The Way To Wellness

For Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis Patients

There is an old saying that says, "If you want to find the best solution , find someone who is already getting the results you want". For the past eleven years I have been constantly asked how I have accomplished something few have been able to do. It seems that most people know of somebody who has IBD, that is, Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis or they have it themselves. So getting well is what this is about. Because of liability I cannot say that I can help you "cure" anything. I am only recommending some measures you can take that will eliminate your symptoms. If you need references of others that have turned their life around I will be glad to oblige.

I will discuss what causes Inflammatory bowel disease and I will discuss the protocol to follow based upon information gathered from the scientific and medical communities. Then I will give some personal insights and finally the resources where I got my information.

If you or somebody you know is suffering from any digestive ailments I hope that after reading this you ask yourself, "Does this make sense?" and then if it does, try it and see the results for yourself.

This is not meant as a replacement for your doctors care but I want you to have this information available to you as an option. This information is not my opinion. It is based upon a lot of research. If your physician is not open to suggestions and is not getting results that you think are possible than I suggest that you find a M.D. that will work with you and has an open mind to other alternatives. I know the suffering that people with IBD goes through and the goal here is to eliminate the causes of these maladies. I do not understand somebody standing in the way if there is even a remote chance that something might work.

The debilitating intestinal problems seen today have existed for centuries. The names given the various conditions with the symptoms of diarrhea, excess gas, loss of weight, excess mucus, cramping, blood loss, and severe constipation have changed through the years. The method of diagnosis as well as those of treatment and management have also changed with time. But always, there has been a strong underlying belief that diet is an important factor to consider, not only in determining the causes of the disorders, but also in their treatment and cure. As far back as 1745, Prince Charles, the Young Pretender to the throne of England, suffered from ulcerative colitis and was said to have cured himself by adopting a milk-free diet.

In the early 1900,s, physicians brought insight to our understanding of the effect of food on intestinal problems. Dr. Christian Herter, a physician and professor at Columbia University, noted that in every case where children were wasting away with diarrhea and debilitation, proteins were well tolerated, fats were handled moderately well but carbohydrates (sugars and starches) were badly tolerated. He noted that eating some carbohydrates almost invariably caused a relapse or a return of diarrhea after a period of improvement. About that time Dr. Samuel Gee, another world renowned children's specialist said that if the patient with intestinal disease could be cured at all, it would have to be by means of diet. Dr. Gee stated, " We must never forget that what the patient takes beyond his power to digest does harm."

THE CAUSE

So what causes this inability to digest certain foods and how does this lead to inflammatory conditions in the bowel? It is generally accepted among physicians and researchers that during intestinal upsets and chronic intestinal disease, the normal, harmonious state of balance between intestinal microbes living in our gastrointestinal tract is lost. The gastrointestinal tract becomes populated right after birth with various types of microbes depending on the type of milk ingested as well as other environmental factors. Studies have revealed that eventually more than four hundred bacterial species live together in the human colon.

In the healthy intestinal tract, intestinal microbes appear to live in a state of balance; an over abundance of one type seems to be inhibited by the activities of other types. This competition between microbes prevents any one type from overwhelming the body with its waste products or toxins. An important protective factor which keeps the sparse bacterial population of the stomach and upper small intestine is the high acidity of the stomach's hydrochloric acid in which microbes cannot usually survive.

However, bacterial overgrowth can occur for various reasons, among which are:

(1) Interference with the high acidity of the stomach through the continual use of antacids.

(2) Malnutrition or a diet of poor quality, and the resulting weakening of the body's immune system.

(3) Antibiotic therapy which can cause a wide range of microbial changes. A microbe commonly residing in the intestine without harmful effects may undergo a wide range of changes as a result of antibiotic therapy.

(4) Having taken oral contraceptives (these are comprised of steroid hormones).

(5) The use of cortiosteroids including hydrocortisone and Prednisone and cortiosteroid enemas.

(6) A bad case of food poisoning or drinking contaminated water as the result of traveling to foreign countries.

Once the normal equilibrium of the colon is disturbed for any reason, its microbes can migrate into the small intestine and stomach hampering digestion, competing for nutrients, and overloading the intestinal tract with their waste products.

There has been a long history indicating that bacteria and yeast are involved in intestinal disease.

Early researchers working on ulcerative colitis believed this disorder to be caused by bacteria. From 1906 to 1924, numerous researchers isolated certain types of bacteria, injected either the bacteria or the bacterial toxins into laboratory animals, and claimed that the injections produced ulcerative colitis in the animals. In 1932, when Dr. B.B. Crohn spoke about a "new" intestinal disorder which he called regional ileitis (now known as Crohn's disease), some physicians attending his lecture stated that this new disease entity might be due to microorganisms.

From the 1920's until the present, the role of microbes and the products they produce continues to be investigated in an effort to find the cause of various forms of inflammatory bowel disease. Often there have been very convincing evidence that particular bacteria could initiate a certain type of intestinal disease but, eventually, the work has been dismissed because of insufficient proof. Some of the difficulties which these investigators experienced in trying to pinpoint the "culprit" microbes were undoubtedly due to the ever-changing conditions of the microbial world of the intestine, to variability in the strains of intestinal microbes, or to the lack of precise laboratory techniques of identification.

In the 1980's an increasing number of reports have been published stating that intestinal bacterial toxins appear to be injuring intestinal cells and, as a result, causing a variety of diarrheal diseases. Some of the bacteria producing these toxins have not, in the past, been considered to be disease producing types. Although there is still insufficient evidence to link a specific microbe to each of the chronic intestinal disorders, it is generally agreed that intestinal microbes are not innocent bystanders.

This was expressed by Gary Gitnick, M.D. of the University of California School of Medicine, who wrote in Drug Therapy, December 1986:

Many features of acute Crohn's disease suggest active bacterial infection. These include fever, leukocytosis, abdominal mass, increased erthrocyte sedimentation rate, and increased levels of C-reactive protein and serosomucoids...For many years, investigators have presumed that infectious agents, such as bacteria, mycobacteria, or viruses, may play a role in causing or precipitating exacerbations of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Yet, despite years of study, there is no convincing evidence linking an infectious agent to these diseases. Nonetheless, because of the possible interaction between infectious agents and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), physicians have used antimicrobial agents empirically in the management of some patients with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

While they are having their acute attacks, cultures are routinely made on stools of colitis patients. In variably, these cultures are reported as showing "no pathogenic organisms." Only the normal bacterial inhabitants of the bowel are seen. One valuable clue to the solution of the problem is that, while ulcerative colitis resembles an infectious disease, no "disease" germs are detectable in the bowel movements of the victims. The idea presented itself that perhaps the "infection is caused by the bacteria that normally inhabit the bowel, the "normal flora"; that these bacteria could be fermenting undigested sugars that had not been absorbed from the bowel by its owner. Even though affected people fail to digest some sugars, many of the myriad of kinds of bacteria can. They ferment the sugars, producing chemicals that irritate the bowel and cause inflammation that looks exactly like the infections caused by recognized disease germs!

The infection concept is reinforced by the knowledge that attacks of colitis can be prevented or made less severe by taking a poorly absorbed sulfa drug such as Azulfidine. This successful prophylactic measure again suggests that infection is involved in IBD-even though no disease germs can be cultured.

Infection must play an important role in inflammatory bowel disease, but some other factor or factors are involved. Something must be operating, possibly some toxic element common in many foods (a single food irritant would surely have been discovered long ago).

THE VICIOUS CYCLE

The presence of undigested and unabsorbed carbohydrates within the small intestine can encourage microbes from the colon to take up residence in the small intestine and to continue to multiply. This, in turn, may lead to the formation of products, in addition to gas, which injure the small intestine. Examples are lactic, acetic, and other acids which are short-chain organic acids resulting from the fermentative process.

Once bacteria multiply within the small intestine, a chain of events develops into a vicious cycle characterized by an increase in the production of gas, acids and other products of fermentation which perpetuate the malabsorption problem and prolong the intestinal disorder.

Bacterial growth in the small intestine appears to destroy the enzymes on the intestinal cell surface preventing carbohydrate digestion and absorption and making carbohydrates available for further fermentation. It is at this point that excessive mucus may be triggered as a self-defense mechanism whereby the intestinal tract attempts to "lubricate" itself against the mechanical and chemical injury caused by the microbial toxins, acids, and the incompletely digested and unabsorbed carbohydrates. This further impairs digestion which, in turn, allows more fermentation and thus the cycle continues to perpetuate.

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