By Amanda Box, N.D.
Suffering with Crohn’s disease is far from a walk in the park. This inflammatory disease of the bowels can rob a once healthy person leaving them both weak and wasting away. When suffering with Crohn’s, food is barely absorbed, blood is lost, and pain and chronic diarrhea are nearly constant. It is nothing short of a living nightmare for those who suffer.
Crohn’s is an autoimmune disorder in the family of inflammatory bowel diseases. It can be difficult to diagnose, at first, because its symptoms resemble other diseases like Ulcerative Colitis and IBS.
Ulcerative Colitis, as devastating as it is, only affects the lining of the intestinal tract. Crohn’s disease, however, causes inflammation in the deep layers of the intestinal wall.
No one is quite sure yet on what exactly causes Crohn’s disease, although there seems to be a genetic tie. It also seems to primarily affect those between the ages of 20-30 years old.
Doctors typically treat Crohn’s with a combination of immune suppressors and anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs can offer temporary relief, but they also boast a whole host of side-effects: nausea, vomiting, and more diarrhea. Long term use of steroids like Prednisone lowers the immune system and make a person more susceptible to infections and disease. They can also cause hormonal imbalance, weight gain, and osteoporosis.
Many people who suffer from Crohn’s undergo surgery to relieve their severe symptoms. These surgeries are quite invasive and involve removing part or a person’s entire colon! Here’s what a typical surgery for Crohn’s entails:
- Proctocolectomy – Surgery to remove the rectum and part of the colon or the entire colon.
- Ileostomy – During proctocolectomy, the surgeon also performs an ileostomy. This attaches the ileum to an opening made in the abdomen called a stoma. An ostomy pouch is then attached to the stoma and worn outside the body to collect stool. The pouch needs to be emptied several times a day.
- Intestinal resection surgery – This is when only the diseased section of intestine is removed and an ileostomy is not needed. Instead, the intestine is cut above and below the diseased area and the ends of the healthy sections are connected in an operation called an intestinal resection.
What’s even worse is that, even after surgery, Crohn’s very often comes back! Surgery is not a cure and should be considered very carefully.
An Alternative Path
Given the above options, it really seems as though mainstream medicine doesn’t have a lot to offer those with Crohn’s. Many people throw in the towel believing they are doomed to suffer the rest of their lives with this damaging disease. But this just isn’t the case!
Thousands of people have found a new life, one without suffering with Crohn’s, by taking an alternative path. This path is void of side-effects and invasive surgeries. It does take discipline and hard work, but the payoff is great!
You can reduce or even completely eliminate Crohn’s by following these natural principles.
- Reduce inflammation (the cause of so many ailments and discomforts)
- Repopulate the digestive tract with probiotic bacteria
- Provide the body with easily absorbed nutrients
The root of Crohn’s damage afflicted on the intestinal tract is inflammation. Although pharmaceutical drugs exist that suppress inflammation, they also have many side-effects.
There are plenty of fantastic supplements on the market that target inflammation naturally and provide even greater results than pharmaceutical drugs! With so many choices that are relatively cheap and inexpensive, it might be worth trying one or two to see what affect it has on your symptoms.
Serrapeptase is an amazing supplement. It was discovered in the 1970s in a species of bacteria located inside silkworms. This unique enzyme has the ability to safely quell inflammation without suppressing the immune system.
Inflammation in the gut causes much of the pain, ulcers, and bleeding that accompanies Crohn’s; Serrapeptase offers a lot of hope with a whole host of beneficial applications.
Prescribed often in both Asia and Europe, it has been shown to be just as effective as NSAIDS and steroids in relieving inflammation, but without the side-effects. A double-blind German study on the enzyme found that it could reduce swelling by up to 50% in post-operative patients!
You can also use serrapeptase for:
- Sinus infections
- Varicose veins
- Carpal tunnel
- Multiple sclerosis
- Back and neck pain
- Traumatic injuries
- Chronic pain
- Prostate issues
- And much more
One of the most soothing plants on this plant is aloe vera. We all know how fantastic it is for soothing sunburn. Just as it soothes inflammation of the skin, it can also soothe the inflammation in our digestive tract!
Aloe vera also has antifungal properties, which makes it helpful in fighting off candida in the gut. Candida is a fungus that is often a precursor to Crohn’s and its presence can exasperate the disease.
My favorite aloe product is by Aloe Life. They sell a non-filtered aloe that includes the enzyme rich components of the inner leaf as well as the gel and juice. Aloe is supposed to have a bitter taste. If it isn’t bitter, much of its medicinal products have been filtered out. If you’re not a fan of this bitter taste, I recommend one of the Aloe Life’s blends. They combine tasty fruit juice with their amazing aloe to offset the bitter flavor.
I cannot stress enough the importance of omega-3s for Crohn’s disease. Omega-3s are not only a fabulous natural anti-inflammatory, but they contain essential fatty acids that are necessary for our bodies systems. An enterically coated fish oil capsule seems to work best because the capsule does not release its contained anti-inflammatory benefits until it hits the intestinal tract – right where you need them!
As always, make sure that the fish oil you purchase has been tested to contain no PCB’s or other toxins. There are too many fish oils on the market today that also contain the toxic chemicals that were ingested by the fish.
Repopulating With Beneficial Bacteria
The second principle in naturally treating Crohn’s is repopulating the gut with lots of beneficial probiotic bacteria. This is more extensive than just eating a cup of yogurt!
When dealing with Crohn’s disease, there is typically an extreme imbalance between helpful probiotic bacteria and toxic microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other foreign substances). More often, these toxic microbes have taken over the environment in the gut. They not only thrive in the inflamed intestinal tract, but also promote even more inflammation and digestive tract disturbances.
The only way to take back your gut from these pesky microbes is to bombard it with the good guys. To do this, you must supplement with the top of the line and strongest probiotics on the market!
Not just any probiotic will do. I have compiled a list of the probiotics that are most often recommended. I have taken these brands myself and have seen others greatly benefit from them. I’m sure there are other reputable ones on the market as well. However, these are my top 3 probiotics of choice:
- 50 Billion Probiotic from Renew Life
- Primal Defense from Garden of Life
- Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics Original Formula from Essential Formulas
Each of these probiotics are formulated by different methods and don’t all contain the exact same strains of probiotics. I personally don’t take the same brand for more than two months at a time. I switch to make sure I am truly getting a full spectrum of the friendly bacteria my body needs. I recommend others do the same.
You won’t have instant results taking probiotics as they do take time to repopulate the gut. You may even experience a little digestive distress as your system is adjusting. However, after several months, the results will be significant and you will truly feel the difference.
Easily Absorbed Nutrients
Since Crohn’s can often times impair the digestive tract system, it is very important that you provide your body with high quality, easily absorbed nutrition. Many times, even when someone with Crohn’s changes their diet and eats only healthy food, their system still struggles to break it down and absorb the vitamins and minerals. It is best to consume something that requires little to no digestion, yet is easily absorbed.
Juicing is by far the best way to provide your body with live, vitamin rich nourishment. You get all the benefits of fruits and vegetables without the strain of the digestive system. Juice is absorbed quickly and easily and provides an almost instant form of energy. However, juicing isn’t always convenient and store-bought juices do not offer the same benefits.
They are nutrient dense powders on the market that are as close to raw juice as you can get. My favorite is Garden of Life’s Perfect Food. It contains a plethora of health promoting greens and vegetables per serving. And for those who aren’t a fan of the taste, they also make both a berry and chocolate flavored version. This is great for on-the-go, quick nutrition.
It is best to give your digestive tract a chance to rest and repair, so always choose foods that are easy to break down and digest. Many with Crohn’s follow a modified liquid diet until they obtain relief. Pureed foods and homemade soups are great choices. Eggs are also a fantastic choice for easily digested protein.
Remember, you are not bound to the pharmaceutical system. An alternative path to overcoming Crohn’s disease is not only an option, but it works! If you take natural steps towards reducing inflammation, repopulating the gut with friendly bacteria, and consume easily digested nutrient dense food, you will be pleasantly surprised with the results! You may even say goodbye to Crohn’s for good!
If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:
- Overcoming Crohn’s With Nature’s Foods
- Crohn’s Disease Diagnosis – Where to Go From Here
- Intestinal Fortitude: Crohn’s Courage
http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.Amanda Box is a Doctor of Naturopathy and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 10 years and currently has a Naturopathic consulting practice in Sioux Falls, SD. Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic doctor to turn to for your personal needs, Dr. Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at