Inflammatory Bowel Disease
IBD includes both Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, in which an inflammatory response attacks the gastrointestinal system. Crohn’s may occur anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract but is most likely in the small bowel whilst Ulcerative Colitis generally occurs in the colon.
Both may be associated with the presence of blood and/or mucus in the stools and there is generally an increase in stool frequency, occasionally up to 20 times a day. These may be painful conditions that regularly lead significant nutritional deficiencies.
There appear to be a combination of genetic and environmental variables that may underlie the cause for the IBD, which may be different for each individual.
Where do you start?
The Introduction to Gastrointestinal Disease outlines the general gastrointestinal rehabilitation approach that cab be helpful, however, as these conditions can at times deliver severe acute flare ups you may need to integrate the programmes with an initial prescription medicine programme provided by your Medical Doctor.
It should be noted that your nutritional programme may be more proactive, with much higher doses of Probiotics (and disease specific strains), Fish Oils, Glucosamine, Glutamine, Aloe Vera and Slippery Elm all being important. HCl supplements and Digestive Enzymes may be used at a much earlier stage. A Food Elimination Regime if critical. Stress management, smoking cessation and exercise should also be followed.
It is also imperative for you to attempt to ascertain what the triggers for Your exacerbations are and eliminate these as much as possible.
What if you are malnourished?
If malnutrition is already present, particularly if indicated by low body weight, protein supplementation via a quality protein shake is important.
Note that the reason a Protein shake is suggested (Rice, whey or dairy based depending upon tolerance to dairy) is because many people with IBD may not tolerate increased levels of meat but still require increased protein intake for recovery.
Are there any other supplements you should consider?
Use a high quality high dose multivitamin and mineral formula on an ongoing basis to overcome the potential for long term nutrient deficiency. To achieve a high quality intake you may consider separate quality Antioxidant, B Group, multi-vitamin and multi-mineral formulas.
Are there other Non-Conventional Tests?
As IBD is a chronic illness, we would strongly advise the use of Comprehensive Faecal Microbial Analyses and/or Comprehensive Digestive Food Analyses, referred and interpreted by an experienced integrative practitioner if control is not achieved. This may help to identify any bacterial infections driving the underlying process and allow a specific antibiotic (natural or herbal) regime to be instituted particular to the offending micro-organisms.
It will also report if there are any deficiencies in particular probiotics (eg. E. Coli) and allow correct supplementation as per the report.