Crohn’s Disease (CD)
A chronic condition characterized by patchy areas of inflammation and ulcers (open sores) along the innermost layer of the digestive tract. Such lesions can develop anywhere from the mouth to anus, but the majority of cases involve the small intestine or the first part of the large intestine. Between these patches of inflammation and ulceration there remain stretches of normal, healthy tissue. CD is closely related to a similar condition known as ulcerative colitis (UC). Both CD and UC are considered inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). CD affects between 2 and 7 out of 100,000 people and researchers believe that these numbers are growing. CD develops mostly between the ages of 15 and 40, although children and older adults may also develop the condition. People of Jewish heritage are up to six times more likely to develop CD than are people in the general population. Although medication and strict diets can reduce the inflammation of CD, most people with the condition will require surgery to remove part of the digestive tract at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, however, surgery does not completely cure or eradicate the disease.
A naturopathic approach to treating someone with inflammatory bowel disease starts with a Comprehensive gastrointestinal restoration program –the 4 ‘R’ program.
- Removing offending substances from the diet. Food allergens and other materials that negatively influence the intestinal environment can cause localized irritation or trigger the release of damaging chemicals into general circulation, affection other tissues and organs. (IBD)
- Replacing digestive enzymes and stomach acid where necessary. Digestive factors and enzymes facilitate the breakdown of food. An insufficiency of these compounds is very common, especially as we age, which inhibits optimal digestion and utilization of nutrients, as well as the elimination of waste.
- Reinoculating the bowel with pre- and probiotics. Reintroducing health-promoting, “friendly” bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM® helps maintain a desirable balance of GI microflora. This balance is critical to intestinal tissue (mucosal) health, immune function, intestinal barrier function, and digestion.
- Regenerating the gastrointestinal mucosa through proper nutritional support. Regeneration of GI mucosal cells is necessary whenever there has been a loss of integrity of the GI mucosal structure or function, as may be caused by any GI insult.