Apple Cider Vinegar

Original article on The Detox Diva

Raw apple cider, unfiltered and with “the mother”  which is made up of strand-like enzymes of connected protein molecules with living nutrients and bacteria, is the good stuff.  The mother is the “stuff” that, along with the unfiltered sediment from the apple juice, settles at the bottom of the bottle and, if you put it in water, you will see “bits” floating around.  You also want the sediment of the apple juice which has all the pectin, malic acid, vitamins and minerals.  In other words, it will be cloudy with bits settling to the bottom that you will shake up before you use it.  My favorite is Bragg’s Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar which you can buy at any Whole Foods or order online.  I buy the 32 oz. because I don’t like the really big ones with the plastic jugs.

So to recap, buy the cloudy, gunky good stuff full of life and leave the clear, pretty brown stuff for cleaning.  (Or better yet, leave it on the shelves!)

 The many health benefits of raw apple cider vinegar::

*Rich in potassium, a mineral that very difficult to find in the Standard American Diet (SAD). This mineral is necessary for building proteins and metabolizing carbohydrates; also imperative for transmission of nerve impulses and regulating electrical impulses of the heart; has been shown to prevent bone loss; decreases high blood pressure; also prevent kidney stones.

*Loaded with acetic acid which has been shown to slow the digestion of starch helping to slow down and lower the rise in glucose that commonly occurs after meals. This is important for those with blood sugar issues such as diabetes or insulin resistance and is helpful for balancing hormones in those with estrogen dominance and PCOS.

*Although it tastes acidic it is rich in ash which gives ACV its alkaline property. This is important for your body in maintaining proper pH levels for a healthy alkaline state. (This is particularly important if you drink coffee, alcohol, eat a lot of grains, meat, or sugar.)

*High in malic acid which gives ACV its anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Other acids in apple cider vinegar are stellar for helping with detoxification by boosting circulation and the liver’s ability to purge toxins.   The acids also help to eliminate impurities by binding to free radicals and other toxins that are stored in the blood, fat cells and organs, thus chelating or  ‘pulling them out’ of the body. In addition, apple cider vinegar supplies the body with a large amount of vitamins, minerals and enzymes, which helps the body recover after detox.

*May help improve bowel irregularity and helps to remove toxins from the body at a faster rate. It can help clear up skin conditions and blemishes.

* Studies have shown ACV helps with weight loss by breaking down fats so that your body can use them rather than store them.  Although scientists say the jury is still out on whether ACV is key in losing weight, because of its many health benefits, helping slow the digesting of starch and slow down and lower the rise in glucose, couple with the fact that it helps maintain the pH levels for healthy alkalinity, the side effect would naturally be balancing weight to normal levels making ACV a superstar in reducing obesity rates.

*Its mineral salts and enzymes help reduce C-reactive proteins helping reduce inflammation.  This is important for those suffering from chronic inflammation (pretty much everyone today), and especially those with inflammatory based illnesses such as those with autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, polymyositis, lupus,  fibromyalgia, and even IBS and Chrohn’s.

*It can help combat candida by restoring the gut’s natural bacteria balance.

*Several studies have found that ACV has a marked effect on killing cancer cells or slowing their growth.

How do I use apple cider vinegar?

Some people swear by adding two tablespoons into a glass of water and drinking it before meals.  If I know I am going to be eating out or at someone’s house where I don’t have control over what I am served, I will do this.  I also swear by drinking a glass before every heavy or starchy meal. It is often a better remedy than commercial indigestion medicines for cases of gastric upset.  A few tablespoons in tepid water and bye bye bubble guts.   I tend to not love chugging water though so I add a few teaspoons at a time to either my water in the summer or the Turkish Apple Tea I sip through the winter.  I don’t recommend you drink it in the morning on an empty stomach unless you are going to eat breakfast very soon after.  It’s too much of a shock to my system and it might be to yours.  If you want to drink it in the morning with water, drink your Ginger Lemon Tea first, make breakfast and while you are making breakfast drink a glass slowly. If the taste is off putting in the morning, add a little honey or stevia to it.   If you are making a smoothie or green juice you can add a few teaspoons to your smoothie but I think that’s overkill.  If you are an oatmeal lover you might want to consider drinking a tablespoon or two in water before you eat as it will slow the insulin spike that always accompanies digesting grains. Again, after your ginger lemon tea.  It is a great way to get hydrated!

My favorite way to use raw apple cider vinegar is in marinades and salad dressings.  My Banish The Bottle Raw Detox Salad Dressing is a fantastic way to use raw apple cider vinegar.  The nice thing about the dressing is you can use it liberally, not counting tablespoons as with bottled salad dressings.

It can be used, diluted in water, for a shine boosting rinse.  Diluted in a spray bottle with either plain or some rose or orange flower water as a nourishing tonic.  It will help heal eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis both with external (diluted of course 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water is a good rule of thumb for skin use) and internal use.

What can apple cider not do?

It will not, on its own, heal you of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, PCOS, insulin resistance or any number of other illnesses and disorders, if you refuse to change your diet from refined flours, sugars, conventional meats, and little plant based foods.  It will not, on its own, heal you, even if you are eating a plant based healthy diet.  It is a PART of the healing process.  It will not make you a supermodel or even supermodel thin if you don’t eat right and move your body.  It may not even do that if you do.  It will help along the process of digesting carbohydrates and metabolizing fats so they can be used as energy but even fat metabolized, if it isn’t used, goes right back….you guessed it….to fat.  It is not to be used in lieu of treatment for cancer.  I know some of the websites say it will cure it unequivocally. This is so very irresponsible to even imply.   Again, it can help heal. It is fantastic as a part of a detox for cancer patients both during and after treatment.  It is a great addition to any alternative healing path as well, in fact, is integral to one. (Notice I say addition, not the whole thing. ) It is really a miraculous compound.  But it is not meant to be singled out as a miracle drug.  It is meant to be a part of a healthy lifestyle.  Use it.  Use it liberally but use it as part of a healthy lifestyle right alongside of coconut oil and other superfoods and a plant based healthy nutrition plan and watch your energy levels soar, your complexion radiate, your hair shine, and your overall health skyrocket abundantly!

Mutaflor Probiotic

Mutaflor: Probiotic Containing Escherichia Coli Nissle 1917

Mutaflor: Probiotic Containing Escherichia coli Nissle 1917Original article on http://www.probiotics-help.com/mutaflor.html

 

Mutaflor is the only probiotic supplement on the market containing the friendly bacterium Escherichia coli Nissle 1917. This is a non-pathogenic helpful bacterium, which is NOT to be confused with the disease-causing Escherichia Coli 0157.

The strain contained in this product, Escherichia coli Nissle 1917, is named after the German doctor Professor Alfred Nissle, who first isolated the bacterium in 1917 during the First World War.

Ingredients

  • E. coli strain Nissle 1917 (2.5–25 x 109 viable cells (CFU))
  • Talc
  • Methacrylic acid-methyl methacrylate copolymer (1:1)
  • Macrogol
  • Dibuytl phthalate
  • Glycerol
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Iron (III) hydroxide oxide monohydrate
  • Gelatin
  • Beeswax (yellow)
  • Carnauba wax
  • Shellac
  • Purified water

The capsules are free from gluten, milk proteins and lactose so are suitable for those with allergies or intolerances to these substances. The product does contain gelatin though so is not suitable for vegetarians.

It is also available as a high strength capsule and as a suspension for children in Germany.

Clinical Evidence Supporting Mutaflor

Since it was first isolated, the bacterium contained in Mutaflor has been studied extensively and has been shown in scientific research to help numerous conditions

As well as being able to colonize the gut, biologically fit and active against disease-causing agents known as pathogens1, Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 has been shown in scientific studies to be of benefit for both inflammatory bowel as well as functional bowel disease:

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

  • Pouchitis: Induction and maintenance of remission2.
  • Ulcerative Colitis: Studies concluded that the use of Mutaflor with mezalasine was effective as a treatment for ulcerative colitis in maintaining remission3,4,5.
  • Crohn’s Disease: Fewer relapses in Crohn’s Disease patients taking Mutaflor versus control group (33.3% versus 63.6%)6.
  • Pseudomembranous colitis (also known as antibiotic-associated diarrhea and often caused by the bacterium Clostridium Difficile or C. Diff): Helpful when combined with intestinal lavage, otherwise known as colonic hydrotherapy or colonic irrigation7.

Functional Bowel Disorders

  • Diverticular Disease: Pilot study concluded that treatment with Mutaflor was helpful in reducing symptoms in diverticulitis8.
  • Diarrhea: Mutaflor normalized acute diarrhea more quickly than a placebo9.
  • Chronic Constipation: Research concluded Mutaflor was as effective as the laxative lactulose10 and it also increased the number of bowel movements in chronic idiopathic constipation11.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Significant improvement in stool frequency was observed as well as a marked improvement in other symptoms such as abnormal urge, flatulence and abdominal fullness12.

Advantages

Scientific studies suggest that this probiotic bacterium may be beneficial for a good number of conditions. The capsules are covered in a hard enteric coating to ensure that the friendly bacteria contained inside survive the stomach acid unharmed and are alive and viable when they reach the bowel, where they set to work.

The product can also be taken with or without food and is suitable for use as a long term therapy. According to the manufacturer of the product, Ardeypharm, the product can be taken with certain antibiotics WITHOUT loss of effectiveness. These antibiotics are those that are directed against gram-positive bacteria and include:

  • Clindamycin
  • Erythromycin
  • Metronidazole
  • Penicillin G
  • Quinupristin/Dalfopristin
  • Rifampin
  • Teicoplanin
  • Vancomycin
  • Cefsulodin

Antibiotics that are directed against gram-negative bacteria will, however, render the product less effective.

Whilst the product should be kept cool by means of refrigeration, it can be kept at room temperature for short periods of up to 72 hours without any loss of potency. This makes it suitable for taking on short trips away.

Disadvantages

Mutaflor is a Probiotic Containing Escherichia coli Nissle 1917Compared to many other probiotic products, Mutaflor has a short shelf life of between three and six months when kept under refrigeration. Please don’t buy in bulk – you will waste your money.

The product also contains a good many additional ingredients such as fillers and preservatives, which may make it difficult to tolerate for the more sensitive patients. The hard enteric capsule also makes it almost impossible to open up the capsule to try just a small amount of the product to begin with. Very sensitive individuals may thus find that the dose of beneficial bacteria contained in a whole capsule may provoke side effects such as gas, changes in stool frequency and nausea in the initial stages of therapy.

Ulcerative Colitis may be treatable with Vinegar

Original article on Medical News Today

Published:

Vinegar – the centuries-old culinary ingredient and traditional remedy – could help fight ulcerative colitis, say researchers, after testing its effects on mice with the disease.
A person with cramps holding their abdomen
A mouse study suggests vinegar – or its main ingredient acetic acid – may alleviate ulcerative colitis, a condition that causes ulcers, abdominal pain and other symptoms.

Millions of people around the world have ulcerative colitis – an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) where there is chronic or recurring immune response and inflammation of the colon or large intestine.

The condition – which causes ulcers, abdominal pain, diarrhea and other symptoms – is similar to another IBD called Crohn’s disease, except Crohn’s affects the whole digestive tract.

Although the causes of ulcerative colitis are not well understood, research suggests gut bacteria may play an important role.

Now, a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and led by Jilin University in Changchun, China, describes how vinegar appears to suppress inflammatory proteins while also increasing beneficial bacteria in the guts of mice.

The researchers carried out their investigation after learning of a previous study that had suggested vinegar – used in traditional medicine – might be a remedy for ulcerative colitis.

For their study, the researchers gave vinegar and its main ingredient acetic acid to mice chemically induced to develop symptoms of ulcerative colitis. They administered the substances by putting small amounts in the animals’ drinking water.

The results showed that either substance significantly reduced symptoms of ulcerative colitis in the mice.

Vinegar suppressed inflammation triggers, improved friendly bacteria

The researchers found that vinegar reduced inflammation in the colon by suppressing proteins and molecular processes that trigger inflammation.

Fast facts about ulcerative colitis

  • Ulcerative colitis is slightly more common in males
  • Lack of standard criteria for diagnosis means we do not know precisely how many people have ulcerative colitis
  • Some believe urbanization could be a contributing factor to the disease.

Learn more about ulcerative colitis

The authors note that “vinegar inhibited inflammation through suppressing Th1 and Th17 responses, the NLRP3 inflammasome, and MAPK signaling activation.”

Also, from an examination of the animals’ stools, the researchers found that mice treated with vinegar for a month before chemically inducing colitis had higher levels of friendly bacteria in their gut, such asLactobacillus and Bifidobacteria.

The authors note that other studies have shown these strains of bacteria are beneficial to mice with symptoms of colitis.

The researchers also found that vinegar appears to reduce a type of cell death that is triggered by stressful conditions.

They say only further studies will be able to establish if their findings are true of humans.

Meanwhile, Medical News Today learned of another study from Rockefeller University in New York, NY, that shows how neurons and macrophages in the gut work together to help prevent damage from inflammation.

Meditation may relieve IBD

Original article on Harvard Gazzette

pilot study has found that participating in a nine-week training program including elicitation of the relaxation response had a significant impact on clinical symptoms of the gastrointestinal disorders irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and on the expression of genes related to inflammation and the body’s response to stress.

The report from investigators at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), both Harvard affiliates, is the first to study the use of the relaxation response in these disorders and the first to investigate the genomic effects of the relaxation response in individuals with any disorder. The report was published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

“Our results suggest exciting possibilities for further developing and implementing this treatment in a wider group of patients with gastrointestinal illness,” said Braden Kuo of the gastrointestinal unit in the MGH Department of Medicine, co-lead author of the report.

“Several studies have found that stress management techniques and other psychological interventions can help patients with IBS, at least in the short term; and while the evidence for IBD is less apparent, some studies have suggested potential benefits. What is novel about our study is demonstration of the impact of a mind/body intervention on the genes controlling inflammatory factors that are known to play a major role in IBD and possibly in IBS,” said Kuo, who is also a Harvard Medical School assistant professor of medicine.

Both IBS and IBD are chronic conditions that produce related symptoms, including abdominal pain and changes in bowel function such as diarrhea. But while IBD — which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis — is characterized by severe inflammation in all or part of the gastrointestinal tract, no inflammation or visible abnormality is present in IBS. Stress appears to exacerbate both conditions, and since the symptoms themselves can increase stress in patients, finding ways to break that vicious cycle could have significant clinical benefits.

The relaxation response — a physiologic state of deep rest induced by practices such as meditation, yoga, and prayer — was first described more than 40 years ago by Herbert Benson, director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute and a co-author of the current paper. Many studies have shown that regular practice of the relaxation response not only alleviates stress and anxiety but also directly affects physiologic factors such as blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen consumption. In reports published in 2008 and 2013, Benson, along with Towia Libermann and Manoj Bhasin — both of the BIDMC Genomics, Proteomics, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Center — described how elicitation of the relaxation response in healthy individuals affected the expression of genes in pathways involved with the body’s response to stress, inflammation, and energy metabolism. Libermann is co-senior author and Bhasin is co-lead author of the current study.

The current study was designed to investigate whether a relaxation-response-based intervention could improve the quality of life in patients with IBS or IBD and to analyze the intervention’s effects on inflammatory markers and gene expression. The study enrolled 48 adult participants — 19 of whom had been diagnosed with IBS and 29 with IBD — who participated in a nine-week group program focused on stress reduction, cognitive skills, and health-enhancing behaviors. Each of the weekly sessions included relaxation response training, and participants were asked to practice relaxation response elicitation at home for 15 to 20 minutes each day. Along with aspects featured in other group programs offered at the Benson-Henry Institute, this program included a session specifically focused on gastrointestinal health.

Study participants were assessed at the outset, midway through, and at the end of the program, and then three weeks later. The assessments used standardized tools for measuring symptoms common to both disorders, assessing anxiety and pain, and determining the effects of the disorders on participants’ quality of life. Blood samples were taken at baseline and a week after the study period’s conclusion for purposes of profiling gene expression and measuring known inflammatory factors.

Both in patients with IBS and those with IBD, participation in the mind/body program appeared to have significantly improved disease-related symptoms, anxiety, and overall quality of life, not only at the end of the study period but also three weeks later. While there were no significant changes in inflammatory markers for either group of participants, changes in expression were observed in almost 200 genes among participants with IBS and more than 1,000 genes in those with IBD. Many of the genes with altered expression are known to contribute to pathways involved with stress response and inflammation.

“In both IBS and IBD, the pathway controlled by a protein called NF-κB emerged as one of those most significantly affected by the relaxation response, which confirms the findings of our previous genomic studies,” said Libermann. “Indeed the relaxation response reduced the expression of a number of genes directly linked to the key inflammatory processes of IBD. While the mechanisms behind IBS are less well-defined, they most likely involve stress response, which also could be improved by relaxation response practice.”

Co-senior author John Denninger of the Benson-Henry Institute at MGH noted, “One interesting clinical impact was a decrease in both IBS and IBD patients in what is called pain catastrophizing — a negative cognitive and emotional response to pain or the anticipation of pain. In other words, participants became more resilient in the face of the pain they were experiencing. But before we can offer a program like this to patients with these disorders, we’ll need to conduct a longer, randomized trial with a control group and enough participants for statistically significant results.”

Vitamin D & IBD

Original article on Vitamin D Council

Summary

Inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in all or part of the digestive tract. The two main types of inflammatory bowel disease are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, which affect different parts of the digestive tract.

The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is not fully understood, but scientists think it is a combination of genetics, the environment, and your immune system.

Many studies have shown that there is a link between vitamin D and inflammatory bowel disease. People with inflammatory bowel disease are more likely to have low levels of vitamin D. In inflammatory bowel disease, vitamin D may help the immune system to reduce levels of inflammatory proteins that get overproduced.

Although inflammatory bowel disease is not curable, there are ways to manage the symptoms and keep the disease in remission. Having high vitamin D levels may be a way to help manage inflammatory bowel disease, as well as to reduce complications related to the disease, such as hospitalizations, surgeries, infections, and colon cancer.

More experiments need to be done to determine just how effective vitamin D might be for inflammatory bowel disease, if at all.  Research hasn’t been able to show yet that low vitamin D levels cause inflammatory bowel disease. Doctors don’t know yet whether taking a vitamin D supplement, or getting more sun exposure, can help to prevent inflammatory bowel disease.

If you have inflammatory bowel disease and want to take vitamin D, it is unlikely to make your IBD worse or cause you any harm, as long as you take less than 10,000 IU per day. However, it’s not proven that taking vitamin D will help to treat your inflammatory bowel disease.

If you have inflammatory bowel disease, you shouldn’t take vitamin D in place of your treatment medications. Talk to your physician for more advice about taking supplements.

What is inflammatory bowel disease?

Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is a chronic or recurring disease that causes inflammation in all or part of the digestive tract. There are different types of IBD. The main types are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Ulcerative colitis only causes inflammation in your colon (large intestine) or rectum, while Crohn’s disease can happen anywhere along your digestive tract. Crohn’s disease can also spread deep into the tissues of your digestive tract. Crohn’s disease is usually more severe and causes symptoms more frequently than ulcerative colitis.

It is common for people with IBD to have periods of flares, which is when you have worse symptoms, and periods of remission, when the symptoms are better or not there at all. When IBD symptoms are flaring up, the disease is called “active”1.

What are the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease?

The symptoms for IBD vary by person, depending on where their inflammation is and how severe it is.  In general, symptoms for both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis include1,2:

  • Diarrhea
  • Cramps and abdominal pain
  • Rectal bleeding or bloody stool
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Skin, joint, or eye inflammation

Some people who have severe cases also experience a loss of appetite, weight loss, and malnutrition from not getting enough nutrients. Ulcerative colitis symptoms usually come on gradually, whereas Crohn’s disease symptoms may come on suddenly.

People with Crohn’s disease are also more likely to get small sores or ulcers on the surface of their digestive tract. Sometimes these ulcers can become large and can occur inside the walls of the intestine.

How common is inflammatory bowel disease?

It is estimated that 1.4 million people in the United States have some form of IBD. Most people develop it between the age of 15 and 30, but it can occur at any age. There are some things that can increase your chances for developing IBD, including1,2:

  • Gender. Ulcerative colitis is more common in men, while Crohn’s disease is more common in women.
  • Ethnicity. IBD is more common in Caucasian and Ashkenazi Jewish people.
  • Family history. You have a higher risk of developing IBD if your parent or sibling has it.
  • Smoking.

What causes inflammatory bowel disease?

It is not fully understood what causes IBD or how it develops. Researchers think that IBD is caused by a combination of genetics, the environment, and your immune system.

It is not fully understood what causes IBD or how it develops. Researchers think that IBD is caused by a combination of genetics, the environment, and your immune system.

It is not fully understood what causes IBD or how it develops. Researchers think that IBD is caused by a combination of genetics, the environment, and your immune system.  Some researchers think that an invading germ in your digestive tract causes your body to become overly inflamed when your immune system is trying to fight it off.

There are things in the environment that might affect the chance of developing IBD, such as where you live, if you smoke, and your diet. People who live in urban areas, industrialized countries, or northern latitudes are more likely to have IBD3,4.

Other researchers think that it is an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system has a hard time telling the difference between your own healthy cells and foreign things like germs, bacteria, or viruses. This causes your body to attack your healthy tissue, which can cause inflammation and pain.

Overall, there is some combination of genetics, the environment, and your immune system that causes IBD to develop1,2,5.

What is the link between vitamin D and inflammatory bowel disease?

Many studies have shown that there is a link between vitamin D and IBD. People with IBD are more likely to have low levels of vitamin D. Some researchers think that low vitamin D levels may be a consequence of having IBD because the symptoms may cause you to stay indoors more and eat less.

However, studies have found that even people who are newly diagnosed with IBD tend to have low vitamin D levels. This means that low vitamin D levels may be a risk factor for developing IBD3.

Vitamin D receptors are found on the surface of a cell where they receive chemical signals. By attaching themselves to a receptor, these chemical signals direct a cell to do something, for example, to act in a certain way, or to divide or die. There are vitamin D receptors found on cells in the digestive tract and the immune system, and vitamin D can bind to these receptors.

In IBD, vitamin D works in the immune system by reducing levels of inflammatory proteins that get overproduced. One of the proteins that vitamin D can lower is called tumor-necrosis factor, or TNF.  One of the medications to manage IBD involves blocking TNF production. Therefore, researchers think that vitamin D may be a natural way to block TNF and help reduce inflammation in the digestive tract4,6.

While it is thought that there is a link between low vitamin D levels and IBD, more experiments need to be done to figure out whether or not taking vitamin D supplements can help to prevent or manage IBD.

What does the research say in general about vitamin D and inflammatory bowel disease?

Preventing inflammatory bowel disease

Not many studies have been done about preventing IBD. However, it has been shown that there is a difference in the risk of developing IBD based on where you live and the amount of sun exposure you get.

People who live in northern latitudes with less sunlight have an increased chance of developing IBD. Vitamin D is made in the skin from sunlight, so researchers think that low vitamin D levels may be a factor that increases IBD risk in these populations7.

Managing inflammatory bowel disease

Having high vitamin D levels may be a way to help manage IBD, as well as reduce complications related to IBD, such as hospitalizations, surgeries, infections, and colon cancer.

Having high vitamin D levels may be a way to help manage IBD, as well as reduce complications related to IBD, such as hospitalizations, surgeries, infections, and colon cancer.

Although IBD is not curable, there are ways to manage the symptoms and keep the disease in remission. Having high vitamin D levels may be a way to help manage IBD, as well as reduce complications related to IBD, such as hospitalizations, surgeries, infections, and colon cancer8. However, it is not known for sure yet that vitamin D can help to prevent these outcomes.

Some studies have found that people with IBD who have higher vitamin D levels tend to have lower disease activity, meaning their symptoms are less severe or they are in remission more9,10.

People with IBD are more likely to have low bone density, which increases the risk for osteoporosis and fractures. People with IBD tend to have lower bone density for different reasons, including long-term use of steroid medications, low nutrient intakes, and changes in bone formation from too much inflammation. Since vitamin D helps to strengthen bones, researchers think that low vitamin D levels may be one of the reasons why people with IBD tend to have low bone density11.

Although many studies have shown a link between low vitamin D levels and increased IBD severity and complications, most of the research has been observational, meaning that we can’t say for sure whether or not vitamin D can help to manage IBD.

What does the recent research say about vitamin D and inflammatory bowel disease?

An experiment published in 2013 looked at a small group of 18 adults in the United States with mild or moderate Crohn’s disease. All of the patients started with taking 1,000 IU of vitamin D every day for 2 weeks, and then they increased the dose every 2 weeks until it reached 5,000 IU per day. The total treatment time was 24 weeks. The researchers looked at their vitamin D levels, quality of life, and disease activity score throughout the study. They found that12:

  • Vitamin D levels increased greatly after 24 weeks. The people who started with the lowest vitamin D levels saw the biggest improvement.
  • All but 1 person had lower disease activity scores and higher quality of life after treatment.
  • Sixty-seven percent of the people went into remission.

The researchers conclude that 5,000 IU per day of vitamin D may help to lower disease activity and improve quality of life in people with Crohn’s disease, but more experiments need to be done to say for sure.

A 2010 experiment from Denmark looked at adults who were in remission from Crohn’s disease. The researchers gave them either 1,200 IU of vitamin D plus 1,200 mg calcium every day or a dummy pill and calcium. After one year, the researchers found that13:

  • People in the vitamin D group had fewer relapses into active Crohn’s disease compared to people in the dummy pill group.

The researchers conclude that vitamin D might help to keep people in remission from Crohn’s disease.

A study published in 2013 in the United States recruited a large group of people with IBD and looked at their vitamin D levels and various outcomes related to IBD. The researchers found that8,14:

  • People who had low levels of vitamin D were more likely to be hospitalized or have surgery related to IBD, compared to people with high levels of vitamin D.
  • People who had low levels of vitamin D were more likely to get cancer than people with higher levels.
  • For every 1 ng/mL increase in vitamin D levels, there was a 6% decrease in risk of colorectal cancer.

Negative outcomes like surgeries, hospitalization, and colon cancer are common for people with IBD. The researchers conclude that having higher levels of vitamin D may help to protect against these outcomes.

A study in 2013 in the United States looked at people with IBD who were on a specific treatment medication. The researchers wanted to know if vitamin D levels before treatment started would have an effect on how the treatment went. They found that15:

  • People who had low vitamin D levels before treatment started were 3 times more likely to stop treatment early compared to people with high vitamin D levels.
  • The people who stopped treatment early did so because they weren’t getting better or seeing a response.

The vitamin D status of people with IBD before starting treatment may affect how well someone responds to treatment. Having a high vitamin D level could make it more likely to see an improvement in symptoms once treatment is started.

Key points from the research

  • People who have IBD tend to have low levels of vitamin D.
  • In IBD, vitamin D may help the immune system in reducing levels of inflammatory proteins that get overproduced.
  • Having high vitamin D levels may be a way to help to manage IBD symptoms.
  • Vitamin D may help to reduce complications related to IBD, such as hospitalizations, surgeries, infections, and colon cancer.
  • Overall, more experiments need to be done to determine if taking vitamin D supplements can help to prevent or manage IBD.

What does this mean for me?

Research has shown that there is a link between vitamin D and IBD. People with IBD are more likely to have low levels of vitamin D and are more likely to experience worse outcomes, like hospitalizations, surgeries, more severe symptoms, and colon cancer.

Research shows that there is a link between vitamin D and IBD, but it is not known yet whether taking a vitamin D supplement, or getting more sun exposure, can help in prevention or management.

There is a link between vitamin D and IBD, but it is not known yet whether taking a vitamin D supplement, or getting more sun exposure, can help in prevention or management.

Some studies have shown that having high levels of vitamin D can help to lower the risk of these outcomes. However, more experiments need to be done to determine just how effective vitamin D might be for IBD, if at all.  Research hasn’t been able to show yet that low vitamin D levels cause IBD. Doctors don’t know yet whether taking a vitamin D supplement, or getting more sun exposure, can help to prevent IBD.

If you have IBD and want to take vitamin D, it is unlikely to make your IBD worse or cause you any harm, as long as you take less than 10,000 IU per day. However, it’s not proven that taking vitamin D will help to treat your IBD.

If you have IBD, you shouldn’t take vitamin D in place of your treatment medications. Talk to your physician for more advice about taking supplements.

References

  1. Mayo Clinic. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). 2012. Web. Accessed at < http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/inflammatory-bowel-disease/basics/causes/con-20034908>.
  2. CDC. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). 2014. Web. Accessed at < http://www.cdc.gov/ibd/>.
  3. Ananthakrishnan AN. Environmental triggers for inflammatory bowel disease. Curr Gastroenterol Rep 2013;15(1):1-11.
  4. Cantorna  MT, McDaniel K, Bora S, et al. Vitamin D, immune regulation, the microbiota, and inflammatory bowel disease. Experimental Biology and Medicine 2014;0:1-7.
  5. WebMD. Inflammatory Bowel Disease. 2014. Web. Accessed at < http://www.webmd.com/ibd-crohns-disease/crohns-disease/inflammatory-bowel-syndrome>.
  6. Reich KM, Fedorak RN, Madsen K, et al. Vitamin D improves inflammatory bowel disease outcomes: basic science and clinical review. World Journal of Gastroenterology 2014;20(17):4934-47.
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Mindfulness & IBD

Original article on Science Daily

Training in meditation and other mindfulness-based techniques brings lasting improvements in mental health and quality of life for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), according to a study in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, official journal of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). The journal is published by Wolters Kluwer.

“Our study provides support for the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of a tailored mindfulness-based group intervention for patients with IBD,” concludes the research report by Dr. David Castle, a psychiatrist at St. Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues. More research is needed to demonstrate the clinical benefits of mindfulness techniques–including whether they can help to reduce IBD symptoms and relapses.

Mindfulness Reduces Anxiety and Depression in IBD Patients

The researchers evaluated a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program tailored for patients with IBD. The study included 60 adults with IBD: Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. The patients’ average age was 36 years, and average duration of IBD 11 years. Twenty-four patients had active disease at the time of the study.

The MBSR intervention consisted of eight weekly group sessions plus a daylong intensive session, led by an experienced instructor. The program included guided meditations, exercises designed to enhance mindfulness in daily life, and group discussions of challenges and experiences. Participants were also encouraged to perform daily “mindfulness meditation” at home.

Thirty-three patients agreed to participate in the MBSR intervention, 27 of whom completed the program. Ratings of mental health, quality of life, and mindfulness were compared to those of the 27 patients who chose not to participate (mainly because of travel time).

The MBSR participants had greater reductions in anxiety and depression scores, as well as improvement in physical and psychological quality of life. They also had higher scores on a questionnaire measuring various aspects of mindfulness–for example, awareness of inner and outer experiences.

Six months later, MBSR participants still had significant reduction in depression and improvement in quality of life, with a trend toward reduced anxiety. The patients were highly satisfied with the mindfulness intervention.

Anxiety, depression, and decreased quality of life are common in patients with IBD. Psychological distress may lead to increased IBD symptoms and play a role in triggering disease flare-ups. Previous studies have shown benefits of MBSR for patients with a wide range of physical illnesses, but there is limited evidence on mindfulness-based interventions for patients with IBD.

The new results show that the MBSR approach is feasible and well-accepted by patients with IBD. The study also suggests that training patients in mindfulness practices to follow in daily life can lead to significant and lasting benefits, including reduced psychological distress and improved quality of life. Dr. Castle comments, “This work reinforces the interaction between physical and mental aspects of functioning, and underscores the importance of addressing both aspects in all our patients.”

The researchers point out some important limitations of their study–including the fact that patients weren’t randomly assigned to MBSR and control groups. They also note that the study didn’t assess the impact on measures of disease activity, including IBD flares. Dr. Castle and colleagues conclude, “A larger adequately powered, randomised study with an active control arm is warranted to evaluate the effectiveness of a mindfulness group program for patients with IBD in a definitive manner.”

Turmeric & Crohn’s disease

Original article posted on Turmeric for health

Along with ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease is also clubbed as an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the intestines. Unlike ulcerative colitis that is found mostly in the colon and rectum, Crohn’s occurs in any part of the intestine. It could form in patches with healthy tissue surrounding it and thenspread deeper inside the tissues. People can suffer from fistulas, ulcers, anal fissure and malnutrition because of Crohn’s disease. Symptoms include watery or bloody diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and weight loss since the intestine does not absorb all the required nutrients.

There is no specific cause of Crohn’s disease although a faulty immune system usually triggers it. Genetics, consuming diets high in saturated fat and sugar and low in vegetables and fruits, cigarette smoking and people of European or Jewish descent are more vulnerable to contracting Crohn’s. There is no cure for Crohn’s, but it can be controlled and can go into remission with medication, surgery, better diet, alternative remedies etc.

Turmeric & Crohn’s Disease

Turmeric is said to have anti-inflammatory properties that can benefit those with Crohn’s. But as with most herbal / natural remedies further research is required to prove it with scientific rigor.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can be chronic and lead to cancer depending on how long the condition lasts. Since surgery and drugs rarely provide any cure, most doctors try to manage it with dietary therapy. This is especially effective in those suffering from Crohn’s disease. Curcumin has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties and its effects were studied in those with IBD. Mucosal biopsies of those with Crohn’s were cultured and treated with curcumin. There were signs that curcumin suppressed inflammatory mediators in both adults and children, therefore offering hope for those with IBD like Crohn’s disease.

In a study of 207 suitable volunteers with symptoms of IBD, 1 or 2 standardized turmeric extract tablets were given daily for a total of 8 weeks. After this period, it was found that there was a significant improvement in symptoms in both 1 and 2 tablet groups. There was a reduction of 22% (1 tablet) and 25% (2 tablets) in pain and discomfort also. There was improvement in bowel pattern and 2/3rds of all subjects treated said their symptoms were better after treatment. This shows that turmeric could reduce symptoms of IBD like Crohn’s and more placebo-controlled studies are required.  Crohn's Disease and turmeric

In a study of 4-5 patients with Crohn’s, it was found that when given curcumin of 360mg, 3 times daily for a month and then 360mg, 4 times daily for 2 months, there was improvement in their condition. Patients are advised to refer to the instructions on the label when taking turmeric supplements for Crohn’s.

Turmeric has a volatile oil fraction that has anti-inflammatory benefits. This is even stronger in curcumin that is the main pharmacological agent of turmeric. Studies have found that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory benefits are on par with corticosteroids and phenylbutazone and other anti-inflammatory drugs. Since it does not produce side effects like reduced blood count, ulcers or intestinal bleeding like these drugs, it could be used as a safe alternative in treating IBD.

In a study on mice induced with colitis, it was found that they were protected when pre-treated with curcumin 5 days beforehand. What is more, the mice given curcumin lost less weight and there were reduced signs of colitis like thickened intestinal walls, mucosal ulcers and inflammatory cells in the intestines. Researchers think the benefits offered by curcumin could be because it inhibits NF kappa-B a cell inflammatory agent and also has antioxidant properties. Another great advantage is that those with IBD like Crohn’s need not take high doses of turmeric. Even small doses like 0.25% offer significant benefits. This amount can easily be got by including turmeric in our daily diets.

IBD is characterized by oxidative stress, presence of pro-inflammatory cytokines etc. In a study on mice, they were given 50mg / kg body weight of curcumin for 10 days and they suffered less from colon disruption and diarrhea. Higher doses of 100 or 300mg / kg had similar effects. There was decrease in lipid peroxidatin and reduced serine protease activity also. These findings suggest curcumin could be an excellent treatment option for IBD like Crohn’s.

In two studies involving 99 patients, a combination of mainstream therapy of mesalamine, corticosteroids or sulfasalazine were given with curcumin. There was significant improvement in symptoms. Some patients could reduce their corticosteroid dosage and others stopped taking it altogether. This shows that turmeric may be a safe and less expensive alternative therapy for IBD like UC and Crohn’s.

Dosage

Turmeric supplements are available as tablets, capsules, tincture, powdered root or liquid extracts. The dosage depends on the specific medical condition. It is not recommended for children. 1-2g of turmeric a day could benefit those with Crohn’s disease according to some studies.

Precautions

Turmeric is safe when consumed within the recommended dosage and when eaten as a spice in food. Those who are scheduled for surgery must avoid turmeric for at least 2 weeks before the date since it can slow down blood clotting. Do not take turmeric supplements if you have gall bladder diseases or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Those who are taking turmeric must be careful for it can interact with anti-platelet drugs, drugs for stomach acid, analgesics and diabetic medications.  Always consult your doctor before including turmeric or other herbal supplements in your diet.

Inform yourself of the many options available when living with Crohn's and Colitis