Article by Michelle Honda PhD
Debilitating and distressing intestinal complications have plagued man for centuries. The labelling of these conditions may have changed over the years along with the methods of diagnosis, care and treatment, except for one commonality did remain strong. The diet was a significant influence not only in treating and curing the condition but also in determining its origin.
Disorders such as Crohn’s disease, colitis, irritable bowel, diverticulitis, constipation, chronic diarrhea, and cancer are directly affected by the substances taken into the body. The medical community had labelled these gut conditions as “inflammatory bowel disease” (IBD).
A wide range of chronic health problems have been linked to bowel disorders including an increase frequency of colonic cancer. More than half the people visiting their doctor are there because of gastrointestinal complaints.
Crohn’s disease has increased in incidence since its recognition in 1932 in both Western and third world populations, occurring about equal among genders, race and age throughout the world.
Normalcy would be such a gift to anyone suffering from gastrointestinal problems, especially those of a debilitating nature. All areas of a person’s life, including family and friends are affected by Crohn’s disease. Counselling may be helpful to bring about understanding and lessening of the anxiety associated with the symptoms of bowel disorders.
Symptoms are often intermittent and unpredictable with no singular cure or treatment. However, evidence is mounting from testimonials and test results showing vast improvement in a patient’s condition.
How, when and what we eat, triggers a reaction which is unique to each individual. As is the level of severity, depending on various other factors such as inherent weaknesses, allergies, sensitivities, emotional and physical stress levels, state of health and attitude.
Traditionally, limited emphasis is placed on what we put into our bodies. Research is showing amazing advances with elimination diets and proper nutrition.
Patients of increasing numbers are recognizing the need to be free of drug dependency but sadly, main stream medicine isn’t demonstrating any curiosity in a dietary approach. Fortunately, there are some nutritionally oriented physicians and a host of alternative health practitioners providing much needed assistance and education.
What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are similar in symptoms but have a major difference. Crohn’s disease or regional enteritis, may affect any segment of the digestive tract from the esophagus to the anus. Ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon and rectum.
Origin: Inherent, Emotional or Food Intolerance
All Crohn’s suffers were not necessarily born with an inherent weakness. A few of my patients have had Crohn’s develop purely from emotional stress. By far the more typical culprit is the resulting problems of food intolerances. The following is a sequence of events within a gut diagnosed with Crohn’s.
1 Food intolerances and the inability to digest sugars from carbohydrates.
2 Incapacity to digest sugars and absorption of disaccharides resulting in malabsorption.
3 Bacterial overgrowth producing by-products that injure intestinal walls.
4 Excessive mucus production from irritating microbial overgrowth impairs digestion.
5 Imbalance of gut micro flora. The gut becomes over run with yeast and damaging micro organisms promoting degeneration of intestinal walls.
One of the aims of an individual dietary program is to determine the offending substances which would then deny the microbial the nourishment it needs to proliferate within the intestines. By using primarily pre-digested carbohydrates, a person with intestinal problems can have maximum nourishment without contributing to the intestinal microbe population.
Malnourishment is common among people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. Supplementation is necessary to combat nutrient loss through diarrhea, pain and nausea.
Countless testimonials and research findings collaborates the influence of diet in relation to intestinal disorders. Other aspects of emotional stressors need to be addressed as well.
The diet connection is an invaluable tool in treating all intestinal disorders and should be an additional mandatory course of study for all health practitioners who routinely deal with gut dysbiosis.
Doctors Long Ago Noticed Food Intolerances
Dr. Herter, a physician and professor from Columbia University, noted that in every case where children were withering away with diarrhea and impairment that proteins were favourably endured, fats were managed fairly well but carbohydrates, sugars and starches were adversely tolerated.
He noted that ingestion of some carbohydrates almost inevitably produced a relapse or a return of diarrhea after a period of improvement. Herter, C, (1910), Transactions of the Association of American Physicians 25:528.
About that time, Dr. Samuel Gee, another world renowned children’s specialist, clearly saw several important facts that continue to be missed by modern researchers. Dr. Gee said that if the patient with intestinal disease could be cured at all, it would have to be by means of diet.
He added that milk was the least suitable food during intestinal problems and that highly starchy food (rice, corn, potatoes, grains) were unfit. Dr. Gee stated, “We must never forget that what the patient takes beyond his power to digest does harm.” 1994 Elaine Gottschall, Breaking the Vicious cycle, 2:6.
Dietary influences play a paramount role in intestinal disorders. More awareness and education are needed among physicians and the general public. We cannot mask this disease; we must do our due diligence and acclimate around our intolerances. For many, to achieve and sustain normalcy is attainable through the proper management of diet and lifestyle. Our digestive system is as individual as we are and needs to be treated as such. Current research of Crohn’s and similar ailments offers new hope for all people seeking relief.
This article is copyrighted and the property of Michelle Honda PhD All rights reserved. It may be reprinted or used on your own website or blog – as long as this entire author resource paragraph and link below are included. Michelle Honda PhD is a holistic doctor in private practice at Renew You Holistic Health located in Ontario Canada. In addition to her doctorate, she holds an advanced degree in nutrition (RNCP), is a Master Herbalist and a n IIPA Certified Iridologist. Visit her website at: http://www.renewyou.ca