Nutrition & Homeopathy For Inflammatory Bowel DiseaseHeather Caruso June 1, 2007
There are a variety of inflammatory disorders that affect the intestinal tract such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Causes of these painful intestinal disorders include: a poor diet, heredity, micro organisms (bacteria, fungus and parasites), environmental toxins and allergies.
Sufferers of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are helped greatly by following a diet that restricts certain foods. Eating foods that are low glycemic, which means they convert into sugar less quickly in the bloodstream, helps to prevent overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut. For more information on the glycemic index, consult the book entitled The GI Diet by Rick Gallop. We always have good and bad bacterial flora in balance in our gut. Lower fat foods and lean meats are better because they reduce inflammation. Bad fats increase chemicals in our body which produce inflammatory reactions.
Some people who have IBD also have food sensitivities. The offending foods are usually dairy products, wheat, gluten, sugar, soy, citrus, nuts and corn. To detect your food allergies or sensitivities, doctors may recommend an elimination diet, blood tests, and / or skin prick testing. Some alternative health practitioners use electrodermal screening as a tool; this is a non-invasive method of checking for food sensitivities.
The gastrointestinal flora is always in a balance between good and bad bacteria. If we have only good bacteria we are still open to infections. The “hygiene hypothesis” states that our overly clean homes and use of antibiotics somehow alters the immune system so that it does not respond appropriately to offending agents. We need some exposure to bad bacteria to somehow train the immune system. Sixty per cent of the immune system is found in our intestinal tract and is called the GALT, or gut associated lymph tissue.
Many IBD sufferers benefit from taking supplements containing acidophilus and Bifidobacteria. These supplements are found in the fridge in your health food store. These beneficial bacteria normally thrive in our natural gut flora, but can become imbalanced due to diet, microbes, antibiotics or drugs. Acidophilus keeps bad bacteria in check. Oftentimes yogurt, which contains acidophilus, does not have a standardized amount of acidophilus and therefore supplements are a more reliable source. Another great supplement that helps reduce the inflammation of IBD is EPA (Eicosapentaenoic) found in fish oil. Studies have shown that those who took 3000 mgs of fish oil per day had 58 per cent fewer flair-ups of Crohn’s disease than a placebo group. Another supplement, GLA found in Borage or Black Currant seed oil, is said to have anti-inflammatory effects as well. Typical dosage is 300 to 500 mgs per day. If you take GLA, which is an Omega 6, take it in conjunction with fish oil, which is an Omega 3. Omega 6’s can actually cause inflammation if they are not in proper proportion to Omega 3. L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is said to repair the lining of the small intestine which helps improve nutrient absorption (take 500 mgs three times a day).
When diarrhea is chronic, the person often doesn’t assimilate proper nutrients from their food and supplements. In turn, vitamin and mineral deficiencies ensue. Depression can occur because people feel isolated and embarrassed about their condition. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies impact the physical and emotional body. Certain supplements help to boost the system, such as liquid colloidal minerals, multivitamin or mineral supplements. Sublingual B12 is helpful for energy and mood. When you purchase supplements it is best to find a liquid or capsule form to ensure easier assimilation.
HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES FOR RESTORING BOWEL HEALTH
Another excellent tool to help your body heal is homeopathy. Homeopathic remedies are gentle, have no side effects, and do not contra-indicate any medications. These medicines can drain toxins and heal the intestinal tract and supporting organs. Single homeopathic remedies are suited to each person’s symptoms rather than a disease name. This stimulates the person’s unique healing mechanism for the body to repair itself, rather than suppressing the symptoms. You can take homeopathic remedies in a 12 or 30 CH potency, four pellets up to three times a day. Try them for a period of two weeks. If you find the remedies ineffective, seek the help of a professional homeopath. There are many factors to case-taking when prescribing homeopathic remedies.
Some examples of useful homeopathic remedies for diarrhea are Aloe, Arsenicum Album and Mercurius Solubus. Aloe types have a weak feeling in the stomach after eating. They have great urgency with bowel movements because they fear losing control of their bowels. The abdomen feels full and worse after eating. They often become housebound because they cannot travel far from a washroom.
Arsenicum Album is another great remedy for diarrhea. This remedy is indicated when the stomach and rectum feel sore and burning. The stools are watery, burning and offensive; these bowel movements leave them exhausted. The patient feels hot and burning but desires warm drinks, clothes and bedding. An unusual but key symptom for Arsenicum Album types is that they crave sips of water or hot drinks. They are thirsty but never gulp their drinks. These types are mentally restless and fearful, yet weak. They tend to fear the worst – that they are incurable and surely going to die. They tend to suffer from anxiety attacks and waking after midnight.
Arsenicum Album is also a good remedy for food poisoning.
Mercurius Solubus types also suffer from diarrhea, but with profuse perspiration as well. They are weak, trembling and exhausted from the least exertion. They are incredibly thirsty and drink a lot. They too have an unusual symptom – they may urinate more than they drink. They have bloody stools, with terrible cramping and urging. The pains are often not relieved by having a bowel movement. The keynote for Mercurius Solubus is bloody stools.
A case study will demonstrate the use of these remedies. A female college student, aged 24, sought my help for Crohn’s disease. She had been diagnosed at age 16. Her presenting symptoms were loose stools, four to five times a day. She suffered from a lot of bloating and gas. She loved and craved sweets. She had a good appetite but was full shortly after eating anything. She also suffered with erythema nodosa which is a red, hard swelling on the skin. She had tried herbal remedies in the past and had very bad diarrhea from them. She seemed to be sensitive and skeptical.
In the past she half-heartedly tried to follow a wheat-free and dairy-free diet. After a few weeks she dismissed its benefits. Normally, I give the client dietary measures to aid in healing. This time I wanted to try the homeopathics first, as I felt this client was not ready to make too many changes at once. (I try to respect the wishes of each individual client.)
I prescribed for her Lycopodium 30 CH, four pellets in a large glass of water, and recommended she take one teaspoon of this daily, after stirring it. This method sometimes prevents an aggravation. I did a quick follow up after one week, as I wanted to whether or not she had experienced an aggravation of symptoms. She said she could eat a normal sized meal now. She also reported less bloating and gas. I asked her to continue the remedy since she was still having four to five bowel movements a day. I recommended that she add a probiotic containing Bifidobacteria and lactobacillus acidophilus. I also recommended 1000 mgs of fish oil; she was to start with one a day with a meal, and work up to three a day.
At the one month follow up, she reported having reduced to only one bowel movement per day. She had less bloating and her skin had returned to normal colour. However, the swelling of the spot was still there. I kept her on the same remedies for another month. I also asked her to strictly cut out wheat for one month. (She had been consuming wheat at every meal and snack.)
At the next follow up, she reported that she felt very well. Her bowels were working well, no gas, and her skin was back to normal. She also mentioned that her joints were no longer sore. (She had failed to mention that in the initial consultation).
I have kept contact with this client for about seven years now. She remains well and drug free. She still takes acidophilus and fish oils daily. She also takes one dry dose of Lycopodium as needed for bloating, gas and loose stools.
In children and young adults who suffer with bowel disease, we usually see a fast turnaround with natural treatments. People who have suffered with inflammatory bowel disease for over ten years take longer to respond to treatment. IBD is very treatable with diet and natural methods. Often corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs may be helpful in the short term but have serious consequences in the long term.
Naturally there are many factors to consider in each individual case. Seek professional medical attention for a proper diagnosis and a course of action. Often simple changes to diet, taking natural supplements, and developing a program for stress relief can make a profound and lasting difference in IBD sufferer’s lives.
Heather Caruso has been a registered homeopath and holistic nutritionist for the past 21 years in Guelph, Ontario. She is also a bestselling author. She has penned two books called Your Drug Free Guide to Healthy Weight Loss and Your Drug Free Guide to Digestive Health. If you would like more information on how she can help you in her clinic, book a free get acquainted chat online. Visit her website: <a href="https://www.carusohomeopathy.com">https://www.carusohomeopathy.com</a> or call 1-866-249-5755