More than 30,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with Crohn's disease. Crohn's is recognized as segments of inflammation involving the lining of the bowel and their supporting tissues usually involving the colon, small intestine, and/or large intestine. A strictly followed, highly nutritious, mild foods diet is an effective, non-toxic alternative to cortico-steroid drugs. Long-term steroid usage has serious effects including a built up tolerance, osteoporosis, weight gain, insomnia, adrenal stress and elevated blood sugar levels, among others. Nutritional regulation of the disease has the least long-term negative implications.
Research studies have suggested that there is an exacerbation in symptoms when consuming a high glycemic, low fiber and heavy animal fat diet. Because of the vulnerability of the gut ecology, the individual with Crohn's is more likely to develop an overgrowth of bacteria, fungus and yeast in the gut. Optimization of diet and therapeutic supplementation are essential to promote gastrointestinal balance.top
Inflammation and soreness along the entire GI tract (early signs are diarrhea and abdominal pain below the navel); bouts of diarrhea with a low grade fever; raised white blood cell counts; abdominal distention, tenderness and pain from food residue and gas; abnormal weight loss and depression; anemia; food allergies; blood in the stool.top
Genetic predisposition; consuming a diet with low fiber, excess refined sugar, high histamine and acid-forming foods will lead to a severely inflamed colon which forms deep ulcers along the entire length of the digestive tract from rectum to mouth. Smoking is a risk factor. Malnutrition is common in Crohn's disease. Multiple food intolerances, allergies and yeast overgrowth is common; emotional stress; zinc deficiency. 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. Evidence based medicine has also suggested that there may be a connection between mercury and Crohn's. Mercury binds replaces iodine in the small intestines which is needed for the production of enzymes required for optimal food breakdown. In addition, mercury will cause an overgrowth of yeast which thrives in a high mercury environment. There is also a greater production of free radicals from mercury that will impair the integrity of the gut lining leading to "leaky gut syndrome" which provokes inflammation and food allergies.top
Individualization of treatment and exploration of the root cause of symptoms is of the utmost importance when working with Crohn's Disease (nutritional counseling online or in person). A diet that is low glycemic and devoid of damaged fats will be essential to promoting recovery. Food sensitivities must be determined and foods high in histamine must be avoided as they are difficult for the Crohn's sufferer to break down. Most of all, it is essential to keep the gastrointestinal tract as clean and functional as possible. Digestive support to optimize food breakdown and absorption is often recommended. In addition, a digestive stool analysis may be helpful in exploring the gut ecology and ruling out the presence of harmful bacteria, fungus or pathogens which may result in digestive impedance. Digestive supplements and amino acids may be recommended for therapeutic gut healing and inflammation reduction. Vitamin/mineral status must be explored to determine possible deficiencies often associated with Crohn's (online or in person) Other supplements such as mercury free fish oil and a probiotics containing a live bacterial strain are essential in the management of inflammation and other symptoms. Keeping the immune system healthy, avoiding illness, and balancing stress and lifestyle are also vital to controlling the symptoms of Crohn's disease.top
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