twice as likely to remain in remission as those who took a placebo.
Talk to your doctor before starting fish oil supplementation. Taking high doses of fish oil, or taking it in combination with blood thinning medication, may lead to bleeding problems.
Acupuncture is an ancient practice that uses thin needles inserted into specific points on your body. It’s believed that this stimulates your brain to release endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that block pain. They may also strengthen your immune system and help fight infection.
Biofeedback is a form of relaxation therapy. With the help of a machine, you’re able to see how your body responds to pain. You can also learn how to control your responses to:
- body temperature
- perspiration level
- blood flow
- brain waves
Overtime, you can learn to manage your muscle contractions and pain.
Herbal and botanical treatments
There are some herbal and botanical treatments that may help ease the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. These include:
- aloe vera juice
- slippery elm bark
Again, talk to you doctor before trying any herbal or botanical treatments. Some can interact dangerously with medications you might be taking. They may also have undesirable side effects.
As always, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about any other therapies you’re considering. Some therapies may work well in conjunction with the medical treatments you currently use. Others may interact dangerously with your medical treatments.
- Understanding Crohn’s: The Remission and Relapse Cycle Read about the cycle
- Achieving Remission with Crohn’s: Q&A with a GI Get all your remission questions answered
- Crohn’s: Emergency Flare-Up Guide Take a look at this helpful guide
Have you been suffering from excessive diarrhea and abdominal pain on a regular basis? You might have Crohn’s disease. However, there’s good news. You can treat this condition naturally with a Crohn’s disease diet, along with making other lifestyle changes.
What is Crohn’s disease, exactly? This inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. It’s estimated that 1.4 million Americans suffer from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (collectively known as inflammatory bowel diseases or IBD). (1)
Crohn’s disease can seriously get in the way of everyday life with the possibility of it being both painful and debilitating. Sometimes, it even leads to life-threatening complications. Your doctor will tell you how there is no known cure and likely prescribe you a medication that comes with a plethora of scary side effects. Thankfully there is hope for sufferers in the form of holistic medicine.
If you suffer from Crohn’s, don’t lose hope! The dietary guidelines and natural remedies I’m about to present to you have done wonders to help Crohn’s sufferers to take back control of their health. Because much like the IBS diet and ulcerative colitis diet can treat those IBD conditions, the Crohn’s disease diet can do the same with this gastrointestinal tract issue.
The Crohn’s Disease Diet & Natural Treatment Plan
Crohn’s disease treatment, the natural way, involves making a number of scientifically proven changes to your lifestyle and diet. Here are some of the top ways I recommend you start healing your body and improving Crohn’s disease symptoms, starting with learning about which foods are apart of a Crohn’s disease diet.
Crohn’s Disease Diet:
The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases states that health care providers recommend several types of specific diet plans for helping to control Crohn’s symptoms. These include:
- High-calorie diets
- Lactose-free diets (removing dairy products)
- Low-fat diets
- Low-fiber diets
- Low-salt diets
The type of diet that works best depends on your ability to digest and absorb minerals, bacteria, fats, fiber and certain types of carbohydrates. People with Crohn’s react differently to these food groups depending on what type of medications they might be taking, their level of intestinal inflammation, and the extent to which they produce or don’t produce different digestive enzymes.
- Avoid classic problem foods — Food sensitivties vary from patient to patient but commonly include spicy and fried foods, refined foods like white breads and pastas, carbonated drinks, alcohol, and caffeine. Wheat products (gluten), cereal grains such as corn and oats, dairy products, pork, onions and yeast also all tend to make Crohn’s symptoms worse. (2) Research published in Gastroenterology and Hepatology shows that a diet low in fat and fiber (known as a LOFFLEX diet) tends to be highly effective at treating Crohn’s, with some studies finding that up to 60 percent of patients go into remission within 2 years.
- Eat a healing diet — If you suffer from Crohn’s, I strongly recommend following the Healing Foods Diet, which decreases inflammation (the No. 1 dietary goal with Crohn’s), alkalizes the body, lowers blood glucose, eliminates toxins and optimizes nutrient intake. Changing and improving your diet is one of the most important, controllable and natural things you can do to improve inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease. The healing foods diet consists of eating roughly equal amounts (33 percent each) of clean protein sources, healthy fats, and low-glycemic carbohydrates in the forms of fruits and vegetables.
- Limit dairy — Many people with Crohn’s find that gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, abdominal pain and gas improve when they limit or eliminate dairy products. Some people are also lactose intolerant, which means they can’t digest the milk sugar (lactose) in dairy foods. And while the lactose in dairy hasn’t been shown to necessarily make Crohn’s worse, the fat content in dairy can inflame the condition. (3)
- Be careful with high-fiber foods, including raw fruits and vegetables — For some people suffering from Crohn’s, consuming high amounts of fiber, especially from raw fruits and vegetables, can be too difficult for their compromised systems to handle. Don’t skip your fruits and veggies altogether however, just eat them cooked whenever possible. Some Crohn’s sufferers have trouble with foods in the cabbage family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.), nuts, seeds, corn and popcorn. (4) Keeping a food diary can help you see what works and what doesn’t for your particular case of Crohn’s. This way you don’t eliminate a healthy food (for example broccoli) unnecessarily in your Crohn’s disease diet if you don’t actually need to.
- Increase prebiotic intake — Consuming more prebiotics, a special form of dietary fiber that promotes the growth of healthy bacteria (probiotics) which combat bad bacteria, is a smart idea for people with Crohn’s disease. (5) Prebiotic foods include things like asparagus, bananas, honey and oats, all of which make excellent addition to any Crohn’s disease diet. However because prebiotics are a type of fiber, it’s important to monitor your systems and pay attention to how you feel. If particular prebiotic foods, or foods high in fiber, are causing worsened symptoms then try subbing in other foods until you find what works.
- Eat smaller meals — If you want to avoid a Crohn’s disease flare-up, it’s best to stop overloading your body with over-sized meals. By eating smaller meals you put less stress on the gastrointestinal tract, which can help reduce some Crohn’s symptoms like bloating, gas and cramping. You can try eating smaller meals more often throughout the day, rather than 2-3 big meals, to help with absorption of nutrients, improving energy and controlling symptoms.
- Drink enough fluids − It’s possible to lose a high amount of fluid due to frequent diarrhea. Make sure to drink at least 8, 8 ounce glasses of plain water per day. Caffeine-free herbal tea, bone broth and kombucha are also good choices, since these not only provide water but also electrolytes, amino acids and probiotics.
Avoid artificial sweeteners — A 2018 study published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases revealed that the artificial sweeteners sucralose (otherwise known as Splenda) and maltodextrin intensify gut inflammation in mice with Chrohn’s-like disease. Artificial sweeteners increased the presence of Proteobacteria — microbe bacteria found in E. coli, Salmonella and Legionaelles — in individuals suffering from Chrohn’s or other inflammatory bowel diseases and is the primary cause of increased white blood cell enzymes in the gut. According to the study, “about 10–15 percent of human patients report that sweeteners worsen their disease.” (6)
Crohn’s Disease Supplements
- Probiotics — Taking a daily, high-quality live probiotic supplement — in addition to consuming probiotic foods — supports your body’s immune system, improve digestive function and mineral absorption. Probiotics have been shown to help people with Crohn’s disease reduce the incidence of diarrhea. (7) A good probiotic also encourages enhanced synthesis of vitamin B12 (studies suggest people with Crohn’s often suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency and/or folate deficiency), calcium and vitamin K2 ,and support digestion of difficult substances like gluten and lactose.
- Slippery elm — Slippery elm is an herbal remedy and demulcent (a substance that protects irritated tissues and promotes their healing). It contains mucilage, a substance that becomes a slick gel when mixed with water. This mucilage coats and soothes the mouth, throat, stomach and intestines, making it excellent at calming Crohn’s flare-ups. (8)
- Curcumin — With anti-inflammatory properties, studies have found that people with inflammatory bowel disease who took curcumin reduced their symptoms and their need for medicines. Various clinical studies have suggested that curcumin might be a potential candidate for the prevention and/or treatment of a variety of colonic diseases, such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and colonic cancer. (9)
- Glutamine — Glutamine is an amino acid found in the body that that helps the intestine function properly. Since it’s good for overall intestinal health, it can offer help for Crohn’s. (10) It’s best to take glutamine on an empty stomach.
- Omega-3 fatty acids — Omega-3s like those found in fish oil can help fight inflammation and reduce the chances of recurrence of Crohn’s. Studies have been mixed, but some sufferers find omega-3s to be helpful. (11)
- Real multivitamin — Because Crohn’s disease can interfere with your ability to absorb nutrients, it’s often a good idea to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement. (12) You don’t want just any multivitamin, though. Make sure it’s a real food multivitamin that contains beneficial minerals, and avoid multivitamins with dangerous substances, such as Centrum vitamins.
Essential Oils for Crohn’s Disease
- Frankincense essential oil — Frankincense essential oil speeds up the secretion of digestive enzymes, increases urination production, relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract and also helps to improve circulation. Overall, it improves digestive health and has been shown to be beneficial in reducing symptoms of Crohn’s disease as well as leaky gut syndrome, chronic colitis, ulcerative colitis and IBS. (13) Add one to two drops of oil to eight ounces of water or to a tablespoon of honey for GI relief. If you’re going to ingest it orally, make sure it’s 100 percent pure oil, and don’t ingest fragrance or perfume oils.
- Lemongrass essential oil — Lemongrass essential oil can help relieve pain from gas irritation in the stomach and bowels. Lemongrass has anti-inflammatory properties that come from the limonene that’s present. Inflammation is associated with just about every health condition, including Crohn’s disease, and since lemongrass fights inflammation, it makes a great addition to any Crohn’s disease diet. (14) Adding one to two drops of lemongrass oil or infused lemongrass water to your tea or soup can treat stomach pains, nausea and diarrhea.
Other Natural Crohn’s Disease Treatments
How exactly stress plays a part in contributing to IBD is still up for debate, but experts agree that stress can trigger symptom flair-ups, worsen digestive health overall, and increase the chance of experiencing complications.
Of course stress is a part of daily life, and not all stress is going to be within your control, however there’s a lot you can do to reduce your reactions to stressful events. Regular exercise, getting adequate rest, taking time to relax, spending time outdoors, and fostering supportive relationships can make a huge impact.
The Importance of Reducing Stress:
- Exercise regularly — Regular exercise helps expel built-up tension, stress hormones and clears the mind. Exercise helps to release endorphins, the brain’s natural feel-good chemicals. In addition, it may even diminish some symptoms of IBD. (15) I recommend burst training for the most health benefits of exercise, but any combination of aerobic/cardiovascular, strength-training, and flexibility exercise is beneficial.
- Take a deep breath — Try deep breathing for a few minutes every day to reduce chronic muscle tension and spasming that can contribute to cramping. Tighten and hold your abdominal/shoulder muscles, then release them slowly as you breath out; this process releases nitric oxide and improves blood pressure. Managing stress in similar ways with a combination of deep breathing or mind-body exercises can help manage Crohn’s disease symptoms. (16)
- Schedule relaxation — Write it down in your daily planner, and stick to it. Make time at least once a week (or ideally once a day) to do something you love, something that refreshes you. Maybe that’s a game of tennis, spending an hour alone with a good book, or taking a yoga/meditation class to practice your breathing.
Crohn’s Disease Symptoms, Risk Factors & Causes
Although there is not one definitive, agreed-upon cause of Crohn’s disease− and each individual case is different− a poor diet and high amounts of unmanaged stress are common among people with IBD and other digestive disorders.
Other possible causes include heredity and toxin, virus or bacteria exposure. Crohn’s disease is more prevalent in people who have family members with the disease, and also seems to affect people with weakened immune systems most often, since this can be related to autoimmune reactions (when the body mistakenly attacks its own healthy tissue in order to try and protect itself from threats).
Common risk factors for Crohn’s and IBD include:
- Young-middle age: Crohn’s disease can occur at any age, but the majority of people are diagnosed before the age of 30.
- Eating a poor diet: Processed foods, spicy foods, fried foods, dairy products, sugar, alcohol and/or caffeine can all contribute to inflammation and Crohn’s disease.
- High amounts of stress: Stress has been shown to make IBD (and also IBS) symptoms worse and trigger flare-ups. Stress changes digestion and immune function in a negative way, lowering immunity, raising inflammation, altering hormones and changing the way muscles in the GI tract operate.
- Having a family history of IBS: As many as one in five people with Crohn’s also have a family member with the disease. (17)
- Long term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications: these ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve, Anaprox), diclofenac sodium (Voltaren, Solaraze) and others.
- Being of Caucasian, Eastern European (Ashkenazi) or Jewish descent
- Taking oral contraceptives long-term or antibiotics frequently
Crohn’s Disease Symptoms:
Although Crohn’s most drastically impacts the lining of the GI tract, the inflammation associated with IBD often also spreads to other parts of the digestive system, and even causes widespread symptoms throughout the body.
The most common signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease include: (18)
- Diarrhea and loose stools
- Intestinal cramping and abdominal pains
- Fatigue, or periods of very low energy
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in the stool, or producing stool that is darker than normal
- Mouth cores, canker sores and ulcers
- Reduced appetite and weight loss
- Perianal disease (inflammation near the anus)
- Irritation and inflammation of skin, eyes and joints, liver or bile ducts
- Some children who develop Crohn’s at a young age also experience delayed growth, delayed puberty/sexual development
Final Thoughts on the Crohn’s Disease Diet
- Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract.
- Unpleasant and common symptoms of Crohn’s include severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, reduced appetite and weight loss.
- Many factors can contribute to the development of Crohn’s. One out of five people who develop Crohn’s have a family history − but that also means that four out of five don’t have a genetic component to their disease.
- There are many ways you can prevent and control Crohn’s flare-ups, so despite how you might feel the disease is at least partially within your control. Dietary and lifestyle changes are critical for healing Crohn’s naturally.
- Adoption of a therapeutic Crohn’s disease diet, proper supplementation, stress management and avoidance of NSAIDs or antibiotics are some of the best natural ways to send Crohn’s into remission (hopefully for good).
Cure Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Without Medication
When you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) it can feel like your life is on hold. Debilitating pain, frequent trips to the bathroom, and extreme weakness makes getting through the day next to impossible. To make matters worse, your doctor may end up prescribing you steroids and immune-suppressing medications that don’t really help you get your life back and have a serious list of side effects.
I’m here to tell you it’s possible to alleviate symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases, like Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis and it doesn’t always have to take dangerous medications. You can do so with a change in diet or by consuming healing nutraceuticals.. The change in diet is necessary to bring down the inflammation and support your microbiome. Herbal or vitamin therapy can be added to speed up the healing process and get you back on your feet more quickly.
When I cured my Crohn’s disease over 10 years ago, I did so through a complete diet overhaul and using herbal supplements to treat dysbiosis in the microbiome. Now, I want to share with you what you can do to find the same relief.
What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease?
The gut is the gatekeeper of our immune system, and therefore our health. When the gut is off balance due to microbial imbalance or other issues it can cause serious, even life-threatening conditions.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a term for chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, due in part to aggressive T-cell mediated cytokine response to certain gut bacteria. IBD is considered an umbrella term for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
In Crohn’s disease the macrophages of the immune system don’t recognize which bacteria is good or bad, and attacks the beneficial bacteria that live on your stomach lining. There are also specific microbes that have been identified in triggering Crohn’s – this is good news because it’s another step closer to clearer diagnostics. You can read more about that in my article: 3 Surprising Microbial Triggers of Crohn’s Disease.
With ulcerative colitis, inflammation occurs only in the distal colon and can cause ulcers. Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis cause painful symptoms, which include:
- Abdominal pain
- Cyclical fevers
- Extreme weakness
- Weight loss
- Bloody stool
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you should make an appointment with a doctor who has experience in IBD. Though it’s rare, in some cases IBD can be dangerous and the earlier you catch it the easier it will be to treat it. Some patients disease gets so severe they have to have parts of the colon removed.
The IBD Diet
If you’ve been diagnosed with IBD, changing your diet should be the first course of action you take. By avoiding foods that cause intestinal inflammation you can reduce painful symptoms. You should also add foods that reduce inflammation to help further soothe your condition. Though it doesn’t help to do just one or the other, you need to both avoid harmful foods, add supporting foods, and also use herbal supplements.
When it comes to eating with IBD I’ve found that either the SCD or the Elemental diet work best. For patients who are in serious pain, I usually recommend the Elemental diet. For those who need a more long term management solution, I find the SCD works best.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet is powerful and capable in making changes in the gut microbiota diet in as little as two weeks. Through eliminating grains, sugars, starches, and unprocessed foods, you control what your gut microbiota has access to, which starves the harmful bacteria. The SCD is considered a gut reboot and can help those even with more mild gut conditions. With IBD, the SCD has been shown to positively influence the predominant Firmicutes and Bacteroides bacterium.
Food you can have on SCD include:
- Grass-fed beef
- Lactose-free dairy
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Ripe fruit
Foods you’ll want to avoid include:
- Starchy vegetables
- Some beans
- Artificial sweeteners
The Elemental diet is a strict diet that starves the bacteria through meal replacements. The Elemental diet is very effective with IBD but isn’t a diet someone can maintain permanently because the meal replacements are powdered nutrient drinks, which lack sufficient nutrients. That being said, the Elemental diet will significantly reduce the harmful bacteria and inflammation. The Elemental diet meal replacements can be Physicians’ Elemental Diet by Integrative Therapeutics or Vivonex by Nestle.
When you’re suffering from IBD eating can feel unbearable but changing the makeup of your microbiota through your diet is key to finding relief in remission.
Herbal therapy for IBD
Herbal therapy can help the process of healing go more smoothly and more quickly. Supplements that work best are therapeutic through antioxidant activity, immune regulation, and their anti-inflammatory effects.
A 2015 report on herbal therapy in patients with IBD found that certain herbal remedies were specifically beneficial to Crohn’s disease, such as:
- Mastic gum – Well known for its positive effect on the gut, mastic gum has been used medicinally since ancient times.
- Tripterygium wilfordii – Sometimes called, ‘thunder god vine,’ this effective herb has been used to fight inflammation and autoimmune disease, making it an excellent fit for IBD.
- Artemisia absinthium – Also known as, ‘wormwood’ or ‘absinthe,’ in the readily available form won’t cause hallucinations.
- Berberine – also has anti-inflammatory activity in colitis.
Herbal supplements that are effective in ulcerative colitis, include:
- Aloe vera gel – Though most think of this as a topical treatment, eating aloe vera is great for the soothing the gut, especially in IBD patients.
- Triticum aestivum – Also known as ‘wheat grass juice,’ research has found this to be an effective treatment for IBD.
- Andrographis paniculata extract – This herb is powerful against IBD and other conditions such as malaria and parasites.
- Topical Xilei-san – Studies have found topical Xilei san to be significant and safe in treating ulcerative colitis.
These herbal therapies were not only effective in soothing symptoms, they actually helped put the condition into remission. In the case of the Crohn’s disease, those herbal therapies were found to be effective through inhibition of leukotriene B4 and nuclear factor- kappa B.
Though it’s not an herb, I want to mention vitamin D supplementation because low levels have been linked to a higher risk of IBD. Studies repeatedly find low vitamin D levels in patients with IBD and it’s been considered a risk factor for Crohn’s disease since the 1980’s. Make sure you’re getting enough sun and taking 5,000 IU of a vitamin D3 supplement with vitamin K2.
And of course don’t forget probiotics!
Probiotics are essential to any gut healing protocol, but with IBD there are specific factors that make certain probiotics especially helpful. VSL#3 is one of my main recommendations for anyone with IBD because it is very potent and carries the most beneficial strains. One study found that patients who took VSL#3 probiotics for six weeks had a remission/response rate of 77 percent. Other probiotics recommendations I make to those with IBD include:
- High dose multistrain
- Probiotic E. coli strain Nissle 1917
- Lactobacillus GG
- Spore-forming probiotics
- Saccharomyces Boulardii
Environmental triggers of IBD
Environmental triggers are another consideration you should take seriously to get your IBD under control. The following are known triggers of IBD:
- Birth control
- Postmenopausal hormone therapy
You Can Cure Your IBD
The good news about inflammatory bowel disease is that you can reverse the illness with the right diet and lifestyle changes. If I can do it, you can do it. Take each step a one at a time, and before you know it you’ll have your condition under control.
I know what it feels like to struggle with IBD, which is why I’ll continue supplying you with helpful information like this – so you can get your life back.
If you want to read more, check out my other article on microbial triggers to IBD.