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Low level vitamin D during remission contributes to relapse in ulcerative colitis patients

Original article on Science  today

A new study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has found that lower levels of vitamin D in the blood increase the risk of clinical relapse in patients with Ulcerative Colitis (UC), an inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation and ulcers in the colon. The study was published in the February issue of the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Lower vitamin D levels have been associated with active disease in patients with UC, but it has been unknown whether they increase disease relapses. “Prior studies in patients with Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis had linked low vitamin D levels to disease flare-ups,” said senior author Alan Moss, MD, a gastroenterologist at the Digestive Disease Center at BIDMC and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

“However, it has been unclear if the flare-up was lowering vitamin D levels, or if low vitamin D levels were causing the flare-up. We thought that if we looked at vitamin D levels when the disease was inactive and then followed patients moving forward, the impact of baseline vitamin D levels on future events may be clearer.”

Moss and colleagues collected vitamin D serum levels through a physician-blinded prospective study of 70 patients with UC in clinical remission who were followed up after a surveillance colonoscopy at BIDMC. The study measured vitamin D levels in blood samples and levels of inflammation through blood tests and biopsies. The researchers then followed the patients for 12 months and compared the data from participating patients who remained well and the others who experienced relapses. The investigators found the mean baseline vitamin D level to be lower in patients who later relapsed than those who did not.

“Patients who had higher vitamin D levels when their disease was in remission were less likely to experience a relapse in the future,” said John Gubatan, MD, a physician at BIDMC and first author of the study. “This suggests that higher vitamin D levels may play some role in preventing the UC relapse.” The threshold level of blood vitamin D that was protective was greater than 35ng/ml, which is within the range recommended by the National Institutes of Health for a healthy individual.

Ongoing work by Gubatan and Moss is now examining the link between vitamin D and a protein called cathelicidin in the cells lining the colon. The link may have beneficial effects on microbial composition, an important component of a healthy colon. Building on this research, investigators are trying to unravel how vitamin D may protect cells in the colon and the microbial composition of the bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses that live on and inside the human body, Moss noted.

Virginia Tech researchers find new strategy to prevent inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer

Original article on

Could inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer be prevented by changing the shape of a single protein?

There is an intimate link between uncontrolled inflammation in the gut associated with inflammatory bowel disease and the eventual development of colon cancer. This uncontrolled inflammation is associated with changes in bacteria populations in the gut, which can invade the mucosal tissue after damage to the protective cellular barrier lining the tissue.

But Virginia Tech researchers found that modifying the shape of IRAK-M, a protein that controls inflammation, can significantly reduce the clinical progression of both diseases in pre-clinical animal models.

The altered protein causes the immune system to become supercharged, clearing out the bacteria before they can do any damage. The team’s findings were published in eBioMedicine.

“When we tested mice with the altered IRAK-M protein, they had less inflammation overall, and remarkably less cancer,” said Coy Allen, an assistant professor of inflammatory disease in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine and a Fralin Life Science Institute affiliate.

The next step, he said, will be to evaluate these findings in human patients through ongoing collaborations with Carilion Clinic and Duke University. The team is also evaluating their findings in laboratory-assembled ‘mini-guts’—live tissue models that Allen and his team assembled by growing intestinal stem cells on petri dishes to form highly complex small intestinal and colon tissue.

“Ultimately, if we can design therapeutics to target IRAK-M, we think it could be a viable strategy for preventing inflammatory bowel disease and cancer,” said Allen.

Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and the third most common cancer in men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than ten Virginia Tech faculty members and students are working on the project, including co-principal investigator Liwu Li, a professor of biological sciences in the College of Science; Clay Caswell, an assistant professor of bacteriology in the veterinary college; Rich Helm, an associate professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Dan Slade, an assistant professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and Tanya LeRoith, a clinical associate professor of anatomic pathology in the veterinary college.

Daniel Rothschild of Nevada City, California, currently in the combined Ph.D./D.V.M program in the veterinary college, is working in Allen’s lab, and was first author on the paper.

“Working on this project alongside Dr. Allen and our fellow collaborators has personally been a great experience,” said Rothschild. “It’s really exciting when your findings have the potential for clinical implications that can be applied to help patients. From a scientist’s perspective, that’s what it’s all about, and hopefully our findings provide a good avenue for development of future therapeutics to treat maladies such as inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer.”

Largest genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease provides clues on new drug targets

30th January 2017

Original article at

In two studies published today (30 January) in Nature Genetics, researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their collaborators have identified a genetic variant that doubles an individual’s risk of developing ulcerative colitis, one of the subtypes of a chronic disorder known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

They also uncover a further 25 novel genetic associations to IBD risk, including several that implicate genes related to a class of therapeutics that has shown promise in the treatment of this disease.

More than 300,000 people suffer from IBD in the UK. The disorder primarily consists of two subtypes: ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, neither of which currently have a cure. IBD is a debilitating disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks parts of the digestive tract. The exact causes of this disease are unclear.

To understand more about the genetics underlying IBD, researchers studied the genomes of 16,000 UK IBD patients, as well as 10,000 more from a previously published international study, in the largest whole-genome IBD genetic study to date.

From the research, which included 5 per cent of IBD sufferers nationwide, scientists identified a rare genetic variant that doubles the risk of ulcerative colitis. The variant affects a gene known as ADCY7, and is carried by 1 in 200 people in the UK. It is one of the strongest genetic risk factors associated with ulcerative colitis to date and presents a novel drug target for IBD.

In the second study, researchers identified that a family of proteins called integrins play a key role in increasing the risk of IBD. Integrins are transmembrane proteins that act as bridges for interactions between cells from the immune system and the rest of the body. For the inflammation associated with IBD symptoms, drugs targeting some of these interactions have been shown to be effective. This study demonstrated that genetic variants that increase the risk of developing IBD also increase the expression of certain integrins in response to stimulation of the immune system.

Katrina de Lange, first author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said: “We study genetics because we ultimately want to understand the biology of the disease. From the genetic information we can extract a compelling story about why a particular anti-integrin drug is effective against Inflammatory Bowel Disease, or why others have serious side effects.”

These examples of genome wide association studies give scientists a clearer view of IBD biology than they had previously and are helping to reveal the underpinning biology of human inflammatory diseases overall.

Looking to the future, Sanger Institute scientists, with help from the UK IBD BioResource, are aiming to sequence 25,000 genomes of IBD patients in the next five years. The unprecedented scale of this study will hopefully reveal even more details of the biology of this condition.

Dr Miles Parkes, co-author of the studies and consultant gastroenterologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, said: “Whilst there are challenges in recruiting large numbers of patients to IBD studies and interpreting the resulting volume of data, there are also great opportunities to better understand the role of genetic variation in not only risk of disease but also in treatment and prognosis. The IBD Bioresource will drive recruitment of IBD patients across the UK and allow recall of patients for repeat tests so the function of specific genes behind IBD can be explored.”

The results from these studies will be translated into potential treatments by Open Targets, an initiative that takes the outputs of the genetic studies and works with pharmaceutical companies to aid the development of new treatments for diseases including IBD.

Dr Carl Anderson, a lead author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute said: “The scale of these collaborations means we are able to spot genetic associations to IBD that we hadn’t seen previously. We hope that by continuing to work together we will be able to translate these findings into better treatments for IBD patients.”

Story Source:

Materials provided by Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

A cure for Crohn’s on the horizon?

Full details etc on

There is compelling evidence pointing to MAP as the cause of Crohn’s Disease, a debilitating and aggressive form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. MAP is proven to cause Johne’s Disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease affecting domestic livestock. Johne’s Disease is strikingly similar to Crohn’s Disease. MAP is a type of bacteria: Mycobacterium aviumsubspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). It belongs to a family of bacteria called ‘Mycobacteria’, which also includes Tuberculosis and Leprosy. Prof Hermon-Taylor has developed a modern therapeutic vaccine against MAP, now it needs to be trialled to determine whether it can cure Crohn’s.


Worm infection counters inflammatory bowel disease by drastically changing gut microbiome

original article on Science Daily

Infection with worms counters inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) by triggering immune responses that change the mix of bacteria, or microbiome, in the gut. This is according to a study published online April 14 in the journal Science.

The study results support the hygiene hypothesis which, in the case of IBD, argues that the absence of exposure to worms in too-clean modern living spaces has left some with oversensitive, gut-based immune systems vulnerable to inflammatory diseases. Gut worms have helped to train and balance immune systems throughout human evolution, but are now missing in developed nations, which, in turn, have the highest rates of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

In the newly published study, a team led by researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center found that mice infected with intestinal worms experienced as much as a thousand-fold decrease in Bacteroides — a group of bacterial species linked by past studies to higher risk for IBD. At the same time, the number of Clostridia, a bacterial species known to counter inflammation, increased tenfold. The investigators argue that the immune response to the worms triggers the growth in Clostridia, which then either outcompete Bacteroides for nutrients or release toxins harmful to Bacteroides.

“Our findings are among the first to link parasites and bacteria to the origin of IBD, supporting the hygiene hypothesis,” says study co-senior investigator and parasitologist P’ng Loke, PhD, an associate professor at NYU Langone. Loke says this model may also be applicable to other autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes, in which processes meant to attack foreign invaders instead become oversensitive and react to the body’s own cells.

Also among the study’s key findings was that people in rural parts of Malaysia, a region known to have low rates of IBD but a high incidence of worm infections, had significantly more Clostridia and fewer Bacteriodes in their microbiomes than people comprising a nearby urban population. In addition, the researchers found that people treated and dewormed had less Clostridia and more Bacteriodes.

“Our study could change how scientists and physicians think about treating IBD,” says study co-senior investigator and microbiologist Ken Cadwell, PhD, an assistant professor at NYU Langone and its Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine. “Patient testimonials and anecdotes lead many to think that worms directly cure IBD, while in reality, they act on the gut bacteria thought to cause the disease.”

Loke also led a study, published in the journal PLOS Pathogens in 2012, which found that giving worm eggs to monkeys protected them from the simian version of IBD. Worm eggs may be able to trick the immune system into thinking it has a worm infection, and to trigger a specific kind of worm-related response that counters gut inflammation. Along the same lines, future treatments might include giving patients some form of the immune chemicals produced by immune cells in the presence of worm infection, like interleukin 13, Cadwell says. Such treatments may be acceptable to patients as long as they know they cannot possibly get worms in the process.

As part of the new study, the NYU Langone team fed between 10 and 15 parasitic whipworm eggs to mice lacking a gene called NOD2, which is tied to several immune disorders, including IBD. After the worms matured, the investigators measured the amount of Bacteroides and Clostridia in the mice’s intestines and stool and noted the presence or absence of IBD. They found that many of the symptoms of IBD, such as intestinal bleeding and ulceration, went away along with almost all Bacteroides, while the Clostridia levels increased.

For another part of the study, the researchers compared the bacteria found in 75 members of the Orang Asli indigenous people in rural Malaysia to those of 20 people living in urban Kuala Lumpur. Researchers found that rural people had much fewer Bacteroides than city dwellers.

Cadwell says he and Loke plan to investigate how Clostridia outcompete Bacteroides, and search for harmless Clostridia species that can still induce this effect. In addition, they intend to explore alterations to gut bacteria by worm infections as the foundation of treatments for several inflammatory diseases.

Funding support for the study was provided by National Institute of Health grants DK103788, DK093668, and AL093811, and by grants from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and Dr. Bernard Levine.

In addition to Cadwell and Loke, other NYU Langone researchers included Deepshika Ramanan, BS; Rowann Bowcutt, PhD; Zachary Kurtz, BS; Martin Blaser, MD; and Mei San Tang, MD. Further research support was provided by Soo Ching Lee, PhD, and Yvonne Al Lim, PhD, at the University of Malaya in Malaysia; Kenya Honda, PhD, at the Center for Integrative Medical Sciences in Yokohama, Japan; Richard Bonneau at the Simons Foundation in New York; and William C. Cause, PhD, at the Center for Immunity and Inflammation at New Jersey Medical School.

Is Ginger Root helpful for Colitis?

Is Ginger Root Helpful for Colitis?

| By Joanne Marie
Is Ginger Root Helpful for Colitis?
Fresh ginger root and a cup of ginger tea. Photo Creditmatka_Wariatka/iStock/Getty Images

Colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the colon. The disease is most common in people aged 50 to 70 and tends to run in families, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Ginger root is a traditional herbal remedy that may help relieve the symptoms of colitis and lessen the frequency of flare-ups. Talk to your doctor to decide if ginger might be helpful for your situation.

Causes and Symptoms

Although the exact cause of colitis is still unknown, it may be an autoimmune disorder caused by an abnormal immune reaction to bacteria or other components of food. The symptoms of colitis vary in severity, but most people experience abdominal pain and diarrhea during an acute episode. Other symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss, rectal bleeding, skin problems and joint pain. Some additional symptoms such as skin problems and joint pain may occur due to inflammation outside of the gastrointestinal tract.

Ginger Root

Ginger root is actually the underground rhizome of the Zingiber officinale plant. It has been used in herbal medicine in Asia, India and the Arabian peninsula for thousands of years. Its traditional uses include treatment of stomach distress, diarrhea, heart conditions and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. The biologically active compounds in ginger root include several volatile oils and phenolic chemicals called gingerols and shogaols. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory herb that may be beneficial in relieving symptoms of colitis.

Actions and Evidence

Ginger promotes bile production by the liver, aiding digestion of fats. It also promotes emptying of the stomach and improves contractions of muscle in the intestinal wall. The anti-inflammatory action of ginger may also lessen or slow the inflammation thought to cause colitis. In a study published in the “Journal of Ehtnopharmacology” in 2008, when laboratory animals with ulcerative colitis were fed either ginger extract, a prescription anti-inflammatory drug or a placebo, ginger was as effective as the drug in suppressing the disorder. These are promising preliminary findings, although clinical trials with ginger and human subjects are still needed.

Recommendations and Precautions

Ginger root is available from health food stores as fresh root, an extract or tincture, or in capsules. The maximum recommended daily dose of ginger is 4 g daily. While ginger is generally considered a safe herb, it may cause mild heartburn or mouth irritation in some people. Do not take ginger if you have gallstones or a bleeding disorder, or if you take blood-thinning medications. Discuss ginger root with your doctor before adding it to your regular routine

Cytokine plays dual role in regulating IBD

February 16, 2016
Original article on Science Today
Georgia State University
Small proteins that affect communication between cells play an important role in regulating inflammation that occurs during inflammatory bowel disease, according to researchers.

Small proteins that affect communication between cells play an important role in regulating inflammation that occurs during inflammatory bowel disease, according to researchers at Georgia State University, Emory University, the University of Michigan and Amgen, a biotechnology company.

The researchers compared immune cells in mice with and without intestinal inflammation and identified a new factor, a cytokine called IL-36, that is expressed in the inflamed intestine of mice. They explored the role of this cytokine to determine if it’s promoting disease, helping to protect against disease or simply associated with the disease. The findings are published inThe Journal of Immunology.

“What we found was quite striking,” said Tim Denning, lead author of the study and associate professor in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State. “If we block the effects of this cytokine, IL-36, in a mouse model of intestinal inflammation, the mice were better and had less disease early on, which suggested that this was a pro-inflammatory cytokine. However, when we assessed the ability of mice deficient in the receptor for IL-36 to heal, which is a vital part of resolving intestinal inflammation, they were completely unable to do so. The study highlights the important role of IL-36, not only in driving some of the inflammatory process, but also in helping to resolve the inflammation.”

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), chronic inflammation of all or part of the digestive tract, affects about 1.5 million Americans. The two main types, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, develop from uncontrolled inflammation in the intestine, which leads to severe diarrhea, pain, fatigue, weight loss and even death.

There are trillions of helpful bacteria inside human intestines, and the immune system is trained not to react aggressively. However, in people with IBD, the immune system doesn’t tolerate these bacteria and instead fights against them.

In this study, the researchers investigated the factors that may be regulating the immune system’s balance between tolerating these bacteria and reacting aggressively against them. They discovered the dual role of IL-36 in both promoting intestinal inflammation and resolving or healing that inflammation. The findings highlight the significance of understanding the timing and phase of disease, Denning said.

“Treatments that block certain factors, regardless of knowing the role it may be playing at a certain stage of disease, could lead to a poor outcome and may be the reason some clinical trials fail,” Denning said. “It is key to understand what phase of disease patients are in, what cytokines are expressed and the appropriate therapeutic targets during these distinct phases. Oftentimes, blocking a factor is not universally beneficial. Immune responses and inflammation, which are often viewed as deleterious, can be both good and bad depending on the context.”

For instance, blocking IL-36 may be beneficial in certain phases of the disease, but eliminating this factor could also make the body unable to recruit and activate cells necessary for healing and resolution of the disease. Therefore, it’s important to understand the pathways IL-36 affects because this cytokine could be valuable in other stages of the disease, he said.

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Georgia State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

A diet of worms to help IBD?

Original article on The Gaurdian

For hundreds of thousands of years, worms have been infecting humans, burrowing into our bodies, setting up shop in our organs and generally making themselves at home. Until about 150 years ago, nearly everyone who ever lived was probably infected with some parasitic worm or other. Worms can cause intestinal problems, anaemia and, depending on the species, more severe problems, including seizures and paralysis. But, with modern sanitation, we have eradicated them from many parts of the world – a great public health success.

However, growing numbers of scientists have begun to argue that the loss of these parasites, known as helminths, has led to a spike in a range of illnesses, including autoimmune diseases, allergies and asthma, and even depression and other mental health problems. They say that worms, or drugs developed from them, could be potent treatments for these ailments, superior to current approaches, and with fewer side-effects.

“Our bodies, especially our immune systems, have evolved to expect input from these creatures,” says University of Iowa immunologist David Elliott, who has studied helminths for more than a decade. “Without this feedback, the immune system can get badly off track.”

Some immunologists claim our immune systems have evolved to expect input from parasites.

The first study of helminths as a treatment was 40 years ago, when JA Turton, a parasitologist in Surrey, dosed himself with hookworm and found that his chronic hay fever disappeared. In the past decade, helminth research has expanded significantly; so far, it has largely involved animal studies, which have mostly found positive results. “I can give a mouse multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis or colitis, and when I give it worms, the disease goes away,” says Elliott. “Can we do that in humans too? I don’t see why not.”

There have been just a handful of human studies: perhaps the most well-known is by Joel Weinstock, a gastroenterologist at Tufts University in Massachusetts, which examined the effect of worms on patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Almost 75% of those who ingested the worms were cured, especially noteworthy given that they had not been helped by more traditional treatments. But research with human subjects is difficult, largely because of regulatory obstacles; many worms are considered hazardous pathogens.


It is not clear exactly how helminths help their human hosts. They appear to have developed molecular strategies to hack into our immune system, reining in its response to alien cells. In allergy, asthma, autoimmune diseases, and probably many other illnesses as well, this inflammatory response is excessive, and ends up damaging the body. It makes sense that helminths would have found ways to calibrate our immunity; as long-term parasites, their survival depends on neutralising the host’s defences. “They can live in our bodies, and we can stay healthy and they can stay healthy,”’ says Weinstock.

He is among a group of researchers who are focusing on finding the particular molecules that allow worms to manipulate us. The aim is to develop these molecules – or analogues of them – into medicines. “By understanding what the worms do, we may be able to develop magic bullets,” he says. This approach has advantages over using the worms themselves: dosing would be more controlled, and patients wouldn’t be disgusted.

Others are sceptical, arguing that helminths are extremely complex and probably use multiple mechanisms to nullify our defences. “It’s hard to recreate complex biological interactions,” says William Parker, an immunologist at Duke University in North Carolina. “These organisms are their own living drug-delivery systems. They have so many effects on their hosts.”

The arrival of worms-in-a-pill, if it happens at all, is probably years away. But a handful of companies already offer live worms to consumers. Judy Chinitz and Marc Dellerba started their helminth supply company, Biome Restoration, in the UK three years ago, and have more than 1,200 regular customers. They ship microscopic larvae – which grow into worms after being swallowed – all over the world. Dellerba, who has a PhD in chemistry, oversees a rigorous manufacturing process.

Biome Restoration worked with the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which permits the company to sell the organism as a non-pharmaceutical product. But much of this commerce exists in a legal grey area, because many health regulatory agencies, including those in the UK and the US, deem most helminths to be pathogens that cannot be transported.

Some people are now taking the DIY route, raising helminths themselves. Parker estimates that 7,000 or so people worldwide have used worms as medicine in the past few years. There are several vibrant online communities where devotees discuss the best worm-raising regimens and the most effective dosing strategies.

One key question: which worm works best, for which ailment? Researchers, suppliers and consumers have identified a few promising species that fit the key conditions: they don’t cause serious health problems, don’t reproduce in humans, can’t spread from person to person, don’t migrate within the body, and can be eradicated with anti-worm medicines. Almost all of those who use worms ingest one of four different species: rat tapeworm, pig whipworm, human whipworm, or human hookworm.

Parker and his researchers have gathered data from hundreds of users and growers. “I’m convinced,” he says. “Based on the evidence I’ve seen, it is very effective,” he says. “It has a really good benefit-to-risk ratio, especially for serious autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disorder.”

Not surprisingly, though, some scientists are suspicious of the current use of helminths, calling it unscientific, premature and possibly risky. Parker, too, recognises that more research is necessary: “It’s a slow process, but I think it’s inevitable that it will significantly change how we treat these diseases.”

Bovine Colostrum

This is an interesting article I stumbled across, I’m going to try it!

Original article on Well-belly

I am in an all-out UFC cage fight with my autoimmune disease and I’m winning!  For the past 15 months, my ulcerative colitis (UC) and I have been in an intense battle and for the majority of that time, I was losing.  I began following the Paleo lifestyle right away and got in a few good punches, but after awhile, it fought right back.  I went stricter and eliminated even more foods to follow the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) and really started to get some great strikes in to this persistent disease.  But then, I got pinned.  I had eliminated some of my favorite foods, taken away my ability to eat out at great restaurants, and given up my social life in order to keep my symptoms from flaring.  But, I wasn’t getting any better.  I was just maintaining a  level of health…not good enough for this girl!  I was stumped and frustrated, not ready to give in to the battle.

My rock bottom came 6 weeks ago.  I was hungry for a midday snack and grabbed a beautifully ripe, locally grown peach.  I don’t eat much fruit and hadn’t enjoyed peach season yet, so I was excited for the treat.  Instead, I got sick.  Minutes after eating the peach, I looked like I was 6 months pregnant.  Intense pain and bloating from one tiny little piece of fruit led me to the most frustrated mental state I had been in since starting my healing a year before.

Something had to change and now.  I went to my trusty friend, Google, for advice.  Just a bit of research and I had my ‘Aha!’ moment.  It was something I knew all along but hadn’t taken the time or effort to actually do.


not just try to get rid of my UC symptoms.  Autoimmune diseases WILL NOT go into remission if gut health is not restored.  All this time I had been focusing on healing the wrong thing.  I had been taking out any foods and factors that caused my UC to flare, instead of spending my time working on HEALING.  It may not sound different, but it is. I think this is where so many of those suffering from autoimmune diseases go wrong.  Research shows that leaky gut is one of three factors that makes someone susceptible to autoimmunity, along with genetic predisposition and environmental factors.  Even though I already knew all of this (thanks to The Paleo Mom) which is why I was on AIP in the first place, once I was deep in the diet trenches, I began focusing on the wrong issue and not getting anywhere.  


Back to my story…

I am a huge believer in fate, so when I ran across a post on Instagram from Alexandra at High On Fat entitled “How I Healed My Leaky Gut” the exact same day as my ‘peach incident,’ I knew I needed to take her advice.  I was desperate for help and wanted those words to be in my vocabulary too!  The post was all about a new supplement she had been taking that had healed her gut and changed her life — bovine colostrum.

Another Google-fest ensued to learn about this supplement and my heart began to beat faster with the excitement of health:

What is it?

You may already be familiar with colostrum: the ‘pre-milk’ fluid produced by mammary glands during the first few days after giving birth.  This is the first food given to a baby to provide them with essential growth factors to build the gut wall, antibodies to build immunity, and vital nutrients to give them strength in their first days of life.  Bovine colostrum does the same thing, just in cows.  Human consumption is not new.  It has been prominent in Ayurvedic healing for thousands of years and was once the treatment for infections before pharmaceutical companies took hold and antibiotics became popular.



What does it do?

The more research I did, the more benefits I found.  The list is seemingly endless.  But don’t take my word for it.  Here are excerpts taken from reputable sources surrounding the human consumption of bovine colostrum:

“Colostrum has the greatest components of ingredients directed toward the digestive tract. Its growth factors help cells of the digestive tract redevelop themselves and it also has immune factors that reestablish the immunity of the gastrointestinal tract and kill off bad bacteria that is overgrown.  Colostrum decreases intestinal permeability and enhances the assimilation of nutrients.”

“Colostrum contains powerful immune factors (immunoglobulin, lactoferrin, cytokines, etc.) that work to restore optimal immune functioning. Colostrum also contains PRP, shown in clinical studies to both enhance an under active immune system and balance an overactive tendency.”

Web MD

“Bovine colostrum is also used for boosting the immune system, healing injuries, repairing nervous system damage, improving mood and sense of well being, slowing and reversing aging, and as an agent for killing bacteria and fungus.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

“Bovine colostrum has been used as a dietary supplement to treat diarrhea, infections, colitis, and to improve athletic performance. In vitro studies suggest that bovine colostrum has anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive properties.”

“There is also some evidence that bovine colostrum prevents NSAID-associated gastrointestinal damage and is effective in treating distal colitis.” 

So, I gave it a shot!  I was skeptical but I also didn’t think I could make things any worse just by trying it.

The Results?

Within a week, I felt like a whole new person!  So much so, that I didn’t actually believe it could be true.  I kept doubting that it was working.  But everyday, I kept getting better and better until I was feeling like my ‘pre-colitis’ self.  Not only did my UC symptoms vanish, but ALL of my digestive issues were gone, my energy was through the roof all day, and I was just happy… because I finally felt free.  Even though autoimmune diseases stick around for life, mine is no longer reminding me everyday.

After a few weeks, I began reintroducing foods I had given up months ago for AIP.  First up were eggs.  After my first breakfast with eggs, I wanted to get up and dance on the table.  Not only did I not have the reaction I had in the past when trying to reintroduce, but I felt nourished and energized!  I’ve kept the eggs and have also been able to add almond butter and coffee so far!

Now, let me be clear.  I’m not going out eating donuts, pizza and nachos.  I’m still following the Autoimmune Protocol with the addition of eggs and almond butter, and plan to slowly continue to add REAL FOOD in a controlled manner.

Which one should I take?

Here’s what to look for:

  • Sourced from pasture-raised, organic cows
  • No antibiotics, GMO’s, hormones
  • Provided only after the newborn calf has been given its share
  • Harvested within 8 hours after birth
  • Low pasteurization temperatures (flash pasteurization below 115 degrees)
  • Pure Colostrum (not colostrum-whey)

A Few Warnings 

This product may contain a trace amount of lactose and casein and could have a slight effect on those with severe lactose intolerance.  If you have severe intolerance, Surthrival recommends taking a lactose digestive aid along with your colostrum dose for several days while initiating it into your system.  I have a dairy sensitivity and had no problem without the need for an aid.  Alexandra was diagnosed with lactose intolerance and was fine with it also.
Your first few days may be a little rocky!  Some people may experience a “die-off effect” as the body releases toxins in the form of digestive problems, skin eruptions, rashes or flu-like symptoms. This is a sign that it’s working.  These symptoms usually disappear in a couple of days.  Start with a small dose and work up into the full dose to avoid these symptoms.  I started with 1/4 tablespoon twice a day and worked my way up.  The first two days I experienced flu-like symptoms and just didn’t feel well.  By the third day, I was beginning to feel amazing and it’s only gotten better since!

I’m so hopeful that this amazing supplement works for others the way it has me!  Please let me know if you have questions, concerns, or are going to give it a shot and I will support you along the way!  Leave a comment below or email me at

If you’re a ‘Google-er’ like me and would like to do more research, here are a few more great links that I referenced for this post:


And this comment is taken from Crohn’s forum suggesting you mix Bovine colostrum with L-glutamine

I can tell you that for us, we may have discovered our “Magic Bullet”!!! My husband has suffered for years with SIBO, with virtually no help from gastroenterologists ( we have seen all 7 in a group associated with the hopistal). As a nurse, I have researched the literature, trying many treatments for the nausea, cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, orange oil excretion….
Tried antibiotics, fecal transplants, VSL #3 DS ( prescription strength probiotic with 900 Billion bacteria per packet)

My husband’s latest regimen until two weeks ago was Regimint, 4 caps/ in divided doses, chamomile tea with Peppermint( 3 bags) 3 times a day, Hydrocodone for pain, antidiarrheals am and PM, Meclizine for nausea 3 times a day( this worked very well), digestive enzymes ( Zen Pep). And self Reiki to abdomen every night.

NEW….NOW…ONLY FEW SYMPTOMS of occasional bloating and occasional orange oil related inability to digest fat.

NOW…No Nausea, NO Cramping, No Pain, No Diarrhea!!! Two weeks ago I started him on L-Glutamine with the recommended dose of 30 gm/ day..powder form….6 teaspoons in water on empty stomach.( each tsp is 5gms.). Sips this during day to continually bathe small intestine….AND Bovine Colostrum……gradually increasing to 8 caps a day, then to 4 caps a day. I open the caps and mix in water….on an empty stomach.

Nausea is completely gone, pain is completely gone. No need for Meclizine , regiment, Hydrocodone, antidiarrheals,. HE FEELS NORMAL!!!!!!! His quality of life is 100% improved, he is able to go out without fear of having an accident, and it is just amazing!!!!!

YOU MUST try L-Glutamine and Bovine Colostrum…also can be added together.
Let me know how you do on this. We get our Bovine Colostrum from ImmuneCare in NZ….antibiotic free…..

No more

Study Links Common Food Additives to Crohn’s Disease, Colitis

By Dr. Mercola

If given a choice, virtually everyone would choose to be healthier or, if you’re already healthy, to maintain that disease-free state. Yet when you go about it in practice it might seem overwhelming. Where do you begin to “get healthy”?

An excellent starting point is this: cut back, with the goal of eliminating,processed foods in your diet. If you’re at all health-conscious you’re probably already aware of many of their downfalls… excess sugar, often high fructose corn syrup, refined grains, genetically engineered ingredients, soybean oil, and more.

Yet, these are not the only problems. Most processed foods also contain any number of additives, like artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. They also contain another less talked-about additive called emulsifiers.

Each of these has the potential to disrupt your health and in many cases researchers are only beginning to understand how and why.

In the case of emulsifiers, for instance, which are ubiquitous in processed foods like margarine, mayonnaise, baked goods, and ice cream, they’ve been linked to serious inflammatory diseases in your gut along with metabolic syndrome.

Emulsifiers Might Promote Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

More than 1.5 million Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is an autoimmune condition that involves inflammation in your digestive tract and includes both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

IBD sufferers have severely disrupted gut biota with different dominant species than healthy people, and those with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis suffer from a breakdown in the mucosal lining of their gut. As reported in the journal Nature:1

“The intestinal tract is inhabited by a large and diverse community of microbes collectively referred to as the gut microbiota.

While the gut microbiota provides important benefits to its host, especially in metabolism and immune development, disturbance of the microbiota-host relationship is associated with numerous chronic inflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease and the group of obesity-associated diseases collectively referred to as metabolic syndrome.

A primary means by which the intestine is protected from its microbiota is via multi-layered mucus structures that cover the intestinal surface, thereby allowing the vast majority of gut bacteria to be kept at a safe distance from epithelial cells that line the intestine.

Thus, agents that disrupt mucus-bacterial interactions might have the potential to promote diseases associated with gut inflammation.”

Indeed, a new animal study revealed that emulsifiers, which are “detergent-like molecules,” impact mouse gut microbiota, induce low-grade inflammation and metabolic syndrome and promote “robust” colitis in mice predisposed to the disorder.

The researchers concluded:2 “… the broad use of emulsifying agents might be contributing to an increased societal incidence of obesity/metabolic syndrome and other chronic inflammatory diseases.”

Food Additives Might Be Impacting Your Health…

The emulsifiers used in the study were carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80. Similar emulsifiers include lecithin, carrageenan, polyglycerols, and xanthan gum.

These additives keep oils and fats from separating, helping to improve the texture and shelf-life of salad dressing, non-dairy milk, and even foods like veggie burgers and hamburger patties.3

The emulsifiers caused chronic colitis in mice with already abnormal immune systems. In mice with healthy immune function, they resulted in mild intestinal inflammation and subsequent metabolic dysfunction that led to obesity, hyperglycemia, and insulin resistance.

Most notably, the emulsifiers were fed at levels that an average person would be exposed to if eating a lot of processed foods, suggesting these additives may indeed affect the health of many Americans.

Food additives such as these are all approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), again highlighting the severe limitation of our current regulatory system.

A 2013 study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology found that nearly 80 percent of the food additives approved by the FDA lack testing information that would help the agency estimate the amount people can safely consume before suffering health consequences…4

Nourishing Your Microbiome Is Crucial for Preventing Disease

It’s becoming clear that the microbes in your body may very well make or break your health. In the case of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, for instance, there is evidence that there may be a breakdown in your body’s “phage-based” defense system.5

Bacteriophages, or phages, are a group of viruses that help you stay healthy by destroying harmful bacteria and encouraging beneficial bacteria to flourish in and on your body.

Scientists found that mucus-dwelling phages (which coat the inside of your mouth, nose, eyelids, lungs, and your digestive tract) have symbiotic relationships with their host (you) and help control the delicate microbial balance in your body, giving you “smart mucus.”

However, as mentioned, in people with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis there is a breakdown in the mucosal lining of their gut. It’s now known that food additives may be one culprit in this breakdown, but there are others as well, like air pollution. As reported in Scientific American:6

“Many of the 160 gene regions implicated in the development of bowel diseases also regulate how the immune system recognizes and interacts with the trillions of bacteria that exist in the human gut.

‘In the gut, you have a barrier between the immune system and the bacteria that live there. It’s important that barrier gets maintained,’ [Karen] Madsen [a gastroenterological scientist from the University of Alberta in Edmonton] said.

Air pollution particles may disrupt the barrier by making the gut more permeable to bacteria and possibly altering the composition of the bacteria. Studies with mice show that pollution particles make the gut more permeable.

‘Those changes can lead to inflammation and may set up someone who is genetically predisposed to inflammatory bowel diseases,’ [Dr. Gilaad] Kaplan [a gastroenterologist at the University of Calgary in Alberta], said.”

The Road to Healing IBD May Be Through Bacteria…

If you have IBD, tending to your gut health is crucial, and a key way to do this is by getting plenty of beneficial bacteria. You can do this by regularly consuming traditionally fermented foods that are not pasteurized or taking a high-quality probiotic supplement, along with limited added sugars and fructose (another reason processed foods should be avoided).

Research presented at the American College of Gastroenterology annual meeting by researchers at the University College Cork in Ireland showed that people with inflammatory conditions such as ulcerative colitis who took the probiotic bacteria Bifidobacterium infantis for eight weeks had lower levels of inflammation than those taking a placebo.7

Fermented foods are ideal for this, however, because if properly fermented can contain 100 times more probiotics than a supplement. Another option to improve the makeup of bacteria in your gut,the fecal transplant, is also proving to be quite effective. A fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) involves taking donor feces (the donor is typically a spouse or relative) and basically transferring it to the patient during a colonoscopy.

The benefit? The patient receives a transplanted population of healthy flora that can go to work correcting any number of gastrointestinal and other health problems. Research has found the transplants showed promise in the treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, with symptoms improving in days to weeks.

Natural Solutions for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

IBD can cause cramps, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, and other potentially serious complications in your intestines, along with increasing your risk of colon cancer. Because IBD can be extremely painful, debilitating, and even life threatening, many IBD patients wind up having extensive sections of their colon removed to address the problem when conventional therapies fail — and this can result in devastating and life-threatening complications.

The goal of most IBD treatment, whether conventional or holistic, is to suppress the inflammation that is leading to the damaging symptoms, and exposure to environmental pollutants is only one contributing factor. Some of the greatest contributors to chronic inflammation are lifestyle factors like smoking, a diet high in sugar, fried foods, and synthetic trans fats, inadequate exercise, stress, and vitamin D deficiency. So, if you have IBD the first place to start getting the disease under control lies in addressing these underlying factors. If you have IBD, I urge you to:

  1. Take a high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fat supplement like krill oil for the anti-inflammatory benefits. If you’re already taking a plant-based omega-3 such as flax, know that it will not work as well, as your body needs the preformed omega-3 fat DHA to have a serious impact on this disease — not the omega-3 ALA found in flax.
  2. Avoid all types of sugars and processed foods, particularly fructose, as these will increase inflammation by increasing your insulin levels.
  3. Also avoid grains until your symptoms are under control. Many with inflammatory bowel disease have gluten sensitivities. Additionally, the grains tend to increase insulin levels, promoting inflammation.
  4. Avoid artificial sweeteners. Inflammatory bowel disease may be caused or exacerbated by the regular consumption of the popular artificial sweetener Splenda, as it inactivates digestive enzymes and alters gut barrier function.
  5. Optimize your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D appears to be nearly as effective as animal-based omega-3 fats in countering IBD. One of the reasons that vitamin D may work is that it helps your body produce over 200 antimicrobial peptides that help fight all sorts of infections, and there are many experts who believe inflammatory bowel disease has an infectious component.
  6. Get plenty of beneficial bacteria either through fermented foods or probiotics in your diet, as this will help to heal your intestinal tract.
  7. Consider using an herbal anti-inflammatory. A solid body of clinical research indicates that the spice turmeric, and its primary golden-hued polyphenol known as curcumin, as well as the Ayurvedic herb boswellia, may provide far superior therapeutic outcomes and safety profiles, as compared to conventional drugs, in the treatment of IBD.8

Are You Having Trouble Ditching Processed Foods?

Getting back to my original suggestion of ditching processed foods to get healthier, this becomes all the more important if you’re struggling with a serious condition like IBD. I have long stated that if you want to be optimally healthy, you should spend 90 percent of your food budget on whole foods, and only 10 percent on processed foods. Unfortunately, most Americans currently do the opposite, and their health suffers as a result.

Ditching processed foods requires that you plan your meals in advance, but if you take it step-by-step as described in mynutrition plan, it’s quite possible, and manageable, to painlessly remove processed foods from your diet. You can try scouting out your local farmer’s markets for in-season produce that is priced to sell, and planning your meals accordingly, but you can also use this same premise with supermarket sales.

You can generally plan a week of meals at a time, making sure you have all ingredients necessary on hand, and then do any prep work you can ahead of time so that dinner is easy to prepare if you’re short on time in the evenings (and you can use leftovers for lunches the next day). As you remove processed foods from your diet, it’s important to replace these foods withhealthy fats, not protein or grain carbs—a fact that’s often not addressed. I believe most people may need between 50 and 70 percent of their daily calories in the form of healthy fats, so as you remove processed foods from your meals be sure you’re eating more of the following:

Olives and olive oil Coconuts and coconut oil Butter made from raw grass-fed organic milk
Organic raw nuts, especially macadamia nuts, which are low in protein and omega-6 fat Organic pastured egg yolks and pastured meats Avocados