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Inflammatory Bowel Disease Prevention and Control
Clinical studies using an elimination diet (diet of foods that have a lower tendency to produce allergic reactions) have provided significant IBD improvements with no side effects. [Workman, et al. "Diet in the Management of Crohn's Disease." Human Nutrition: Applied Nutrition Vol 38A. (1984) Pgs. 469-473]
The success of these studies indicates that an elimination diet should be a primary choice for the treatment of chronic IBD. The most common offending foods that are eliminated are wheat and dairy products.
For example, one standard elimination diet consists of lamb, chicken, potatoes, rice, banana, apple, and a cabbage-family vegetable. This diet is maintained for at least one week and up to one month. Symptoms related to food sensitivity will typically disappear by the fifth or sixth day; if not, it is possible that one of the above-listed foods is also a problem. In that case, an even more restricted diet must be utilized. After the restrictive time period, single foods are added back into the diet program and their effect monitored.
For many people using an elimination diet to identify problematic foods is the most viable means of detection and correction. The downside is that it is time-consuming and requires record keeping discipline and motivation. Often the assistance of a physician or other professional with experience in isolating and identifying allergenic foods is helpful.
In Britain several studies have been conducted treating IBD through diet. Specifically, a high fiber diet was clinically successful in the treatment of IBD. But interestingly, this type of diet is the direct opposite of the old traditional "low-fiber medical diet" prescribed for years and years. Another example of a conventional medical treatment being completely reversed; with the understanding we now have of the beneficial value of fiber, this is not a surprising reversal. [Heaton, et. al. "Treatment of Crohn's Disease with an Unrefined-Carbohydrate, Fiber-Rich Diet." Britain Medical Journal. Vol 279. (1984) Pgs 1859-1862.]
Of course a combination of elimination diet and high fiber diet is better than either one alone.
Medical Options and Precautions
Corticosteroid drugs (e.g., prednisone) are most commonly used in "traditional medical" treatments, but these drugs stimulate and increase protein breakdown/loss, and depress protein synthesis; which means loss of lean tissue and additional complications for the liver to replace blood proteins. Corticosteroid drugs are also known to decrease the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, increase urinary excretion of vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and zinc; increase levels of blood glucose, serum triglycerides, and serum cholesterol; increase the requirements for vitamin B6, C, folate, and vitamin D; decrease bone formation; and impair wound healing.
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