February 20th, 2017

Study suggests that “Specific Carbohydrate Diet” may alleviate Crohn’s in children.

By Editor

A diet that includes non-processed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, meats and nuts appeared to ease all signs of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) in eight of 10 children evaluated according to a recent research report.

Crohn’s dis­ease and ulcerative colitis (collectively called inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD) result from a hyper­active immune system that attacks the gastrointestinal system. The immune system’s attack leads to inflammation of the intestines caus­ing abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and other symptoms. Immunotherapies for IBD aim to suppress the excessive, inappropriate immune response that is causing the inflammation.

More than five million people worldwide are living with IBD. Crohn’s disease affects approximately 700,000 Americans.2 The cause of Crohn’s disease is not known, but the disease is associated with abnormalities of the immune system that could be triggered by a genetic predisposition or diet and other environmental factors. There is currently no cure for Crohn’s disease.

A team of researchers put 10 children between 10 and 17 years of age on a special  “specific carbohydrate diet”. The diet removes grains, most dairy products, and processed foods and sugars, except for honey. Those on the diet can eat nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats and nuts.

The children continued the diet for 12 weeks and overall 8 of 10 experienced a marked reduction in all signs and symptoms of their IBD.

Although scientists aren't sure exactly how dietary changes might control damage to the intestinal lining from inflammatory bowel disease, there are several theories.

  • Impact on gut microbiome; Diet affects the gut microbiome the bacteria in the digestive tract contributing to digestion and underlying the immune system. The researchers postulate that the carbohydrate specific diet may shift the microbiome from being pro-inflammatory to non-inflammatory.
  • Avoidance of food additives which may have an effect on the lining of the intestines. The carbohydrate specific diet avoids additives that may be deleterious to the mucus lining in the intestinal tract.

Larger confirmatory clinical trials will be conducted in order to further evaluate the effectiveness of the carbohydrate specific diet in both children and adults.

Reference:  Suskind, David L et al. Clinical and Fecal Microbial Changes With Diet Therapy in Active Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 2016 DOI: 10.1097/MCG.0000000000000772

Tags: crohn's, IBD, News Tips and Features, News Tips and Features Other, specific carbohydrate diet, ulcerative colitis

CONDITIONS OF THE GI TRACT