Plant-based diet helps get Crohn’s disease remission


Thursday, Dec. 26, 2019 ( — If you live with Crohn’s disease and conventional treatments have failed to help your condition, you may want to try a plant-based diet. A study reports a case to suggest that a plant-based diet can help CD patients to achieve remission.

The patient in the case was a 25-year-young man who sought medical intervention to relieve symptoms he suffered including diarrhea, weight loss and flu-like symptoms. He had chronic perianal abscess and used non-prescription medication regularly. He was diagnosed with moderate Crohn’s disease.

He was initially treated with infliximab in a dose of 5 mg/kg by IV infusion every eight weeks. After 37 weeks, the dose was increased to 7.5 mg/kg because of the lack of clinical responses. His conditions were moderately improved but did not gain clinical remission. After a year of treatment, he was still suffering fatigue, bloating and sporadic yet severe abdominal pain.

He continued receiving the treatment. After two years of the treatment, then the patient reported that all symptoms disappeared after he excluded animal foods and processed foods from his diet for forty days for some religious observation.

His old diet is a typical American diet consisting of meat, dairy foods, refined grain products, processed foods, and only moderate amounts of vegetables and fruits. Then after he achieved CD remission, he used only grains, legumes, veggies, and fruits. He has remained free of CD symptoms ever since.

Crohn’s disease (CD) refers to a medical condition which causes symptoms including diarrhea, stomach pain, rectal bleeding, fatigue and weight loss. This condition affects one in every 300 Americans and it is common in industrialized countries.

While the causes for this disorder remain unknown, it is generally believed that Crohn’s disease has something to do with genetics, dietary and environmental factors, abnormal immunity, and imbalanced gut microbiome.

Pathologically, it is believed that Crohn’s disease and its symptoms are induced by transmural inflammation of gastrointestinal tract which can be accompanied with ulceration and polypoid mucosal changes.

Conventional treatments are available and temporary remission can be achieved but may not last for a long period. And studies indicate that a CD patient’s diet can make a big difference in his condition.

Prospective case reports show that a whole food diet with mostly plant-based foods but without dairy foods, animal protein, animal fat, emulsifiers and artificial food additives can help induce CD remission. This diet can be effective for both patients with newly diagnosed CD or those with chronic CD who did not respond well to the conventional standard treatments, their efficacy was 78.7% and 90.4% respectively.

One previous study reports that 92% of CD patients who followed a whole food semi vegetarian diet reached remission, compared to only 25% who continued using their omnivorous diet. (Dr. Lu)

Nutrients 2019, 11(6), 1385; Communication, Crohn’s Disease Remission with a Plant-Based Diet: A Case Report, by Kelsea Sandefur, Hana Kahleova, Alan N. Desmond, Eden Elfrink 1 and Neal D. Barnard

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