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Plant-Based Diets Relieve Crohn’s Symptoms

Illustration of Inflamed Large and Small Intestines Illustration of Inflamed Large and Small Intestines

Crohn's disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of parts of the digestive tract's lining. The most common site of occurrence for the inflammatory bowel disease known as Crohn's is at the end of the small intestine (ileum) and the beginning of the large intestine (cecum). This inflammation causes uncomfortable and worrisome symptoms and may sometimes damage the digestive tract. Some of the symptoms and complications of Crohn's disease include diarrhea, fatigue, fever, anemia, fistula, stricture, weight loss, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite. Sadly, allopathic medical science has no cure for this inflammatory bowel disease.  But what about vegan diets?  Do they help more than do medications?  

The current standard treatment for Crohn's disease involves the use of drugs to relieve the symptoms of the disease and induce remission, although surgical intervention is sometimes necessary. Many of the drugs used to treat Crohn's disease cause negative side effects, including kidney and liver damage. Fortunately for millions of people living with Crohn's disease, the findings of a new study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology have shown that eating a largely plant-based diet can be beneficial in the treatment of Crohn's disease. And the good news is that low-fat plant-based dietary therapy does not come with high price tags or dangerous side effects.

For this study, researchers from Japan placed 22 Crohn's disease patients in remission on a semi-vegetarian diet for 2 years. "This semi-vegetarian diet was designed to increase beneficial bacteria in the gut," says Mitsuro Chiba, chief of inflammatory bowel disease unit at Akita Hospital in Japan and lead author of the study. 6 subjects were not able to adhere to the semi-vegetarian diet. For the 16 subjects that followed the interventional diet throughout the duration of the study, all of them were in remission after one year and 92% after 2 years. The authors concluded that a largely plant-based diet can help to reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms of Crohn's disease by increasing the population of beneficial bacteria in the gut. These symbiotic bacteria help to decrease the rate of inflammation in the gut, thereby the relieving symptoms and preventing complications.

Crohn's disease is responsible for more than a million hospital visits in the United States every year. The old saying "let food be your medicine and your medicine be food" applies to the treatment of this inflammatory bowel disease. Shifting to an oil-free plant-based diet can help improve the quality of life for Crohn's disease patients by relieving the symptoms of Crohn's.

Additional Information:

(1) Susie's Crohn's Disease in Remission

(2) My Battle With Crohn's – How Going Plant-Based Gave Me My Life Back

(3) Can a Plant-Based Diet Help Treat Crohn's Disease?

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