A holistic approach to Crohn’s disease begins with the understanding that the disease is a physical response to a disease of intestinal flora. There is a common misnomer among Crohn’s sufferers that the condition is a response to the outside world. This isradicals candiagnosis excess mucous secretion.
In fact, strictuatinfor Crohns ileocolony can be treated with the help of drugs only, as medications already thin the mucous and prevent its buildup in the first place. The real cause of the disease, however, lies in the malfunction of the body’s immune system which, as a result of an imbalance, cannot eliminate the excess mucous.
The immune system is designed to attack foreign bodies or ‘invaders’ as the body develops them. The powerful process of immunoglobulins generates antibodies which attack the foreign bodies. The primary antibodies involved in this response tend to be lactase, whereas the antibodies raised by the immune system during inflammation are frequently involved in anti-inflammatory responses.
In contrast, Crohn’s disease is not an infection by foreign invaders. The primary cause of Crohn’s disease is a misbalanced immune system which, in the absence of the ‘zapped’ state that occurs when the body is deteriorating, allows harmful bacteria, metabolites and tissue damage to accumulate in the body. The result is a tightening and swelling of the mucous layer, as well as pain, inflammation and much else.
Conventional treatment of Crohn’s disease incorporates the use of steroids which, although relieving the symptoms, do not address the underlying problem, that of a misbalanced immune system. The primary course of treatment is therefore dietary adjustment and elimination of all products which may have a detrimental effect on the immune system.
It is believed that some products, such as wheat based products, stress the immune system unnecessarily. Other products, such as alcohol based products, have a high content of ‘free radicals’ which are believed to play a key role in Crohn’s disease. Products which have been shown to alter the immune system include alcohol manufactures, effervescent tablets, products which contain mint extract, clindamycin and products which are made using yeast as the yeast cause the body to generate too much antibodies. Imbalance of the immune system is a major factor in the maintenance of Crohn’s disease.
As a consequence of a weakening of the immune system, the body is unable to defend itself against infections and other injury. As the disease progresses, it becomes difficult for the body to expel these harmful objects which it cannot tolerate. The use of steroids is therefore ineffective and has a veritable plethora of side effects aside from helping to alleviate Crohn’s disease symptoms.
Therefore, in the interests of a healthier and more varied diet, the use of a more diverse range of foods is encouraged. The diet should accommodate robust vegetables and fruit, as well as a variety of different foods, to ensure the widest possible range of foods available to the dieter. Although some emphasis must be placed on eating the most natural of foods, as much importance is placed on eating in an enjoyable and comfortable environment.
It must be mentioned that a minor complication of Crohn’s disease is that the small intestine becomes enlarged. The role that this plays in Crohn’s disease is unclear at present but it is believed to be an aide to the disease. This however does not eliminate the need for appropriate dietary modifications and/or exercise to keep the intestine and consequential immune system in check. More studies are needed to determine the role of this complication of the disease.