Inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD) is a serious disease which can affect the small and large intestine. The two more common forms of the disease are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting the small and large intestines. Ulcerative colitis can also be very chronic with acute flare-ups but it usually only affects the large bowl or colon.
IBD is more common in young adults and is characterized by pain, fever, diarrhea, weight loss, anorexia, blood in the stool, and excessive mucus secretion. The underlying mechanism in the development of IBD is an autoimmune response where the body produces special immune anti-bodies which attack the cells of the internal lining of the gut.
To treat these types of disorders, many people consider dietary changes, nutritional supplements, and drug therapies. In most cases, all three treatments are done together, as nutrient deficiencies can be a common occurrence for those suffering from IBD.
Unfortunately, some of the drugs commonly used to manage IBD can have serious side effects. Here is a list of supplements I recommend to help manage this condition:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
This is probably one of the better choices to consider when managing IBD because the fats in these supplements are extremely important in decreasing the inflammatory response that occur on the absorptive mucous membranes of your intestinal tract.
The specialized fatty acids in this supplement can decrease the enzymes which produce pro-inflammatory chemicals and also directly repair the damaged cellular tissue which is constantly being bombarded with free radicals. The ideal dosage is 1,000 mg three times per day with food.
This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that works in a water environment. Vitamin C is responsible for decreasing free radical activity in damaged intestinal tissue and can also help repair the inner lining of the intestinal tract by producing collagen. I recommend taking at least 500 mg of vitamin C with each meal daily.
Vitamin E is also a very important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory but it works in a fatty environment making it capable of penetrating cell membranes and helping to repair them.
I recommend taking 400 IU taken twice per day with food. Take the natural form of mixed tocopherols combined with mixed tocotrienols.
Taking a high-potency multi-digestive enzyme 10-15 minutes before you eat can help you digest your food more completely which can prevent further gastro-intestinal stress, immune response, and inflammation.
I recommend taking a high potency digestive enzyme tablet before each meal.
Turmeric has been used for hundreds of years to treat inflammation. The spice turmeric contains a pigment called curcumin that has been shown to suppress pro-inflammatory chemicals which actually increase the degree of inflammation in the gut wall.
The recommended dosage is an extract of turmeric containing at least 400 mg of curcumin taken two to three times per day with food.
Since multiple nutritional deficiencies can occur in folks who have a chronic form of IBD, I recommend taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement.
Typically patients with IBD can be deficient in vitamins B12, folic acid, zinc, iron, vitamin D, and various other minerals. The recommendation is one high-potency multivitamin and mineral tablet taken daily with meals.
Aggarwal, B.B., et al., “Curcumin: An Orally Bioavailable Blocker of TNF and Other Pro-inflammatory Biomarkers,” Br J Pharmacol. February 20, 2013.
Rajasekaran, S.A., “Therapeutic potential of curcumin in gastrointestinal diseases,” World J Gastrointest Pathophysiol. February 15, 2011; 2(1): 1-14.
Murray, M., et al., Encyclopedia of Naturopathic Medicine (Prima Publishing, 1998): 587-601.