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A full feeling in your stomach,
accompanied by abdominal pain and regular bouts of
diarrhoea, may be signs of Crohn’s disease. According to research or other evidence,
the following self-care steps may be helpful:
Fill up on fibre
Improve stool quality and other symptoms by eating high-fibre fruits and vegetables and by taking fibre supplements such as psyllium or glucomannan
Fight back with fish
Prevent relapses by frequently eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, mackerel, or sardines
Take a daily multivitamin
Choose a comprehensive formula containing zinc, folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin D to prevent deficiencies caused by poor absorption
Discover beneficial bacteria
Take 250 mg of Saccharomyces boulardii
three times a day to help control diarrhoea
Say goodbye to smoking
Kick the habit to reduce the risk of disease relapse
Go with a low-sugar diet
Reduce symptom severity by avoiding soft drinks, sweets, and sugar-filled processed foods
These recommendations are not comprehensive and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or chemist. Continue reading the full Crohn’s disease article for more in-depth, fully-referenced information on medicines, vitamins, herbs, and dietary and lifestyle changes that may be helpful.
About Crohn’s disease
Crohn’s disease is a poorly understood inflammatory condition that usually affects the final part of the small intestine and the beginning section of the colon. It often causes bloody stools andproblems.
What are the symptoms?
Chrwith abdominal pain, fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, and a sense of fullness in the abdomen are the most common symptoms. About one-third of people with Crohn’s have a history of anal fissures (linear ulcers on the margin of the anus) or fistulas (abnormal tube-like passages from the rectum to the surface of the anus).
The over-the-counter antidiarrhoeal drug(Imodium A-D®) may be used in Crohn’l irritation and loose stools may sometimes be improved by giving bulk-forming laxative such as(Citrucel®) or (Fiberall®, Konsyl®, Metamucil®, Perdiem®).
Diphenoxyla(Imodium®) are the prescription drugs most often used to control diarrhoea. Cramps may be treated with anticholinergic drugs, such a(Levsin®, Levbid®) and belladonna (Belladonna Tincture(Azulfidine®) is used in patients with mild to moderate coliti as prednisone (Deltasone®), may be used during acute flare-(Entocort EC®) is prescribed to maintain remission for up to three months. However, long-term corticosteroid therapy does more harm than good. Certain immunosuppressive drugs may also be effective, including(Imuran®) and 6-mercaptopurine (Purinethol®). Inflixamab (Remicade®), oprelvekin (Neumega®), and sargramostim (Leukine®) might benefit individuals with moderate to severe Crohn’s. Secondary bacteriaare managesuch as (Sumycin®) a(Vibramycin®).
Dietary changes that may be helpful
A person with Crohn’s disease might consume morethan the average healthy person.1 w-sugar diet led to a 79% reduction in hospitalizations compared with no dietary change in one group of people with Crohn’s disease.2 Another trial compared the effects of high- and low-sugar diets in people with Crohn’s disease.3 People with a more active disease were reported to fare better on the low-sugar diet than those eating more sugar. A few people on the high-sugar diet had to stop eating sugar because their disease grew worse. While details of how sugar injures the intestine are still being uncovered, doctors often suggest eliminating all sugar (includingand processed foods with added sugar) from the diets of those with Crohn’s disease.
A diet high in animal protein and fat (from foods others been linked to Crohn’s disease in preliminary research.4 As with many other health conditions, it may be beneficial to eat leafat and morea
Some people with Crohn’s disease haveand have been reported to do better when they avoid foods to which they are allergic. One study found that people with Crohn’s disease are most likely to react tiry, and yeast.5 Increasingly, baker’s yeast (foand other bakery goods) has been implicated as a possible trigger for Crohn’s disease.6 Yeaare high in histamine, which is involved in an allergenic response. People with Crohn’s disease lack the ability to break down histamine at a normal rate,7 so the link between yeast and dairy consumption and Crohn’s disease occurrence may not be coincidental. However, the allergy theory cannot account for all, or even most, cases of Crohn’s disease.
Elemental diets c(rather than whole proteins, which can stimulate allergic reactions) and are therefore considered hypo-allergenic. They have been used extensively as primary therapy in people with Crohn’s disease,8 9 10 with remission rates comparable to those of steroid drugs. Nevertheless, diets containing intact proteins derived from dairy ahave proven equally effective at controlling the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.11 12 13 Until more is known, it is premature to conclude that food allergy plays a significant role in the development of Crohn’s disease or that is any more likely to help than a diet whose protein is only partially broken down.
In one trial, people with Crohn’s disease were asked which foods aggravated their symptoms.14 Those without ileostomies faw fruit, ato be most problematic, though responses varied from person to person, and other reports have displayed different lists.15 (Ileostomies are surgical passages through the wall of the abdomen into the intestine that allow the intestinal contents to bypass the rectum and drain into a bag worn on the abdomen.) People with Crohn’s disease wishing to identify and avoid potential allergens should consult a doctor.
There is preliminary evidence that people who eat fast foods at least two times per week more than triple their risk of developing Crohn’s disease.16
Lifestyle changes that may be helpful
People with Crohn’s disease are more likely to smoke, and there is evidence that continuing to smoke increases the rate of disease relapse.17
Vitamins that may be helpful
malabsorption is common in Crohn’s18 and can lead to a deficiency of the vitamin.19 Successful treatment with vitamin D for(bone brittleness caused by vitamin D deficiency) triggered by Crohn’s disease has been reported.20 Another study found 1,000 IU per day of vitamin D prevented bone loss in people with Crohn’s, while an unsupplemented group experienced significant bone loss.21 A doctor should evaluate vitamin D status and suggest the right level of vitamin D supplements.
Inflammation within the gut occurs in people suffering from Crohn’s disease. EPA aga-3 fatty acve anti-inflammatory activity. A two-year trial compared the effects of having people with Crohn’s disease eat 3.5 to 7 ounces of fish high in EPA and DHA per day or having them eat a diet low in fish.22 In that trial, the fish-eating group had a 20% relapse rate compared with 58% among those not eating rringalbacorend sardines are all high in EPA and DHA.
In a double-blind trial, people with Crohn’s disease who took supplements providing 2.7 g of EPA/DHA per day had a recurrence rate of 26% after one year, compared to a 59% recurrence rate among those taking placebo. 23 Participants in this study used a special enteric-coated, ―free-fatty-acid‖ form of EPA/DHA taken from fish oil. Other
blinded trials using other fish oil supplements that were neither enteric-coated nor in the free-fatty-acid form have reported no clinical improvement.24 25 These disparate outcomes suggest that the enteric-coated, free-fatty-acid form may have important advantages, including the reported elimination of gastro-intestinal symptoms that often result from taking regular fish oil supplements.26 Unfortunately, enteric-coated ―free-fatty-acid‖ fish oil is not commercially available at this time.
In a preliminary trial, six of seven people with Crohn’s disease went into remission after taking 200 mg per day ofor eight weeks.27 This large amount of DHEA has the potential to cause adverse side effects and should only be used under the supervision of a doctor.
In double-blind research,caused by Crohn’s disease has partially responded to supplementation with the beneficial bacte28 Although the amount used in this trial, 250 mg taken three times per day, was helpful, as much as 500 mg taken four times per day has been administered in research successfully using Saccharomyces boulardii
as a supplement with people suffering from other forms of diarrhoea.29
In people with Crohn's diseasedeficiency can result from malabsorption due to intestinal inflammation or bowel surgery, from chronic diarrhoea, or from dietary changes necessitated by food intolerance. In addition, Crohn's disease is often treated witthat have the potential to kill beneficial vitamin K–producing bacteria in the intestines. Vitamin K levels were significantly lower in a group of people with Crohn's disease than in healthy people. Moreover, the rate of bone loss in the Crohn's disease patients increased with increasing degrees of vitamin K deficiency.30 When combined with earlier evidence that vitamin K is required to maintain healthy bones, this study suggests that vitamin K deficiency is a contributing factor to the accelerated bone loss that often occurs in people with Crohn's disease.
Crohn’s disease often leads t result, deficiencies of many nutrients are common. For this reason, it makes sense for people with Crohn’s disease to take a high potencysupplement. In particular, deficiencies in have been reported.31 32 33 Zinc, folic acid, and vitamin B12 are all needed to repair intestinal cells damaged by Crohn’s disease. Some doctors recommend 25 to 50 mg of zinc (balanced with 2 to 4 mg of copper), 800 mcg of folic acid, and 800 mcg of vitamin B12. Iron status should be evaluated by a doctor before considering supplementation.
is needed for the growth and repair of cells that line both the small and large intestine.34 At least two case reports describe people with Crohn’s disease who have responded to vitamin A supplementation.35 36 However, in one trial, vitamin A supplementation failed to maintain remission of the disease.37 Therefore, although some doctors recommend 50,000 IU per day for adults with Crohn’s disease, this approach remains unproven. An amount this high should never be taken without qualified guidance, nor should it be given to a woman who is or could become
People with Crohn’s disease may be deficding 38 In theory, supplementing with enzymes might improve the nutrient malabsorption that is often associated with Crohn’s disease. However, people with Crohn’s disease considering supplementation with enzymes should consult a doctor.
Are there any side effects or interactions?
Refer to the individual supplement for information about any side effects or
Herbs that may be helpful
Doctors sometimes use a combination of herbs to soothe inflammation throughout the digestive tract. One formula cnd a few other herbs.39 Marshmallow and slippery elm are mucilaginous plants that help soothe inflamed tissues. Cranesbill is an astringent. Clinical trials using this combination have not been conducted.
A variety of anti-inflammatory herbs historically have been recommended by doctors for people with Crohn’s disease. These includend juice. Cathartic preparations of aloe should be avoided. No research has been conducted to validate the use of these herbs for Crohn’s disease.
Curcumin is a compound i(Curcuma longa)
that has been reported to have anti-inflammatory activity. In a preliminary trial, four of five people with Crohn's disease had an improvem ent in their condition after supplementing with curcumin for three months. The amount used was 360 mg three times a day for one month, followed by 360 mg four times a day for two months.40
Tannin-containing herbs may be helpful to decreaseduring acute flare-ups and have been used for this purpose in traditional medicine. A preliminary trial using isolated tannins in the course of usual drug therapy for Crohn’s disease found them to be more effective for reducing diarrhoea than was no additional treatment.41 Tannin-containing herbs of potential benefit include agrimony (Agrimonia
of such herbs should be discontinued before the diarrhoea is completely resolved; otherwise the disease may be aggravated.
Are there any side effects or interactions?
Refer to the individual herb for information about any side effects or interactions.
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