Natural Solutions to Crohn’s Disease
Crohn`s disease is an inflammatory disease of the intestines that can affect any part of the digestive system from mouth to anus. It primarily causes abdominal pain and diarrhea (which may be bloody if inflammation is at its worst). This syndrome may also cause complications outside the gastrointestinal tract such as arthritis, eczema, fatigue and lack of concentration. Natural lifestyle solutions exist for preventing and reversing this crippling disease.
Check out the free recipe guide here to learn more about how to heal your gut!
Crohn`s disease is considered a chronic inflammatory disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract. Studies are showing that this inflammatory attack may be directed towards unwanted microbial species.
Experts do not consider Crohn’s to be an auto-immune disease where the body`s immune system attacks the tissues of the digestive system. Environmental factors play a large role as evidenced by a higher incidence of the disease in western industrialized nations compared to other parts of the world.
Innate Immune Deficiency:
The immune system is characterized by 2 major regions: Innate immunity and adaptive immunity. Innate immunity provides immediate defense against pathogens and is characterized by t-cell formation. Adaptive immunity is considered a `learned immunity` and is what provides long-lasting immune defense through antibody formation.
Researchers have shown that Crohn`s is an innate immune deficiency (1, 2, 3) . Chronic inflammation with this disorder is caused by the adaptive immunity trying to compensate for the reduced function of the innate immune system.
Crohn’s and Anti-Yeast Antibodies:
Crohn`s disease appears to be associated with anti-yeast antibodies (4, 5, 6). Mannon is a component of the yeast organism`s cell wall. Individuals with Crohn`s tend to have lower levels of lectin binding proteins that bind mannan and help expel it from the body.
Due to the lowered lectin levels and the insufficient innate immune system, individuals with Crohn`s very often develop anti-yeast antibodies. This overproduction of anti-yeast antibodies triggers an inflammatory response that damages the gut lining.
Individuals with Crohn`s disease should avoid all yeast products and other common allergens. The most common food allergens to avoid include gluten containing grains such as wheat, barley, rye, oats, kamut, & spelt. Soy products, dairy, different nuts (such as peanuts) and eggs are often not tolerated well. Some individuals struggle with nightshade vegetables such as eggplant, tomatoes, & potatoes.
An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle are critical for full recovery from this condition. Anti-inflammatory foods help to modulate the immune system and give it a more accurate pair of eyes so as to not over-inflame when stimulated.
To effectively de-inflame it is key to completely avoid man-made foods, sugars, and food allergens as listed above. The diet should consist of juiced or deeply steamed veggies that are easy on the digestive system. Small amounts of clean protein such as wild-caught salmon, organic poultry or grass-fed beef and wild game.
The long chain omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA powerfully de-inflame the body by restoring natural balance to the lipid wall of the cell membrane. Using a high quality fish oil supplement will help to reduce inflammation and improve the healing process in the body.
Other great anti-inflammatory foods include coconut products, berries, and hypoallergenic pea or brown rice protein with added anti-oxidant nutritional compounds that boost glutathione levels. Anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric, ginger, boswellia, cinnamon, rosemary, & oregano among others should be used as much as possible.
The Gut-Immune Connection:
The gut plays a role in over 80% of the immune system and has a direct connection with the brain through the vagus nerve (7). The ideal ratio of progenic to pathogenic microbes is thought to be 85:15. Most Americans today have this ratio flipped in favor of the antagonistic microbial communities. This is called dysbiosis or bad bacterial balance and is particularly present in indivuals with Crohn’s disease.
Dysbiotic conditions are due to the influence of environmental toxins that wipe out progenic species and create an environment conducive to parasitic growth. Poor bacterial balance, dysbiosis and leaky gut syndrome is associated with every digestive tract disorder including Crohn’s disease.
Dysbiotic states can lead to irritation and damage to the gut lining that is called leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome allows microorganisms, endotoxins and food particles to cross into the bloodstream and inflame the body.
Repairing the Gut Lining:
Individuals with Crohn’s have a damaged gut lining. The best way to heal this includes the following strategies:
- Liquid Nutrition: Small protein shakes throughout the day using frozen organic berries, coconut milk and/or almond milk and a hypoallergic protein powder
- Green Juices: Green juices with cucumbers, celery, spinach, ginger, parsley, cilantro, etc.
- Bone Broth: Organic bone broth, soups and stews
- Fermented Foods: Small amounts of naturally fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, & coconut kefir. Check to see if they are tolerable, if you have major symptoms afterwards, back down or eliminate for a period of time.
- Supplemental Powders: Key supplemental powders such as Gut Repair to improve the integrity of the gut lining.
- Enzymes & Hydrochloric Acid: Specific enzymes and hydrochloric acid to support the digestive process in the stomach and small intestine.
- Soil-Based Probiotic: Hypoallergenic, soil based probiotic blend such as Prescript Assist to reseed and repopulate the gut with healthy microbes.
Vitamin D Levels:
A balanced immune response in the body is also dependent upon healthy vitamin D levels. Vitamin D helps the body recognize between foreign and self proteins. This reduces inflammation and auto-immune reactions (8, 9, 10).
Healthy vitamin D levels also stimulate natural killer cells and macrophages that destroy antagonistic microbes & other pathogens (11, 12). Healthy vitamin D3 levels should be between 60-100 ng/ml. Be sure to get tested and supplement if necessary.
Healthy Nerve Supply:
The nervous system controls digestive function from several different regions. The vagus nerve which courses out of the brain stem and runs near the atlas bone innervates all the major organs of digestion and functions to stimulate the digestive process.
Other major areas controlling the pace of digestion include the sympathetic nerves coming out of the thoracic & lumbar regions and the sacral parasympathetic nerve fibers. Spinal misalignment in any of these regions can lead to neurological compromise and altered digestive function (13).
Wellness oriented chiropractors search for the location of such spinal misalignments termed `subluxations.`A specific chiropractic adjustment realigns the altered regions and restores nerve supply to the deficient organs. This approach honors the body’s innate ability to heal and works to harmonize this incredible life force in order to enhance organ function & quality of life.
Several studies have demonstrated the power of chiropractic adjustments restoring optimal function in individuals with digestive disturbances (14). A 2003 study looked at 53 Crohn’s disease patients. Of the 17 patients who received spinal adjustments, 12 showed long-term and stable remission of their symptoms. Nine of the patients experienced an alleviation effect. The authors of the study found that vertebral subluxation is a common and characteristic finding in patients with allergies and Crohn’s disease (15).
A 2008 study demonstrated how effective chiropractic care is for infants with digestive disturbances (16). Researchers chose three infants who were experiencing infrequent bowel movements from once a week to once every 3 or 4 days. Parents of these infants had tried several different laxatives and other procedures recommended by their medical staff. They had also followed specific dietary changes and the use of cod liver oil and mineral oil without any results.
The infants began wellness oriented chiropractic for periods ranging from three weeks to three months. According to the study author Dr. Larry S.Arbeitman, D.C., “All three experienced almost immediate improvement. By the end of the study all three had bowel movements at least once every day.”
Crohn’s Disease Summit
I was honored to be a part of the Healing Your Crohn’s Disease summit event. This was a FREE virtual event that anyone can access all around the world from December 8th thru the 12th of 2014. If you are reading this now, that time has long since passed. But you can listen to my interview recording here