Saturday, July 6, 2019
Study with Plant Based Eating and Crohn's Remission: Does Diet Help Crohn's?
So recently there was an individual case study (published in the journal of Nutrients). As I write this the study has been downloaded over 3,000 times. The article is called Crohn's Disease Remission with a Plant-Based Diet: A Case Report.
Back in November 2014 a 25 year old male patient had been losing weight for several months, had diarrhea and flu-like symptoms. In January 2015 the patient then took Remicade every 2 months. The treatment dose had to be increased by 50% since he wasn't showing a clinical response. The patient had symptoms that improved, however the patient did not achieve clinical remission. By March 2017 the patient had been on Remicade for 2 years and the patient was able to eliminate all processed foods and animal products during a 40 day religious holiday (this was most likely for Lent). The patient limited processed food/animal products to one serving/week. When the patient was strict and kept to the diet he didn't have any reported pain. In addition to this the patient was able to work out (weight-lift, run, and do yoga). What is very interesting is that after 6 months when a colonoscopy was performed there was no evidence of Crohn's disease!
Other studies have shown similar results when patients reduce the amount of meat in their diet. In this study over a 2 year period 94% of patients maintained remission when eating a semi-vegetarian diet. What surprised me was 73% of the patients were able to adhere to the diet. What is even more impressive is that 92% of the patients were able to adhere to the diet after a 2 year period.
In the past I have wrote about the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD). The diet eliminates carbohydrates, dairy, and sugar products as it believed that these foods cause inflammation. As I wrote in that post a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology showed that after 1 year of the SCD diet 85% of patients who remained on the diet were still in remission.This study from 2015 of 50 patients that stayed on the specific carbohydrate diet and 52% of patients who were in remissions were able to stop medications.
The evidence in the recent case study of a patient shows that diet can play a role in helping Crohn's. The only issue I see is that this is only one patient and it would be good to see more studies with many people. However, the studies with the SCD diets show that people do in fact improve. My own personal (non medical view) is that that these diets may help some individuals with their Crohn's. It would be worthwhile for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundations of America (CCFA) to fund research to study this area further since it often isn't looked at. Hopefully this can be studied further to lead to better recommendations and ultimately be used to help the pain and suffering many are in from both Crohn's and inflammatory bowel disease.