Crohn's disease is an inflammatory disorder that leads to severe ulceration
of the digestive tract. This disease generally occurs in the last portion
of the small intestine (ileum) and the beginning of the large intestine,
but it can occur in any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the
anus. Crohn's disease can affect the small intestine alone (35 percent),
the large intestine alone (20 percent), or both-the last portion of the
small intestine and the large intestine (45 percent). There may be just one
ulceration or several, and they may skip areas of the digestive tract. When
these ulcerations heal, they can leave behind scar tissue that narrows a
portion of the gastrointestinal passageway.
As its sufferers know, symptoms of Crohn's disease can be exceedingly
unpleasant. The most common symptoms include intense abdominal pain and
chronic diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Other common
symptoms include nausea, mouth and anal sores, fatigue, and a general sense
of malaise. Crohn's can also lead to other disorders. Chronic diarrhea
prevents the absorption of vital nutrients, with malnutrition as a frequent
result. Persistent bleeding within the intestines can cause anemia, which
only compounds the existing fatigue and nutritional deficiencies. People
with Crohn's may also develop fistulas, abnormal tunnels that connect one
part of the intestine to the other, or even to other organs. Sometimes the
scar tissue is so thick, it partially or completely obstructs the bowels, a
dangerous condition that is always a medical emergency.
The onset of Crohn's disease usually takes place during adolescence or
young adulthood, with most cases occurring before age thirty-five, although
it can affect the elderly, too. In some cases, the disease strikes once and
never returns. For most people, however, Crohn's is a chronic condition
that may flare up every few months or every few years. The condition must
always be taken very seriously indeed, the symptoms make it hard to
ignore-and sufferers must be under the care of a good doctor, preferably a
gastroenterologist with experience in treating the disease. If Crohn's is
left untreated, the bowels may eventually stop functioning altogether. Yet
natural medicine has a lot to offer for people with this disease, and many
find that they can keep the disease under control with a comprehensive
natural approach, as described in this chapter.
As with many other intestinal disorders, no one is entirely sure what
causes Crohn's disease. Crohn's disease is rare in "primitive" societies
that follow diets based on whole, unprocessed food. In fact, the disorder
was practically unheard of in the United States until the middle of this
century, when consumption of refined and chemically treated products
skyrocketed. Food allergies-which ten to afflict societies that rely on
unnatural foods-are also thought to play a significant factor in this
disorder, as are free radicals, which, again, are best counteracted with
good nutrition. Dietary therapy is a crucial component of any treatment
plan for Crohn's disease. Good eating habits will prevent many of the
secondary disorders, like malnutrition and anemia, which Crohn's can cause;
better yet, it will address the underlying problem. Although no one can
officially claim a cur for this disease, many sufferers will testify that
dietary changes have successfully eliminated their symptoms. Unfortunately,
many doctors are unaware of the role that diet plays in this disorder.
It is critical that digestive function also be improved with this
condition. Increased intestinal permeability is an issue that needs to be
addressed. As well, flora imbalance (dysbiosis) and undiagnosed intestinal
infection from parasites, harmful bacteria, or yeast need to be tested and
treated. Lifestyle is very important as well. Smokers are more likely to
have Crohn's disease, and stress can be a powerful factor in the
development of, as well as the recovery from, this disease.
For severe, acute flare-ups, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids or
other medications. The goal, though, addresses the underlying causes with
natural therapy so that you can heal the digestive tract, and decrease the
susceptibility to future attacks. Even if more aggressive measures are
needed, the treatments described here can still reduce your suffering
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; the level
of effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when
taking any and all supplements.
Prescription for Natural Cures
James F. Balch
Super Prescription #1
- LifeSource Product Take as directed on
the container. Aloe soothes and heals the lining of the
Super Prescription # 2 DGL licorice (Glycyrrhiza
Chew 1 to 2 capsules or take 300 mg of a powdered form
twenty minutes before each meal.
Super Prescription #3
- LifeSource Products - See All of our Omega 3 – Fish
Take a total daily dosage of an eneric-coated fish oil
product containing at least 480 mg of EPA and 360 mg of
DHA, spread out over three times a day. Fish oil reduces
Super Prescription #5
Enzymes – Super Enzymes
- LifeSource Product
Theses enzymes help aid in the digestion of food and are
essential for all the metabolic activity in the body.
Super Prescription # 6
- LifeSource Product
Take 1,000 to 3,000 mg (1 gram to 3 grams) three times
daily on an empty stomach. This amino acid is involved in
the healthy turnover of cells that line the digestive
Super Prescription #7
Dophilus Plus – Probiotics
- LifeSource Product
Take a product containing at least 4 billion active
organisms daily. It supplies friendly bacteria such as
Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus. A product containing
Saccharomyces boulardii probiotic has proved to be helpful
for diarrhea associated with this condition.
See All LifeSource Vitamins Complete Line of Crohn’s
Disease Fighting Products, Articles, and Studies:
Loss of appetite
Mouth and anal sores
Diet high in fatty and refined foods and low in fiber</div>
Increased intestinal permeability
Poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking and drinking alcohol
Good nutrition is important for everyone, but people with Crohn's must be
especially diligent about eating wholesome meals. It's best to buy fresh
ingredients (organic, if possible) and prepare them yourself.
Protein deficiency is common in people with Crohn's. Incorporate quality
protein sources into your diet, such as organic chicken, legumes, turkey,
and fish, for two meals a day. Soy is also an option unless you are
sensitive to it.
Homemade soups and broths are excellent. These meals are liquefied and easy
to digest. Use a variety of fresh vegetables and quality protein sources,
as described previously. This is particularly helpful during the time of a
Juices are ideal for Crohn's sufferers, because they require little work
from the digestive system and their nutrients are easily absorbed. Drink
vegetable juices every day. Cabbage juice is particularly effective in
healing ulcerated areas.
Eat a cultured product like kefir or, if you're not allergic to dairy, live
unsweetened yogurt every day. A deficiency of friendly intestinal bacteria
is common in Crohn's patients.
Make proper hydration a priority. Drink at least one glass of clean water
every two waking hours. You'll replenish the water lost to diarrhea, and
you'll also help your bowels regulate themselves.
Foods to Avoid
Consumption of refined carbohydrates is strongly associated with Crohn's
disease. Eliminate white flour, white rice, and both white and brown sugars
from your diet. Almost all packaged products are made with at least one of
these ingredients, so read labels carefully.
Foods that are high in saturated, hydrogenated, or partially hydrogenated
fat will irritate your gastrointestinal tract and make diarrhea even worse.
Avoid red meat, as well as any fried or greasy foods.
Many people with Crohn's disease have undetected food allergies; when they
remove the allergens from their diets, the disease often completely
disappears. To determine if a food or foods is causing your problem, read
the Food Allergies section and follow the elimination diet that accompanies
it. Dairy and wheat are common triggers for people with this disorder.
Be careful with high-fiber foods such as wheat bran, as it is too harsh for
some people with this disease. Slowly increase fiber-rich foods in the
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, and spicy foods. Although these
products don't cause Crohn's disease, they irritate the gastrointestinal
system and can make your symptoms worse.
Limit the use of fruit juices, which commonly irritate the digestive tract
of people with this condition.
If you have Crohn's, chances are that your body has been exposed to toxic
quantities of refined carbohydrates, fats, and possibly food allergens.
Give your system a rest by going on a three-day juice fast. Drink a wide
variety of juices, broths, and herbal teas, and try to include cabbage
juice as well.
If you smoke, it is important that you break the habit. And everyone
with Crohn's disease must avoid smoky rooms.
Since intestinal bleeding is a real danger in Crohn's disease, always
check your stools for signs of blood, especially if it looks like tar.
If you see any, call your doctor at once.
Exercise promotes bowel health and also helps bring stress under
control. Take a thirty-minute walk every day, or find some other
aerobic activity you enjoy enough to perform regularly.
Bruce Brightman – founder
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