Natural Health and Wellness for the Whole Family

The Role of Diet in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

By Sarah Axtell, ND February 1, 2013

A recent study at the University of Massachusetts medical school evaluated the role of an anti-inflammatory diet and Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis).

Results: 100% of the patients had symptom reduction and were able to reduce their medication.

Conclusion: Diet change must be an integral part of therapy for patients with IBD!

An anti-inflammatory diet for Inflammatory Bowel Disease; the IBD-AID Barbara Olendzki, Taryn Silverstein, Gioia Persuitte, Katherine Baldwin,
Yunsheng Ma, David Cave
University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC), are chronic inflammatory gastro- intestinal disorders. Standard IBD treatment typically employs a combination of anti-inflammatories, immunomodulators and biologics; however, the pharmaco- logical approach is not by itself curative. The Anti-Inflammatory Diet for IBD (IBD- AID) is a nutritional regimen that has been derived from The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). The IBD-AID restricts the intake of complex carbohydrates such as refined sugar, gluten-based grains, and certain starches from the diet. As in the original SCD, these carbohydrates are thought to provide a substrate for pro-inflammatory bacteria. The IBD-AID also places strong emphasis on the ingestion of pre- and probiotics to help restore the balance of the intestinal flora. A third focus of the IBD-AID is the elimination of trans-fatty acids, and a shift away from foods high in saturated fat and omega-6 polyunsaturated fats, with a proportionate encouragement of foods with omega-3 fatty acids.

The objective was to assess the efficacy of the IBD-AID as an adjunct or alternative to standard IBD therapy.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT: A literature search for recent studies and review articles was undertaken regarding diet and IBD. After IRB approval, medical records of patients with IBD who have used the IBD-AID to help treat their disease were retro- spectively reviewed. Each patient’s response to the diet was reviewed based on an esti- mated Harvey Bradshaw Index (HBI) or Modified Truelove and Witts score (MTLWS).

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Of 11 patients, 8 had CD, 3 had UC. The average age was 42.2 years old (age range 19-70 years). Before the dietary intervention, 7 patients (64%) had one or more drug treatment failures, meaning they had adverse side effects, the medication had no effect, or the medication had become ineffective. After using the IBD-AID, all (100%) of the patients were able to discontinue at least one of their prior anti-inflammatories, immunomodulators or biologics. Additionally, all (100%) of the patients had symptom reduction including bowel frequency. The mean HBI pre-IBD-AID was 11 (range 1-20) and the mean follow-up score was 1.5 (range 0-3). The mean MTLWS pre- IBD-AID was 7 (range 6-8) and the mean follow-up score was 0. The average decrease in the HBI was 9.5 and the average decrease in the MTLWS was 7.

This case series indicates the potential for the IBD-AID to be used as an adjunct or alternative therapy for the treatment of IBD. Further randomized, prospective trials are needed. Strategies to improve palatability of and compliance with the IBD-AID are also needed.

Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.


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