Dr. Mutlu explains how diet affects Crohn’s disease.
We think that diet affects Crohn’s disease. It could be in the form of changing the types of bacteria or organisms that reside in the intestine, or also it could be in the form of changing the intestinal contents. These are the things, organisms or the intestinal contents, are usually the triggers of inflammation in Crohn’s disease, and they are what we call the antigens or antigenic stimulus for the immune system.
So we think, as researchers, that diet should have and could have a major impact in both treatment as well as pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. However, having said that, there is very little data in this regard.
At the moment most of our textbooks and most of the accepted recommendations for inflammatory bowel disease, or Crohn’s disease for that matter, would not advocate any one particular diet, and there is no one particular diet that has been proven to get rid of Crohn’s disease or cure Crohn’s disease or even help decrease its flare-ups.
Additionally, diet in Crohn’s disease is also very important for adequate nutrition. Any time there is inflammation and ulcerations, the body needs to have the capacity to heal these, and healing process requires nutrients.
Most of our patients with inflammatory bowel disease have nutritional deficiencies that have been well documented in the literature, and replacement of these or correction of these nutritional deficiencies, replacement of micronutrients, could potentially help with the healing process. Again, there is very little data in this regard that has been done prospectively in patients.
About Dr. Mutlu, M.D.:
Dr. Ece A. Mutlu, M.D., is Associate Professor of Medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. She specializes in gastroenterology and nutrition, and her research interests include diet therapy in inflammatory bowel disease, role of microbiological flora on gastrointestinal illness, role of nutrition in gastrointestinal disease, complementary and alternative medicine for gastrointestinal disease, and antioxidant treatment of radiation proctitis.