Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease, characterized mostly by abdominal pain, frequent fever, diarrhea and often weight loss.
It can be caused by genetic predisposition, chronic stress, altered gut bacteria etc. I am not going to give you a full spectrum of what Crohn's disease is, you can look that up. What I intend to do is to provide you with alternative treatments.
Crohn's is most frequently treated azathioprine, methotrexate and other immunosuppressant drugs. As these medicines are suppressing your immunity, you can imagine the side-effects; you are more prone to catch the flu, bronchitis, common cold, bacterial infections (through touch/common areas/public toilets etc).
Now, I am not saying that the treatments are ineffective, but certainly the side-effects render people nervous about their use. Also, some people do not respond well to those therapies, experiencing vomiting, coughing blood, unexpected bruising, stronger abdominal pain etc. To those people, according to my research through various sources, the following had made it to the list of top alternatives to treat the disease:
1) Use 0.5mg to 1.5mg THC-containg medical (legally supplied) cannabis in 2-3 divided doses. (if THC is not legal in your country, I do not endorse the use of it).
2) CBD oil or spray, recommended dose 20-30mg in 2 divided doses.
There are multiple studies on the anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties of CBD, plus(at the same time?) it is now legal in many countries around the world in various forms which now makes is easier and cheaper to find.
3) Elemental diet: High carbohydrate, low-fat (less than 10%), fairly-low protein (10-20%) diet, based mainly on pre-digested (elemental) shakes for a few days (i.g. Nestle's Vivonex).
(note: the study was in fact funded by Nestle, so I would bear that in mind. Nevertheless the results show progress)
4) Semi-vegetarian diet. (MAJOR) Avoid red meat as much as possible, consume white meat or fish sporadically, eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, especially high-fibre ones (you need to test to see which ones are irritating your stomach and which ones you can tolerate. Aim for high-fiber, dark greens too). Avoid processed foods as much as possible, especially artificial sweeteners like aspartame, acesulfame K, maltodextrin etc and anything containing polysorbate. (A good example of high-fiber alkaline food is plantains and broccoli)
5) Turmeric extract (curcumin) 1.000 to 1.500 mg daily in 2 divided doses (preferably after meals since the stomach lining is already irritated). Prefer drops or extract capsules for a treatment, not the powdered herb itself, as the dosage will need to be higher in the powdered form.
6) Daily consumption of green tea (preferably organic). Studies for reduced inflammation present.
7) Vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D regulates the expression of approximately 900 genes. Chronic deficiency can decrease serotonin (i.e. More stress which then exacerbates the disease), fatigue, chronic inflammation, decreased bone density and many more. Commonly prescribed vitamin D is around 400 to 800 IU which would be insufficient if you have vitamin D deficiency. My recommendation (as recommended to me by my GP as I am deficient too) would be 3.000 IU daily, in the morning, for at least 2 months (prefer drops or spray if possible, to avoid first-pass metabolism in the stomach. I use sublingual spray) I cannot stress the importance of Vitamin D enough. If you fix vitamin D deficiency, all aspects of your health will improve.
(If you are still not convinced about the importance of vitamin D, Google “Dr. Rhonda Patrick vitamin D”. She will convince you, stating facts and studies that are unshakable.)
8) Check B12 levels and supplement if necessary. Lack of B12 can decrease immunity and therefore cause inability to combat inflammation.
9) Probiotics: in Crohn's the stomach lining is damaged, and the bacterial flora is affected tremendously. A course of probiotics (7-10 days) can help restore the natural bacterial flora. Avoid artificial sweeteners as they have shown to eliminate good bacteria. You can consume stevia in reasonable amounts (up to 500ml of a sweetened beverage a day).
10) Peppermint tea. It has been shown to alleviate stomach cramps and bloating, better consume warm but not boiling hot, as it can cause more irritation in patients with bowel inflammation.
11) Fish oil/omega 3's. Supplements that contain EPA and DHA are major components for combating inflammation. (If vegetarian/vegan, take algae oil instead)
12) Fix the mood. Stress is a major factor in Crohn's disease. Try meditation, walking, cheerful activities. Vitamin D can also help with production of serotonin. (stress is a MAJOR factor to control)
13) Mangosteen juice. I have not found academic studies, but reviews from Crohn's patients state that daily consuption of mangosteen juice reduce symptoms. (usually 50ml, 2-3 times daily)
14) Keep a food diary, note down foods that trigger symptoms in order to completely eliminate them from your diet.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical doctor, always consult with your physician or doctor before taking any advice from me or anyone else, or before implementing any changes to your treatment.
Dr. Michael Greger (Google him)
Dr. Rhonda Patrick (Google her)
Cover picture by https://www.crohnsandcolitis.com.au/about-crohns-colitis/